North West Regional Lead:

Janice Cahill 

North West Region includes: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

Local Authorities:

Blackburn with Darwen Cheshire west & Chester Liverpool Sefton Warrington
Blackpool Cumbria Manchester St Helens Wigan
Bolton Halton Oldham Stockport Wirral
Bury Knowlesley Rochdale Tameside
Cheshire East Lancashire  Salford Trafford

Regional Updates:

March 2023

In the North west are main piece of news is the work in Liverpool

Hearts is the new name for the collaborative venture between Hope School - an Ofsted Outstanding SEMH provision - and Liverpool Virtual School which is developing transformational attachment and trauma informed practice with a growing network of schools.

When it started they already knew the central significance of building attachment relationships in making a difference to the lives of vulnerable young people, too many of whom had been affected by adversity - loss, abuse and neglect - the combination of which often making school and learning alien and overwhelming. In Hope school they had seen how building trusting relationships could begin to repair this damage and help children engage with a curriculum built round their needs and an ambition to enable them to live healthier and happier lives.

Many schools in Liverpool recognised these needs and opportunities but the challenging context meant they were isolated and not benefiting from the power of a strong peer network.

They have now built a programme of support that started with attachment relationships. Hearts helps schools to recognise their strengths through a rigorous SLT audit and development process and then brings together project leads from each school to implement a network wide development plan focused on schools' priorities for their children, families and community contexts. Hearts is an improvement journey which is peer led, not top down, not target or tick box focused.

Collaboration takes time, it is relational, it requires the building of trust in an often fragmented and traumatised system. They have invested in Masters level academic input from University of Chester, expert supervision, 360 degree views of individual needs and knotty problems built on psychological thinking and building a culture of openness in which issues are tackled and solved collaboratively. All these elements are impossible without partnership.

The results two years in are exciting. They started with 10 schools; theynow have 32 and enthusiasm for joining Hearts from many more. Hearts schools have had 'good' from Ofsted, one for the first time in three inspections.

Amongst Hearts schools exclusion has decreased and co-operation to find in house inclusion solutions has increased. These outcomes are better for young people and save money, creating a sustainable 'invest to save' model which we aim to further develop by engaging more schools and allied services.

Already our strategic group has grown to encompass psychology, school improvement and health and social care

Hearts shows how inclusion practice can build outwards and upwards if it is founded on connecting with front line practice.

We are finding what works and celebrating excellent practice. Rather than endlessly reframing problems, we are building out from practical solutions and linking this psychological theory. Our first conference brought together 1000 practitioners, in September 23 2000 will gather to share practice and build a vision with 'a heart as big as Liverpool'