Team around the school (TAS) is a partnership between schools, Families in Focus (FiF), area social work and other agencies, coordinated by Families in Focus.
- To work together to provide early help and support and when appropriate advice and guidance to co-ordinate a plan to meet the family’s needs.
- Focus on prevention rather than crisis intervention and provide an opportunity for early conversations to take place about children and young people that schools are worried about.
- Prioritise support and avoid duplication of services.
- Support schools to manage and support children and young people by providing access to specialist advice and guidance
All Primary, Secondary and Specialist educational settings are provided with a Team Around the School offer. This includes TAS meetings within school settings and/or virtual meetings, advice and guidance for non-urgent safeguarding queries from a FiF social worker and termly surgeries with the FIF locality offices. The frequency of TAS meetings that a school can receive will depend on the assessed need for that particular school as identified through data (e.g. Think Family Database, deprivation index). Schools are encouraged to invite chosen practitioners to their TAS meetings; including school nurses, CAMHS primary mental health specialists and educational psychologists where possible and if deemed helpful by the school.
All eligible schools will be proactively contacted by Families in Focus to arrange TAS meetings but if you haven’t been contacted, or want to find out more then please contact:
East Central: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information for schools and frequently asked questions
1. Why are we having Team around the School meetings?
The Families in Focus team want to assist schools to support those children/families who are not open to Social Care or Families in Focus (FiF).
- We're aware that many schools have children/families that really worry them due to limited support avenues other than from the school itself - meaning schools often manage a range of early interventions for children in very complicated situations. This can occur when families who've had a long history of intervention are closed to both Social Care and Families in Focus. Or when schools have referred to First Response but the decision has been NFA (No Further Action).
- The Families in Focus teams now have social workers to cover all Bristol schools. In response to expressed need, they've put together an Early Help Offer to Schools.
What happens at these meetings?
- Identification: Schools will need to identify the children/families that are not open to a worker (Social Care or FiF) but are causing concern (if you have urgent concerns then please follow your usual safeguarding protocols).
- Advice: A FiF social worker will come to the school (or meet virtually), to discuss concerns with school staff and to offer advice and guidance about possible future actions for the school to take.
- Timings: Meetings will be a maximum of 2 hours long. This means that there will be approx 20 minutes to discuss each family.
- Signs of Safety: The discussion will use the signs of safety structure of worries and strengths. Please send this to your locality business support officer by email prior to the meeting to allow more time for exploring support and solutions.
- Actions: As part of TAS, social workers will not be able to meet with the children and their parents/carers. They may however provide you with resources to enable you to make referrals that could support others who will be continuing to see the child or family.
- Recording: The children discussed are not open to FiF, the social worker will only record specific advice provided. Schools should use their normal systems to record information (CPOMS). Plans made at the meeting can be photographed or scanned and uploaded.
- Additional FiF specialist staff: Where appropriate, other FiF staff may be invited to attend, or consulted with, prior to the meeting e.g. Youth Workers, DVA Advisors, Drug/Alcohol Workers etc. Schools are also welcome to invite other professionals if appropriate e.g., PMHS, PCSO etc.
2. What do we need to do to make this happen?
- Consent: It is best practice to be open and honest about your worries with families. Parental consent is needed before bringing a child to TAS for discussion (consent form provided). If the family do not provide consent, and you still require advice, call FIF for advice (see 3.).
- Names: For the meeting to be most effective, social workers can look up the children being discussed in advance. Please email names and the mapping prior to the meeting so a search of the social care systems (EHM and LCS) can be preformed.
- Space: We will need a confidential space or room. Depending on the families we discuss, we may also need space to invite additional professionals to the meeting.
3.Relationship with Families in Focus (FiF)
Can we phone up FiF at other times?
Yes, for non urgent advice you can continue to phone:
- 0117 903 7770 (South)
- 0117 357 6460 (East/Central)
- 0117 352 1499 (North)
A message may be taken to arrange for a social worker or supervisor to call you back later or the next day. If you have an urgent worry please contact First Response on 0117 903 6444.
Should I always go back to the social worker who has been allocated to our school?
No, if you need advice or guidance outside of the TAS then you need to call FIF and a social worker or supervisor will call you back.