A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 14 December 2018

As part of our commitment to shine a bright light on the exceptional people across our trust who go above and beyond to inspire and support the pupils and communities they work with, we are today thrilled to be launching the Chief Exec’s Award.

The award recognises colleagues that are leading the way in their areas, promoting examples of best practice along the way and enabling our pupils to see past perceived obstacles to achieve their best. Having worked together to carry out a swift risk assessment of a sick pupil, as well as providing support to the pupil and her family, Reedswood’s safeguarding team is certainly deserving of the inaugural award.

We are therefore delighted to announce that the safeguarding team at Reedswood E-ACT Primary Academy have been named as the first-ever winners of the E-ACT Chief Exec’s Award. The team is being commended for their exceptional team work which led to a Year 4 pupil receiving potentially life-saving medical treatment.

According to Headteacher Maxine Lathbury-Cox, who is also the academy’s Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, there had been concerns about the health of the pupil since the first half of the autumn term as her health had continued to deteriorate.

“She had been sick in assembly and had taken a number of days off. Our Attendance Officer Rebecca Cheadle was monitoring her absences and we began working closely with the family to make sure that the pupil was getting the help that she needed.”

The safeguarding team, led by Designated Safeguarding Lead Natalie Shipley, worked with the pupil’s family to ensure that she was seen by a doctor. She was then given medication for her symptoms and referred for an MRI scan in December. The team scheduled a follow-up meeting with the family after half term to ensure that the pupil’s situation was being monitored closely.

When the pupil returned after half term however, her class teacher Wendy Clifft noticed that she had deteriorated over the holidays. Wendy made a rapid assessment of the pupil’s health and immediately alerted the safeguarding team. The team carried out their own assessment and reacted quickly, attempting to contact the pupil’s parents. Having been unable to reach them, the team made the decision to take the pupil to hospital themselves.

At Birmingham Children’s Hospital, it was discovered that the pupil had a tumour measuring 7cm x 4cm at the back of her brain, which had been affecting her balance and causing her pain down one leg. Thankfully, an emergency operation to remove the tumour was successful, and the pupil has since made good progress.

Members of the safeguarding team, as well as teachers from the academy, visited the pupil whilst she was in hospital and have continued to visit her at home. The team also provided support to the family, collecting her older brother from West Walsall E-ACT Academy while the parents were with the pupil in hospital.

Through fundraising within the academy and the local community, the safeguarding team have managed to buy and donate pyjamas and comfortable clothing for the pupil to wear during recovery, Christmas presents for the pupil and her brothers, and a short holiday for the family.  Safeguarding Officers have also supported the family in applying to a charity for a supportive donation.

“We’ve made sure to think about care for the whole family. It’s been really traumatic and a huge shock, but we’re continuing to support them. The generosity of the contributions from our community has been amazing, and has been so helpful in allowing us to support the family.”

We’re proud that due to the swift action of Reedswood’s safeguarding team, this pupil received the care that she needed and is now on her way back to full health. The team, and the academy, have also gone above and beyond to ensure that the pupil and her family are supported during this incredibly difficult time.

“This is brilliant work from a team that have bought into our values of doing the right thing and team spirit, as they worked together to ensure that this pupil received support immediately. The team have since gone above and beyond to support not only the pupil but also her family. I know just how proud Maxine will be of her team, but as a trust we can all be supremely proud of this exemplary safeguarding work. Each term, we’ll be selecting colleagues for the Chief Exec’s Award, so if you know someone that ought to be recognised make sure to let us know.” David Moran, CEO