Stoke Schools Family Support Project
Father Hudson’s Society was keen to ensure that its services were well represented throughout the Diocese and for this reason the North Staffs Catholic schools Primary Headteachers meeting was approached in 2005. After speaking with the whole group, four schools in particular were keen to move the work forwards: Saint Maria Goretti in Bentilee, St Peter’s in Cobridge, Our Lady’s in Fenton and Our Lady and St Benedict’s in Abbey Hulton
Our Family Support Worker began work in April 2006. This was Father Hudson’s Society first School Community Based Project.
The project has an office base in the Father Hudson’s Society office at the Holy Trinity Community Centre in Newcastle under Lyme. These offices are shared with the Adoption team, which has been based there for several years .It is very well placed to enable access to all four of the schools.
The Management Committee, which meets termly, consists of the Headteachers from each of the schools and sometimes the Deputy Head from one or two schools has also attended. Besides scrutinising carefully all the work that takes place, this Committee has been a forum where many of the issues that arise in establishing a new project have been addressed. All of the experience and expertise has then been shared with the newer projects. Its role has been invaluable.
In her first full year the worker provided support to over sixty families. Some of this support has been short term but over half has involved long term relationships with families, allowing sufficient time to support the family in addressing complex issues.
This a short piece from her publicity material for parents:
“...to help and support you and your child in school and at home. I do this by offering the following :-
• Being available in school to discuss any concerns you may have.
• Liasing with outside agencies on your behalf.
• Providing leaflets and information.
• Help and advice on how to handle your child’s behaviour, bullies and bullying and how to help build self confidence and self- esteem.
• Practical help with everyday issues eg. moving class, eating, bedtime, attendance etc.”
The success of work depends on the relationships formed through partnership working as well as relating to the Headteachers and Deputies, she works closely with Sencos, School Nurses, Teachers wth special responsibilities for parent contact and Home School Link Workers( although the funding for these posts from the LEA’s has diminished considerably ) .
She spends a day a week working in each school community, trying to time her home visits to families for those days,sometimes she meets the parents in the school, if space allows .
The two year pilot ended in April 2008 but the Headteachers involved have committed to ensuring it continues .They are convinced of the benefits that arise from providing good family support in an accessible way.
The Holy Trinity Centre
Tel and Fax: 01782 614 293