Universal toolkit for listening to children

This practical resource pack was collated by a multi-agency group working in Highland, to help elicit children and young people’s views and participation in the things that matter most to them. Participants in the group included: Highland Council Psychological Service, Early Years Education Support Officer, Allied Health Professionals, NHS, Social Work, and linking with third sector partners. Within the context of children’s rights legislation, this toolkit provides guidance on how best to elicit and include children’s views in their plans.

Listening to children – a universal toolkit


Highland Council Psychological Service involvement with care experienced young people

We have been working with partners to update our policy and practice in relation to care experienced young people. We think that this now better reflects the current context of The Promise and the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as well as helping us think about our language of care in practice. Key principles of engagement are outlined along with clarification of service roles and responsibilities at the levels of casework and strategic support.

Stramash Fort William improves accessibility in their outdoor setting

“For the last 18 months we have been reflecting on accessibility for all children to our site.  The benefits of outdoor learning are clear, but we realised that our space wasn’t necessarily accessible for every child in a way that catered to their specific needs. We needed to lay an infrastructure that catered for all and set out to find solutions that would work within our context and desire to be sustainable and as low impact as possible.  For that to be possible, any future developments we undertake will now include the additional steps of reflecting on the design choices we make to ensure they lend themselves to all children regardless of need. 

In the past we have trialled different materials such as Geotextile with type 2 quartz on top, pallet walkways, Easylock path systems, and finally decided that the best solution to meet all of our needs would be the use of EcoGrid.  EcoGrid is made from recycled plastics and can be laid directly onto the ground with dressing material laid over the top.  Using Google Earth we made an accessibility plan for the site and calculated that we needed 700 running metres of pathways.  Our Psychological Service Home Visiting Teacher forwarded on information about grants from the Raddery Trust, from which we were successful in receiving funding of £5000.  This enabled us to buy 250 metres of EcoGrid as well as the material needed to dress the pathways.  Last Saturday we organised a work party through our nursery community which enabled us to lay all of the EcoGrid. We also managed to spread material on top of about 180 metres. 

We are overwhelmed not only with what our community was able to accomplish on Saturday, but also with the end result.  The bottom portion of our site has been transformed and has made us more energised to keep seeking funding so that we can proudly say that our site is accessible to all regardless of any need they may have.”  

Cameron Sprague – Team Leader – Stramash Social Enterprise

Towards self-regulation: a refresh of our resources

As adults we learn how to self-regulate but children need to learn their own strategies and we can help them by labelling the ones they have and trying out others to see which ones work best for them.

We have refreshed our resources within EASEYS for ASN Towards self-regulation. These now include some samples and templates as well as a refreshed set of self-regulation cards to help you personalise the support you provide for individual children.

A Wellbeing Evaluation Tool… the next chapter

As a follow up to our infographic detailing our journey so far in ‘Co-producing a Mental Health and Wellbeing Evaluation Tool with Children & Young People’ we thought you may be interested to find out more. Today we are sharing a short video detailing some of what our C&YP across Highland have told us about what SHANARRI really looks, sounds and feels like to them, and also what they think it should look like in their schools.

This video is part of a suite of resources that will sit alongside our completed wellbeing self-evaluation tool, and it can be used to introduce the survey to the C&YP before they complete it. If you are in a school and are interested in getting involved, or using the self-evaluation tool please get in touch with jo.chamberlain@highland.gov.uk

Your ‘SHANARRI’ School video link

Co-producing a Mental Health & Wellbeing Evaluation tool with our Children & Young People

As a service we have been working with Children and Young People (C&YP) across Highland to develop a Wellbeing Evaluation Tool for schools, based on the wellbeing indicators. We wanted to be able to support schools to identify (through hearing the voice of all of their pupils) how C&YP feel that their wellbeing needs are being met while they are in school.

Read our story so far…hearing what it looks, sounds and feels like to be in a SHANARRI school.

Planning for Christmas

The run up to Christmas looks different for everyone. For some children and young people there can be challenges that might benefit from extra planning. For some ideas have a look at the Planning for Christmas page within the Supporting Families section of this Blog.

The Pines, Neurodevelopmental Support Centre for Highland, based in Inverness is holding a coffee morning for parents, carers and professionals to share strategies which might help.

Christmas Coffee Morning – Strategies for Christmas

Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 10:30 AM  12:00 PM

“Christmas can be a very stressful time for families and having some strategies to support your young person might help. Shona MacPherson from the Pines Speech & Language Therapy team has lots of ideas!”

Updated guidance and resources for responding to tragic events

Whenever a tragedy occurs, children, like many people, may be confused or frightened. Most likely they will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. School staff can help children cope first and foremost by establishing a sense of safety and security. 

Advice within this Guidance aims to support staff and to give them the confidence to appropriately respond to children and young people at this time.

Using Virtual Rooms – during online meetings with Young People

Online meetings are now a part of everyday life in our new ways of working. However, one of the challenges of online meetings is how to engage with young people in a meaningful way when we are unable to meet them in person. A creative response to this challenge has been the use of ‘virtual rooms’. If you want to know more about setting up your own room, follow this link.