Cotton Court Business Centre

Lancashire

Guest Blog – Doug Melia Safer Handling

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The Department for Education document entitled “Use of Reasonable Force – updated advice for head teachers, staff and governing bodies” isn’t a new thing. Variations of it have been around for some time now and I have yet to meet two organisations who interpret it in the same way.

Tonight I want to invite you to join me on a journey and using the principleground rules from the 1999 (make you feel old?) film “Fight Club”, to examine further some of the challenges staff may face when dealing specifically withmanaging children fighting.

#1 The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.

The DfE guidance document addresses issues surrounding the use of force without discussing them in detail. The document highlights that staff are allowed to use force to:

“prevent a pupil from attacking a member of staff or another pupil, or to stop a fight in the playground”

This artfully vague statement gives the nod to staff having the power to“stop” fights, it doesn’t then give any further detail on the matter.

In one of my earlier posts I discussed duty of care and keeping yourself safe whilst weighing up the duty owed to those in your care, the guidance explains this as:

“The decision on whether or not to physically intervene is down to the professional judgement of the staff member concerned and should always depend on the individual circumstances.”

Reasonable force is something we have discussed in detail before, staff must ensure that any actions they take are reasonable in the circumstances. Meaning, should they be intervening in the first place? Could the circumstances have been avoided?

#2 Second rule: DO NOT talk about Fight Club

So important was its secrecy to the integrity of the club, it was listed twice. So lets look at a different angle. Don’t talk about it?  The guidance skirts around questions such as: At what point do we stop the fight? With how many members of staff? What determines a fight? Play-fights also? Verbal warning first? Using which holds?

Staff  are told to use their professional judgement, without the necessary information, instruction, training & supervision that decision may not necessarily be in the best interests of the child. So perhaps we should talk about it, I always ask when delivering training if anyone has had to break up a fight before, and if the person is comfortable enough, I get them to discuss the circumstances. Without fail, the person describing their experience always animates their disclosure using hand gestures, often which resemble a person swimming or attempting to swim.

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In the heat of the moment where a fight breaks out next to them or they round a corner and a member of staff is confronted with an advancing pupil, then the immediate physical reaction to separate or “hold back” an individual can often be instinctive. Pushing, pulling, stopping a child running in a corridor, catching a chair from tipping back or even turning a pupil by their shoulders and diverting them away from a confrontation all involve gross motor skills. Separating two parties is often a more preferable approach than wading in with some kind of fine or moderate motor skill based single person restrictive hold, which aside from having manual handling and personal safety implications, may result in more serious repercussions to explain.

Imagine sitting with Mum, explaining how you held her dearest Tyler whilst the other child hit him as hard as he could in his ear, with the  “free shot” you granted his aggressor. Might not be your finest hour at this year’s parents evening 

#3 Third rule: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over

Now, one thing I have observed about the majority of young children and fighting is; they aren’t very good at it.

Proportionately (which if we do need to intervene is exactly how we should be thinking) it may not be the best idea to wade in and try to stop the fight physically.  Take me for example, I am 6ft 3, 17 stone and have hands well, to give a clue to a nickname I once had “like shovels”. If two small children were fighting and I grabbed them and dragged them backwards separating them – I guarantee I would cause more harm to both of those children than if I had just let them carry on fighting!

I’m not saying that I would stand and watch, The point here is just because you have a power to do something does not mean you must use it, your duty of care both to yourself and the children  is absolute.

#4 Fourth rule: One fight at a time

Admittedly, sometimes there’s a lot of effort, a lot of shirt pulling, spinning round and grabbing but generally there is usually one party (or both) that have entered into this bout of fisticuffs fairly reluctantly. I’m not suggesting we just stand and watch or take a sweep-stake perhaps. If there is time to look at a less intrusive method, which is likely to work, resulting in a lesser harm occurring then surely where it isn’t necessary to use force, we shouldn’t? The very presence of an adult can sometimes be enough, or a clear confident and audible command could stop children in their tracks or even less than that? I mean, ask yourself why the children are fighting?

Not why they have started fighting, now that could be a variety of things, from misappropriated Match Attaxx cards in a primary school setting to a negligent“Like” on Facebook in secondary. No, why are they continuing to fight? In the film, one fight at a time meant having an audience – it may be more appropriate (and far more effective) in some circumstances to evict the crowd chanting“Fight, fight, fight!” before you consider physically intervening. Once the eyes are away from them, the fight in the duo often fizzles out.

Then sanctions against those encouraging the fighting could be a good way of instigating a cultural shift in your establishment, condemning fights as a spectator sport to being a thing of the past.

 #5 Fifth rule: No shirts, no shoes

As specific as the character in the film Tyler Durden was on fightwear, the guidance put out there by the government is specific in the detail of the fight’s location. Why a playground was my initial reaction? Don’t fights occur in other areas? Is there a difference that we need to be made aware of? Is it only “a fight” if it takes place on the ground area allocated for children to play? Location may affect your assessment of the situation but other than that plays no significant part in lawfully intervening.

Escorting a child from one side of a school to the other for example – legally is there a power to do so? Yes, absolutely the power exists. I have previously written posts explaining the legalities of restriction of liberty and the use of time out rooms, practically though is it always the best option to attempt, with their resistance to get them there? Police stations, prisons and hospitals are all ergonomically designed to allow staff to easily escort people who don’t want to be moved from one place to another. Think about it, wide corridors, ramps, laminated wall displays instead of pictures and ornaments, doors that open electronically or both ways and what is on the floors? Nothing. What happens to said floors in the evening? The floors are cleaned and buffed, partly for hygiene but it is easier to move those resisting than if they had the purchase of carpet beneath their feet.

Classrooms? Rows of chairs housing other children. Corridors? narrow, with amazing wall displays, doors that open inwards with fiddly handles and stairs. Yes stairs – I have a talent of falling UP stairs when I am at home, happy and calm. What then are my chances of successfully managing a challenging student and collaborating the movements of another colleague DOWN a flight of stairs when I am in a state of high emotional arousal? That risk assessment is not even worth attempting.

So as with any manual handling activity we must ask – do we need to move the object (child) in the first place? What is so urgent that we must immediately move the child?

#6 Sixth rule: Only two guys to a fight fellas

Do numbers matter? Numbers of staff? Number of people fighting? Well let us look at other activities, take moving a box for example. Your employer asks you to take a box down a flight of stairs, you survey it and on testing its weight find the object to be far heavier than you feel you could safely lift.

So, having been asked you lift it anyway and carry it through a classroom, stumbling due to its weight or shape. Subsequently, you and the pupil who broke your fall are now injured.

Would the staff member concerned be apportioned some of the blame? Yes of course the employer would have to by law produce a risk assessment for this activity but should the staff member themselves not have raised the fact that this assigned work activity was outside of their range of capabilities?

#7 Seventh rule: Fights will go on as long as they have to

The key is to stop incidents, but only when safe. If we look at two teenagers or even year 6 pupils in a primary school settings and make a bit of a threat assessment. Are the fighters big? Strong? Quick? Are they more able than ourselves? Or to rephrase, do we think that we actually could control them? Could we physically over power them to make them stop fighting? Is the likelihood of us succeeding in stopping the fight alone outweighed by these factors?

Removing classes of students using strategies to win time to call for help through containing pupils, moving objects and potential weapons out of reach, reminding pupils that the police are on their way are sometimes better alternatives than exercising your power to intervene, getting injured and failing in your duty of care.

#8 The eighth: and final rule…

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I hope it has been helpful if the links a little tenuous at times. Even if you aren’t a teacher, or you don’t work in schools, I’m sure you can see how this conveys to other settings and promotes an overall compliance with the human rights act. Ideally if we can isolate the triggers and target low level behaviours looking at sanctions & rewards rather than threats, we can minimise the residual risks of fights ever happening in the first place.

So, are you ready? Oh didn’t I say? As this is your first night at fight club.

Andy from Billboard PR1 – Big Fast for a Big Cause

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One of our great customers Andy Neale is taking part in a Zimbabwean style fast this week to raise money for a charity that is close to his heart- Progressio.

Andy has just returned from spending six whole months in Nicaragua living off rice and beans helping a remote community adapt to Climate Change. The fast is part of a project called ZimFast. ZimFast is a fundraising challenge to raise vital funds for Progressio’s work alongside people living in poverty. The challenge allow you to stand in solidarity with communities in poor and fragile countries like Zimbabwe, and take a glimpse into the lack of choice that extreme poverty brings.

Andy is just wanting £3 from 11 people to reach his target with his partner and friend. So if you haven’t done your ‘good dead of the day’ do it now!

You can read more here and donate here!

2nd office social – laughs, jokes & table football

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Last Friday we treated our customers to our second office social. We had a night filled with beer, pizza and most importantly table football and ping pong! The guys from Remploy beat everyone in the office in the table football competition, and the guys from Intelligent fleet management smashed the ping pong competition! It was a great night had by all!

Look out for details of our summer social coming soon!
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Our friends at Glovers Bar are up for multiple awards!

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Our friends at Glovers are excited to have a number of nominations in the It Smiles Better Awards 2016!

Vote for them here: http://bit.ly/1Vmdm88

They are up for the prestigious ‘Preston’s ‘Bar of the Year’ and Preston’s ‘Club of the Year’

Their wonderful members of staff are also up for individual awards including:

 

Sophie McBride – ‘Best Customer Service in a Leisure Business’?

Her quirky charm, endless energy and never-ending smile Sophie is the shining star in the customer service award category.

Jay Whalley – ‘Entertainer of the Year?

The man defined not only by his ever-evolving musical style,but also his numerous hairstyles! He has kept at the cutting edge of his craft and always leaves the crowds wanting more.

Chelsea Chard – ‘Leisure Manager of the Year’?

Chelsea deserves your vote for her passion and drive in the hospitality industry, her wholehearted leadership and being one of the consistent managers in the city’s nightlife scene.

Rob Binns – ‘Outstanding Achievement in Leisure’?

Rob started out in 1991 as a promoter, he then started putting events on in many of the city’s venues and creating iconic venues of the past including Mystic Productions, Cheeky Monkey, Browns, Truth; and 25 years later with Glovers. Rob is a very worthy contender in the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Leisure’

Vibe Tickets enters #VOOM Pitch To Rich!

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Vibe Tickets has entered the #VOOM Pitch To Rich competition this year, to be in with a chance to pitch their idea to Richard Branson, and win £50,000 to go towards improving the product, £250,000 for a marketing budget which will hugely help with Vibe’s efforts in continuing the #OutTheTout campaign and connecting more fans worldwide.

The Pitch To Rich competition gives Vibe a great platform to shout about the work they’ve been doing so far, and allows more fans to learn about the services Vibe Tickets can offer them. The exposure and support from Virgin Business could provide Vibe with a bigger audience to help and build the community- the more people using Vibe, the less people have to use secondary ticket sites that rip them off, and charge hugely inflated prices.

They are currently at position 10 in the rankings! They have had great support so far from fans, but they need to keep sharing and voting till they are at Number 1!! If you want to #VoteForVibe, and help them help more fans around the world then please vote here and share with them on social media!!

https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/vibe-tickets-1

Welcome to the Cotton Court team, Ella!

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Hello everyone, I’m Ella Worthy, Cotton Court’s Business Centre Administrator, and I can’t wait to get going and explore even into the ins and outs of everything that’s going on in and around the building.
I began my journey with Cotton Court a few days ago and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment so far. I have prior experience of working within office environments through working as a digital marketing assistant and as an administration and accounts assistant at a nursery. I also have a level Three Diploma in Social Media and Digital Marketing for Business and three A-levels.
I am no stranger to Cotton Court as I have attended many courses and have even taken part in the studio’s camera club on several occasions.
I feel like I have really slotted well into the team and so far Amy and Jon have really helped me understand the business as a whole. I’m really looking forward to working with Amy on the accounts as this is something I take a keen interest in.
Outside of my the office bubble, I have been an adult leader for Girlguiding at St Andrews Brownies and Guides for just over five years and my love of the outdoors has made me a keen photographer.

Scouts now bigger than ever in Lancashire!!

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West Lancashire Scouts are celebrating becoming bigger than they have ever been, after enjoying their 12th consecutive year of growth. After becoming the 8th largest Scout County in the UK in 2015, West Lancashire Scouts have continued to grow and now number 12,769 members in total, making them become bigger than at any point in a history which spans more than 100 years.

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The recently released census data shows that West Lancashire Scouts have grown in every one of their youth sections for girls and boys aged 6-25 years old. Over 9,500 young people are benefitting from Scouting in 154 Scout groups across West Lancashire which provide a varied programme of fun, challenge and adventure to support young people develop their social skills, make friends and enjoy new experiences together, with activities ranging from archery and camping to rock climbing and kayaking. The growth of Scouting is also benefiting communities across West Lancashire as Scouting has experienced nearly 10% growth in its teenage provision through Explorer Scouts and has recruited 183 new Young Leaders, aged 14-18, who volunteer their own time to have a positive impact on their communities as well as enjoying the Explorer Scouting programme.

Growth isn’t just about numbers though, and West Lancashire Scouts are celebrating becoming a more diverse organisation as female membership has grown by 9% and this is a success story seen across the country as female members now make up 25% of the movement nationally. Ellie Baker, 17 from Chorley, said, “Scouting has helped me so much by building my confidence. There is so much on offer for girls and boys. On my visit to the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 2015 my friends and I met people from all over the world, and worked together learning more about each other as well as how to look after ourselves and each other.”

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And its not just young people that are enjoying the fun, challenge and adventure of Scouting as adult membership has grown across all eight districts in the Scout County, showing that Scouting has something to offer for everyone. Carl Hankinson, Lead Volunteer for West Lancashire Scouts, said, “I am proud to be part of a successful organisation which is growing. Scouting is making itself more accessible in many parts of Lancashire and aims to grow further by welcoming more adults and young people, and becoming as diverse as the communities it serves.”

 

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said:

“I am super proud to see so many young people and adults learning new life skills, and achieving personal rewards through Scouting in the UK.  I am excited to see Scout numbers continue to rise across the UK, especially the numbers of girls.

What I’m most pleased about is that Scouts across the UK are putting their time in to helping their local communities. Through our A Million Hands campaign we are pledging one million hands to supporting four of the biggest social issues currently facing the UK and the wider world, but we can’t do it on our own. We want all young people to come and give Scouting a try and to get involved. This is how we can all play a vital role in shaping tomorrow’s world for the better.

 

Cotton Court to Host Boost Programmes

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We are pleased to be hosting a series of workshops for Boost

Growth Support Programme is a fully funded programme delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all, targeted at supporting potential entrepreneurs across Lancashire to start their own high growth business and existing Lancashire enterprises already trading to achieve their growth aspirations.
The Growth Support Programme is designed to support entrepreneurs who would benefit from deliberately challenging support to start and grow a business. The programme is designed to help ambitious young businesses to achieve their growth potential by providing credible, tailored and expert support, which is easy to understand and delivered face-to-face.

This support includes 1-2-1 coaching, seminars & master classes action learning, networking and signposting to other relevant support.This highly specialist programme of support is only available to businesses that have an overwhelming ambition to grow, raise investment and create jobs.
Features of the Growth Support Programme and wider support available:
• A specialist high growth coaching session designed to examine the business model and assess growth potential.
• Access to bespoke, tailor made, intensive workshops designed to equip entrepreneurs with the tools and techniques to launch a successful enterprise.
• Access to a wide range of innovative tools, including lean start up techniques.
• 1-2-1 coaching with a range of specialist growth coaches, focusing on the specific growth constraints your business is facing right now from a team of highly experienced and proven high growth entrepreneurs.
• Personal Action Planning – unlocking the potential in entrepreneurs and their enterprise.
• Specialist Master Classes through a tailored programme of Grow How Seminars, to up skill yourself and your team in the latest business growth techniques.
• Networking for Growth opportunities – access to a structured and informal networking group operating across Lancashire.
• Your own dedicated relationship manager supporting your growth journey
• Regular Lancashire wide Pop Up Cafes for business advice and Growth Summits aimed at celebrating business successes
• Access to wider support and finance through our partner network What are the benefits?
• Output focused coaching designed to provoke, challenge and drive for success
• Access to a wide range of core and sector growth specialists
• Two-way growth conversation which explores your business model and it’s ability to be high growth
• Access to an extensive toolkit, exclusive for this programme
• Introduction to lean start up techniques designed to minimise risk of starting a new business
• Opportunity to network with like-minded entrepreneurs and share experiences
• Personal Action Plan designed to help you reach your growth potential

The Growth Support teams at Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all have extensive industry experience and proven track record of working with high growth entrepreneurs and enterprises. Start your growth conversation now and contact Enterprise4all on 01254 693999 oboost_launchboost2info@enterprise4all.co.uk

New Beginnings…..

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After 4 great years at Cotton Court, 3ManFactory have moved into their own premises on Preston Docks. We’ve worked on some great projects with the 3ManFactory team over the past few years and we’d like to wish them all the best in their new office. Every end is a new beginning, and we’re pleased to welcome some fantastic new clients which we’d like to introduce you to…..

 

Beyond

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Beyond are an Oracle Gold Partner, previous winners of the Specialized Partner of the Year for Business Analytics at the Oracle UKI Specialized Partner Awards, accredited with Oracle’s “BI Applications Specialization” and “BI Foundation Specialization” status, providing accelerated success of Oracle BI Applications, with a specific focus in the Public Sector.
They work as partners with many UK Councils to assist them to engender tangible transformational change through easy to use dashboards consolidating secure, trusted data from across the council.
Their Cotton Court office provides a central location for their BI R&D Centre where they seek to enable local authorities to become truly intelligent organizations

Rejuvenate

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Rejuvenate are working on a number of projects that focus on creating opportunities to support those who have been personally let down by circumstance and ‘the system’ from living in one chaotic world. They aim to do this by rejuvenating the approach; access and attitude to health and happiness; helping people create a more healthy, natural but realistic balance in life.
The first project is due to be launched at the end of March and focuses on nutrition in the form of healthy food selection and guidance. From 15 February they will be taking bookings for holistic treatments including Swedish and Aromatherapy massage and Reflexology here at Cotton Court along with Facials and Non-Surgical Facelifts
More information on this can be found in the guest blog from Rejuventate.

 

UK Media and Events

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UK Media and events look after all aspects of event management, from private parties to corporate functions and public events, they can manage, supply and produce in part or a complete package to the highest standard.
They also look after advertising and media including designing, printing and fitting whatever your requirements with the utmost creative skill and quality.
They can also produce print, radio and television adverts, while managing your web and social media.

 

Diecut UK

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Diecut UK are specialist suppliers of corrugated, packaging, print & print Finishing Machinery. They offer a range of solutions, either packaged or bespoke, supplying clients with a machine to suit all budgets.

Enate

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Enate create simple solutions for companies that run a shared service centre or BPO. Enate work with HR service centres, high growth service provider and companies that deal with large scale outsourcing.