Early Help Offer

What is the Early Help Offer at Westhoughton High School?

Westhoughton High School’s Early Help Offer identifies the need for help for children and families as soon as problems start to emerge, or when there is a strong likelihood that problems will emerge in the future.

The Early Help Offer recognises that problems can arise at any point throughout childhood and adolescence. The Early Help Offer includes universal and targeted services designed to reduce or prevent specific problems from escalating or becoming entrenched.

If you are concerned about e-safety or your child staying safe on line, please follow the information link

What does the Early Help offer mean for families?

We hope that our Early Help Offer will provide the ‘front door’ through which parents can access additional support at any level.

Westhoughton High School is committed to:

  • Supporting young people and families, offering early help to avoid escalation of issues
  • Ensuring a multi-disciplinary approach that brings a range of professional skills and expertise to bear
  • Building positive relationships with students and their families, co-ordinating the support needed from other agencies
  • Practice that empowers families and helps them to develop the capacity to resolve their own problems
  • A holistic approach that addresses children’s needs in the wider family context
  • A simple, streamlined referral and assessment processes – the ‘early help’ assessment

The intended benefits for young people and families are:

  • Enhanced life chances as a result of the well documented benefits of Early Help in preventing issues later in life
  • An all age integrated service providing continuous support across age groups and for the whole family
  • Co-ordinated support resulting in maximised opportunities and outcomes for children, young people and families
  • Information may be shared across agencies to ensure the right support is in place at the right time for families

What is early help assessment?

Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life. For this to be effective, all agencies are required to work together to:

  • Identify children and families who would benefit from support early
  • Undertake an assessment of need
  • Provide services to address those needs

All workers are responsible for using standard ways of working with families to identify the right support that can be delivered quickly to prevent things from getting worse. They have a responsibility to share information, work together and co-ordinate action plans.

This might mean when a child:

  • Is disabled and has specific additional needs
  • Has special educational needs
  • Is a young carer

For more information on the early help assessment go to:

School based Integrated Working Officer

At Westhoughton High School we believe that integrated working better supports children, young people and their families. Sometimes your child and family need advice or support from a number of different people and organisations. Perhaps you need support from a health visitor or GP, a teacher or Student Progress Leader, a housing officer and a community worker. Integrated working means that even if you have different workers from different organisations, all your workers will work together as one team to give your family the support you need. Integrated working helps to give a voice to the child and family and means that all the people working with you will involve you in the decisions made about what support they should give you. To help the different people working with you to work in this new way, an early help assessment may be necessary.

Our school based Integrated Working Officer is Debbie Arstall. Debbie can offer advice and support on matters of attendance and welfare. She knows the community well and can often provide parents with the links they need to access support.

You can contact Debbie on 01942 814122.

Early Intervention Team (Attendance Advice)

It is essential that your child makes a positive and consistent start to school life. To enable this to happen, regular attendance is required. If your child is experiencing difficulties with his/her attendance it may be helpful to contact your child’s Student Support Leader or Debbie Arstall, our Integrated Working Officer, at the earliest opportunity so that we can offer you support.

Additionally, the Early Intervention Team offers parents support around attendance issues. The primary role of this service is to provide advice, information and support to schools, children and families to raise levels of attendance. This team is located at: The Base, Marsden Road, Bolton BL2 2JW and can be reached on 01204 338173. For more information visit their website:

Student Support Team – Student Welfare Issues

Alongside our motivated teaching staff, the Student Support Team are skilled and experienced professionals who provide a quality service for your children. Five non-teaching Student Support Leaders (SSLs) work hard to support young people and their families. If you or your child needs someone to talk to or you need support with particular difficulties, they can be contacted at the school. SSL’s can help with a range of things, including problems with coming to school, friendship issues and issues around confidence. SSL’s are also there to help our parents and give support with parenting issues; remember, from time to time we all experience difficulties. Having someone to listen and offer support can be of great help.

Your child’s SSL is:

  • Year 7 – Ms Goffett
  • Year 8 – Miss Whittle-Darrock
  • Year 9 – Mrs Garner & Ms Walsh
  • Year 10 – Mr Shaw
  • Year 11 – Mrs Brodmann

Contact SSLs on 01942 814122. We also offer Student Support drop- in sessions with the Student Support Leaders, for any of our parents after school each day, with or without an appointment, until 4.00pm.

Assistant Headteachers – Progress & Intervention

Assistant Headteachers oversee the educational and academic progress of each and every student using a variety of tracking, target setting and monitoring tools. This helps to ensure all students are focussed on achieving the best of which they are capable, working to remove any obstacles to learning.

In addition, a team of Form Tutors who mentor students to ensure they make appropriate progress, and also celebrate student achievement. Tutors meet with their form group for twenty minutes each day in addition to registration time. Each tutor looks after the pastoral welfare and attendance of the students in their form group and holds assertive mentoring meetings with every student to discuss their academic progress and set targets to improve achievement.

Your child’s Assistant Headteacher is:

Year 7, 8 & 9 – Mr M Parkinson
Years 10 & 11 – Mr C Dignam

Contact your Assistant Headteacher on 01942 814122.

Parent Partnership

Bolton Parent Partnership Service provides support and advice to parents whose children have special educational needs. They provide accurate and neutral information on the full range of options available to parents.

You can contact Bolton Parent Partnership at: Lowndes Street, Bolton, Greater Manchester, BL1 4QB. Telephobne 01204 848722.

Citizen’s Welfare Rights Family Finance

Bolton and Bury Citizens Advice Bureau (CABB) aims to:

  • Provide the advice people need for the problems they face
  • Improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives

The Citizens Advice service provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. Bolton CAB can help with welfare and benefit issues and will deal with queries about community care. Bolton’s CAB is a not-for-profit charity. They have trained professional advisors assisted by trained volunteers able to help with issues such as:

  • Welfare benefits and tax credits
  • Money advice
  • Community care
  • Housing
  • Immigration & asylum

You can contact CAB at 26-28 Mawdsley Street, Bolton, BL1 1LF or Tel.0808 278 7804 or see their website

School Nursing Team – Health Issues

School nurses promote and maintain the good health of all school age children and enable them to reach their full potential. The school nurse works in partnership with parents, children and young people, school staff and other professionals. The School Nursing team can offer advice and support on a range of issues and has links to other services that work with children and families. Our school nurse is Clare Harrison. You can contact Clare on 01204 463307.

Runa Project (missing from home)

RUNA (pronounced “runner”) works with children and young people who have been reported missing from home. RUNA works in partnership with Greater Manchester Police, Bolton Council and school.

The RUNA project provides contact with every child who is reported missing to the Police in Bolton. The project workers meet with children and young people once they have returned home. They discuss the dangers and address the problems which cause them to run away. RUNA liaises with other organisations that can support both the individual and family in order to prevent future running away. The project has preventative work programmes which operate in school.

Contact RUNA on: 01204 385848 or see their website: Urban Outreach.

Travel Costs and Information about Free School Meals

Bolton Council has a duty to provide free schools meals, which comply with national nutritional standards, to eligible students. The Council also has a scheme to help families buy essential school clothing. If for some reason you feel you do not qualify but still have remaining concerns or difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us in confidence. Ask to speak to Debbie Arstall at school on 01942 814122.


You can get free school meals and school clothing allowance if your child attends a local authority maintained school (not private) and you receive one of the following:

  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit only with an annual income of less than £16,190
  • Pension Credit – Guarantee Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

To be eligible for school clothing allowance the child must be in year seven or nine.

For further information about free school meals, uniform or travel assistance: Tel: 01204 331 590. Alternatively see the website:

Behaviour Support Service – Advice on Positive Parenting Approaches

Bolton Behaviour Support Service provides a team of specialised behaviour workers who work with young people in schools. The school allocates students as appropriate to their need. The service also offers advice on aspects of positive parenting. Please contact: Mr D Rimmer or Miss C Foster on: 01204 338133 or speak to Mrs D Arstall at school on 01942 814122.

Children’s Social Care

The Social Care Duty and Investigation Team (often called Referral and Assessment Team) are the first point of call to Social Care and Children’s Services about new and potential concerns. The Duty Team will also give you advice on what to do if the issue is not appropriate for Social Care to become involved but there are other teams and services which might be able to support the family/child. You can contact Referral and Assessment on 01942 634625 and ask to speak to a Duty Social Worker.

The Emergency Duty Team operates an emergency out of hour’s service for professionals and the general public in Bolton. The team consists of four Social Workers with one Social Worker on duty per shift. The Emergency Social Worker works between 6pm and 9.30am every night and between 9.30am and 6.00pm on weekends and bank holidays. The Emergency Duty Social Worker offers an emergency service for Children, Adults, Older People, Mental Health and Homelessness. They can be contacted on 01204 337777.

If at any time you have an urgent concern for a child’s safety, call the Police by dialling 999.

Drugs and Alcohol Services

Bolton Integrated Drug and Alcohol Services (BIDAS)

Bolton has number of services that help support individuals or concerned others with drug or alcohol problems. Each service has a specialist remit and collectively they make up the whole service known as BIDAS.

“BIDAS are an integrated Drug and Alcohol service across Bolton enabling and empowering individuals and their families to achieve their full potential, positive outcomes and improved Health and Wellbeing”.

Contact BIDAS on: 01204 557 997 or email them on or speak in confidence to Debbie Arstall at school on 01942 814122 for further information and support.

Phoenix EXIT Team (Children at Risk of Exploitation)

Child Sexual Exploitation is the sexual abuse of children and young people by adults in order to obtain sexual acts. It can happen to both girls and boys of any age and from any background. It can take the form of informal exchanges of sex for favours, money, drugs, accommodation or other commodities; more ‘formal’ forms of exploitation involving groups of organised abuse and trafficking.

Exploitation commonly happens when children and young people are ‘groomed’ and manipulated by adults in order to gain trust and make young people feel they are safe and loved. Child sexual exploitation can happen in different ways. It can involve an older adult exerting financial, emotional or physical control over a young person to involve them in sexual activity. It can involve other young people manipulating or forcing other children into sexual activity with adults. Exploitation can also involve opportunistic or organised networks of perpetrators who may profit financially from trafficking young victims between different locations to engage in sexual activity with multiple men.

Technology is widely used by perpetrators as a method of grooming and coercing victims, often through social networking sites, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, BBM (Blackberry Messenger) and mobile devices.

If you are worried that a child or young person you know may be being sexually exploited you should speak to PHOENIX EXIT, Bolton’s Child Sexual Exploitation Team for advice on 01204 337195 or email or contact Debbie Arstall at school for more information on 01942 814122.

Families First

‘Families First’ is a Bolton programme, funded by the Government, which works with families facing serious problems, to “turn their lives round”. They offer a joined-up ’menu’ of support, looking at the needs of the whole family, not just of individual members. Who is it for? Families First aims to support families who are experiencing a mixture of difficulties in their lives, including parents not being in work, children not attending school or being involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour.

The key targets for Families First, as set by the Government, are to:

  • Reduce truancy
  • Cut levels of crime and anti-social behaviour support
  • All over 16s in the families into work

Families First also aims to deal with other problems that the families may be facing including:

  • Debt and financial difficulties
  • Housing problems
  • Health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence

For more information please contact Debbie Arstall at school on 01942 814122.

Emotional and Mental Health Issues in Young People

As parents and carers, it can be hard to know whether your child’s feelings and behaviour are normal or becoming a problem. This free leaflet, developed by the Centre’s child mental health experts, provides simple advice and guidance to parents and carers about how to make conversations about their child’s feelings part of everyday conversation.

Child in Mind is a series of podcasts aimed to help parents and carers understand and manage child and family mental health problems.

There are also Expert advice videos, and a Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Secondary Schools leaflet that you can download.

Operation Encompass

Westhoughton High School is part of what is known as Operation Encompass; This means that the Police routinely inform us of any domestic incidents so that we can best support our young people in school the following day as appropriate.

Parent Voice 

At Westhoughton high school we believe strongly in the importance of the relationship between Parents/Carers and the school and we always aim to work together as we believe this is the best way to support young people and their families.

We run various events during the school year where parents / carers are invited to join us. Our Flightpath events look at progress and focus on how we can help you to best support your child, whether it be with numeracy skills, reading and writing or with revision and time management as examinations approach. We hold these meetings because we want you to feel part of your child’s education.

At Westhoughton, we have a team of non-teaching Student Support leaders who support your child pastorally in school; however, they are always at hand to offer wider help and support. Although an appointment may not always be necessary it might be wise to ring ahead if possible.

We always gather your views at all of our meetings and events, both in terms of what you feel is going well and in terms of how we can improve. We really value your suggestions and always try to implement them where we can.

You can contact us by email or call us on 01942 814122 and one of the team will be happy to get back to you.