PARENTS/CARERS AREA

Information from The Beacon Young Person Service

RESEARCH, POLICY AND GUIDANCE

What lessons can the UK learn from Iceland to decrease drug use among its young people?

Download your free copy by filling in a few details | Volte Face, UK

DrugWatch Information Sheet Alprazolam (Xanax)

Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine with an intermediate onset of action. It is best known by the brand name Xanax (pronounced zan~ax). It was introduced as a treatment for anxiety and panic disorders in the US in 1981 and became a popular recreational drug | DrugWatch, UK

Parental Alcohol Misuse and Children

Parental Alcohol Misuse (PAM) can negatively affect children’s physical and mental health, and other outcomes including educational attainment and behaviour. Effects can be acute when experienced in conjunction with other adverse experiences such as domestic abuse, marital conflict, and deprivation. PAM is a common feature in child protection and care proceedings, and places a considerable burden on social services. Download full report | Parliament.uk, UK

The wellbeing of 15 year-olds: further analysis of the 2014 What About YOUth? survey

The 2014 What About YOUth? (WAY) survey included measures of wellbeing which can be analysed to examine the relationships between health behaviours and attitudes on the wellbeing of 15 year-olds [Includes data on smoking and drug use] | PHE, UK

Report into Suicide by Children and Young People (July 2017)

A study to find the common themes in the lives of young people who die by suicide, identifying possible sources of stress and examining the role of support services.

More than a third of child deaths linked to parental drinking, finds report

Yet more than half of local authorities have no strategy to help children of alcoholics and almost all councils are cutting budgets for alcohol and drug treatment services, figures show | Independent, UK

NEWS

Clinic opens to help teens hooked on illegal pills bought online

Inside the UK’s first clinic dedicated to tackling the consequences of the spiralling use for medicines bought illegally on the internet, Dr Owen Bowden-Jones is outlining his plans | Guardian, UK

Drug dealers use celebrity app to target youngsters: Investigation finds cannabis and paraphernalia openly advertised

A trendy selling app popular with teenagers, models and celebrities is peddling bundles of drugs to children as young as 13 | Mail Online, UK

How Xanax Became the British Teenager’s Drug of Choice

With counterfeit Xans readily available on the dark web, a generation of teenagers have found out the hard way that the pills aren’t as easygoing as they first thought | VICE, UK

Anxious teenagers ‘buy Xanax on the dark web’

MPs call for urgent action over reported rise in illicit use of potent tranquilliser | Guardian, UK

Orange ‘Tesla’ drug warning after children hospitalised

Several students have fallen ill after taking super-strength ecstasy in North Yorkshire, prompting a warning to pupils and parents | BBC, UK

A QUARTER of children have now tried drugs with youngsters able to access illegal substances on social networks

Social media is being blamed for a boom in drug use among children, as a quarter of school pupils now claim to have taken illegal substances. Charities last night warned that children have never been more exposed to drugs | Mail Online, UK

Giving alcohol to teens at home fuels binge drinking, parents told

Children given alcohol by parents in the belief it will foster responsible drinking are more likely to become binge drinkers, a major new study has found | Telegraph, UK

Health fears over boys as young as 13 using steroids for ‘good looks’

Children’s commissioners call for schools to tackle views of body image distorted by social media | Guardian, UK

The growing problem of peer on peer child sexual abuse and what is being done to tackle it

A recent investigation by the BBC’s Panorama highlighted the true scale of the issue of child sexual abuse inflicted by other children – so-called  “peer on peer” abuse. | Children & Young People Now

Letter to … my dad, whose heavy drinking is out of control

I can’t remember a time before you drank. As children, we quickly learned to spot the signs. You would become progressively louder and more argumentative before taking offence at some perceived slight and losing your temper | Guardian letters, UK

Jeremy Hunt announces new hotline for kids with alcoholic parents

A new helpline for children with alcoholic parents will be launched amid a rare moment of cross-party unity between the Conservatives and Labour | Politics Home, UK

Gaming addiction set to be recognised as a mental health disorder

Those who play video games compulsively for long periods of time may be diagnosed with a mental health disorder | Telegraph, UK

We will post monthly any articles from The Beacon which we feel parents and carers will find useful.

Suggested Homework activity from Mr Hubbard

We all like to be told when something has gone well.  Last year was our best ever and we have by far the best staff team it has been my pleasure to work with. As a school leadership team we try and give our staff as much praise as we can but research show that the most powerful praise for staff comes from the young people themselves.

It would be much appreciated if you could get your child to write a brief ‘thank you’ note to the staff that have made the most difference to them over the past year. How and why has this member of staff improved their experiences at Elmwood?

FRIENDS OF ELMWOOD

All parents and carers are warmly welcomed to Elmwood School and are invited to join the ‘Friends of Elmwood’ group.  Regular coffee mornings and invitations to other events are made throughout the year. Our work with parents and carers was recognised with the the Leading Parent Partnership Award in 2013  which was reconfirmed following reassessment in November 2016.  

The School was recognised for its range of involvement with external agencies, the regular and varied sessions for parents to come together, how parental engagements forms a key part of the School’s Raising Achievement Plan and the celebration of achievement for both pupils and parents.

Three parents met with the Assessor and stated how pleased they were with the level of support they receive, the high level of confidence in staff and the supportive environment the School offers. Parents appreciated the termly attainment and progress meetings and feel well informed about their child’s academic achievements. The new technological methods of communicating such as the use of ‘MarvellousMe’ was praised and parents felt that their views and feedback were taken into consideration when making decisions.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAOur certificate is now proudly displayed in reception for all to see Parents can access can access the LPPA website by clicking on the link below in addition to reading our final report: http://www.lppa.co.uk/ Reassessment report Elmwood

We employ two Family Welfare Officers who are there to help support any parent or carer who needs help and guidance.

MARVELLOUSME

The School have subscribed to a fun and motivational tool that supercharges family conversations about school and facilitates better at home support.  It helps families to celebrate their child’s good work and reinforces  positive behaviours.  All parents and carers who have access to a smartphone, tablet or computer are provided with individual log ins enabling them to be kept informed of their child’s activities and achievements at school.

The link to the site is: www.marvellousme.com.

A quick reference guide answering common questions like joining up, logging back in and seeing a child’s history can be found below.

MarvellousMe Parent Quick Reference

THE PREVENT STRATEGY

Prevent is a government strategy designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorist or extremist causes.  An information leaflet explaining what this entails is on the leaflet below.  If you have any questions or concerns about the Prevent strategy and what it means for your child, please do not hesitate to contact the school.  Our Single Point of Contact (Prevent Lead) is Mr Simon Hubbard with Bev Bailey, Family Welfare Officer as Deputy SPOC.

The Prevent strategy leaflet for parents and carers

LAUNCH OF EDUCATE AGAINST HATE

The Government has launched the above website http://educateagainsthate.com – which is designed to equip parents as well as schools with the information, tools and resources needed to recognise and address extremism and radicalisation in young people.

CHILDREN AND SEXTING

Sharing information online is now part of everyday life. Digital devices can capture, store and share personal information in an instant. We are all at risk of oversharing personal and private information but none more so than children. Children are at risk of sharing too much personal information with strangers and with other children. Most children use the internet to explore social and personal relationships safely, but it is all too easy to be put at risk.  Keeping children safe on line  is of paramount importance; further details on becoming a ‘Gooseberry Guru’ can be found on our safeguarding page.

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

Sexual exploitation is a crime that parents and carers should be aware of.  Support can be found by clicking here.

COPING WITH SELF HARM

Below is a useful document that parents and carers may find useful in coping with self harm.

Coping with Self Harm Guidence

FREE ONLINE RESOURCE FOR PARENTS AND CARERS

MindEd for Families is a vital online resource providing evidence-based advice and information for family members concerned abut their child’s mental health.  The site has been developed in partnership with YoungMinds and co-written with parents and carers.  The resources are engaging, ineractive and accessible on all mobile and tablet devices.  Find out more – www.minded.org.uk/families.

COFFEE MORNINGS

PENTACON Digital CameraAll parents and carers are warmly invited to come along to coffee mornings. A number of parents/carers and outside organisations have previously enjoyed coffee mornings as you can see from the pictures below.

A big thank you for the support of our existing parents in the kindness that they showed towards new parents/carers. Their wisdom and experience allowed for a very proactive meeting on 30th April, sharing ideas from home and acknowledging the need for routine and consistency. Parents highlighted the difficulties faced during transition into Elmwood but spoke highly of the progress both emotionally and academically of thier children since being at Elmwood. Our new parents/carers were comforted by the words of our existing parents and in particular, they felt reassurred that our parents were there and still smiling despite all they have been through. Our new parents felt that the coffee morning gave the opportunity to talk openly about their needs and anxieties both towards school and home life. The sharing of information and strategies was beneficial to all.

Our Family Welfare Officers have tried to incorporate an event or a speaker at the coffee mornings but the preferred option from parents and carers is for a more relaxed informal event where they can speak to each other about their day to day lives, offer each other advice and use the time to catch up.  Events held during the year have included Contact a Family (stress management), Safer Internet Day, Fund Raising and Sports Day.

DSCF1042DSCF1043A big thank you to Karen Wright, Travel Support Officer from the Local Authority who attended our coffee morning on 21st March 2017.  Karen enjoyed meeting parents/carers  and getting a small measure of their wishes and feelings as regards Travel Training and Personal Transport Budgets.

DSC03416Our coffee morning held on Tuesday 27th March was a supportive coffee morning with the opportunity for the completion of DLA forms and signpost to services such as bereavement support, Counselling, Women’s Aid and so forth.  Parents had access to laptops to type letters with support. Questions about post 16 provision or anything around transition were up for discussion as well as the national challenge scheme for Yr 11’s. Our Family Support Team were thrilled with the turnout by parents/carers which included our parent governors, Suzanne Hill and Tina Ashford as well as our Vice-Chair, Mrs Rose Burley.

Our latest coffee morning took place on Tuesday 15th May 2018 CAMHS Survey Posterat 9.30Digital Camera am when Paul Higgitt, Healthwatch Manager at Healthwatch Walsall organised for two colleagues, Tom and Ros to attend.  Parents and carers views were gathered around CAMHS, Healthwatch and autism transition services.  A big thank you to the many parents and carers who came along and supported the event.

Our last coffee morning of the summer term 2017 took place on Monday 12th June 2017 at 10.30 am.  Although there were only four parents in attendance at the coffee morning (one of whom was a Yr 6 parent from Pheonix) it was a lovely atmosphere. Parents were able to share their experiences of a mainstream setting in comparison to a specialist provision. They were able to speak about transitioning from one specialist provision to another as well as offering some sound advice to each other. Parents spoke openly about CAMHS and short breaks as well as specialist buddy support. A range of difficulties were discussed from the sensory needs of the child to the emotional needs that runs alongside the diagnosis of Autism/ADHD.  Parents spoke about how their child can now reflect on their own behaviour through the positive reward system used in School, how their resilience has improved since starting Elmwood and how ‘being challenged’ has brought with it some barriers however this has resulted in much positivity and lessons learnt for their child. Our parents have a difficult job and to share their experiences can be invaluable to others.

SCHOOL MEAL MENU

Parents and carers are able to access what food is in on offer from the School Kitchen via the menu below.  Only one of the A, B or C options will be available.

Please be aware that new guidance has been introduced with regards to non payment of school meals.  Details are contained within the letter from Walsall Council below.

Non payment of School meals

School Meals Menu Summer 2018 (available from 16.4.18)

FREE BOILERS – the Free School Meals Team have been working in partnership with British Gas who want to help families who need help with their heating by saving money on utility bills and free boilers for FSM eligible households.  If you want more information about this scheme please contact Scott Southall on 01922 658373.

CONTACT A FAMILY BULLETIN

Inside the latest newsletter from Contact is information on their School Transport campaign (where you can sign their petition);  you can also have your say in their Counting the Cost research which builds a unique snapshot of families’ financial position, and helps back their campaigns to change things for the better. Also included are supported internships, residential holiday camps and inclusive activities such as Dippy the Dinosaur at Think Tank this summer.  Free workshops for parents are also available.

West Midlands May

FRANK F HARRISON BIKE LIGHT PROJECT

The above is a positive early intervention engagement project which is available to any of our young people.  Frank F Harrison Community Association manages the MotoX facility which has a good size main scrambling track as well as a small training track for developing riding skills.  The programme runs for 10 weeks and the aim is to provide positive activities, improve confidence and self esteem, increase learning opportunities, enable young people to take on roles of responsibility and inspire them to achieve.  Please complete the application form and return to School if you wish to apply for the project. Bike Light Project Referral Form

SUCCESSFUL COMPUTER BID

Our Family Welfare Officer, Bev Bailey, was successful in securing six laptops through the Area Partnership funding for Walsall.  The laptops are available for use by parents and carers when needed for such things as writing a CV, searching for jobs, housing etc.  Parents and carers can either phone and book an appointment slot or use them during coffee mornings.

HEAD’S TOXIC CHILDHOOD PRESENTATION

Mr Hubbard, Headteacher, has produced a presentation for parents/carers around the Toxic Child book by Sue Palmer.  A copy of this presentation is available below and Mr Hubbard will happily speak to any parent or carer who has any questions raised from the presentation.

Toxic Factors in Elmwood web version

REFERRAL TO WALSALL PSYCHOLOGY HUB (WPH)

If a child in School is displaying negative behaviours at home and does not fit the CAMHS remit or has a diagnosis of autism/extreme behaviour, our Family Welfare Officers are able to speak and pass details onto WPH.  Parents are always contacted in the first instance for their consent and given an explanation as to the role of WPH.  WPH will then contact the parents to arrange a suitable appointment.

If a parent is struggling with some form of low level mental health, anxiety, depression, worries or bereavement, our Family Welfare Officers can recommend the parent to the WPH.  The parent has to phone and make an appointment.  If School feel that the appointment needs to be more urgent we can consult with WPH.  A number of sessions are usually offered to parents.

Case study a) – one family on long term child protection, parents needs not met, a counselling service was offered to mom.  Due to the relationship with Family Welfare Officer and parent, WPH was offered.  Mom was supported with making the appointment.  Support given to attend appointment.  Mom is able to talk about trauma from the past going back to when she was a young girl.  Mom is enjoying attending sessions and feels it is benefitting her.

Case study b) – a Year 10 puil was showing some signs of anxiety which was manifesting in negative behaviours at home.  The anxiety was around difficulties he was having outside of School and he was bottling this up continuously and resulting in Children’s Services being contacted and Police involvement.  Several visits were made to WPH to discuss and talk through these anxieties.  This has resulted in an improvement in his emotional state.  Parent accompanied the pupil to all of the appointments.

WPH are based at The Haven, 55 Upper Forster Street, Walsall WS4 2AB.  Telephone 01922 649000 from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.

MENTORING

All pupils have access in School to a staff mentor – do you know who your child’s is? Check out our new mentoring form on the Letters and Forms page.

ATTENDANCE BUDDY

All staff have been allocated an attendance buddy who is responsible to verbally welcome back that pupil after a period of absence. This way pupils feel valued upon their return and helps to generate a greater sense of belonging within Elmwood’s Learning Community.

FAMILY MATTERS

Is a new and exciting project offering support, advice and guidance to help improve your life.  Please see attached leaflet from Manor Farm Community Association for more information. Manor Farm leaflet

LOCAL YOUTH CLUBS

Parents and Carers may be interested in finding out more about youth clubs in the local area – details of which can be accessed by clicking here.

Churchill road youth club poster