La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls' School

Early Help + Young Carers

Young Carers + Early Help

Who is a Young Carer?

At La Retraite we have a number of students who act as carer for a family member. We are so impressed by their commitment and fully appreciate the extra pressures that they sometimes face.

You're a young carer if you're under 18 and help to look after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem.

If you're a young carer, you probably look after one of your parents or care for a brother or sister. You may do extra jobs in and around the home, such as cooking, cleaning or helping someone get dressed and move around.

You may also give a lot of physical help to a parent, brother or sister who's disabled or ill. Along with doing things to help your brother or sister, you may be giving them and your parents emotional support, too.

If you think that your child might be a Young Carer and you would like more information and support, please contact the school at

La Retraite's Young Carers Group 

Young Carers is a group for students at La Retraite who care for a family member whose life is affected by looking after someone with a disability or a long term illness.

We are lucky to have a flourishing Young Carers Group at our school, and the students meet with Jenni, from the local project, during lunchtime on a Wednesday, a few times each half term. They have lunch together and sometimes they organise out of school activities. 

Young carers often take on a level of responsibility that is not expected at their age. We occasionally go on trips to relax away from all the responsibilities that we have at home. This enables us to go and have fun.  When we go to our meeting it gives you time to interact with people who are in the same situation as you and who understand what you are feeling.

YOUNG CARERS TRUST is a major charity for, with and about carers. They work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

For information on Young Carers rights and external support, please click here.

What is 'Early Help'?

Early Help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.

It is the support given to children, young people and their families where they have additional needs that aren't being met by universal services (services that are available to everyone, like health and education). These needs may relate to anything from housing and financial support to medical provision and care.

The overall purpose of Early help is stopping problems and issues from escalating. It relies on accurate early identification of difficulties and early action which is personalised, targeted and evaluated. It involves targeted activity, with specific actions being put into place to address a specific issue or combination of issues

It may involve light touch support or more intensive intervention which is outlined in a support plan. When a plan is a place it will include with identified actions, responsibilities and outcomes, which are then reviewed after an agreed period of time.

This support may be provided at a school level or by other services and organisations that operate in the local authority.

Tiers of Need – Where does Early Help fit into levels of support?

When a child or young person’s needs are identified they may fall into one of the four categories described below, taken from Lambeth’s Early Help Toolkit (2017).

  • Tier 1: No additional needs: These are children with no additional needs; all their health and developmental needs will be met by universal services like schools, GPs, Children’s Centres (Play Groups, courses etc). These are children who consistently receive child focused care from their parents or carers. The majority of children only require support from universal services.
  • Tier 2: Early help: These are children who require a lead professional to co-ordinate support and provision of additional services such as family support services, parenting programmes and financial support and guidance. These services will be provided within universal or targeted provision and do not include services from children’s social care.
  • Tier 3: Children with complex multiple needs: These children require specialist services in order to achieve or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development or to prevent significant impairment of their health and development and/ or who are disabled. They may require longer term intervention from specialist services
  • Tier 4: Children in acute need: These children are suffering or are likely to suffer significant harm. This is the threshold for child protection.

When do children and families need Early Help?

Children, young people and their families requiring support from Early Help services might be experiencing a range of difficulties including:

  • substance misuse issues
  • at risk of sexual exploitation
  • poor physical or mental health
  • At risk or involved in anti-social or criminal behaviour
  • parenting problems
  • unemployment and financial difficulties

Early Help support is delivered by many organisations in Lambeth including children centres, schools and local charities. Lambeth have an in-house team that consists of Early Help advisors, education welfare officers and employment advisors who can support you to tackle your problems.

You can also make a direct referral to Lambeth with contact details and instruction of how to do this on their website. Please use the direct link.

What Early Help Support do we offer in school?

At La Retraite we have an extensive and outstanding pastoral care system which was recognised and praised in our recent Section 48 Denominational Inspection ( June 2018).

‘Pastoral care is outstanding. Pupils were happy to talk about how they actively seek to support one another and about being part of a family where everyone is valued, respected and cared for. The school’s commitment to pupils, staff, families and the wider community manifestly demonstrates its central mission of service firmly based on Gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic Church.’ Page 3

Below is an outline of the additional support and provision we may offer your child in relation to Early Help needs.

Form Tutor All, Years 7 to 13 All students have an allocated form tutor who they see on a daily basis in the morning and at the end of the day. This is their and the carer/parents’ first point of contact for any issues. Parents are encouraged to liaise regularly throughout the year and via the student planner with their child’s tutor, Pastoral manager or YLC. Tutors are responsible for overseeing the academic and pastoral wellbeing of their group, they liaise with other staff at La Retraite when needed to ensure that the appropriate support is in place, as soon as a need is identified.
Year Learning Co-ordinator (YLC) All, Years 7 to 13 All students have an allocated YLC who oversee the wellbeing and academic performance of the whole year group. YLCs work with class teachers and subject leaders to identify students who may need additional support, motivation and guidance in relation to their studies. YLCs organise and deliver interventions such as the La Retraite Learning passport. They are also play an important role in helping students access other forms of support.
Pastoral Support Managers (PSM) KS3 & KS4 Students across Year 7 – 11 are also supported by a Pastoral manager who focus on supporting students personal, social and emotional needs. For example in Year 7 Ms Haynes runs a nurture and transition group for students who may find the change from Primary to Secondary more difficult. Ms Adams runs Anti Bullying workshops from students across the age range and has recently launched her anti bullying ambassador programme which has enabled students to take a lead on supporting each other.
Learning Mentors All At La Retraite we have three Learning mentors who work with students on a range of issues which may be impacting their academic and personal progress. Students are referred to this support and parental/carer consent is requested for those in KS3.
School Counsellor All Like many schools across the country we have noticed a rising number of students who experience undue stress and anxiety for various reasons. With growing strain on outside specialist services we have a full time onsite school counsellor. Students may access support from the counsellor through referral, this may be for short term support whilst students wait for more specialist support or it may be that a student, parent or medical professional believes that accessing support in school would be beneficial.
School Nurse All School nurses available on a weekly basis at one lunchtime, with both referrals and drop-in appointments to see students with medical or wellbeing needs who either self-refer or are referred by the student support team.
St Bakhita Centre — personalised timetable and group support KS3 & KS4 We have recently opened our own inclusion centre where vulnerable and disengaged students who may be at risk of exclusion or other issues may access additional support on a one to one basis or through group support. Structured group sessions run for 6-7 weeks and have a specific focus e.g. managing stress and anxiety, managing anger and frustration, anti-bullying and positive decision making.
Bullying Workshops & Student Ambassadors KS3 & KS4 Targeted workshops which dig a little deeper than PSHCE lessons, students explore types of bullying, causes and the different effects and impact that it has on victims of bullying. Students now act as ambassadors and promote positive relationships amongst the school cohort as a whole. Students may seek support and advice from ambassadors if they are being bullied or are aware of where and when it is happening.
Mr X Stitch Workshops KS3 & KS4 Embroidery groups sessions run by Jamie Chalmers aka Mr X Stitch (cross stitch extraordinaire). These sessions run every other week and students have six session in total. This group gives students an opportunity to take time out and focus on something creative and to form friendships with students in different year groups.
Young Carer Support KS3 & KS4 Identified Young Carers are supported 1:1 and in group sessions with a Learning Mentor.
Home Learning Club All Supervised home learning sessions run every lunch time and also Monday to Thursday after school. This is to support students and families who do not have access to the internet or computers at home. A member of staff is also available to help student with their work.
Social Communication Lunch Club KS3 & KS4 Within each year group there are students who find the social communication aspect of school life more challenging than others. This supervised group supports students in developing social and conversational skills. Students eat lunch with others whilst the supervising adult facilitate conversation and games. Tutors, YLCs and Pastoral managers may refer students who may need support developing friendships.
External Agencies All La Retraite works closely with external agencies and supports students and families in accessing additional support. We work with family support workers, social workers, local police and our PCSO, CAMHS, GAIA as well as the EARLY HELP teams from our local boroughs.
Early Help Signposting, Assessment and Referral All We may invite parents in to complete an Early help assessment in school, we also facilitate and host Team around the Child and Family meetings in school. Where we think a student or family needs more specialised help we support them by completing a referral to the borough Early Help service.

Once we have identified a student’s needs, if we feel that more bespoke or specialised support is need we may invite you in to complete an early help assessment or request your consent to make a referral to the local authority Early Help service.

For more information on accessing support from the London Borough of Lambeth, please click here.

If you feel that your child or your family could benefit from additional support from the school or Lambeth at an early help level please enter your name and contact details in the Early Help contact box below.

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