HeadStart Wolverhampton Stakeholders Introduction and Consultation Morning - September 13th 2016

On 13th September, over 100 delegates from Wolverhampton schools, voluntary sector organisations, health services, the local authority, Wolverhampton University, and others, came together at The Molineux Stadium for a morning of sharing and discussion.

As we enter the next phase of Wolverhampton HeadStart, supported by renewed funding of £8.8 million from The Big Lottery Fund, we felt it was important to bring together key stakeholders in the city to launch the next phase of HeadStart in the city.

Read on for an outline of the morning and some key resources from the session.


The Presentation

Review the slides below. Please note that you can hit the full-screen button (bottom-right of the slide viewer)


Download the presentation

You can download the complete presentation as a PDF below.

Send your feedback

If you attended the event (or if you weren't able to attend, but would like to be involved with HeadStart) and would like to share some feedback and ideas with us, please use the form below. In particular, we are interested in:

  • What are the challenges and obstacles to improving mental health and well-being for young people working with you, or in your organisation?
  • How can we bring together the different sectors of our city to make a difference?
  • How would you like to be involved with HeadStart Wolverhampton as we move into phase 3?
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The Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Barry Findlay

The Mayor introduced the event with an overview of the context of HeadStart, including some startling facts and figures around the impact, and extent, of mental health issues in the city.

It is startling to think that 1 in 10 young people, that is 3 in every classroom, have a diagnosable mental health problem. In that same classroom, 6 young people have self-harmed or are continuing to do so. Just last week, the NSPCC reported that ChildLine receives a call every 30 minutes from a young person in the UK who is having suicidal thoughts
HeadStart in Wolverhampton has shown over the past two years that it can have a positive effect on the mental well-being of young people, and I am delighted that this has been recognised by The Big Lottery in awarding us this significant investment over the next 5 years. It is our task now to use this money as effectively as possible to make a real difference for the young people of our city
— The Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Barry Findlay

Wolverhampton HeadStarters and The Central Youth Theatre - HeadStart and Young People

Fran Turner, our HeadStart undergraduate intern, Emerson Morris, our HeadStart Media Apprentice, and Megan, one of our young person HeadStarters and B-Safe Team, explored HeadStart from the perspective of young people who have been involved, and shared video materials from phase 2 of HeadStart.

They then introduced the Central Youth Theatre (CYT), who used role play and humour to illustrate the impact that HeadStart has had for young people involved so far. This performance was a new version of a performance that CYT used when presenting our bid to Big Lottery in May.

Slides (click to see full-size)

My HeadStart Experience

A Place To Be Me


Viv Griffin, Service Director, Disabilities and Mental Health, City of Wolverhampton Council

Viv gave us an expert overview of the context of HeadStart, and the history of HeadStart in the city over the last two years.

She also linked the key themes of the HeadStart programme nationwide to Wolverhampton's response in putting together our phase 3 bid, and looked forward to our aspirations for the impact of HeadStart on young people over the next five years.

Slides (click to see full-size)


Steve Dodd, Co-ordinator of Youth Organisations, Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council

Steve, from Wolverhampton's Voluntary Sector Council, introduced us to the voluntary sector roles of HeadStart, reviewing their wonderful contribution so far, and sharing a strong vision for their future involvement.

Slides (click to see full-size)


Rob Roalfe, Deputy Headteacher, Penn Fields School

Rob is the Deputy Headteacher at Penn Fields, a Wolverhampton Special School for children with moderate to severe learning disabilities. Penn Fields has taken ideas from phase 2 of HeadStart in the city, including SUMO ideas and others, and has woven them deep into the ethos and curriculum of the school.

He shared his school's HeadStart journey, the proven benefits that Penn Fields has seen for their pupils, and looked ahead to future developments for schools, including the development of a PSHE curriculum based on SUMO ideas, and proposals for further expansion of the digital elements of HeadStart, led by Wolverhampton's Learning Technologies Team.

Slides (click to see full-size)


Paul McGee, The SUMO Guy

Our keynote speaker, Paul McGee, aka the SUMO Guy, is the author of "Shut Up and Move On", or as delivered in schools, "Stop, Understand and Move On". He is an international speaker, and works with schools and organisations, large and small, including the likes of Manchester City Football Club.

Paul, in his own wonderful, engaging, humorous, yet thought-provoking manner, introduced the audience to some of the key ideas of SUMO, and led us through his personal journey and the implications of SUMO in schools.


Table and Panel Discussions

Following the presentations, delegates discussed the challenges and obstacles for HeadStart in the city as table groups. Table seating had been mixed up, with colleagues from schools, health services, the voluntary sector, local government, and other organisations, sharing their thoughts and perspectives with colleagues from other sectors.

These discussions led into a panel discussion, chaired by Kevin Pace, HeadStart Wolverhampton Manager.

The panel consisted of Kevin, Steve Dodd, Paul McGee, Viv Griffin, and Gavin Hawkins from Wolverhampton's Learning Technologies Team.

Some of the questions and observations from table discussions

  • In schools, we need a whole school approach to fit new things into the timetable - how do we make room for SUMO
  • How do we get schools to recognise that SUMO complements what they are doing in other areas?
  • How do we get staff to realise the benefit for all pupils, and all staff? How do we engage parents in programmes?
  • How do we improve availability of Tier 2 support in schools, and the need for a counselling / therapy offer with availability both for pupils and for staff.
  • How do we resource this with staffing to set up and implement programmes
  • Agencies are working to capacity in schools, how do we deal with pressure on curriculum time?
  • There has been lots of talk about families - how do children in care fit in?
  • We need digital support in schools i.e. a facility for children to report problems. Class teacher can’t be responsible for supporting out of schools hours. How will this be addressed and how will children be supported out of school hours
  • If children are encouraged to “open up” this leads to more children seeking support - what is the best way to manage this? Adequate resourcing and man-power are important, so we don't overwhelm staff with too many responsibilities.
  • How will the system cater for children that aren’t in education?
  • Too much pressure for children and young people
  • We need a high level training of SUMO into schools and need to maintain SUMO and other programmes in school, utilising ambassadors and developing a consistency of approach by staff
  • Has any thought been given to important role that Outdoor Education / Activities and 'Wilderness' (rugged countryside) experiences can play (in expanding horizons and aspirations, learning new things about self, building confidence, and therapeutic)?
  • Wouldn't it make sense for HeadSpace Hubs to be in Strengthening Families Hubs - Meena Patel (Social Worker, this question was asked in panel Q&A)
  • Need to think about communication messages around - just because you are not based / don't work in one of 4 geographical focus areas, doesn't mean you can't benefit from / get involved in HeadStart initiatives e.g. workforce development using lessons learned, buying in support / activities that are shown to work, digital offer etc - Helen Brown (Beacon Centre)
  • New communities  arrivals need to be included and particular consideration given to those families who have no recourse to public funds
  • The importance of engaging with children and young people / families with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
  • How will networking happen?
  • Will Council Strengthening Families Hub staff be able to benefit from HS workforce Development opportunities?

Val Gibson (Councillor, Cabinet Member for Education) and Kevin Pace (HeadStart Wolverhampton Programme Manager)

Val and Kevin summed up the event by reviewing some of the learning and ideas from the morning, and by sharing thoughts for the next phase of HeadStart.

Through its programmes, its partnerships with you and many other organisations, and through its training for the children’s workforce, including SUMO, through its awareness raising and anti-stigma activities, and through its community based HeadStart Hubs, HeadStart can help to support families, build community strength and capacity, develop a common language and responses, and empower them to take positive action with and for their young people.
— Councillor Val Gibson

A final song - Megan, Wolverhampton HeadStarter

The event finished with a wonderful performance from Megan, one of our young person HeadStarters.

Thank you Megan for completing the event in style!