Select Page

  • Halton Mental Health Support Teams in Schools Update

  • May Safeguarding Update

  • Maths Hub Secondary Summer Conference

  • Free Training Opportunities 2021

  • Schools Funding Bulletin – May 2021

  • Covid-19 Bulletins Impact

  • STEM Event






Halton Mental Health Support Teams in Schools Update


I am delighted to inform you that Halton have been awarded funding for 2 x mental health teams to support primary and secondary schools in the borough. I will be working closely with the provider North West Boroughs over the coming months, as we work through the project plan to recruit, train and embed the teams within Widnes and Runcorn. See attached information.

There will be further engagement and consultation with CYP/families wider stakeholders and education leads over the coming months also to ensure we continue to co-create the service with the community, and have the workforce in place by Sept 2021.

A steering group will also be set up with local partners and representatives to enable us to work through the actions collaboratively. If you would be interested in taking part please email me:

The trainees will work with the chosen priority schools from September for 6 months whilst they complete their placement training, with the expectation to roll out to all other schools across the borough next year. The list of priority schools are attached for you.

Thank you to those schools who have offered their support so far and to those who kindly offered accommodation bases for the trainees. The project lead in North West Boroughs will be making contact with you shortly to discuss in more detail.

I look forward to working with you on this exciting opportunity for Halton schools.


May Safeguarding Update


I hope this update finds you well and that the summer term is moving along nicely.

At the start of term, you should have received a copy of the ‘Safeguarding Update Special Edition’ which looked at ‘sexual violence in schools’. In case you missed it, a link to the document can be found here. (Sexual Abuse in Schools Special Edition)

As a result of Ofsted’s review into sexual violence in schools, it is likely there will be a delay to the publication of KCSIE 2021, or it will initially be released without Part 5, in order to ensure it accurately reflects the recommendations and findings of the review (which is due to conclude by the end of the month). You can be sure I will keep you updated on any developments.

A few updates and reminders below, including some guidance on Omegle.

A message from the Venus Centre – open for referrals!

Good morning,

I am the Service Development Worker from the Venus Centre, we are currently based in Halton Brook Children’s Centre and are wanting to make people aware that we are not currently at capacity and do have availability to deliver support to families in the Halton area.

Our family support project is a team of volunteers, support workers and students who deliver emotional and practical support in the local community to families who are at an early help level of need.

Our ICE project focuses on home conditions, decluttering and cleaning routines within the family home. We work closely with Citizens Advice Halton with regards to benefits and financial issues. For this particular project, we can work alongside Social Care with families who are under Child in need and Child Protection plans.

If you identify any vulnerable families who you think may benefit from the support we offer please use our website at and click on the referrals tab and complete the form selecting ‘family services Halton’ from the drop down list.

Please call me on 07467045205 if you have any questions at all.

A message from the school recruitment team.

Please be aware that additional charges have been introduced if errors are made in DBS applications.

From 31 May 2021, this change will mean that DBS is no longer able to amend Enhanced DBS check applications where omitted or incorrect information has been identified in the following fields:

Section A – Your current and previous names

Section B – Your current address

Section C – Five-year address history

If incorrect personal information is provided, or an omission is identified, as part of these questions from Sections A, B and C, these application will be withdrawn, and a new application will be required. DBS will contact you to resolve the query, and only if an error or omission is confirmed, will the application be withdrawn.

If an application is withdrawn for the above reasons, a refund will not be given.

For applications submitted prior to 31 May 2021, DBS will continue to apply amendments however, applications submitted after this date will be subject to the withdrawal policy and a new application will be required.

Ensuring the information is correct at the time of application is now more important than ever. I understand that we have very low levels of errors but if these are not identified it could lead to additional charges from 31 May.

Please contact the school recruitment team, if you require any further information on this matter.

A FAQ document relating to this can be accessed here: (DBS Withdrawl FAQs)

Sexual Health

You may have received some information recently relating to sexual health, but just in case I thought I would include some details.

The team at Axess have had links with schools across Halton for a number of years, however, these past few months contact has dipped a little. They have now moved from face to face teaching to online and as RSE / sexual health is a priority and now part of the curriculum, they are ready to help and support schools however they can.

Attached are some briefing posters so you have an idea about some of the work they do, however, some of the dates for the briefings are fully booked but we are happy to add more dates if we can – so please do get in touch and register your interest if this would be beneficial. There are currently no set dates at the moment for the condom distribution briefing so please get in touch regarding this, too.

The team are also in the process of developing some basic sexual health training for professionals that can be accessed via Zoom – more details on this will be shared soon, so watch this space!

Condom Distribution /   Contraception Briefing / Axess RSE Briefing

Volunteers returning after a break in service – New DBS?

With the gradual return to normality, it might be that volunteers who have not been in school since the start of the pandemic are preparing to return. As this could potentially be a significant break in service, it is important to consider if a new DBS might be required.

For volunteers not in regulated activity, you would need to undertake a risk assessment (copy attached Risk Assessment for Volunteers PRINT VERSION) to determine whether a new enhanced DBS is required – you will need to take into account things like whether you know where the volunteer has been over the last year; you may know that a parent volunteer has been at home supporting the remote lessons and there have been no safeguarding concerns about the family, for example.

For volunteers in Regulated Activity, I would suggest that this has been a long break in service and a new check should be done.

What is regulated activity? Here is the guidance. (Regulated Activity with children)


Period products

Don’t forget that all primary and secondary schools can order free period products to store in school and provide to students whenever they are required. So many schools across the country have not yet ordered this year’s stock. Details about the scheme can be found here:

Orders can be placed using the PHS portal here:


Working Together (Level 3) Advanced Safeguarding Training

The Safeguarding Partnership delivers Working Together (Level 3) advanced safeguarding and refresher training through a multi-agency approach. Further dates have now been released for this training and places can be booked by emailing


The Working Together to Safeguard Children full course 09:30-16:00:

May 14 2021 (Fully Booked),

July 22 (Limited Availability)

Sept 24

Nov 18

Jan 20

Mar 18 2022

The Working Together to Safeguard Children Refresher 09:30-15:00

June 17 (Fully Booked),

Aug 19

Oct 15

Dec 9 &

Feb 17 2022.

Booking enquiries should be emailed to


7 Minute Briefing from the Partnership of Professional Curiosity.

Please find attached a 7 minute briefing from the safeguarding partnership on professional Curiosity. (HCYPSP Briefing 9)


Omegle & Discord

Thank you to Cheshire West for sharing their guidance on Omegle, following a number of incidents which have occurred in the area.

Due to the increase in the usage of electronic devices and the internet over the pandemic, there has been a significant rise in young children falling victim to online harm.

A new study published ahead of the Internet Watch Foundation’s (IWF) annual report reveals how internet sex predators are targeting children to have them abuse their siblings and friends*, as well as themselves, on camera. The IWF has documented a rise in “self-generated” child sexual abuse imagery being created and shared online, often after a child has been groomed, bullied, or blackmailed by an adult.

In recent weeks, we have become increasingly aware of young children accessing two social media sites in particular in which children and young people have been traumatised by unintentionally viewing sexualised and abusive images of children and adults. These sites are called Omegle and Discord.

OMEGLE is advertised as ‘a free online chat website that allows users to socialise with others without the need to register. The service randomly pairs users in one-on-one chat sessions.’ The website also allows users to connect to webcams so they can be seen by the stranger they are talking to. It has an age rating of 18+ or 13 years + (with parental permissions).


DISCORD is an App that lets people chat via text, voice or video in real-time. It is very popular with gamers, and with the right privacy settings and monitoring it can be used safely. The safest way to use Discord is to only accept friend requests and participate in private servers with people you know. Avoid open chat functions. Discord has an age rating of 13 years +.


There have been reports that children have disclosed to teachers or parents that they have seen really distressing material on these sites and been asked by strangers to share pictures and videos of themselves performing sexual acts.

In terms of how to respond – it is very much advised to proceed with caution, so as to not inadvertently ‘advertise’ the sites to children. If you wish to email a letter to parents in relation to the sites, a template can be found here. (Template Letter Omegle)

Again, my thanks to Cheshire West for sharing their work in this area.


Supervision for DSLs.

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for group supervision. It has been fantastic to receive such a positive response to this. The majority of schools also wanted to be involved in the pilot, which is amazing! I will therefore be randomly selecting a group of schools in the coming weeks to be involved in the pilot ahead of a full launch in September.


Safeguarding and Safer Recruitment Training 2021 for schools

Due to current restrictions, it is anticipated that all of my courses during the 2020/21 academic year will be delivered remotely, via Microsoft Teams. In order to reserve a place, please email


  • DSL Workshop for ALL DSL’s. These are the main DSL updates and workshops. It is best practice for all schools to try and attend these meetings each term. (The agenda will be sent out prior to the meeting)

29 June 2021 – 1pm – 4pm

  • Safer Recruitment for Headteachers, Senior Leaders, Business Managers and Governors

9 June 2021 – 9:15am – 4:30pm

  • Safer Recruitment Refresher for Headteachers, Senior Leaders, Business Managers and Governors. (A certificate from the full course must be seen before a place can be reserved on this course)

24 June 2021 – 9:30am – 12:30pm

  • New to the role of DSL (Or infrequent user) This essential course is in addition to ‘Working Together L3 Safeguarding Training’ (which is delivered by the safeguarding partnership) and focusses on the role of DSL within a school setting – including managing referrals, specific areas of safeguarding and recording & reporting concerns.

28 September 2021 – 9:30am – 4pm

  • Designated Governor for Safeguarding Training. This course is aimed at any governor who has a specific safeguarding responsibility as part of their role. It will provide them with a clear understanding of suitable processes and procedures to enable them to carry out their duties effectively.

1 course, split over 2 evenings – 18 & 25 May 2021 – 6pm – 9pm

  • Governor Safeguarding Training All Governors should receive safeguarding training in line with all members of staff and volunteers a minimum of once every three years, with regular updates during this time. This can be delivered using the whole school training materials. However, if preferred, Governors can attend this course which looks at safeguarding in schools from a Governor perspective. (They will still need to ensure that they understand the school’s specific processes and pro0063edures)

5 July 2021 – 6pm – 9pm

If any further dates or training needs are identified, then I will do my best to provide these for schools, wherever possible. However, I do not have capacity to deliver training to full governing bodies in school, in the same way I cannot deliver whole staff safeguarding training. For September 2021, I will produce an adapted L2 training materials pack for use with whole staff teams and another version for full governing bodies, which can then be delivered by the school’s own safeguarding teams.

Places on all courses can be reserved by emailing

That’s it for now. As ever, please get in touch if I can help in any way. I will be in touch again soon with further updates – especially if KCSIE 2021 is published.

Ben Holmes





Maths Hub Secondary Summer Conference


For the attention of all Maths Teachers in Secondary Schools.

The Cheshire and Wirral Maths Hub, working with the other Maths Hubs across the West Midlands, are happy to invite all colleagues working in Secondary schools to our online summer conference. This will take place across two dates and is completely free to attend.

Please do forward this onto your networks.

West Midlands Maths Hubs

2021 Secondary Online Conference

Thursday 24th June and Thursday 8th July 2021
Places available – click here to book and for more details





Free Training Opportunities 2021


Dear colleague,

Please find below the details on the next series of Basic Bid-Writing Training and Monitoring & Evaluation Courses run by Halton Borough Council’s External Funding Team. If you wish to attend please complete and return the attached booking form or complete it online.

Now You Have Your Grant Course: Online

Thursday 27 May 10am-12noon

This course will offer a basic introduction to the responsibilities of managing grant funding for those of you who are new to this, or would like to improve your skills in this area.

Basic Bid Writing Training: Online

Thursday 15 July 10am-12noon

Subjects covered in the course include:

  •  Good bid-writing techniques
  •  10 key elements of a basic funding application
  •  Top-tips to write a strong bid
  •  Q&As

Monitoring and Evaluation Training: Online

Thursday 24 June 10am-12noon

Subjects covered in the course include: To understand what Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) involves; To learn why it is necessary; To understand where and how Monitoring & Evaluation should be used in grant-funded projects; To learn best practice (‘top tips’) for producing good quality and effective data and reports.

If you require any more information or book on a course please get in touch.






Schools Funding Bulletin – May 2021


Please find link below to the latest funding update. The funding opportunities with the more imminent deadline are at the top of the bulletin.

If you have a project or an idea that you require advice and funding assistance with, please fill out an Enquiry Form.

Schools Bulletin – May 2021

Funding Bulletins Home Page





Covid-19 Bulletins Impact


I hope everyone is keeping well. I am emailing to find out about the impact of the Covid-19 bulletins have had and regarding the amount of COVID funding has come into the Borough.

If you are happy to share details, can I ask if you have been successful or even failed with any bid for COVID related grants to let me know. I am also particularly keen to know if you have bid as a result of seeing it in the COVID bulletins that have been sent out during the pandemic.

See attached form to complete and forward to






STEM Event

Attention of all primary schools.

Riverside and Cronton College would like to invite local primary schools to a virtual college STEM event at the Cronton Sixth Form College site. The MS Teams event will be held within the animal management department at college where we will introduce the various types of animals and their habitats we have at the college. See attached for more information

Those schools would like to participate, we have a worksheet we can share for KS1 and KS2 prior to the event for children to complete during the live call.

The virtual event will take place on Tuesday 8th June 2020 at 10am – 11:30am with a short break in the middle.

If you would like any further information or would like to sign up to the event, please contact Katie Peacock: