Early Help and Preventative Services (EHPS) aims to provide a clear and consistent approach to engaging with schools so that:
- Local networks and relationships are strong and positive
- A consistent message is provided through electronic as well as inter-personal communication
- EHPS improves the capacity to consult with schools and learn from them about what works.
EHPS is more than just the units providing intensive support and the PRU, Inclusion and Attendance service (PIAS). This is only a proportion of our total offer. It also includes Open Access Youth Hubs and Children's Centres; Gypsy, Roma and Traveller services; Outdoor Education, Youth Justice and Triage.
EHPS standards for working with schools
Staff from the units will:
- Allocate requests for support within 4 working days of receiving the information from Early Help Triage as long as the information is sufficient. We will ask for additional information if we need this to enable us to make a clear decision on the support, advice or guidance for the family
- Ensure that the allocated Early Help Unit worker contacts the notifier from the school to discuss the reasons why support is being asked for. This will be part of the assessment and will rely on the family or young person giving consent
- Involve the school in the support plan as long as the family or young person are happy for this to be part of their plan
- Seek to resolve any disagreements at the earliest possible opportunity through discussion at a local level
- Communicate changes at the earliest opportunity through our KELSI pages, email, letter and in person
- Keep schools informed about all children in their school who are receiving support from EHPS, as long as families have consented to share information
From schools we ask that:
- A single point of contact for EHPS is made known to us and that this person takes responsibility for making sure that they promote our services within the school
- Notifications contain as much information as possible about the nature of the concern, what support has already been offered and the intended outcome of EHPS support
- We work together to develop a coordinated plan of support which draws on the expertise from school staff as well as EHPS
- The child's voice, including their wishes and feelings, is clear in what you send us.
Contact details for Heads of Service, District Managers, Open Access Managers and countywide managers are under Early Help Contacts.
How to resolve problems and discuss notifications
There will be times when schools and EHPS need to discuss a request for support. If there is a particular service required or the problem the child, young person and family are experiencing seems particularly complex, we recommend that you contact the relevant district in advance to talk through any concerns and provisionally agree a plan of action. Anything that is agreed with the district should be included in the notification to aid swift allocation.
Schools can contact EHPS through their Single Points of Contact. Contact details are provided on the Early Help Contacts page.
There may be occasions when the reasons behind the EHPS decision on which service offers support are not understood. If this is the case, or if there is dissatisfaction around any aspect of the service, please contact the District Manager to arrange a meeting to discuss the issues.
EHPS standards for district meetings with schools
EHPS is committed to developing positive relationships with schools and recognise that these need to be both at a strategic and an operational level. We believe that positive relationships with school partners are built by working together and understanding each other. Our commitment is:
We will ensure that our District Managers attend the Headteachers' Forums on a regular basis. We will:
- produce and discuss data on our performance
- identify areas of good practice and those where improvement is needed
- seek feedback on how well our partnership with schools is developing.
We will hold two events per district per year for operational staff within schools. These will offer school staff the opportunity to learn about what services are available from our Unit, Open Access and from the services we commission. We will:
- ensure staff are able to use our referral systems and are kept informed of any changes
- seek feedback on the quality of our partnerships around supporting children, young people and families.
These events will be in addition to our attendance at local forums and our working with individual schools.
Single point of contact
Every school in Kent has a worker allocated to them from the EHPS. This person is the Schools Liaison Officer.
EHPS will guarantee that each school in Kent has a named point of contact from a unit or an Open Access Service (Children's Centre or Youth Hub). This person will help with any questions about processes, progress of unallocated cases and in advance of putting in a notification.
The School Liaison Officers main role and responsibilities are to support:
- Penalty notices
- Whole school support for attendance such as evidence based targeted project work
- Additional support for Attendance Officers, when required.
School Liaison Officers can be contacted using the numbers provided on the School Attendance page.
Evaluation and review
This will include:
- Building on existing support from previous focus groups to maintain a dialogue on how schools perceive the relationship to be progressing
- Developing a group of interested partners to review and feedback on changes to processes
- Using improved online systems to explore the use of surveys to gather feedback.