10 top tips for getting the best out of external agencies

  • Identify one person who oversees visits into school from external practitioners and makes sure that key staff who know the child/young person are expecting them.

  • Remember it’s better NOT to agree to a visit if the date or time suggested means the right staff are not available or the child/young person will miss something important to them.

  • Make sure that you understand the purpose of the visit and who needs to be involved – and whether the visiting practitioner will need a quiet work space to see the child/young person.

  • Ask for written information to be sent after the visit so there is a clear plan and agree who is feeding back to parents/carers if they weren’t present.

  • Make sure that staff in school are clear about who is delivering the school’s part of the plan.

  • If you can’t follow the advice being provided – or it is not clear – then let the practitioner know straight away and agree the best way forward.

  • Give as much notice as possible of any meetings, especially annual review meetings. Most visiting practitioners are booked up at least a half term in advance.

  • Remember that all information relevant to safeguarding should be shared but that parents/carers and young people must give permission for other information about them to be passed on.

  • Plan ahead for how to pass on information and advice from external agencies when there are changes of staff in school or children/young people move to the next year group.

  • If there is a problem or issue with an external service, do let them know straight away so that it can be resolved.

DBS clearance for staff visiting school

Please note that all staff visiting from other agencies, whether local authority or NHS, will have been required to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as part of recruitment. This is a given, so proof of their employment and role is also evidence of compliance. However, you can ask for confirmation of their DBS status from their employer if required e.g. via a letter from their organisation. It is not normal practice for visiting staff to carry their DBS certificates with them or to provide copies.