Quick guide to the Solihull Approach
The Solihull Approach aims to increase emotional health and well-being through both practitioners and parents. It does this through resources and training across the child and family workforce. The majority of health visitors in the UK are now trained in the Solihull Approach model. Many child and family practitioners from midwives to social workers have been trained in the model. Whole schools have been trained. Some police, firefighters and adult mental health professionals have been trained. Particular features of the Solihull Approach are:
- It is used for workforce development: increases skills and knowledge, consistency and shared language across agencies using the Solihull Approach
- It can be used for early intervention and prevention in the early years, as well as across childhood and into adulthood
- It can be used for everyone in a team e.g. children’s centre, perinatal unit, school (from receptionists to support staff to teachers).
- It provides parenting programmes from conception through to adolescence.
- It has a particular emphasis on including fathers.
- It increases the accessibility of parenting programmes through online courses, which have the same content as the face to face groups. One online course for parents ‘Understanding your child’ is now available in English and in Urdu.
- It provides a theoretical framework for working with emotional and behaviour difficulties and provides supporting evidence e.g. for Ofsted
- It has a strong and growing evidence base, with publication of the positive RCT results imminent.
The Solihull Approach is a UK programme, developed with the population of the UK and with research carried out on the UK population. It was established 20 years ago. It has been shown to have a high acceptance in other cultures too, such as Pakistan, Iceland, Australia, Ghana and Barbados. Resources are developed by professionals from health, education and elsewhere working together with parents.
The Solihull Approach is included in the UK Department of Health’s Healthy Child Programme, in Northern Ireland’s strategy for training health visitors and midwives, in Scotland’s strategy for training health visitors and child practitioners. Download
It is an evidence based programme. There are over 30 research publications with more in the pipeline and with imminent publication of the positive RCT results. Details are on this website, see Research.
For example, a research study investigated what impact the Solihull Approach training has on teachers’ levels of stress, anxiety, mood, sense of teacher efficacy and self-esteem at six months after training showed that teachers who received the Solihull Approach training showed benefits six months later, a statistically significant increase in satisfaction with their helping role, self-esteem, and teacher efficacy scores and a decrease in feeling burnt out/stressed. Teachers who did not receive the training (control group) only showed an improvement in teacher efficacy over the period suggesting that it was receiving the training which caused these benefits. In the group receiving Solihull Approach training the quantitative data suggests there had been an impact on teachers’ interactions with their pupils, the parents and colleagues, and it has led to wider school changes.
The Solihull Approach is included in the Early Intervention Foundation document. It is an example of good practice for NICE, is on the Commissioner’s Toolkit and was the first to be awarded the CANparent Quality Mark for both the face to face and online parenting course.
The resources cover the complete child age range from conception to age 19 years. There is also a training for those who work with adults.
Early intervention offer in the early years
- 2 day Foundation training for the antenatal team, children’s centres, health visitors etc (can be cascaded)
- Cascade follow-up seminars on trauma awareness, attachment and brain development to embed theory into practice
- Peer Breastfeeding Supporter Training, contributes to BFI status
- Solihull Approach Early Years Foundation training for nursery nurses and childminders
- Training for facilitators to deliver antenatal and postnatal face to face groups for mothers and fathers (can be cascaded)
- Antenatal and postnatal online courses for mother and fathers (increasing accessibility)
- Multi-user licenses for online antenatal, postnatal and course for parents increasing coverage across a population. Online course for parents also available in Urdu.
There is now a comprehensive offer for schools. For instance:
- Solihull Approach Early Years Foundation training for schools with nursery staff
- Whole School training for everyone from the school receptionists to teachers, support staff and governors (write up nearing completion of very significant results from research)
- 2 hour workshops for parents of young children, can be used especially as part of the transition into school e.g. Shropshire and an effective way of engaging parents to attend parenting groups
- 2 hour workshops for parents of adolescents, again can be used as part of the transition into secondary school and an effective way of engaging parents to attend parenting groups
- 10 session parenting group ‘Understanding your child’s behaviour’ across child age range (also customised for parents of children with disabilities, parents of children with ASD, adoptive parents)
- Multi user license to cover every parent in the school for online course for parents ‘Understanding your child’ across child age range. Online course now available in English and in Urdu.
Summary of training
- antenatal face to face group for parents delivered by midwives and children’s centres ‘Understanding pregnancy, labour, birth and your baby’
- online antenatal course, especially designed to increase accessibility for fathers
- postnatal face to face groups for parents: both Universal groups and Postnatal Plus groups for parents with postnatal depression or experiencing difficulties in their relationship with their baby ‘Understanding your baby’
- online postnatal course
- face to face group for parents ‘Understanding your child’s behaviour’
- online course for parents ‘Understanding your child’
- face to face group for parents of children with disabilities and parents of children on the autistic spectrum
- adoptive parents’ course
- foster carer course
- online course for fathers in prison as well as face to face course
- workshops for parents in schools
- training for residential workers in Children Homes
- many customised 2 day trainings for sections of the children’s workforce e.g. health visitors, midwives, social workers, community children’s nurses, staff in schools for children with learning disabilities, schools, nursery nurses, with cascadable optional follow up seminars on brain development, attachment and trauma awareness to embed theory into practice
‘Keeping trauma in mind‘ is designed for those who work with adults e.g. Community Psychiatric Nurses, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Workers, Social Workers, Support Workers, Project Workers, Housing Officers, Probation Officers, Community Police etc.
As well as all the trainings, there are four comprehensive resource packs: for those who work antenatally, in the early years, in the school years (these are now available in paper format or e format) or in foster care and adoption. They are designed as a distance learning resource, with case studies and reflective questions to support moving theory to practice. They include and build on the information from the 2 Day Foundation Training.
Pathway to training
This pathway illustrates the training required to deliver the various parenting groups or cascade training to other practitioners.
It provides excellent value for money. It reaches large numbers of practitioners through the design of the training. It is a cascadable training. Quality is maintained through the detailed training manuals, Resource Packs and training. It reaches large numbers of parents through the parenting workshops, groups and online courses.
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