Children's Services news

Front Page

Welcome note from Jenny

Jenny Coles

Welcome to another edition of CS News. 

I must start by telling you about my recent visit, along with Councillor Douris, to Lordship Farm Primary School in Letchworth to find out more about their eco initiatives.  We were both really impressed with their commitment and all the hard work they have put in.  Their list of what they have already achieved really is remarkable and you can read more about their work in this edition.  It was so lovely to meet the staff and the children and we hope to return in the future.

Last week was Practice Week, a chance for us to celebrate good relationship based practice and an important opportunity for reflection and reflective conversations and a chance for us all to build on our strengths and learning.  I hope you all managed to take part as it’s really worthwhile to stand back and review all the good work we do.

I also attended the 0-25 Together Safeguarding Conference “Let’s talk about it” and another inspirational and stimulating day as always. The presentation and workshops were excellent, not to mention the fantastic entertainment from the Purple All Stars.

The HSAB and HSCP Autumn newsletter is now available and can be viewed in this edition.  The Learning Hubs are a great resource, and supporting families early to prevent neglect of children will be the focus of the events this autumn.

We will again be participating in the `16 days of action’ on domestic abuse which begins on 25 November.   This activity is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging the reporting of domestic abuse in the county and highlighting support services available to those concerned or affected. I know many of you will be attending the annual domestic abuse conference, however please do also show your support for this campaign by liking and sharing any posts you see on social media to help us raise awareness.  It’s so important we increase public understanding to protect and intervene earlier so that people suffering from abuse get the help they need and do not suffer in silence.

And finally, as many of you will be starting to think about Christmas please take some time to read about our Christmas Appeal for Care Leavers.  These boxes mean such a lot to the young people who receive them. Many won’t get any other gifts and some may also be spending their first Christmas living on their own so any support is so gratefully received.  This week is National Care Leavers Week so a good time to support this initiative.

Best wishes.

Jenny

 

In the Spotlight

Christmas Art Competition 2019: Who is your Hertfordshire Hero?

Please spread the word to Hertfordshire schools about this opportunity for a Key Stage 2 pupil to win a day of adventure at a Hertfordshire Military Base.

Hertfordshire Heroes is the name we use to promote the work of the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Board, chaired by Cllr Terry Douris which is a partnership of different organisations working together to support the retired and active Armed Forces community living and working in Hertfordshire.

As Secretariat to the Board, the County Council Corporate Policy Team has just launched the 7th annual Christmas Art competition for schools.

Our Hertfordshire Heroes are members of the Armed Forces community who work hard to protect our nation and are often working away from their families at Christmas.

We are asking Hertfordshire schools to help send our military heroes some “Christmas cheer” by entering our annual county-wide Christmas Art Competition by drawing your own Hertfordshire Hero.

For further Guidance, how to enter or to download a flyer please visit

www.hertfordshireheroes.org/ChristmasArt

 

 

News from the Services

Max from West Hyde Young People’s Centre wins CPRE Award!

                                                                                                                                                    

A young person who attends YC Hertfordshire youth projects at West Hyde Young People’s Centre was delighted to win The Abel-Smith Award from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.

Max was nominated by YC Hertfordshire youth workers for the award, which recognises individual achievement by a young person, aged up to 21, in improving life in their community.

Max, now aged 18, has attended West Hyde Young People’s Centre for a number of years and has been an inspiration to other young people in the area.

He is passionate about volunteering and was integral in setting up a Youth Council at the centre, organising fundraising events for local causes.

Elaine Elmer, the youth support worker in charge who nominated Max said: “Max is a team player and gives his all to making an event succeed, getting the best out of all the other young people at the projects. He is thoroughly deserving of this award- well done Max!”

For more information about YC Hertfordshire, please visit www.ychertfordshire.org 

Hertfordshire Social Work Teaching Partnership newsletter

Welcome to the October edition of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Boards Partnership bulletin

Plus One programme for young parents and parents-to-be

YC Hertfordshire’s Plus One programme for young parents and parents-to-be has been successfully delivered across Hertfordshire for the last 5 years. 26 young people completing the course in the last year.

The programme is for 14 to 21-year-olds and enables young parents and parents-to-be to meet and create a support network with other young parents, build their confidence and self-esteem and give them the opportunity to enjoy learning. The programme includes City & Guilds qualifications to enhance their CV, work, training and education prospects and ultimately, give them the tools and strategies to cope with the challenges that come with being a new parent.

Each year YC Hertfordshire have commissioned an independent review of the Plus One project. The key findings for 2019 were:

  • YC Hertfordshire have developed and refined the Plus One programme with content that is relevant and varied.
  • Attendance and completion rates are solid, in spite of the life challenges that some participants face in addition to being a young parent.
  • Plus One has a significant positive impact on the young parents who take part.
  • Youth Workers who deliver Plus One are key to its success.

Those who have completed the course said:

“You walk in here and it just feels like coming home.”

“We come here because we choose to.”

“It felt comfortable coming here because I know what Youth Workers are like from childhood. I knew I would enjoy it and I never miss a session. Even if I am in town with my mate’s I will rush off to Plus One. I wouldn’t change a thing. “

Workers who deliver the course said:

“They have taken pride in work they have produced, and they feel they can build on it. It is really incredible for some people who have had no education and it plants the seed that they aren’t just a parent; there are other sides to them, and they can do other things in the future.”

“My job is to engage with these young people and get them fired up to think for themselves. There is a whole world out there for them if they want it; and they must make choices in their life. It isn’t all about parenting; it is also about what they want out of their life. “

If you have a young person that you think would benefit from Plus One or have any questions about the programme, please visit www.ychertfordshire.org 

YOUNG PEOPLE’S SURVEY 2019

A survey to find out what young people think about some of the services available to them and what issues affect them is taking place in November.

YC Hertfordshire has developed a survey for all young people aged 11-17, and up to 25 for those with special educational needs.

The aim of the survey is to capture the voices of young people across Hertfordshire to help ensure that we and our partners are delivering valuable, inclusive and relevant services and activities for young people.

This survey is being circulated and marketed to secondary and middle schools plus ESCs and colleges across the county and will also be available on all YC Hertfordshire’s social media platforms.

This survey opens on Friday 1st November 2019 for four weeks.

If you know a young person aged 11-17, or up to 25 if they have a special education need, please encourage them to complete the survey through their school, youth project or access the link through YC Hertfordshire’s social media platforms or by emailing yc@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Please find the link below to access the survey:

https://surveys.hertfordshire.gov.uk/s/YoungPeopleSurvey2019/

The survey link above will not work until the 1st November, so please do not open this link before this date.

If you have any queries regarding the survey, please contact Debbie Barker or Laura Homes on 01992 555432 or email yc@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Virtual School 11th Annual Designated Teacher Conference

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wednesday 23 October saw the Virtual School host their 11th Annual Designated Teacher Conference at Hertfordshire Development Centre.

Designated Teachers from over 150 schools in Hertfordshire and out of county along with other professionals experienced a full day of inspirational speakers, networking and discussion opportunities to inform policy and practice.

The focus for this year’s conference was “Safe School – Consistency: Culture: Caring”.

The keynote speaker was Mathew Portell, Executive Principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary School in Nashville, USA and Founder of Paradigm Shift Education.

Mathew gave an inspirational and interactive presentation based on his experiences as a father, foster carer and Principal of a trauma informed school.

Stressing the need for safe, stable and nurturing relationships in school; co-regulation being key – “allowing children to come into your calm, rather than you being pulled into their chaos”.

Mathew detailed some of the strategies used in his school, including habits practiced as part of being a Leader in Me Lighthouse School and the various ways both children and school staff are supported.

Asked what the first step would be to becoming a trauma informed school, Mathew replied “that staff should understand the science around trauma, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and brain development”.

Felicity Evans, Virtual School Head, reported that over forty Hertfordshire schools had already delivered the Virtual School Attachment Toolkit training meaning that over 1900 staff, from teachers to site and office staff, were now informed about trauma and ACEs.  Felicity encouraged Designated Teachers to investigate the resource and deliver the training to the staff in their own schools as the aim is that all Hertfordshire schools access and use this resource.

Delegates also benefited from a number of other presentations on the day.  These included Siobhan King, a mathematics adviser with Herts for Learning, and Andrew Baxter from the Department for Education.

The area of Character Education and its link to the new Ofsted inspection framework was presented by Gary Lewis, Chair of the Association of Character Education, and Philippa Garn from HCC and Dr Warren Larkin revisited Hertfordshire STEPS and the case for Trauma Sensitive Schools.

During the day delegates participated in discussion groups appropriate to their settings to reflect on how transition arrangements could be improved to benefit children looked after when moving from primary to secondary school and at other times of change.

The occasion also saw the announcement of the Bu2Z Award winners – the new Hertfordshire Pupil Premium Plus Awards to schools: Bringing Underachievement to Zero.

The two winners were Graveley Primary School and Lakeside School.  Runners up were Goffs-Churchgate Academy, Stevenage Education Support Centre, Howe Dell Primary School and Holtsmere End Junior School.

Recipients were incredibly moved and delighted that they will be able to use their prize money for interventions and programmes that will have a real impact for the children looked after and previously looked after in their schools.

Winter Social Work Seminar

Join us to meet Joint Chief of Social Work for England Mark Harvey, who will be talking to members of the Hertfordshire Social Work Teaching Partnership about his new role with the Department for Health and Social Care, and its impact on Hertfordshire social work.

Friday 13th December
2pm – 4pm
Hertfordshire Development Centre
Six Hills Way, Stevenage, SG1 2FQ

Bookings via Eventbrite.

Social Work England Information Session

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Hannah Brown, Head of Quality Assurance at Social Work England, will be coming to speak to all Social Workers in the new year to discuss the changes being implemented by Social Work England and how this will have an impact on Social Workers going forward.

Thursday 23rd January
1pm – 2pm
Hertfordshire Development Centre
Six Hills Way, Stevenage, SG1 2FQ

Booking is not required, but due to limited space is it recommended to get in touch with the Herts Social Work Teaching Partnership for a calendar invitation.

Lordship Farm Primary School's Eco Initiatives

Lordship Farm

On Tuesday 15 October,  Jenny Coles and Councillor Terry Douris visited Lordship Farm Primary school in Letchworth after reading the Comet’s front page article, ‘Year 2’s War on McDonalds Plastic Toys’.

They met with Richard Woodham, the school’s Eco lead, whose class wrote the McDonalds letters, Ben Parry the Head teacher and the childrens’ Eco Committee to discuss the school’s impressive Eco initiatives including their challenge to McDonalds with regard to single use plastics.

The children explained how through their participation in the Eco-Schools programme, the school has reduced its own single use plastic waste by replacing  milk cartons and straws with washable beakers and milk delivered in recyclable containers, how every class has its own eco pledge and how the school now has a recycling centre for pens, plastic Happy Meal toys, batteries, bread bags and crisp packets.

The children were delighted to be given the opportunity to interview Jenny Coles and Councillor Douris. The children were keen to know what the council were doing to help tackle climate change and plastic pollution. Jenny and Terry spoke about encouraging parents to walk instead of drive to school, that they had reduced light pollution with new street lights, wanted to challenge school catering providers to become increasingly eco-friendly and would feedback what they had learnt at Lordship Farm to others at Hertfordshire County Council.

Jenny and Terry commended the pupils on their hard work in introducing and running the various recycling schemes. They encouraged the children to continue their commitment to an ethos of environmental sustainability and described Lordship Farm as a fine example of a school embracing the war not just on plastic but on all pollution and climate change as a whole.

Christmas Appeal for Care Leavers

It’s that time of year again when we are asking HCC staff to buy an extra Christmas present for a care leaver.

Care leavers are young people who have been in care with Hertfordshire and are now making the transition towards adulthood. Many of our young people do not have families to support them, and many experience loneliness and will have no plans for celebrating Christmas.

With your help, we can make a difference.  Over the last couple of years, more than 600 care leavers have been given beautiful Christmas boxes, filled with a range of presents bought by staff at HCC. Here’s what some of them said when they received their boxes:

‘The Christmas box is an amazing idea; it was a great pick-me-up with so many beautiful items. It put a HUGE smile on my face!’

‘It was lovely to know I would have presents to open on Christmas day’

‘Wow really that is great I won’t get anything else for Christmas!’

One worker who gave a young person their box said: ‘He was just beaming…he took a snap chat of his box and could not believe it. When I gave it to him he asked if it was all for him and I said yes and he said thank you about 5 times…he was so happy’

Please help to give our young people a warm feeling on Christmas day by buying an extra gift when you are Christmas shopping. From Monday 14 October clearly marked crates will be in or near the canteens at Apsley, Farnham and County Hall. Your items can be left in the crates, which will be collected regularly. The items will then be packaged into Christmas boxes and the boxes will be personally given to our young people by their workers.  

Below are the suggested items for you to buy and all the relevant contacts you can go to with any queries.

Thanks so much for your generosity.

Suggested items to buy

Toiletries: Bubble bath, soap, shower gel, deodorant, male or female toiletries gift sets
Accessories: hats,  scarves, gloves , fluffy socks
 
For the home: Small throw, single Christmas decoration, smelly candle, hot water bottle, positive quotes (wall art), kitchen items such as mugs, bowls, tea towels, storage jars (no knives or cooking utensils please), bathroom items such as towels, flannels, toothbrush holder, soap dish)
Savoury snacks: crisps, nibbles, cheesy biscuits (no nuts)
Sweet treats:  haribo or other sweets, chocolates, festive biscuits, candy canes, hot chocolate
Other: for ‘her’ – jewellery, purses, calendars, key rings. For ‘him’ wallets, calendars, key rings

General queries about the Appeal  and any queries re leaving gifts at County Hall: Nancy Burge 07812 323 854

Queries re leaving gifts at Farnham House:
Mandy VanGorder 53319

Queries re leaving gifts at Apsley:
Irene Lawrence 83187

 

Children's Safeguarding & Specialist Services

HSAB HSCP Newsletter - Autumn Edition

Welcome to the Spring edition of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Boards joint Adults and Children’s newsletter

Corporate News

The ASKUs Call Options and Opening Hours for HR are changing.

SmartWorking Support

The SmartWorking Support Team is working with Children Services to help identify ways to embrace SmartWorking ahead of the move to Apsley 1. 

There are a number of Workshops planned and Service Managers have been asked to nominate employees to attend these.  If you are based in Apsley and have not received an invite, please speak to your manager. For more information about SmartWorking please visit the NEW SmartWorking Portal where you can find information and guidance on the following themes;

 

Caitlin Ferguson-Mir

Senior HR Officer, Safe Staffing Team

Free financial workshops

My Wealth, a specialist provider of regulated financial advice, offer a wide range of free financial services for HCC employees, as part of our employees’ reward package – Herts Rewards – there will be financial advice workshops run regularly over the next few years.

To book a space, please contact bookings@affinityconnect.org or call Affinity Connect on Freephone 0800 019 6076.

Learning & Development

What’s new with corporate Learning and Development?

Hertfordshire Apprenticeship programme (HAP)

Are you unsure on how to develop your career further following your PMDS mid-year review? Why not consider a level 7 master’s degree in leadership!

This two-and-a-half-year course will develop your knowledge and skills in financial management, organisation improvement strategies, research and analysis techniques and leadership skills!

Contact HAP@hertfordshire.gov.uk for more information

Coaching

On 6th November, we will be re-launching our coaching offer.

Coaching is all about unlocking your potential and there are many potential benefits: enhancing productivity; boosting motivation and increasing opportunities.

To find out more about coaching and how to request a coach, there is a dedicated page on iLearn+ and more information will be released over the next few months

 New Horizons

The 5th Cohort for New Horizons is underway having started in September.

We have 15 delegates for the foundation programme and we have 11 delegates for the middle programme.

The groups are now looking forward to receiving their projects in December.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact NewHorizonLeadershipProgramme@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 ‘My Learning’ offer

Last chance to book on – few spaces remaining!

 

Click on the topic titles above and complete your Declaration of Interest (please ensure you are already logged into iLearn+)

Spaces available on a first come first served basis.

 

 

Congratulations & Compliments

Congratulations to Katherine Olivo who wins September’s `You are a Star’ award.

Congratulations to Katherine Olivo who is September's `You are a Star.'

Katherine is a Social Worker from the Family Safeguarding, Stevenage North Team and received two nominations from Matt Ansell and Pretty Nkiwane who said:

From Matt Ansell:

 `Katherine has received some amazing feedback from a family she has been working with for some time.   In the feedback the parents describe how Katherine has worked with them as a family and has ‘helped them to cope and think differently about family life’.  The parents said that ‘the children adore you and are always happy to hear that you are going to visit’ & ‘”I have never felt judged and have always been able to be open and honest with you.’

This is such positive feedback, it displays all the values and approach that we want our workers to engage with families, and has ultimately helped support this family to be stronger and happier.’

 From Pretty Nkiwane:

`Katherine is NQSW and she is a graduate from the first Frontline cohort in HCC When Katherine joined HCC I and her CSW supervisor in Frontline have always said there is something about her ,her attitude, professional maturity and commitment ,and she is very sensitive to families that she works with that make her a good practitioner. I have observed Katherine develop so much confidence as a practitioner but she has remained true to the level of respect that she gives to families .Katherine is very good at engaging with families, both children and parents of different age groups .Her manners are impeccable but with all this her risk assessment is very good and she is also good at challenging families as appropriate. Katherine has gained a lot of respect from families and during her year in practice she has received a number of positive feedback however she remains very humble about this.

`Her professional integrity, respect to families, her ability to access support for families from different agencies with the community and her ability to work with other professionals agencies is excellent. Katherine is good a very good team player and she is also good at supporting colleagues from across the service as well as current Frontline and Step Ahead students.’

Congratulations to Emma Huntley who wins September’s `You are a Star’ award.

Emma Huntley

Congratulation's to Emma Huntley who is September's `You are a Star'.

Emma works in the Youth Justice Team and was nominated by Vanesa Bunn who said:

`Every young person really matters to Emma. I have seen Emma go above and beyond for young people consistently over the past three plus years.

Emma works with some of the most hard to reach, risky and dangerous young people in Hertfordshire and she always sees the true potential they have and seeks creative opportunities for them to be in education, training or employment (ETE).  If they have an interest in something, no matter how obscure, she will do all she can to find something they could do related to it. Emma will do everything she can to remove the barriers to ETE that young people that offend face, including picking them up at 7-8am in the morning so they can get to their provision. This has been absolutely life changing for so many young people. She has provided 1:1 CSCS Card training for those that can not access mainstream provisions which has provided successful results for the young people that have participated. She supports other YOT workers to learn about, and implement, City and Guilds Employability Certificates with young people, providing them with opportunities to achieve and succeed.

Emma attends various types of meetings. She is always a proactive participant and strives to ensure the positives for a young person are valued, especially when there are lots of things not going right for them. She plays a key role in supporting risk management plans through her interventions and she works exceptionally well with other professionals and agencies to make opportunities happen safely.

Despite being a busy practitioner, Emma is always willing to help her colleagues with any ETE, youth justice or Childview (recording system) queries they have. If she can help, she will help. If she can’t help, she will tell you who might be able to. 

Emma is different to the rest; she has a calming yet joyfully infectious presence and an amazing ability to quickly have a good rapport with a young person. Emma is life changing for young people, Emma is a Star that shines so bright!

  • Emma’s interventions are tailored to the individual needs and wishes of each young person. She is able to identify risk well and report safeguarding and public protection concerns to the relevant professionals/agencies.
  • Emma helps make every penny count by managing her time well, supporting her colleagues, lift sharing on short and long journey’s and successfully requesting funding from charities/other sources.
  • Emma is open and honest with young people and their wider networks and she makes expectations very clear. Emma is able to say when she does not know something. When this happens, she takes appropriate action to find the accurate information.
  • Emma strives on getting it right and will not set young people up to fail. She considers young people’s experiences and needs before signposting/referring them to a provision. If she does not think something will work, she will explore alternatives and/or find a way to make things work, first time.
  • Emma has used her own initiative to provide 1:1 CSCS Card training for young people that cannot access mainstream/community provisions for this training. She is creative with her ideas and works differently with different young people based on their needs.

Useful Links

Herts Rewards Autumn Newsletter

herts rewards logo

Welcome to the Autumn edition of the Herts Rewards Quarterly Benefits newsletter

Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life