The report on pages 73 – 86 was presented by Malcolm Taylor.
The Chair said that the support line for parents, carers and staff was important and to ensure that they were made aware of this support service. He thought it was a positive feature of the service.
Councillor Rigby asked how this service was being communicated to teachers and students. Malcolm Taylor said that the schools’ Wellbeing Leads regularly met along with the Psychology Service and School Wellbeing Service (SWS) to ensure that the information was communicated. Information packs were also sent out via email to schools directly and also mentioned the SWS in regular meetings with Safeguarding Leads; in head teachers’ briefings; and at SEND forums. Schools were reminded through their SWS Leads and were encouraged to add information about the SWS support line within their school publications. He went on to say that the Wellbeing Education Resilience Programme would be rolled out soon which practitioners would be fully informed of before the webinars went online.
Nicola Cranch said that her children’s schools were aware of the SWS and that her son was one of the Mental Health Champions in his school which he had undertaken the training session for from the school. She said that both her children’s schools were holding a Mental Health Week. She went on to say that the SWS was outstanding and that from a parent’s perspective, it had been well received and informed via Facebook, emails and via school learning platforms. She thanked the SWS and felt it had been helpful. Jackie Hourihan thanked Nicola Cranch for her support and comments. She said that the team was allocated a certain number of schools each and each school had a Mental Health Lead which the team communicated through. She went on to say that network meetings were also held where the SWS information and support line was mentioned.
Councillor Akinbohun commented that schools were under immense pressure because of the pandemic and may not be able to see to every case particularly where there were those with more severe mental health issues. She questioned whether there were other mental health services available to them. Malcolm Taylor said that there were children who were more vulnerable and sensitive to the current situation and that there had been an increase in referrals for these children. This was being managed by the service’s colleagues in the mental wellbeing services through their existing processes that was the triage. The service was in regular contact with these colleagues to ensure that children had good access to all services and to identify where the pressure points were. The service was also linking in to Mind and Open Door that had counselling services in schools and academies also employed their own counselling staff. The service also ensured they communicated with the Educational Psychology Service which the service used for significantly severe cases to support. He went on to say that the service ensured that schools were aware of the quick and appropriate access of higher level services where appropriate.
Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny to note the work that has taken place.
The Committee agreed to suspend standing orders at 9.14pm to enable the Agenda to be completed.