The Birmingham Pathfinder is a collaborative approach to working with children and families with multiple complex needs. There are currently 13 Pathfinder schools in Birmingham (SEMH special schools, Pupil Referral Unit – City of Birmingham School and Lumen Christi Catholic Multi Academy Schools), working together towards a new kind of intensive, relational support supported by a core team of multi-agency professionals.
At the heart of the Pathfinder approach is the strength and quality of relationship between all Pathfinder staff and the family. It is a relationship characterised by a desire to understand the adverse experiences, wider circumstances of a family and to enable them to use their strengths to overcome barriers affecting their lives. By demonstrating a more Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) informed, collaborative approach to building stronger families, the Pathfinder is attempting to re-imagine the statutory service/client relationship.
Lumen Christi schools currently employ two Pathfinder Family Support Workers, Dennis Easy working primarily with St. Thomas Aquinas families and Rebecca Ryland, working across the primaries. St. Thomas Aquinas are also committed to training more of their own pastoral staff in delivering support using the 'Pathfinder Approach'.
The Core Team currently comprises:
- Rob McCabe (Senior Social Worker and Strategic Lead for the project)
- Hollie Parrish (Lumen Christi Development Officer)
- Sarah Mason (Project Coordinator from Special School Nursing Service, NHS)
- Gemma Cooney-Folk (Project Coordinator from City of Birmingham School)
- Claire Williams (Senior Practitioner, Aquarius)
- Lucy Hipwood (16+ Mentor, CGL)
- Stephen Hall (Post-16 Coordinator)
Pathfinder Associate staff are drawn from West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Forward Thinking Birmingham, Public Health England, St. Basil's, Birmingham Early Help & Think Family Support Teams and the Youth Offending Service.
Work with the Pathfinder team and applying the values (Nurture, Shared Authority, Commitment to Social Justice) to pastoral work in our schools, we are seeing tremendous impact for our Lumen Christi families who have accessed support. If you would like to find out more about the Pathfinder approach or perhaps access support, please contact us here.
What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)?
Download this infographic from Young Minds to find out more
The Birmingham Pathfinder was cited in 'Addressing Adversity' as an example of emerging national best practice. You can read the report here, please refer to PDF page 171 or book page number 336.