Feedback and evaluations from people who have experienced Sandstories training are woven through the pages of the website. This page provides space for additional commentary which may be of interest to potential commissioners and participants.

Testimonial from Independent LSCB Chair

“Sue Woolmore led and facilitated our Board’s annual Development Day. It was a great success. Throughout the day Sue encouraged, challenged – and inspired – us to reflect critically on how the quality of our leadership, effectiveness and scrutiny could be improved. By means of her compelling ‘Sandstory’, she reminded us of the ever present need for courage, persistence and communication in the safeguarding of children. She really engaged with us. Drawing on her considerable experience in social work and safeguarding, Sue provided clear insights into the difficult and complex challenges facing LSCBs. Her work with us helped lay the foundations for our ongoing improvement programme.”

Evaluation from Junior School Headteacher

“This is the best, most thought provoking, most useful and inspirational training I’ve had in 30 years of work!”

Feedback from member of School Academy Management Team

“This is without doubt one of the most engaging and thought-provoking courses I have been on. I frequently doubt my ability to “do enough” to change any child’s situation; but today I feel reassured that every day, the actions I take really do make a difference, however small, in helping to safeguard children in our school and in our community.”

Evaluation from senior police officer – public protection

“40 years in the police and I have never received training in this style. It was powerfully delivered to a level of understanding to all.”

Feedback from voluntary sector family support worker

“The Sandstories were very powerful and my attention was gripped by them.  Sue refreshed my vigour for seeing things through a child’s eyes and I feel much less jaded.”

Evaluation from local authority family practitioner

“This course has inspired me to continue to work in this profession after having doubts that I was losing faith and not making a difference to children’s lives.”

Evaluation from two social workers

“Absolutely excellent. Hands down the best training I have ever been on in 8 years in social work.”

“One of the best training courses that I have attended in over 28 years of service.”

Feedback from speech and language therapist

“This was the best course on child protection I have ever been on. Sue is a fantastic tutor/trainer. She presents information in a novel and thought-provoking way . I’ll never forget her Sandstories.”

Evaluation from occupational therapist

“I would absolutely, definitely, emphatically recommend this course to all my colleagues. I have found it to be a magnificent resource and have enjoyed your energy, passion and commitment in delivering it and sharing your knowledge and experiences. Thank you.”

Feedback from family support worker

“This training was fantastic, made me think about our everyday practice and how we have to rush and comply and keep up with paperwork – sometimes we forget about the children in the middle of this chaos. Thank you Sue.”

Feedback from health visitor

“Excellent presentation and format. Informative and thought provoking from the beginning to the end. Will adapt my practice in recognition of what I have heard and discussed today.”

Evaluation from youth support worker

“Wow! The most amazing training I have ever done. Sue made this day informative and encouraging. One day was not long enough, it has reinforced my role and I will reflect on this day  and the learning often.”

Excerpt from Ofsted report:

In the child’s time: professional responses to neglect – March 2014

Page 31

“Northumberland Sandstories – keeping children in mind”

Following a local independent management review, the LSCB organised a programme of training to support staff to work more effectively with hostile and uncooperative parents in the context of neglect. Sandstories was commissioned in July 2012 from an independent training provider. The key learning method is the visual enactment of a case study in which professionals across agencies are distracted by parents who focus on their own needs and the child’s experience of neglect remains hidden. The learning is designed to engage participants cognitively and emotionally and to help them remain child-centred while recognising and tackling resistance from families. Research findings are woven into the programme. The training has a powerful impact and staff explained how this learning had changed their practice; for example, by enabling them to review children’s needs and realise that current plans did not reflect the real depth of their needs.

A telephone survey completed one year later identified that the methodology had helped staff to retain the key learning messages through comments such as, ‘I can still see the sand being sprinkled over the baby’ and ‘I always think ‘‘who is in the kitchen’’. Managers observed that ‘it really made social workers recognise serious risks associated with neglect and the clear link between neglect and child death’. Front-line staff and managers also perceive that the more robust response to parental non-compliance which the training promoted is a key factor in explaining the sharp increase in the number of child protection plans featuring neglect between June 2012 and June 2013.