The annual SHS Conference took place this month, with the theme of ‘Strength’. For the first time ever, external guests (members from the SHS Membership service) were welcome to attend too and take part in the workshops and activities: thank you to everyone who came along!
After a welcome from SHS Chief Executive, Jaine Stannard, the conference kicked off with a wonderful presentation from keynote speaker, Dr Janet Goodall. Dr Goodall is a lecturer in Educational Leadership and Management at the University of Bath and has carried out research on parental engagement in children’s learning for the past decade. Her book ‘Narrowing the Achievement Gap: Parental Engagement with Children’s Learning’ published with Routledge last year, and we were thrilled to gain insight from her expertise.
Following Dr Goodall’s speech, we heard a selection of ‘expert snapshots’ from our specialist team. Safeguarding Manager, Daniel Jarrett, presented on ‘County Lines’ and the new threat associated with gangs, substance misuse and young people; Schools Coordinator for Economic Wellbeing, Kim Steward, spoke about free resources that families can access over the Easter holidays; Schools Coordinator for Parental Engagement, Jameela Matthew, talked through how to engage fathers in their children’s education; Schools Coordinator for Attendance, Samantha Lowman, read an article she recently wrote on tackling a drop in school attendance after the holidays; and finally, Schools Coordinator for Educational Achievement, Seonaid Weightman, described how you can use student voice to improve attainment. Overall, it was a whirlwind of fascinating information and showed the breadth and depth of the specialist team’s knowledge – a perfect ‘snapshot’ of the expertise available at School-Home Support.
‘Safeguarding’ with SHS Practitioner, Louise Ventin
‘User Voice’ with Safeguarding Manager, Daniel Jarrett
‘Engaging Parents in the Curriculum’ with SHS Practitioner, Hopieann Platt
‘Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)’ with SHS CSE Practitioner, Pat Stafford
‘Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) Meetings, MACE and MARAC’ with SHS Practitioner, Sarah French
The talks drew on staff members’ personal experiences and case studies, and attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss each topic. They also received handouts from the sessions so that they could access information at a later date, once they’d finished processing all of the knowledge on offer.
After lunch, everyone moved into two personal skills development workshops. The first was on how to run great ‘See the Impact’ and aspiration sessions: events which take place regularly at School-Home Support. This session was led by Annabel Rose and Calum Edser from the Fundraising team, Seonaid Weightman (Schools Coordinator) and Marta Tildesley (SHS Practitioner), and helped SHS staff to understand why these events are important and how to feel confident hosting them.
For our last session, we held a workshop called ‘Handling Conflict’. The session was hosted by Head of Family Intervention, Maggie Mitchell, and began with two SHS Trainers, Selina Rice and Rosalind Millam, talking about de-escalating tense situations (something which practitioners can come across when supporting families with issues such as domestic abuse, poor behaviour or substance misuse). They discussed the importance of body language – particularly eye contact – and being aware of your surroundings at all times. Next, a special guest stepped in for a presentation on self-defence law and finally, some practical demonstrations! Chief Instructor at Kenshinkai Karate Club and ex-police detective, Glen Moulds, spoke about what is legal when it comes to protecting yourself and took staff through a simple arm lock and a basic wrist lock – essential self-defence. It was a great chance to get everyone off their feet and while hopefully, no-one will ever have to use the tips, it was good to get everyone remembering to prioritise their safety in their practice.
Finally, one of our SHS Trustees, Fred Sharrock, and our Chair of Trustees, Richard Evans, addressed staff members about why they originally chose to become trustees at School-Home Support. They also thanked our staff for their incredibly hard work, and reminded us all of the difference that SHS makes – a great end to a day dedicated to perfecting our practice.
The SHS Annual Conference is something that everyone at School-Home Support looks forward to. It is a great opportunity to learn about new issues, meet members of the SHS team and to hear the impact that everyone is making. We hope that everyone enjoyed it!