Staff at Dingley’s Promise have taken the opportunity to develop their skills and further their knowledge by undertaking online training during lockdown.
The course, titled ‘Behaviour that Challenges’, aims to equip caregivers with a more in depth understanding of the different behaviour conditions that affect children and young people, as well as the guidance and legislation surrounding behavioural risk factors and the impact mental health concerns may have on young children and others.
Run by The Aim Group (an online learning resource), the course is fully funded by the Government’s Adult Education budget, and learners receive an Ofsted Registered Level 2 Qualification upon completion.
Staff participation in the ‘Behaviour that Challenges’ course forms part of Dingley’s Promise’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The charity’s three centres are temporarily closed and staff have been adapting to working and supporting children and families remotely. This change has therefore given staff some extra time to focus on upskilling.
Dingley’s Promise, as an organisation, has always been dedicated to providing opportunities for its staff to learn and develop because it is important for staff wellbeing, as well as benefiting the children and families that the charity supports.
Hannah Goddard, an Early Years Practitioner at Dingley’s Promise in Reading, explains how what she is learning on the course will help;
“When staff have better understanding, children receive better care and support. This training reminds us that the behaviours children show are a form of communication and expression. It also teaches us how to look for a child’s triggers (sensory overload such as lights, noise etc) and develop a support plan so we can care for each child in the best way, taking into account who is suitably trained and confident to support different behaviours.”
Chloe Owens, who works at the charity’s Wokingham Centre, says;
“It’s been interesting to see how much we are already doing for children in the centre fits into the ideas set out in the course, and the training is a reminder of how important it is to investigate the root cause of a behaviour. Consistency and communicating are two things I will be even more conscientious of in my practice, such as seeking out opportunities to talk regularly with colleagues and families about what’s working, what’s not and to find new ideas.”
The concluding section of the training focuses on helping practitioners to understand the support available to maintain their own wellbeing. This is particularly relevant because the 18th – 24th of May is Mental Health Awareness Week, led by the Mental Health Foundation. Dingley’s Promise is passionate about this initiative and embraces any new way to further support the mental well being of it’s team, such as through the ‘Behaviour That Challenges’ training. The charity signed up to the ‘Time to Change’ movement in 2017, and introduced ‘five ways to wellbeing’ and mental health first aiders across the organisation. An Employees Assistance Programme provides counselling and support when needed, and the organisation regularly takes part in staff sessions that encourage opening up, sharing concerns and supporting each other. The most recent staff survey shows that 77% of staff feel supported by Dingley’s Promise when they are stressed, with the remaining 23% neither agreeing or disagreeing. No staff member felt they were not supported, which shows the impact of really taking wellbeing in the workplace seriously.
Chief Executive Catherine McLeod MBE said:
“A few years ago, we encouraged staff at all levels of the organisation to share their thoughts and feelings on mental health and wellbeing. I shared my own story too, and since then we have all become much more open about mental health. Not only has this taken some pressure off people, but it has helped build closer relationships between colleagues as we all recognise how common mental health problems are, and that we can be there for each other.”
To lean more about the ‘Behaviour That Challenges’ course, visit https://www.theaimgroup.co.uk/
For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week and the support on offer, visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week