We have a small team of consultants, with a wide range of multi-disciplinary experience and expertise, who can undertake independent monitoring visits as required by Standard 3 (National Minimum Standards for residential special schools September 2022). We are also able to provide bespoke training and consultancy services to support your needs.
Visits would take place each half term, and our aim is to work alongside your school, as your critical friend, to ensure that all aspects of the standards are considered throughout the school year. Our unannounced visits are comprehensive and robust without disrupting school life, particularly in relation to the pupils. As part of our approach, we may request access to a range of relevant information e.g. school staff and pupils policies, procedures or records, for example those related to safeguarding, behaviour management, code of conduct, attendance, comments/compliments/complaints, fire safety drills, or medication management.
We include a range of activities within each visit to evaluate the effectiveness of the residential provision for children and regard the 'voice of the child' as a central focus throughout:
"We first approached Central Consultancy as we were looking for expertise with experience in social care that could lead to a holistic and child-centred approach to our risk assessment. We were keen to ensure that the benefits of some of the risks would be seen and considered, and were nervous that a very risk-adverse approach may be expected. We certainly didn’t need to be! Helen started from the principles of what our pupils wanted and how we could support them with this in a safe way. She fully recognised where the social care and education sector differed according to legislation and where there was a need to consider the wider picture. She worked in partnership with the leaders from our school to develop approaches that suited our setting rather than generic approaches for any residential setting and this has led to an outcome that has genuinely improved our approach, rather than ticking a box, and is also realistic and in line with our pupils’ views and wishes.
Through the project we began to recognise a need for us to understand more about the Mental Capacity Act and ensure our practice was following it more effectively. Having been so pleased with the first project, we requested that Helen support us with this too. We found the training to be incredibly valuable and it has helped us already to make changes to the way we make decisions for and with pupils. We now intend to create a wider priority plan around this area following the insight Helen has given us.
We will certainly use Central Consultancy again and I would highly recommend them."
BESPOKE TRAINING & CONSULTANCY
In addition to our independent visitor support, Central Consultancy and Training can provide bespoke audit, consultancy and training services for you. The expertise of our consultants encompasses strategic governance and operational roles in relation to the legal framework around safeguarding and supported decision making within education settings.
Our lead consultant for this work is Helen Holly. She brings a range of relevant experience and expertise to her work with special education. She is currently the chair of governors and safeguarding lead for a primary school in Herefordshire. She has worked for a national advocacy charity as an advocate and Children’s Rights Manager supporting children and young people in care. For several years she worked as a visiting advocate attending various residential special schools providing advocacy support to young people with complex needs and disabilities. Helen undertook an MSc (Language and Communication Impairment in Children) with the University of Sheffield. She graduated in 2023 with a distinction, having focused her dissertation on how the voice of autistic adolescents is reflected in mental health research. Helen is an experienced investigator and interviewer, working for over 10 years in Thames Valley Police. For much of her police career she specialized as a detective within Public Protection, investigating child abuse, high-risk domestic abuse, ‘honour’ based abuse.