Step by Step offer a bespoke solution service to schools to meet challenges that prescribed training courses don’t fully resolve. We have been regularly approached by schools requesting a solution to identified issues, and where possible using our evaluation tools to show the impact of the delivery.
All Schools have different demands placed upon them due to for example Location, Community Catchment area, Social Issues, Behaviour and Attitudes. Additionally we recognise that teachers are “employed to teach” and often tell us they “cannot meet certain needs of the school cohort”. Given that statutory services have been largely cut back Step by Step training offer a solution to deliver in support of school staff where they do not have that specialist knowledge or systems.
Examples of Services Provided
A County Durham Junior School recognised that one of their key challenges was to engage more with the fathers/male carers of their students. This school did not have the services of a Parent Support Advisor.
Service Provided- Community Engagement
The standard approach shown by schools during the ‘lead time’ to a course is to put something into a newsletter and ‘hope for the best’. This more often than not leads to a poor uptake of participants and leads to poor course retention or poor learning outcomes. After discussion the head teacher recognised this and together we developed a strategy to give results and best value for money.
For weeks prior to a ‘Dads Count’ course being run engagement began at the school gates between Julie and the local community. Linking in to community events and home visiting after telephone contact resulted in some dads that wanted to help set up a support group and become more engaged in their children’s learning. This proactive approach also worked in reaching some reluctant service users that otherwise would not have participated. Tools were used to establish what dads and male carers really wanted from the project both in the short term and as a longer term aim.
The positive outcome from this project was that the dads/carers set up a ‘dads group’ at school helping to reduce isolation, raising aspiration and build community cohesion whilst strengthening school/community relations. This is now being run by the dads/male carers themselves. Additionally, through this engagement with other family members a report was devised and given to the school head teacher to help shape future services.
Persistent Absence (PA)-
A key area that Step by Step deliver on behalf of schools and academies. Where a school recognizes and wants to meet the challenge of engaging reluctant service users, our workers using an outreach approach are skilled at engaging, fact finding and using the right methods to remove barriers to education. For some parents empathy. sympathy and getting external agencies in to support the child and family unit may be helpful, whilst for others coaching of parenting skills or using a more direct approach is needed. Step by Step are currently employed within 2 secondary schools within Gateshead to help manage their PA of pupils by working alongside their current attendance staff.especially where intensive case loads require many and lengthy visits.
For further information please visit our Community Engagement page
“Since engaging the services of Step by Step training & Consultancy we have seen a dramatic improvement in parent engagement across the school. Their direct and rapid response to parent needs have removed barriers to learning, greatly supported transition work and allowed parents direct access to the leadership and management team within the school. The difference made has resulted with the engagement of a multitude of services and have supported both home and school in working closer together for the benefit of our pupils.”
Mark Watson- Head Teacher, Leadgate Junior School
“Julie Patterson has a way to interact with families that is not only service user focused but also professional . Her work that I admire the most is that she undertook with fathers – especially hard to reach fathers or fathers that were going through statutory interventions. Julie was able to facilitate, manage and support these parents through the groups she ran – enabling parents to share their experiences in a anti oppressive way. Sometimes parents just need the freedom to speak without prejudice to off load their feelings and thoughts – Julie was able to facilitate this in a safe place with necessary group rules in place”.
Helen Williams – Team Manager, Safeguarding Children- Greencroft
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