Welcome to HeadStart Monthly, April 2017

Welcome to the April Edition of the HeadStart Monthly newsletter. There's lots to share, so let's dive right in.

HeadStart Spring Conference 2017

The HeadStart Spring Conference, held on April 27th at Wolverhampton Science Park, was a wonderful event. All 200 tickets for the conference were booked several weeks before the event. The conference included keynotes from:

  • Jackie Beere, author, speaker and consultant. The title of Jackie's keynote was "Developing resilient learners with a growth mindset in every classroom and every staffroom". Jackie's keynote explored the importance of metacognition and growth (nor fixed) mindsets for learning, and of developing a culture of collaboration, not judgement, in schools. For more on Jackie, visit her website at www.jackiebeere.com.
  • Dr. Margot Sunderland, author, speaker, and the Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health in London. The title of Margot's keynote was "The impact of human interaction on child and adolescent mental health". After sharing evidence of the devastating effects of childhood trauma on the development, health and learning of children, Margot explored a range of approaches and programmes that can help and support children, including empathic listening, attachment play, and 'Teens and Toddlers'. For more on Margot, visit her site at www.margotsunderland.org
  • Ken Corish, Online Safety Manager for South-West Grid For Learning (www.swgfl.org). Ken is one of the country's leading authorities on internet safety and digital literacy, and on the effects of digital technologies on the mental well-being of young people. Ken's keynote was titled 'Bursting the Bubble; from Online Safety to Online Empowerment'. Ken shared his thoughts on the limited efficacy of legacy 'internet safety' programmes, and made a strong case for supporting learners in developing more sophisticated, positive concepts of appropriate behaviours online.
  • David Gregory from Lego Education UK. David's keynote was entitled 'The power of a playful and creative pedagogy'. David's engaging, practical keynote required delegates to demonstrate their Lego skills, building ducks and models which expressed their personal concepts of mental health.

Time To Change (www.timetochange.org) also lead workshops during the conference, and a range of organisations shared their services and products in a marketplace area for delegates to explore.

Huge thanks to all of the delegates who attended the conference, and to our wonderful keynote speakers, workshop leaders and marketplace showcase organisations.

Thanks also to André from The Mental Elf who supported us with social media activity during the day. Over 130 people interacted with HeadStart on Twitter during the conference day, with 620 tweets being exchanged during the day, and 5.8 million people seeing tweets from the event in their Twitter timelines. If you were not able to join us on the day, you can review the conference on Twitter by exploring the hashtag #hsconf17:


Conference interview podcasts

The HeadStart Team

  • Kevin Pace, Head Of Service
  • Emma Cleary, Programme Manager
  • Elaine Higgins, Community Development Coordinator
  • Kate Clarke, Community Development Coordinator
  • Nicola Holmes, Community Development Coordinator
  • Sunita Pallan-Jhalli, Senior Young Person Engagement Coordinator
  • Mai Gibbons, Contracts Manager
  • Emma Tomblin, School Support Coordinator
  • Celina Bennett, School Support Coordinator
  • Danielle Haslam, School Support Coordinator
  • Emma Sayles, School Support Coordinator
  • Jayne Watters, Finance and Admin Officer
  • Richard Anderson, Media and Communications Lead
  • Hansa Clay, Young Person Engagement Coordinator
  • Ray Codner, Young Person Engagement Coordinator
  • Samantha Gregory, Young Person Engagement Coordinator
  • Pippa Thomas, Graduate Management Trainee
  • Jasmeet Ahir, Project Support Officer
  • Alice Whyley, Branding, Design and Marketing
  • Amelia Chalak, Young Person Engagement Apprentice
  • Emerson Morris, Media and Communications Apprentice

Would you like to speak to one of the team? Contact us.

Jake's Story - Watch now!

The HeadStart Spring Conference also marked the world premiere of 'Jake's Story', a wonderful short film created by Wolverhampton's Central Youth Theatre. The film explores the story of a young person who has been supported by HeadStart. Watch it below!

News from the HeadStart Young Person Engagement Team (HYPE)

B-Safe Team Take Over Safeguarding Board Development Day!!

On Friday 7th April the young person B-Safe Team were let loose on the professionals of the Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board for their Development Day. What a day it was!

Members of the B-Safe team were given the opportunity to speak out and voice their opinions and concerns on issues that matter to them. They were allocated two hours in the development day to discuss topics they felt were current, important and needed addressing. Some of the issues they highlighted were personal and close to their hearts: gang rivalry, online bullying, grooming and personal neglect were just some of the topics covered. The members of the B-Safe team wanted to find out what support services are available, and what is being done to reduce or prevent similar issues in future.

The members of the B-Safe Team presented their questions in an engaging and interactive way, using poems, presentations, animated videos, silent movies, podcasts and unspoken drama. The young people not only delivered the whole event themselves but sparked further discussions with professionals.

The feedback from professionals gave a clear indication of the success of the day’s events. The young people were commended for their efforts, hard work and maturity in handling sensitive and importance topics so effectively.

The suggestions raised by the young people will be considered and proposals shared during future B-Safe events. The young people on the B-Safe team should be proud of the impact they made. We are very proud of them too!

Katie, one of the young people in our B-Safe team, created this video to share her thoughts on grooming.

Quotes from professionals

The interactive delivery of the session, staging and delivery-subtle use of masks symbolic to the ‘silent voice of the child’, engagement of young people with audience all allowed us to think of the ‘child’s’ prospective and how services should respond to situations raised
I am very thankful that there are a set of young people who have and will make a difference for young people in the city
Well done. An excellent event!
You drew on real situations and made us focus on what we do to support the young people.
A great chance to listen and learn!
It’s made me rethink some issues and to include young people more in our services.
— Sally Nash, Head of Youth Offending
I enjoyed the participation of all of us together throughout the workshop
— Beverley McCalla, Priory Green Child and Family Support

Recruitment of HeadStart Ambassadors

HeadStart Ambassadors is a new initiative led by the HeadStart Young People Engagement Team. The ambassadors, 'older' young people aged 16-25, will work alongside HeadStart staff to support and influence the delivery of programmes and projects, and challenge and support HeadStart in delivering the very best for young people in the city.

The recruitment of HeadStart’s Ambassadors has been very successful with 15 ambassadors selected from a pool of talented, passionated applicants. We are so looking forward to working with these young people as we see them as our future.

The Hype team would like to say thank you and well done to all the young people involved.

Getting Ahead

The HYPE team have been heavily involved in the planning and preparation of the next Getting Ahead three day residential at Towers, in May. We have been working in Moreton, Colton Hills and Heath Park delivering sessions to support young people in prepping for the residential. The residential aims to raise the aspirations resilience and confidence of the young people involved.

HYPE HeadStarters Development Programme

The HYPE team have developed their own programme to support 15 young people from each of three secondary schools (Moreton, Colton Hills and Heath Park) in developing their understanding of key topics in personal development, health and resilience, linked to an Asdan qualification. The aim is to build resilience and ambition, and to create a peer support network within each of the schools, developing the young people into HeadStarters for work throughout the schools and city. 

News from the HeadStart Schools' Team

March Schools Engagement Event – Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who attended our HeadStart Schools Engagement event at Colton Hills Secondary School on Wednesday 22nd March 2017. This was an ideal opportunity for schools to learn how HeadStart can support them in delivering a new curriculum and in carrying out initial screenings, audits and evaluations with young people. Read more about the event here.

Thank you also to those schools who couldn’t make it and have met with the schools' team before or after the event.. It has been invaluable to the team to gain an insight into the heart of our HeadStart Schools in Wolverhampton and essential in informing our curriculum planning and development.

Local Evaluation Pilot at Stafford Manor

On Monday 3rd April, the schools' team went to Stafford Manor in Stafford to pilot the Local Evaluation Measure with their Year 7 students. This was positively received by both pupils and staff, taking approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. The University of Wolverhampton were in attendance too and have taken on board feedback on the survey from the young people and staff. They are now reviewing the survey and finding ways in which to improve it further our future local evaluation process in Wolverhampton.


We would like to say a huge thank you to the staff at Stafford Manor for all their help in organising and coordinating the evaluation. Thank you also to the young people who participated for their warm welcome! Their feedback and input has been pivotal in ensuring that things will run smoothly in the future.

National Evaluation

Our Common Measures Framework (CMF) consent forms have now been delivered to all HeadStart secondary schools. The Schools Team will be confirming dates after Easter to come into schools and support the delivery of the National Evaluation in these schools.

Boom Writer

Two weeks ago, Year 5 teachers from 10 schools met with the Learning Technologies Team, Mark Smith from the Citizenship, Language & Learning Team and staff from ‘BoomWriter’ to receive training ready for an exciting online writing project.  The project, based on online safety issues, has started after Easter and uses the ‘BoomWriter’ platform to engage Year 5 writers, improving their writing skills as they move towards Year 6.  

The Boomwriter online platform encourages children to complete chapters of a story online and vote on each other’s writing – the winning chapter then becomes the next chapter in the book.  At the end of the five-week project, a hard copy of the book will be published and presented to schools.  We are all excited to see how the use of technology could encourage children to write for an authentic audience, to collaborate and to improve the quality of their writing.  

The CyberPass

‘The CyberPass’ is an online education tool which supports users in being safe and responsible online. The Learning Technologies Team have invited selected schools in Wolverhampton to participate in a trial. Throughout the Summer Term, students will be able to independently navigate the resource, learning about online safety, answering interactive questions, watching videos and playing activities to further their own understanding and awareness of online safety. Teachers will be able to monitor their students’ progress online and, where necessary, plan additional support.

Coming soon! Getting a HeadStart in Schools

Thursday 18th May 2017 12:30 – 16:00pm, Ramada, Wolverhampton

HeadStart are pleased to invite you to our ‘Getting a HeadStart in Schools’, event. Our HeadStart Schools Team will update you on our key developments, forthcoming activities and our vision. This is a fantastic opportunity for all our HeadStart Schools to have their voices heard, to network and exchange experiences and share good practice. This co-productive approach will then help to inform our future curriculum planning.

The event will run from 12:30 until 16:00 at the Ramada Hotel and is free of charge to all delegates (2 allocated places per school), including lunch and light refreshments. Invitations will be sent out to schools directly in the next few weeks so please be sure to register for the event once you have received your invite.    

News from the Community Team

The Community Development Team are now almost all recruited with the last team member due to join Elaine, Kate and Nicola in the coming weeks. Community Development Coordinators have been working across their local areas over the past few months meeting key community contacts, organisations and young people. The main priority has been to research and identify potential community bases to become HeadStart bases. 

In February the first Headstart Base was identified and established in the Blakenhall, All Saints and Ettingshall area at The Bob Jones Centre. This space will be the base for Headstart's Community Development, School Engagement and Young Person's Engagement Coordinators to establish roots in the area and ensure the needs of the community are met moving forward. 

Following the first base being opened the team will soon be announcing the other locations selected by young people as HeadStart bases in the other three areas. An event is taking place on 25th April where young people from across the three areas will judge applications made from organisations and select the ones they feel will deliver the best outcomes for young people. 

As well as this the team have also been arranging local steering groups across the four areas. In order to ensure that local community organisations and partner agencies are a part of the HeadStart programmes a number of meetings have been arranged in order to make sure communication and consultation takes place on a regular basis. Once steering groups in each of the four areas have been established they will meet on a regular basis to plan activities, discuss priorities and agree on where resources should be allocated. 

A summer programme of activities for young people is currently being planned across the areas and organised by the team. Resources will be available to each steering group to plan and deliver a range of programmes that engage young people over the summer that meet the outcomes of Headstart.

Join Gazebo and Central Youth Theatre as they 'Head in The Right Direction'

HeadStart is reaching out into Wolverhampton communities, and especially into the four target areas that are the focus for HeadStart Universal and Universal+ support. We wanted to highlight and share the benefits of HeadStart with parents and the community in those areas, and to let them know what they can expect from HeadStart as the programme develops with new opportunities for young people in schools and the community. HeadStart therefore commissioned Gazebo Theatre and Central Youth Theatre to create a theatre show for parents. The show, titled ‘Head In the Right Direction’, shares the objectives of HeadStart through drama, dance, and role play.

Future showings of 'Head in the Right Direction'

  • Saturday 13th May, 12pm. Venue: Moreton School, Old Fallings Road, Bushbury WV10 8BY
  • Monday 22nd May, 11am. Venue: Bob Jones Centre, (in partnership with Re-entry), Bromley Street, Blakenhall, WV2 4AS

Community Asset mapping

Gazebo have also been supporting HeadStart in developing asset mapping with young people in our communities:

Social media images for sharing

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