Supporting Children and Families

We are very lucky to be able to provide additional support to our children and families using our Family Liaison Officer (FLO).

Our Family Liaison Officer is:  Mrs Alison Quirk

Her role is to liaise between parents and the school and to be a point of contact and support for parents and children if they have any concerns, issues, worries or feedback they wish to raise or discuss.

Mrs Quirk can be contacted either via the main school office, or via email on alison.quirk@rsblind.co.uk

Our FLO has many links with specialist organisations and support services. Our FLO has a very good understanding of parent’s aspirations for their child and looks at the whole family being supported whilst their child attends The Royal School for the Blind. All enquiries will be dealt with in strict confidence – please feel free to contact Alison via the school office or by email at any time.  Mrs Quirk is involved in organising events, training for parents and children and also assists with the transitions and running different groups across school.

To learn more about the ‘why and how’ of Mrs Quirk’s work, please see below

What is a FLO?
FLO stands for Family Liaison Officer. Each FLO is based within a school and is part of the multi-agency team that provides support to the parents and carers of the children from that school.

How do they do it?
FLOs are always looking for ways in which to build good relationships with parents and carers. This may include coffee mornings, parent support groups, or by simply being available.

It is always essential that the FLO keeps flexibility within the role. This will ensure that a response can be made in times of crisis for the children and families in our schools.

Why have a FLO?
To empower parents to take an active role in their child’s social, emotional and educational development.

Support parents regarding a range of issues that are impacting on their ability to parent effectively.

Provide a range of activities for parents that encourage them to be safe, healthy, enjoy and achieve economic wellbeing.

FLOs offer early intervention that can make a real difference to the lives of parents and therefore of children and young people whatever the background.

For any help, support or advice, please contact Alison Quirk on 07740417884 or e-mail: alison.quirk@rsblind.co.uk

Services led by our FLO are listed below:

Play and Stay/parent support group
Do you want to have fun with your child in an environment that meets all your children’s needs? Our ‘Play & Stay’ group is suitable for everyone. We have experienced staff who know how to play and have fun. The group is also a great way to seek advice and meet other parents who may be able to offer peer support and sign post.

We cater for children aged 0-5 years with multiple disabilities, profound and multiple disabilities, multi-sensory impairments and any other need your child may have. We are happy for you to come along, make new friends, seek advice and most of all have fun. Siblings are welcome too and it’s FREE! We meet every Wednesday 09.30 – 11.30 am
No need to book just come along.

Sleep solutions
Sleep solutions have developed a workshop to raise awareness, skills and understanding around sleep difficulties specifically related to children and young people with additional support needs. The workshops are held here at school for further information contact Alison.

Portage groups
We hold parent portage groups onsite supported by the local portage team & our FLO Alison. Portage is traditionally a home based education approach for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This model of teaching involves and recognises parents/carers as the first educators of their children.

SENSE Group
SENSE (NORTH) supported by Alison hold a weekly sensory exploration and communication group here onsite. The group is a specialist group for children aged (0-5 years) who have sensory impairments and additional needs. Weekly meetings will enable families to make new connections and to learn new skills to support their child’s play and communication development.

Play & Stay (Who Let the Dad’s out?)
Yes, that’s right. A play group just for Dads and male carers, we meet on a Saturday morning once every half term. We are just a normal group of blokes who happen to have a very special little person in common. For more information contact our FLO.

Transition
Transition is exciting and/or daunting for lots of children and young people. Many children and young people are leaving an environment they are familiar with and going into the unknown. Specific children and young people need their transition planning carefully, and we will support that fully either into our setting or into other establishments.

Home/school Education
We offer education in the home or in some cases in hospital, when for any reason a child may have to be absent from school for long periods of time.

Befriender service

The Royal School for the Blind is very lucky to be able to offer a befriender service here on site.

What is befriending?

Our befrienders are trained parents who have children/young people of their own with disabilities who are able to offer emotional support in a structured and supervised scheme. The support is offered to parents discovering their child has a disability.

“It’s a relief to know that you can make contact with other parents who are going through the same thing”. Gill parent befriender

How we can help you?
Parent partnership Befrienders is our free befriending service offering one to one emotional support for parents of disabled children or those with additional needs. We have trained befrienders who are all parents of children with additional needs here at our school/nursery so understand the challenges families may face.

Is this for me?
If you are a parent or carer of a disabled child here at school/nursery or one of our many groups or therapies it’s for you.

Who will I meet?
A befriender will meet with you and offer you the opportunity to discuss how you are feeling and support you with those feelings, initially offering you two visits with them. If we feel you would benefit from having more support, then we can offer more visits.

Parent partnership befriending is coordinated by our family liaison officer Alison Quirk and all of our befrienders receive training and on-going support.

How do I start?
Just call 01517331012 or email Alison alison.quirk@rsblind.co.uk and she will introduce you to a trained befriender. Sessions take place in school in Alison’s Hub, and last around an hour.

Parent Governor/Parent Led Support

Our parent governor works closely with our FLO Alison Quirk, to offer support and independent advice from a parent who knows and understands. The support and advice can include sign posting, ensuring that parents are supported on planning for their child’s future.

Carly Murphy: Parent Governor email: parentsupport@rsblind.co.uk

Toddler Physio Swim
In conjunction with Alder Hey community physiotherapy team we offer a parent and toddler swimming session. The sessions are aimed for children who have physical disabilities or gross motor developmental delay and are under our community physiotherapy service.

The sessions are held on Tuesdays 10am – 11am

For further information please call the physiotherapy team on 0151- 733 1562 or email Marta.Collado-Garcia@alderhey.nhs.uk

Useful Terminology

SEN – Special Educational Needs
SENCO – Special Educational Needs Co-ordinates
SLT – School Leadership Team
LA – Local Education Authority
EHAT – Early Help Assessment tool
TAF – Team around the family
EHCP- Education, Health and care plan