Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 30th June 2020

Welcome to our news bulletin with a roundup of the latest safeguarding news.

Since our last update we’ve been really busy ensuring new content is both released to meet our planned production release schedule and new content authored. If you logon to your admin dashboard you will see there are two brand new courses added to the safeguarding suite, Domestic Abuse and DSL SEND courses.

Domestic Abuse – We know that in the UK, 1 in 5 children are living with and are exposed to domestic violence and abuse, facing risks to their safety, education, emotional health, wellbeing and development. Witnessing domestic abuse is recognised as a form of child abuse and, whilst the impact and risks vary, all are a cause for concern.

Statistically, all educational settings will have children attending who are living with domestic abuse and colleagues affected too. As such I felt it was essential we produce this course so you can ensure all staff understand and recognise the risk factors and are skilled to implement protective factors to safeguard those at risk.

DSL SEND – Under the statutory requirements of Keeping children safe in education, DSLs are required to be alert to the specific needs of children with special educational needs and to recognise the potential for safeguarding vulnerabilities. This follows several serious cases reviews where safeguarding opportunities were missed for such children. DSLs are not expected to have the knowledge or undertake the role of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) however there are key training elements which will benefit the DSL safeguarding role. 

I am delighted to announce that our core DSL training has been extended to provide an additional third module specifically looking at SEND from a DSL perspective. So, who should complete this course?

  • For those new to the DSL role all three parts of our DSL training should be completed. This now forms core training.
  • If your DSLs have already completed DSL parts 1 & 2, they do not have to redo these courses. They simply need to complete the new third DSL SEND course.
  • DSLs who have previously completed core training and our refresher training should also complete the DSL SEND course if they have not accessed SEND training from another source.

For DSLs have completed training from another source e.g. in person training, but haven’t completed the SEND element we are also making our DSL SEND training available as a separate course.

Finally, I’d like to reassure you that despite the COVID-19 pandemic our teams and services remain fully operational. This includes confirming our planned releases for September 2020 with new courses on:

  • First Aid in an Educational Setting;
  • Supporting Bereavement and Loss;
  • Supporting Mental Health & Wellbeing of Children & Young People.

In addition, we will also be producing a bitesize course to use as an update for staff on the September 2020 Keeping children safe in education revisions.

We know the next few months and start of the academic year present settings with new challenges but please rest assured we will continue to work on your behalf to help. If there are any topics you would find as helpful additions to our safeguarding suite let us know!

Take care and stay safe,
Sam Preston
Safeguarding Director

Child abuse victims to sue Celtic FC

A ground-breaking civil action claims that Glasgow based Celtic FC failed to protect victims from sex abusers working around Celtic Boys’ Club.

In the landmark case, three victim-survivors aim to use a civil trial to “knock down the defence wall” they allege the club is maintaining to distance itself from the Boys’ Club. Celtic FC insist that the Boys’ Club is a separate legal entity.

The victim-survivors hope their case will also shine light on the role played by a senior Celtic executive when one paedophile returned to the Boys’ Club after he had been allegedly sacked from it in 1974 by former manager Jock Stein.

There has been some criticism of the Scottish government for failing to set up an independent public inquiry into the abuse scandal within Scottish football however, a Scottish government spokesperson has said there is already an established a wide-ranging review into child abuse across Scotland stating:

“The Scottish government, having listened to the views of survivors, established one of the widest ranging public inquiries that Scotland has ever seen, into the abuse of children in care, focusing on the systemic institutional failures which saw many of our most vulnerable children, including those in the care of the state, abused by the very individuals who were there to care for them. We want that inquiry to be able to undertake its work in a timescale that can address the issues raised by survivors, many of whom are elderly.”

The abusers connected with Celtic Boys’ include the multi-millionaire businessman involved in setting up the club, James Torbett, who received a six-year sentence in 2018 after being convicted of sexually abusing three boys over an eight-year period. Following the High Court trial, the judge, Lord Beckett, stated Torbett had “used the club as a front for child sexual abuse.” Torbett, previously jailed in 1998 for abusing three former Celtic Boys Club players between 1967 and 1974, had been allowed to return to the club.

The team’s former kitman, 73-year-old Jim McCafferty was also found guilty of twelve sex abuse charges in relation to ten boys from 1972 to 1996. Four of his victims played for the Celtic Boys’ Club. After admitting to all twelve charges, McCafferty was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison. At the time of his conviction in 2019 he was already serving a prison sentence for the sexual abuse of a boy in Belfast.

In a statement Celtic Football Club said the organisation “is appalled by any form of historic abuse and has great sympathy for those who suffered abuse and for their families. The Club is very sorry that these events took place. The abuse of young people is an abhorrent crime. Unfortunately, it has affected many areas of society.

With regard to the allegations regarding historic abuse at Celtic Boys’ Club (which, so far as we have been made aware, relate to the period prior to 1997), although Celtic Football Club is a separate organisation, we take these extremely seriously because of the historic contacts between the two organisations. Police investigations were given support, so as to seek to ensure that those individuals who abused young people were brought to justice.”

Hidden in Plain Sight

Frontline youth workers fear that the closure of many diversionary projects and specialist services aimed at helping young people exit gangs safely could lead to an increase in young people coerced into criminal activity. 

Views expressed as part of the Hidden in Plain Sight report reveal that lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed street gangs to locate their targets much more easily as they know they will be either at home or close to a family address. The report states:

“There are issues emerging around vulnerable young people during lockdown who are in unsafe environments and at greater risk from gang-associated activity. Whereas groomers find it easy to show young people the path they can take and its immediate reward – such as buying a new pair of trainers or drugs – in contrast, families and youth workers are struggling to compete.”

“They are working with reduced services, youth centre closures and the prospect of a summer ahead with fewer residential opportunities, family outings and places to go. Social distancing has also led to a lack of visible positive, aspirational figures for young people in their own communities.”

Concerns have been expressed that young people in potentially unsafe environments are more at risk as they have had limited access to support services during lockdown. Chief executive of the National Youth Agency, Leigh Middleton said: “More young people are in potentially unsafe environments…just at the time when they are needed the most, many youth work projects stopped or became severely restricted due to Covid-19. Now is the time for more youth work, not less.”

The report states that social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat and House Party are being used to incite gang violence, leading to an increase in gang activity and child criminal exploitation throughout the pandemic. It states that: “these channels are being used to taunt or trap rivals and, in many cases, to incite violence – including one case of a shooting as a direct result of street gangs using social media.”

Whilst acknowledging that online contact has worked well for those whose relationships were already established prior to lockdown, the report highlights the engagement difficulties services have had during and post lockdown in engaging young people in or at risk. In particular the report highlights concern that in some areas an increased number of at-risk children may be slipping under radar of authorities or going missing due to lockdown.

According to the report:

“There is anecdotal evidence from a small sample of local authorities that less supervision of young people and staffing difficulties in care homes may lead to missing potential and actual incidences of child exploitation, exacerbated by a sharp increase in the use of online platforms and social media.”

The NYA is calling on the government to classify youth services as an essential service and give youth workers key worker status in a bid to tackle these issues.

It is also asking for clear Home Office guidance to embed youth services in Violence Reduction Units and other agencies and for HM government to create a Youth Service Guarantee, as recommended by the home affairs select committee, to secure long-term funding and greatly increase the number of youth workers.

Youth workers to be trained to tackle youth violence

London youth workers are to be trained to lead efforts to tackle youth violence through an initiative led by charity London Youth. A hundred youth practitioners are to be recruited to the leadership programme delivered by Clore Social Leadershipand Leap Confronting Conflict, funded through a £550,000 grant from the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit.

The charity London Youth will select practitioners across its membership and other youth organisations to undertake the youth pratictioners’ leadership programme from September. 

The practitioners selected must have the potential for sector leadership, have influence in their communities and have experienced barriers to progressing into formal leadership roles. It is thought that their lived experiences will help them to connect with young people at risk of violence.

The programme core learning will include:

  • trauma-informed practice;
  • change management;
  • mental health first aid;
  • contextual & transitional safeguarding;
  • business planning.

Participants will also have access to an innovation fund to implement change in their community to benefit young people experiencing violence.

COVID-19: Risk of mental health issues in under-fives

New research published by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) states that children under five and their families face greater risks to their mental health due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The research, Nurturing Healthy Minds Together calls for the emotional wellbeing of these families should be prioritised, warning that the stress and anxiety caused by lockdown in addition to difficulties in providing face-to-face support, could worsen pre-existing mental health problems in children under five.

Whilst there is a lack of research to indicate how many under-fives have or are at risk of developing mental health issues, a study published by the NHS in 2018 found that 1 in 18 two- to four-year-olds in England have a diagnosable-level mental health problem.

The charity’s report highlights that in many cases provision of services is inconsistent, and take-up is often low and calls for extra support to enable “richer”parent-child relationships as a means to improve young children’s mental health. The report recognises that:

“Secure attachment, where a child feels confident in the loving bond between themselves and their parent or carer, is built through positive and responsive everyday interactions, and is shown to support healthy cognitive and emotional development. Building parents’ understanding of this process, and actively involving them in service design, are the keys to reaping mental health benefits for them and their child.”

Following publication, the NCB is urging HM Government to improve systems for measuring, identifying and responding to infant mental health needs particularly as many parents and very young children are struggling to maintain their emotional wellbeing during the Covid-19 crisis.

Responding to the report Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said “We have already heard anecdotally from providers who tell us that many children under five are anxious, fearful of germs and worried that their loved ones will become ill.”

Updates to SEND pupil risk assessments

Latest HM Government guidance states that all schools, nurseries and Local Authorities must update risk assessments for children with education, health and care (EHC) plans, in order to determine whether they can return to reopening settings. Risk should also be re-assessed where settings have assessments in place for children and young people with complex needs who do not have an EHC plan in place. The guidance has also been updated to include a new section covering the issue of settings requesting medical evidence ahead of readmission.

Sam Preston
Safeguarding Director

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Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 27th April 2020

There is no doubt this is an unprecedented time for us all right now, with COVID-19 presenting many challenges. Please rest assured the SSS Learning team are working safely and carrying out the essential work to keep our services fluid and working as usual.

We are really proud to be providing a service to support and enable so many people working in all education settings. Since lockdown measures commenced, over 50,000 certificates have been issued to staff completing our CPD courses, including creating over 2,000 new Designated Lead trained staff.

In addition, we are also continuing to grow our programme of planned additional content without interruption to our schedule. I’m pleased to say our animators are now working on our latest course on Domestic Abuse, which is due to be launched next month. This is a key safeguarding area which sadly, due to current restrictive measures, is making adults and their children at risk or experiencing abuse more vulnerable.

As you will have had to amend your Safeguarding policy to include COVID- 19 provision, don’t forget to make use of our Document Tracker to upload and disseminate your revised protocols.

Please remember we are here to support you and thank you for all you are doing.

Sam Preston

Safeguarding Director

Domestic abuse- COVID- 19

In a statement the Counting Dead Women project has identified there have been at least 16 suspected domestic abuse killings, which include children, since the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced in the UK three weeks ago. Counting Dead Women founder, Karen Ingala Smith, wrote the figure was “the highest it has been for at least 11 years and is double that of a hypothetical average 21 days over the last 10 years”. The deaths of around five females a week at the hands of men is more than double the average rate of two for the time of year.

Earlier this month, support charity Refuge said there had been a 25% rise in phone calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline in a five-day period a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown on 23 March.

Refuge, one of the charities supporting those at risk of or experiencing domestic abuse and/ or violence, has also reported that visits to the  National Domestic Abuse Helpline, in that same period had gone up by 150% compared with the last week in February.

The Home Office has launched a new campaign to promote the help available to those at risk of or experiencing domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown and is working with charities to provide an extra £2m for domestic abuse helplines and online support. 

However, although welcoming the campaign and funding, Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said it had come “quite late in the day” and that “to save lives in this pandemic we are ordering some people to stay locked up for a long time with people who will damage them. And that has been staring the government in the face.”

Speaking to the Home Affairs Committee of MPs, Dame Vera said the government must adapt by providing a “system of rescue” in the places where victims will go to during the outbreak, such as supermarkets. She said supermarket workers should be trained to recognise code words from domestic abuse victims.

West Midlands Police has made 400 arrests for domestic abuse in the past fortnight but officers fear more crimes may go unreported. The PSNI District Commander for Derry City and Strabane, Chief Superintendent Emma Bond, said she is concerned some “traditionally under-reported” crimes may be “less visible” due to lockdown restrictions and that “concerns exist” over incidents such as hate crime and domestic abuse.

Poor uptake of emergency places for vulnerable children

Department for Education data shows that only a tiny fraction of vulnerable children in England are taking up the emergency school places kept open for them. The data shows just 29,000 so-called vulnerable children attended school in the week before the Easter holidays. This compares to the more than 723,000 children who were known to children’s social care services in 2019.

The figures have prompted concerns that “at risk” children are facing increased danger in the lockdown, while schools and teachers struggle to get hold of them”. The new data shows only a maximum of 5% of the most needy children have been at school during the Coronavirus crisis.

In response, Children’s minister Vicky Ford said children who were not in school were being monitored by social workers and supported in other ways. However, in a statement to the BBC, England’s Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said: “What we now know is, what we’ve been hearing over the last few weeks, that the vast majority of vulnerable children in this country are not attending, despite the fact that schools are open. What that means is that they are at home, potentially with a cocktail of risks. They may be in homes with quite fragile environments, potentially domestic violence in the home – which we know is increasing, parents with drug and alcohol addictions or indeed severe mental health conditions. So often these children are quite invisible at home and not in the place which is best at keeping them safe – school.” Ms Longfield also said that referrals to social services had dropped by half, adding that “social workers need to be knocking on doors and everyone needs to be working tirelessly to get these vulnerable children into schools”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said his first priority was protecting the well-being of children and young people but particularly those vulnerable young people with social worker or special educational needs stating that “Schools are open for them and we’re working to make sure those who should attend do so.”

Update to guidance during the coronavirus pandemic:

HM Government guidance on schools and education during the coronavirus pandemic for parents and carers has been updated (19th April 2020). This update covers lots of information, including charges by childcare providers, alternative exam arrangements and more.

HM Government has published further guidelines on how to stay safe online during COVID-19. The guidance includes a section for parents and carers, including parental controls, how to talk to children about staying safe online and health guidelines. 

You may wish to include the above links on your websites.

Re-opening schools

During the weekend of the 18th and 19th April, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced there was no date set for returning to school, quashing speculation about an imminent return. In response Association of Schools and College Leaders (ASCL) General Secretary, Geof Barton said that the earliest “realistic” point at which schools in England could start re-opening would be 1 June and that “planning would need to begin very soon” in order to meet such a target.

The education secretary said if and when the five thresholds in the fight against coronavirus were reached, a date could be set for schools to reopen. The thresholds include: 

  • the NHS’s ability to cope is fully protected
  • the daily death rate is dropping
  • infection rates are falling to manageable levels
  • there are sufficient supplies of testing and protective equipment
  • there is no risk of a “second peak” of infections

Only once those requirements have been met, will a date be set for schools to re-open. Due to the complexity in ensuring not only educational services could be maintained but also those services necessary for functionality e.g. school meals, transport services, it is likely there will be some measure of phased return proposed. In addition, parents would also have to be persuaded it was safe and that the proposed social distancing measures could be maintained.

Doubt has been cast on whether social distancing can really be feasible in schools particularly between younger children and there are other questions around safety:

  • Should children with family members vulnerable because of health conditions return to school?
  • How many vulnerable staff would need to be shielded? 
  • What protective equipment might be needed for teachers?

Earlier last week, a petition from NHS nurse Iain Wilson warned against any early push to re-open schools stating, “It is self-evidently unwise to force hundreds of people into small rooms in small buildings during a pandemic.”

Robert Halfon, Chair the Education Select Committee, said primary schools should be the first to return to help parents and stop disadvantaged youngsters falling behind at an early stage. However, Mr Barton said the priority should be Years 10 and 12, who are part-way through GCSEs and A-levels, and Year 6, where children are about to make the transition to secondary school.

Other countries might provide evidence of how reopening educational settings might work. In France, primary-school pupils will start to go back, in classes of no more than 15, from 11 May and in the Netherlands, pupils will go back, on a part-time basis, on the same date, with secondary pupils returning from 1 June.

Knife crime in England and Wales rises to record high

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal that knife crime in England and Wales increased last year to a new record high. The ONS said police recorded 45,627 offences in the year to December 2019, 7% more than in 2018, and the highest since knife crime statistics were first collected in 2010-11. The figures, which do not include Greater Manchester Police because of IT issues, also showed a 13% rise in knife crime in the West Midlands.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on knife and violent crime reduction said the money is needed to ensure youth services can offer specialist support to the victims and perpetrators of violent crime. The cross-party group of MPs and peers are calling for HM Government to invest £1.57bn in children and youth services to tackle violent crime.

In a new report, the APPG stated it also wants to see youth services work more closely with charities to deliver specialist support. However, a key finding of the report recognises that it is impossible to deliver this type of specialised work unless there is investment in and development of the workforce. 

45% Increase in UK child trafficking cases

National Crime Agency annual data on the number of people referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which identifies UK trafficking cases reveals a 45% increase in the number of children identified as potential victims over the past year.

4,550 children were identified as potential victims of trafficking in 2019, compared with 3,137 in 2018. Nearly half of those all identified as victims were children. 

The vast majority of child victims were from the UK, however significant numbers of children from Vietnam, Eritrea, Albania and Sudan were also identified as potential victims.

Three quarters of all children identified as potential victims were boys, although this is likely to be due to increased recognition of male victims of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE).

From October 2019, labour exploitation and CCE have been recorded as separate exploitation types to reflect the increased threat posed by criminal gangs towards children, particularly through county lines drugs activity.

Data for the final three months of 2019 shows there were 664 referrals solely for CCE and a further 138 in which CCE was suspected alongside other forms of exploitation – meaning CCE accounted for 56% of all exploitation in that quarter.

All professionals working with vulnerable children are required to report suspected cases of exploitation to the NRM. Following reporting, all cases are assessed, and support put in place for those that are confirmed.

However, reflecting on the latest data Iryna Pona policy manager at The Children’s Society stated that : “Too often children at risk are not identified and knowledge of the NRM remains patchy among professionals,”

Pona also cautioned that criminals could take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to target children who may be isolated from their usual support networks or missing supervision and support offered by school, college and other education settings.

Hard to Escape

A report published by The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has found moving teenage victims of criminal exploitation away from their local area is not an effective way of protecting them from gangs. 

Findings in the report It Was Hard To Escape, which examined how teenagers can be better protected from criminal exploitation, indicates that moving children and families affected by gang crime “works for a short period but is not effective as a long-term strategy”.

The report states that “Moving children or whole families out of the area provides a breathing space and immediate safety but was not effective as a medium- or longer-term strategy,” and calls for a “clear and consistent plan for supporting the child and managing risk in the new location”.

Relocation is often carried out by councils when a child is considered to be at serious risk of harm and violence. The report also calls for far greater focus on the needs of parents and siblings in their new location including priority council housing for families who need to be moved for their own protection. The report highlights a case of one family who moved back to an at-risk area to prevent the loss of their permanent housing rights but “within months their son was killed”.

Local agencies “woefully ill-equipped” to deal with familial abuse

A new report, has found that children sexually abused by family members are going unseen and unheard in too many cases, while abusers evade justice. 

The report produced by inspectorates Ofsted, HMICFRS, Care Quality Commission and HMI Probation found that local agencies are often woefully ill-equipped to deal with child sex abuse in families and that efforts to prevent abuse are largely absent, while ineffective criminal investigations are, in the worst cases, leaving children at risk.

Familial abuse accounts for two thirds of all child sex abuse, though the true figure is highly likely to be higher due to under-reporting. The report shows that despite the extent of the problem, local and national strategies to tackle it are virtually non-existent.

The report also found that whilst agencies have improved their response to child grooming outside the home, the less high-profile issue of familial sex abuse is not getting the priority it needs. The inspectorates’ findings expose a worrying lack of knowledge and focus on familial abuse from all local partners. Although inspectors found pockets of good work, this was inconsistent at best.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Practice is too police-led, focusing on the criminal investigation at the expense of children– often at the exclusion of health services resulting in children being left without medical treatment for possible sexually transmitted infections, other injuries and without mental health support;
  • Poor-quality criminal investigations– significant delays to police investigations mean that children are left in limbo, or at worst unsafe. Rather than arrest, voluntary attendance is being used to interview suspects, so children aren’t protected by bail, while potential abusers could be destroying evidence. Inappropriate bail conditions leave abusers free to contact and, in some cases, even return to live with the children they are abusing;
  • Preventative work is absent or focused on known offenders– inspectors saw little work to educate the public about risks relating to child sex abuse. It was also clear that, possibly due to a reluctance to discuss the topic, local partners are not prioritising prevention work; 
  • Professionals rely too heavily on children to speak out about abuse– Children are unlikely to tell someone that they are being sexually abused, particularly when they know the perpetrator. Parents, professionals and the public must understand and know how to respond to the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse – education is vital;
  • Some initiatives are working well, but these are too piecemeal– Inspectors found examples of effective work in all areas but a more consistent and strategic approach to what works would widen impact and efficacy;
  • Efforts to protect children are also being hampered– agencies, and society more generally, are afraid to talk about familial sex abuse. Within communities, there remains a disbelief and denial that sex abuse can happen at home.

The report also highlights that important lessons learned from dealing with child sexual exploitation are not being applied to abuse in families, stating that professionals don’t know enough about perpetrators, how to identify them and how to stop them from abusing children.

Sam Preston
Safeguarding Director

Please do let us know what you think of the e-Bulletin:
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Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 1st April 2020

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, keeping you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter @SSSlearning and my commentary on @Sam_SSSLearning

Latest DFE guidance re safeguarding and COVID-19

New guidance on safeguarding during COVID-19 was issued by the Department for Education on the 27th March 2020 to support the new ways of working and provision of childcare for the most vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.

All schools are required to have a written Child Protection policy (or joint Safeguarding & Child Protection policy) as a statutory requirement, however the latest guidance states that it is “likely” existing policies “will not accurately reflect new arrangements in response to COVID-19”.

The guidance states that educational settings should review their current policies to ensure they reflect how safeguarding and child protection arrangements will be implemented during the current arrangements. The guidance also states that policies should be kept “under review as circumstances continue to evolve” and recognises that in some cases, an annex or addendum on COVID-19 “might be more effective” than re-writing and re-issuing the whole policy.

Whether rewriting or adding information to policy, the guidance highlights that “It is important that all staff and volunteers are aware of the new policy and are kept up to date as it is revised. The revised policy should continue to be made available publicly.”

Although having a trained Designated Safeguarding Leads (or deputies) available on site is the “optimal scenario”, HM Government has accepted that this “may not be possible” at all times. If a DSL isn’t available, schools could consider either having their trained DSL or deputy available by phone or online video, or sharing DSLs or deputies with other schools and colleges, who would be available by phone or video.

In situations where a trained DSL or deputy is not on site, in addition to one of the above options, the DfE also recommend a senior leader takes responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site. This role may include updating and managing access to child protection files, liaising with the offsite DSL (or deputy) and as required liaising with children’s social workers where they require access to children in need and/or to carry out statutory assessments at the educational setting.

It is vital that all staff and volunteers know “on any given day” who their available DSL or deputy is, and how to speak to them.

Although HM Government have clarified that DSLs or deputies who have been trained will continue to be classed as a trained DSL (or deputy) even if they miss their refresher training, users of our training suite will be able to keep their qualification up-to-date using our DSL Refresher course.

Additionally our service can be used to train new DSLs.

The guidance makes it clear that any educational setting whose children are attending a different setting should do “whatever they reasonably can” to provide the new setting with “any relevant welfare and child protection information”. Changes for Looked-After children should be led and managed by the Local Authority Virtual School Head who has responsibility for the child.

The guidance states that “As a minimum the receiving institution should, as appropriate, have access to a vulnerable child’s EHC plan, child in need plan, child protection plan or, for looked-after children, their personal education plan and know who the child’s social worker (and, for looked-after children, who the responsible virtual school head is). This should ideally happen before a child arrives and, where that is not possible as soon as reasonably practicable.”

The guidance is relevant to all schools, whether maintained, non-maintained or independent (including academies, academy trusts, free schools and alternative provision academies), maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units. 

Where the guidance refers to ‘colleges’ this includes all of the following:

  • further education colleges
  • sixth-form colleges
  • institutions designated as being in the further education sector
  • other further education providers, funded by the Education and Skills

Funding Agency, such as 16 to 19 academies and independent learning providers, including special post-16 institutions.

Please keep safe, we will continue to provide you with information on any further interim guidance issued.

Sam Preston
Safeguarding Director

Please do let us know what you think of the e-Bulletin:
e-bulletin@ssslearning.co.uk

Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 13th March 2020

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, keeping you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter @SSSlearning and my commentary on @Sam_SSSLearning

School Closure Contingency Planning COVID-19

As the UK has now progressed from the Containment Phase of COVID-19 to the Delay Phase, from yesterday’s HM Government briefing we now know that closure of all educational settings at some point looks highly likely.

We would like to reassure all existing and prospective SSS Learning customers that contingency plans are in place to ensure our service remains fully operational in any isolation phase. We already have some staff working remotely as a precaution.

If you are currently devising your contingency planning due to COVID-19 closure, we can confirm that staff undertaking our training from home settings will have full remote access to our online CPD accredited Safeguarding Training Service via any PC, Mac, Smartphone or tablet. Should they need any help or assistance, staff can directly contact our support team who will be available via Livechat and email until 10pm 7 days a week.

The Department for Education has launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows: 

Phone: 0800 046 8687 
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk 
8am to 6pm (Monday-Friday)

Revised KCSIE 2020 & changes to DSL roles

As you may be aware, the DFE has launched a consultation on the proposed changes to Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) which will come into effect from September 2020. 

The aim of this latest proposed revision is to clarify many areas of the existing legislation in order to help schools and colleges to better understand what they are required to do by law and what the DfE strongly advise should be done to meet safeguarding responsibilities.

In addition, the DfE is also consulting on proposed changes to the role of Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) to ensure staff in such roles have a greater focus on improving the academic achievement of children on the edge of care, as part of their existing safeguarding duties.

Launched in response to the recommendations of the Review of Children in Need, the proposals aim to specifically help those children experiencing challenges outside of educational settings, which may contribute to poor attendance, poor behaviour and disengagement in lessons. Specifically, this focuses on sharing information about how children’s circumstances are impacting on their education and supporting school staff to find effective ways of teaching these children and maintaining a culture of high aspiration for them.

The proposed changes aim to help the 1.6 million children who have needed help and protection from a social worker at some point in the last 6 years. (On average, three children in every classroom need a social worker). Children who have needed help and protection from social care services often miss out on education, are 3 times more likely to be persistently absent from school, are 50% less likely to achieve a strong pass in English and maths GCSEs and on average are 2 to 4 times more likely to be excluded than their peers.

Rest assured, specialists on our team are participating in both consultations, scrutinising the practice implications and will closely monitor the pathway of the proposals. All our safeguarding courses will be fully updated to meet the new requirements in plenty of time for September commencement, so you can start the academic year with confidence.

Mandatory Fire Safety Requirements

By law all staff working in educational settings must complete fire safety awareness training. 

To help you meet this requirement we are delighted to announce that our new Fire Safety Awareness e-learning course is now live. This course designed for all staff and volunteers in schools, academies and educational settings, ensuring compliance with the training requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Supplied to all suite customers at no additional cost, the training is also available for non-suite customers to purchase.

In addition, we have also launched our Fire Warden e-learning course to fully equip staff undertaking this specialist role.

These informative courses have been co authored with David Parker, former Assistant Divisional Officer in the South Wales Fire Service and one of the UK’s leading Fire Safety specialists who has many years direct experience within educational settings. David is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Fire Engineers and works across the globe as an independent Fire Consultant. 

With stunning 3D animation (check out some previews on our twitter feed) both courses offer great training solutions and peace of mind that practice will be secure in a fire emergency.

Half of children flagged at risk of abuse or neglect died

The first report published by The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has found that the number of children who died or were seriously injured due to abuse is ‘significant and troubling’ 

The report, published by the independent body set up to identify, commission and oversee reviews of serious child safeguarding cases, reveals that up to half the children flagged to social services as at risk of child abuse or neglect died in the past 21 months.

The report reveals that 289 of the 538 cases of child abuse and neglect notified to the newly-established safeguarding panel between July 2018 and December 2019 were known to social services. A similar proportion had already been identified as “vulnerable” but despite this “the system was not able to prevent” the children’s death or their involvement in a “serious incident.”  The report found that of those children notified to the panel:

  • 244 (45%) were children who later died through being killed by parents or their partners or after becoming involved in crime gangs;
  • 144 (27%) involved the death or serious harm of a child under one-year-old due to non-accidental injury;

In addition, in the cases of some 220 (45%) children, weak risk assessment and poor decision making was identified as a major practice theme.

The panel, which provides a multi-agency view on cases raising complex issues or that are of national importance, is currently undertaking thematic reviews into the deaths of infants which will be published later this year.

Free train travel for women fleeing domestic abuse

Women fleeing an abusive relationship are to be given free train travel under the “Rail to Refuge” scheme. Following the sign up of Southeastern and Great Western Railway, victims across the south of England, South Wales and the West Midlands are the first to benefit from the new initiative.

The scheme, the idea of Southeastern station manager Darren O’Brien, aims to reassure and empower women to put distance between them and their abusers. O’Brien stated that even though the initiative is “only a small thing”, it could “make an enormous difference” to women in dire circumstances.

Commenting on the new initiative, acting co-chief executive of Women’s Aid Adina Claire said: “Access to cash is a major barrier for women escaping an abusive partner, and free train travel will be one less thing for these women to worry about at a time of acute crisis.”

A director at GWR, Joe Graham, said: “The railway is much more than trains and rail track; it is about supporting the communities that it serves.”

Abuse victims can contact the charity Women’s Aid, or a domestic abuse helpline or local outreach service, and if necessary, a refuge space will be found and the train ticket obtained on the woman’s behalf.

Hopefully more transport links will join the initiative and that the scheme can be expanded to support men also affected by domestic abuse. 

Football clubs settle sexual-abuse claims

Aston Villa FC and Leicester City FC have settled a civil case for compensation weeks before it was due to be heard in the High Court, paying damages to five victims of a football scout previously convicted of child sex abuse. The amounts involved have not been disclosed. Both clubs stated that the claims, settled by their respective insurers, were on terms “acceptable to all parties” and without admissions of liability.

The scout, Ted Langford who died in 2012, worked as a part-time football scout in the Midlands in the 1970s and 1980s, identifying promising players for both Aston Villa FC and Leicester City FC. He was jailed in 2007 for the sexual abuse of four other young boys between 1976 and 1989. The Football Association later set up an independent inquiry into historical sexual abuse across the sport, which is continuing.

Leicester City FC said in a statement it wished to express “its deepest sympathies with all victims of abuse and its admiration for those survivors who, in coming forward, have helped to reinforce the game’s modern safeguarding standards”.

It added: “All reports of abuse made to the club, non-recent or otherwise, are treated seriously, investigated thoroughly and pursued to an appropriate conclusion that is satisfactory to all associated parties”.

Aston Villa FC said in a statement it “wishes to express its deepest sympathies with all those who have suffered abuse, and is appalled by any form of historic abuse. Safeguarding standards are of paramount importance to the club and any reports of abuse made to the club, both historic or current, will be investigated vigorously and reported to the appropriate authorities”.

Footballer sacked following sexual activity charge

Tyrell Robinson, the previously suspended 22-year-old Bradford City winger has been sacked by the football club after being charged with engaging in sexual activity with a child.

Robinson was initially arrested in 2018 following allegations of sexual assault. In a statement last week, West Yorkshire Police stated that Robinson had been charged with engaging in penetrative sexual activity with a child, relating to an offence alleged to have occurred in Bradford in August 2018.

Robinson has also been charged with 1 count of making an indecent image of a child and 2 counts of distributing an indecent image of a child. 

A statement issued by the club stated that: “Bradford City Football Club has parted company with Tyrell Robinson. This comes after West Yorkshire Police confirmed charges had been brought against Robinson, following his arrest in August 2018. Robinson has been dismissed from the remainder of his contract on grounds of committing gross misconduct. The club will be making no further comment on the matter.”

Robinson is summoned to appear before Bradford magistrates on 7 April 2020.

Pupils ‘reluctant to receive peer mentoring’ on mental health issues

An evaluation of the Peer Support for Mental Health and Wellbeing Pilots, which have been running since 2018 in 100 schools and colleges across East Sussex, Ipswich, Derby, Oldham, West Midlands and Bradford, has found that while the programme was met with “considerable enthusiasm” from young people interested in the peer mentor roles, there was less interest in actually receiving help.

The report evaluating the DfE pilots found that whilst many young people experience stress, anxiety, or mental health problems they are reluctant to receive support from their peers.

The report also found that whilst there was a “considerable appetite” for the initiative among the participating educational settings, many reported that they were limited in what they could offer to young people below the threshold for clinical intervention.

Survey research conducted as part of the evaluation found that non-participants wanted greater reassurances about privacy and confidentiality, clearer signposting, and discretion to be able to choose their peer mentor.

New bursaries to boost child counsellor in school numbers

Place2Be, the children’s mental health charity, has launched new training bursaries to boost the number of counsellors working in schools. Funded by a grant from the Wolfson Foundation, the charity is offering 25 means-tested training bursaries for successful applicants on its child-counselling courses, including a postgraduate diploma in counselling children in schools.

Latest figures from Place2Be show that one in three children in every class now has a diagnosable mental health problem. A survey published by the charity and education union NAHT earlier this year found that the number of schools commissioning professional help for children’s mental health issues rose from 36% in 2016 to 66% last year. 

Bursaries will also be available for people with places on the charity’s Level 3 certificate in counselling skills for working with children and the Level 2 award in counselling skills for working with children. (Fees for the postgraduate diploma are £6,000 over two years while certificate and award courses cost between £1,795 and £785 depending on the level of study).

Applicants can register interest about the bursaries prior to their launch now.

Please do let us know what you think of the e-Bulletin:
e-bulletin@ssslearning.co.uk

Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 6th February 2020

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, keeping you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter @SSSlearning and my commentary on @Sam_SSSLearning

Emergency legislation for terrorist sentencing

Despite being ridiculed for repeatedly vowing to tackle ‘counter-terrorism offenders’ following the knife attack in Streatham, Home Secretary Priti Patel this week announced HM Government plans to introduce ‘fundamental changes’ to the way terrorists are released from prison in the wake of the attack.

Convicted terrorist Sudesh Amman, who had been released from his previous conviction after serving half his sentence, was shot dead by police in Streatham on Sunday 2nd Feb after three people were injured in the terror attack carried out by Amman.  Despite being under active counter-terrorism surveillance at the time, Amman carried out knife attacks in the south London borough whilst wearing a fake bomb vest. Remarkably those injured in the attack all survived.

In the wake of the attack Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the difficulties associated with de-radicalising extremists stating:

“There is a big psychological barrier, people find it hard to get back over, and that’s why I stress the importance of the custodial option and that’s why I have come to the end of my patience with the idea of automatic early release and I hope that people will understand why we’re doing that.

This is a liberal country, it is a tolerant country, but I think the idea of automatic early release for people who obviously continue to pose a threat to the public has come to the end of its useful life.”

Under pressure following three attacks by men convicted of terror offences who were released, HM Government is proposing introducing emergency legislation. This would mean prisoners convicted for terrorist offences would no longer be freed at the halfway point of their sentence. The new plans, which would apply to current and future offenders, would mean terror offenders would only be considered for release once they had served two-thirds of their sentence and with the approval of a Parole Board.

However, the plans are likely to be challenged. In a BBC  interview Lord Carlile, a former independent government reviewer of terrorism legislation, said that “The decision to lengthen the sentences of people who’ve already been sentenced and therefore expected to be serving half the sentence may be in breach of the law”.

Sam Preston, Safeguarding Director of SSS Learning, commented: “It is understandable that, in the wake of attacks involving men previously convicted of terrorist offences, we need to review legislation. But simply lengthening sentences will not address the issue that at some point such criminals will be released and the public need to be safeguarded. To ensure this there has to be a focus on the process of de-radicalisation and indeed how /if that can be effectively achieved in the prison setting.”

Haleema Faraz, mother of Amman, has  claimed that in addition to watching online extremist material, her son had become further radicalised by inmates in whilst serving his sentence in high security Belmarsh Prison.

The proposals follow a broad package of counter-terrorism measures previously announced by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, which included plans to introduce lie detector tests for terrorist offenders as well as the recruitment of specialist counter-terrorism probation officers.

Whilst it is likely that HM Government will justify the planned changes on the grounds of national security, the proposals will face legal challenge that may result in progression to the Supreme Court.

Welsh smacking ban

The Welsh Government has passed a new law banning people from smacking their children, the second country in UK to bring in such a ban. The legislation removes the defence of “reasonable punishment” in cases of common assault, giving children the same protection as adults in Wales. (As stated by The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a reasonable punishment defence only applies if victim’s injuries are “transient and trifling and amounted to no more than temporary reddening of the skin”).

The law banning people in Wales from smacking their children will begin in 2022 and will be enforced by the criminal justice system. However, it will rely on evidence gathered by the police, who also have the option to caution someone instead of taking them to court. They could also issue community resolution orders, which would not go on a criminal record but could show up on an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check in some circumstances when people apply for certain jobs.

Experts call for national review of home schooling following serious case review

Northamptonshire Children’s Services, described by Commissioners as “one of the worst performing yet most expensive” in England, are again in the spotlight as children’s protection experts call for a national review of procedures around elective home schooling.

The call follows a serious case review in which a young boy faced “extreme neglect and abuse” by his stepfather and mother. Before eventually being taken into care, the boy (who cannot be named for legal reasons) endured four years of abuse which included being beaten, locked in his room and forced to defecate on the floor, being fed stale food and banned from speaking to his siblings.

Although Northamptonshire county council social services set up a “child in need” plan for the boy, it closed the file after three months after deciding there were no concerns for the child’s welfare.

The official serious case review published by the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Partnership found significant failures by social workers and NHS staff, who it said had missed early chances to remove the boy.

Within weeks of closing the case, his stepfather made professionals aware of his intention to electively home educate the boy. This resulted in the boy not being seen by any professional for over a year. The review described the boy as being “hidden from view” whilst the abuse perpetrated by his stepfather and lack of protection by his mother continued. The review found that the boy’s mother had “abdicated her responsibilities and duties as a parent” to the stepfather.

In fact, the boy was never home educated as his stepfather did not submit an application form. This resulted, the review says, “in the child being out of school, effectively out of sight for a period of 14 months”. Attempts by the school to get the forms completed appear to have been rebuffed.

His parents, a 34-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman were convicted of five counts of child cruelty and jailed for seven and three and a half years respectively.

Northamptonshire county council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Fiona Baker, said: “We are deeply sorry for any poor decision making and mistakes which may have contributed to this awful case of abuse. Children’s services in Northamptonshire are on an improvement journey and although much progress has been made there is still a lot to do.”

The case is the third high-profile serious case review in recent years involving Northamptonshire county council children’s services. Last year two reviews found that professionals missed crucial opportunities to save two toddlers who were murdered by men with histories of domestic violence, crime and drug use.

APPG for young carers & young adult carers

The first all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for young carers and young adult carers is set to be formed.

According to charity Carers Trust, the new APPG will provide “an invaluable opportunity to develop a cross-party platform to encourage improved support, services and recognition for young carers and young adult carers. It will also promote awareness of their needs and issues affecting them”.

The APPG will also enable Young Carers and Young Adult Carers to meet MPs giving them a forum to explain the pressures and challenges faced because of their caring responsibilities and how such pressures might be addressed by decision-makers.

Dublin FGM conviction

For the first time in the history of the state, a married couple have been sentenced for aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) of their then 21-month-old daughter.

The couple, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, had pleaded not guilty to procuring an act of FGM claiming the child had sustained her injuries by falling backwards onto a toy while not wearing a nappy. However, the paediatric surgeon who performed a procedure to stop the girl’s bleeding, came to the conclusion that her injury had not been sustained accidentally and referred the case to gardaí for investigation. The surgeon, Sri Paran, told the court that the child would have gone into shock within 20 hours had her bleeding not been stopped. The parents’ version of events was disputed by several medical experts and the couple, who were also found guilty of one count of child cruelty, were convicted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last November.

Sentencing the couple, Judge Elma Sheahan said the offence had resulted in serious harm to the child, who may suffer psychological or psycho-sexual effects that may not be fully known for years. She described the offence as the “most egregious breach of trust by those presumed to be the protectors of their infant child”. She said the girl had suffered an “appalling act of cruelty”.

The husband and wife were sentenced to five-and-a-half years and four years and nine months respectively for the female genital mutilation of their then 21-month-old daughter. In addition, the husband was sentenced to three years on one count of child cruelty and the wife to two years and nine months.

FGM is a criminal offence under the Irish Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012, and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. It is estimated that 5,800 women and girls in Ireland have undergone FGM, with human rights charities warning that another 2,700 are at risk. See my blog

Safeguarding failures found at pre-registration of independent school

An inspection of the Empire Coaching Academy’s proposed site at Smithfield House in Digbeth, Birmingham, has been deemed “not likely to meet” all independent schools standards and failed pre-registration. The Ofsted inspectors discovered boarded up fire escapes which failed to work when a kitchen fire set the alarm system off. Inspectors also found fallen-in ceilings, sharp steel ceiling retainers dangling at head height and windows that opened wide enough so that a pupil “could easily fall out”.

Ofsted conduct pre-registration inspections to determine if the school is likely to meet independent school standards, filing their finding to the Department for Education.

On the alarm sounding, lead inspector Dan Owen said it wasn’t possible to “easily leave the building by the stairs because many adults were coming up the stairs to other floors as opposed to evacuating the building”. A school leader suggested to him it was a test alarm and the inspector should continue his inspection.

However, Mr Owen found he couldn’t escape on the ground floor because a “magnetic door exit would not operate properly”. A second fire exit was “tied shut on the inside with a power cable and was firmly covered with wooden boards from the outside”. The report added: “In the event of an evacuation, there is no clear route out of this building.”

The inspection also found that upper floors of the building were in “a state of dereliction and pose serious hazards to pupils”. Although not proposed for school use, the upper floors were fully accessible. Office furniture was found on fire escape routes and a shopping trolley on a staircase. Low-dangling light fittings and sharp steel ceiling retainers were found to be dangling at head height. Mouldy food was observed together with signs of “rodent activity”. The report concluded that whilst these areas are not part of the proposed school they are “readily accessible” and “could have an impact on the safety and welfare of any pupils” adding that “Leaders’ risk assessments have failed to evaluate the risks associated with the building”.

In addition, when assessing the accommodation at the school the report found “serious hazards to pupils” which present even higher risks as “the pupils the proprietor proposes to educate are highly vulnerable”. This included exposed wires, with some sockets were found to not be properly fixed to the wall. Some windows could not be opened at all whilst others opened without restriction where pupils “could easily fall out”. One large window came off its hinges when opened by the inspector.

The decision to open the proposed school, which would employ eight full-time staff and teach a total of 70 pupils aged 12 to 16, 10 of which would be part-time pupils will be made by the DfE in due course.

Parents let down by professionals’ poor grasp of child sexual exploitation

A damning report has been published by the charity Parents Against Child Exploitation (Pace) / focusing on the experiences of parents and grandparents whose children were sexually abused outside the home.

The report, consisting of semi-structured interviews and focus group sessions with 32 parents or grandparents, describes lengthy delays in any action taken, not being listened to by social workers, feeling that their child had not been helped, and that they were often viewed as bad parents, or even possible abusers themselves.

The majority of participants felt social workers had a poor grasp of child sexual exploitation, often minimising or dismissing the physical and mental harm their children were being subjected to by criminal gangs.

One father, a single parent from the West Midlands and experienced community work professional, who participated in the study described how the sexual exploitation his daughter was suffering wasn’t part of children’s services discussions. Nicholas Beale said “I kept raising it with [children’s services], but they were constantly questioning my parenting, my failings. And the language that was used was so patronising, condescending, dehumanising … if it had just been one person, I’d have put it down to their individual failings, but it was every social worker with the exception of one.” In fact, he felt so unsupported that he felt he had no option but to request that his daughter go into temporary foster care.

The report indicates that this experience is far from unique. Gill Gibbons is chief executive of Pace, the charity which supports parents attempting to extricate their children from the clutches of the gangs that serially rape vulnerable teenagers for profit, said that, although things have changed from the time of the Rotherham scandal when social workers explicitly viewed children as consenting to their own abuse, the testimony in Pace’s report leads her to believe “the shift away from blaming parents has taken a lot longer. It has been hardwired into all the training around child abuse that the first perpetrator you look at is parents”.

Commenting, Leeds’ Director of Children’s Services Steve Walker acknowledged that the approach taken towards families in some children’s social work departments is problematic. “Families are assessed through the lens of risk, where they are either causing harm or failing to protect, which is unhelpful in all but the most severe cases of abuse. As a result, families experience social work interventions as judgmental and adversarial. This makes it difficult to achieve the kind of partnership with families that is needed, particularly where there are concerns about sexual exploitation.”

February publications

Ofsted, Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (2020), The multi-agency response to child sexual abuse in the family environment

This report summarises findings from our joint targeted area inspections of ‘the multi-agency response to child sexual abuse in the family environment’.

Please do let us know what you think of the e-Bulletin:
e-bulletin@ssslearning.co.uk

Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 24th January 2020

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, our first publication of the new year.

Here at SSS Learning the team have been busy and I’m delighted to update you on forthcoming additions to our course range.

Our new Fire Warden course for staff in educational settings will be available before half-term. This course has been developed with specialist advice from David Parker who is an independent Fire Consultant, former Assistant Divisional Officer in the South Wales Fire Service and Graduate Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers. Enhanced with stunning animation, the course provides comprehensive training for all staff undertaking this role. The course will be available to purchase as an individual course and will be automatically added at no additional cost to the safeguarding suite for all suite customers.

We also have a further two courses currently in development. The first course looks at the topic of Domestic Abuse and will be invaluable to those leading on safeguarding and for all staff. In addition, following the new requirements of KCSIE 2019, we will be producing a course on SEND for those undertaking DSL and named person roles.

To further enhance CPD, in addition to these bulletins we will also be publishing a series of feature articles on key safeguarding areas throughout the year. The first feature examines Safeguarding policy, essential to get right to ensure best practice. Packed with top tips it will also help you audit your current policy, helping you and governance make sure your policy is fit for purpose.

As ever, we will continue to keep you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates throughout the year. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter  @SSSlearning and my commentary on  @Sam_SSSLearning

Here’s to a productive 2020!

Sam Preston
Safeguarding Director

New counter-terrorism measures

This week the Home Office announced a new counter-terror package which includes tougher sentences for offenders, an overhaul of probation and a £90m increase in funding for counter terrorism police. The measures will be part of the Counter Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill, promised to come before the Houses within the Government’s first 100 days in office.

Longer sentences include 14 years for those involved in planning and training others to commit terrorist offences. There has been some criticism of how effective such longer sentencing measures will be. David Merritt, father of Jack Merritt who was killed in the November London Bridge terrorist attack, stated “keeping terrorists in prison longer will not per se keep people safe, particularly if they are exposed to radicalisation inside”.

The new measures include:

  • Forcing terrorists who receive extended determinate sentences to serve their full term in prison
  • Ensuring individuals convicted of serious offences like preparing acts of terrorism or directing a terrorist organisation spend at least 14 years in prison
  • Getting rid of early release for those classed as dangerous and given extended determinate sentences
  • A doubling in the number of counter terrorism probation officers
  • A cash injection of £500,000 to support victims of terrorism and a review of the current services on offer
  • An increase in the number of places in probation hostels, designed to allow authorities to monitor terrorists in the weeks after their release
  • A boost to counter terrorism police funding of £90m year-on-year for the coming year to £906m
  • More special psychologists and trained imams to help assess the risk of radicalised offenders
  • More training for frontline staff in prison and probation, in order to identify and challenge extremism

In response to the announcement, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the additional funding is “gratefully received” and that he was “pleased the government is willing to help strengthen the world class Counter Terrorism network protecting the UK”. 

11-13 year-olds coerced into performing sexually over their own webcams

In PMQs last week (15th Jan), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced “further action” is to be taken by HM Government to keep young people safe online and protect from exposure to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). 

This statement follows information released by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) which highlighted the staggering number of pre-teen girls being ‘tricked into sex acts on webcams’.

Data released by the IWF reveals that girls aged between 11 and 13 are increasingly being tricked and coerced into performing sexually over their own webcams. 80% of the sexual selfies the IWF found in a trawl for images of child sexual abuse were of children this age. Of all web pages found featuring images of child sexual abuse, a third consisted of self-generated images, mostly by girls in a domestic setting. The images showed them looking into cameras, reading messages asking them to do something and complying.

Susie Hargreaves, IWF chief executive, stated that said the number of such cases was growing at an alarming rate. Ms Hargreaves said: “These are images and videos of girls that have been groomed, coerced and tricked into performing sexually over webcam in what is fast becoming a national crisis. They are being flattered, told they are beautiful. They often think they are in relationship with someone… and they don’t have the emotional maturity to understand what is going on”.

The charity took action on 37,000 self-generated images of children last year. About 30,000 were of adolescents. The charity has urged anyone discovering child sexual abuse images and videos or non-photographic child sexual abuse images to make a report to the IWF. This can be done confidentially and anonymously at the following link

County Lines- young people being failed by the services designed to protect them.

The Children’s Society has warned that too many children vulnerable to exploitation by county lines gangs are being let down by frontline services that consistently fail to identify young people at risk.

The charity’s comments are in response to a report Both Sides of the Coin; The Police and National Crime Agency’s Response to Vulnerable People in ‘County Lines’ Drug Offending published on the progress made by police and the National Crime Agency (NCA) in tackling county lines at local, regional and national levels. The charity also highlighted that crucial information which could prevent young people from becoming victims of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) was also not being shared.

The report, published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, stated that despite an improved understanding by police forces and the NCA of county lines activity, current policing models are too “disjointed to allow for the most effective response”. The report identifies areas where improvement is needed finding that:

  • “Professionals from other agencies often have contact with county lines victims before the police become involved. They need to ask the right questions to recognise the signs of exploitation”.
  • “Systems for collating and sharing intelligence and information between the police and other agencies are crucial to preventing exploitation efficiently and effectively”.
  • The demand for services often outstrips supply, such as a lack of 24/7 multi-agency support, healthcare provision and insufficient beds in secure accommodation.
  • One organisation’s lack of resources can result in a negative effect on the demand other organisations face.
  • “Gaps in youth service provision can mean that young people are not diverted away from crime”.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said the report identified “strong collaborative work” between policing and the NCA to tackle county lines and highlighted the “significant progress” made since the launch of the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre

Whilst welcoming the progress made by police forces in responding to the problem of county lines, The Children’s Society highlighted that all agencies are consistently failing to identify children at risk. Mark Russell, chief executive of the charity said “These are children who may have been groomed with drugs, alcohol, or promises of status and wealth who then face the trauma of being coerced with terrifying threats, violence and sexual abuse to carry drugs around the country”, adding that in some cases, this led to young people being treated as criminals rather than recognised and supported as victims.

New LGBT + Bullying and Hate Crime Schools Project Pack launched

A new LGBT+ Bullying and Hate Crime Schools Project pack has been launched to to protect potential victims by deterring would-be abusers and encouraging and supporting victims of identity based bullying to report incidents.

A hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.

At the launch of the resource, Chris Long, Chief Crown Prosecutor and CPS national lead on hate crime said: “Hate incidents and hate crimes can have a devastating effect on the individuals and communities who are targeted for simply being who they are. Everybody has the right to live free of persecution, but hate crime tramples upon this right.”

The resource pack is for teachers of key stages 3 and 4 and is an updated version of a pack first developed by the CPS in 2014. It has been developed by the CPS in partnership with a number of organisations, including Stonewall, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Gendered Intelligence and NASUWT.

Further trauma for vulnerable children suffering PTSD

A report by the Centre for Mental Health has found that vulnerable children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are being further traumatised through school punishments such as being secluded and excluded.

The mental health charity report found that around a third of children in England and Wales are exposed to trauma, such as neglect and abuse, before they are 18 and that a quarter of these children will go on to develop PTSD. The report also states that children who are violent and showing challenging behaviour such as stealing and ignoring rules are more likely to have been affected by trauma.

The report also highlights that schools often fail to understand the effects of trauma on children and are responding to their challenging behaviour through “restrictive action” that is leaving them further traumatised. This includes responsive actions such as restraint, isolation and seclusion from their peers or excluded from school.

The report states that “In some cases, challenging behaviour is a symptom of trauma,” and that “exclusion and seclusion can echo relational trauma and systemic trauma; whilst physical restraint can echo physical and sexual abuse”.

In addition, the report also highlights that such interventions may “cause harm and potentially drive even more challenging behaviour”.

The charity is calling for educational settings to become “trauma-informed schools” in order to better understand the effect of trauma on children, promote positive behaviour and “minimise the trauma causing potential of the school environment”.

Sarah Hughes, Centre for Mental Health Chief Executive commented that: “Attempts to improve school discipline through restrictive interventions and exclusions will not work. For some of the most vulnerable and marginalised children they will entrench behavioural problems with lifelong consequences for them and their families. Helping schools to become trauma-informed is much more promising. As part of a ‘whole-school approach’ to mental health it has the potential to benefit everyone, to make all children feel valued and understood and prevent exclusions and their devastating consequences.”

Hughes went on to add “The government has recognised this by investing in new mental health teams to go into schools and putting the subject on the curriculum. It must now take the next step and help schools to boost children’s mental health in the ways they manage behaviour and create a safe and consistent learning environment for all”.

Although HM Government measures were introduced to improve support within schools through closer links with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in December last year, only around a third of schools and colleges will benefit from improved mental health services by 2023.

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has criticised these measures as not being ambitious enough.

Ofsted call for deeper inspection of ‘stuck’ schools

An Ofsted report published on 8th January 2020 has found that more than 200,000 children, mainly in disadvantaged areas, are being educated in schools that have been consistently weak over the last 13 years. 

‘Fight or flight? How ‘stuck’ schools are overcoming isolation’ is an evaluation report investigating why some schools that have previously delivered a low standard of education have managed to sustainably improve whilst other have not. Perhaps unsurprisingly given Ofsted’s role, the report states that a system of deeper inspection is needed, together with better support, to improve the educational experience for children in such schools.

Ofsted inspection finds children “at significant risk of harm”

A Gloucestershire children’s home for young people with autism and learning difficulties has been rated “inadequate” in all areas of its provision after an Ofsted inspection found a series of leadership and safeguarding failures judged to place the children at “significant risk of harm”.

Inspectors, who visited Orbis Abbey Rose in Tewkesbury in December last year, described finding children and staff smeared with faeces and children engaged in “highly dangerous behaviours” which included smashing car windows, throwing furniture and assaulting staff.

Ofsted carried out the inspection following receipt of a number of allegations made about practices in the home. Inspectors concluded that there were “serious and widespread failures that mean children are not protected, or their welfare is not promoted or safeguarded”. 

The report noted that “incidents of staff, children and the premises being smeared with faeces to be a common occurrence”. One of the houses had only one toilet roll between six bathrooms and no handwash or towels in the staff bathroom. The children were also being fed a diet of processed food with staff making daily visits to fast food outlets to collect meals.

Two members of senior staff with child protection responsibilities were found to not have appropriate safeguarding training and the report states that “on occasions, staff have remained working alone with children despite allegations being made about them by other staff”. Repeated patterns of staffing changes led to agency workers frequently hired to cover vacancies, including the support of children with serious complex needs. The report states that allegations have been made about four agency staff.

The home, part of the Orbis Education and Care group, is one of a number of schools, residential homes and facilities for children and adults with autism run by Cardiff-based Orbis. Reflecting on the outcome of the inspection, a spokesperson for Orbis Abbey Rose said “This is clearly a concerning matter for us and we have taken swift action to make alternative care arrangements for all our young people during this temporary suspension. We will continue to work closely with Ofsted, the Local Authorities and families as we implement the improvement plan”.

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Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 5th Dec 2019

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, keeping you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter @SSSlearning and my commentary on @Sam_SSSLearning

How to talk to children about terrorism

As media coverage of the most recent London Bridge terrorist  attack once again demonstrates, the ongoing reporting following such incidents pervades news and social media coverage. New NSPCC tips and  advice is now available if you are concerned about how a child is feeling following such events. In addition, the charity has also released a supporting video – how to talk to children about terrorism. You may also wish to make parents / guardians aware of this resource.

Domestic Violence behind rise in child protection figures

On average, 88 children are taken into care each day in England where there has been a 53% rise in child protection cases over the last ten years. A  survey conducted by the  Local Government Association(LGA) reveals that domestic violence, family conflict and drink and drug abuse are the biggest drivers of the rise in child-protection cases. In response to the LGA survey, more than 80% of the councillors in charge of children’s services identified domestic violence and substance misuse as the reason for the increase in intervention to protect children in their local authorities, 18,000 more children than a decade ago.

The Department for Education has also published  figures which show domestic violence to be the most common factor for “children in need”, higher than issues such as abuse, gangs, trafficking or anti-social behaviour.

Extended sentence for vile predator

Michael Williams, one of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles, has been jailed for another 18 years. Williams groomed children on his post round and online, with pictures of himself and Manchester United stars, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Peter Schmeichel and Ryan Giggs. He used the pictures to impress the children he later went on to abuse.

In 2010 when  Williams was jailed for eight and a half years for grooming up to 1,000 children, some of whom he also abused. He targeted children on his postal route, at local football clubs, tricked his victims into performing sex acts on webcams and convinced some to visit his home. Online, he pretended to be teenage to meet children aged 11 to 16.

Williams, 38, has once again been convicted after further offences committed both before and after his previous jail term came to light. Williams admitted to seven indecent assaults on two girls aged 13 that occurred before the offences he was earlier imprisoned for. He was also found guilty of three charges of making indecent images of a child and one charge of possession of an indecent photograph of a child, after his release.

Described by  Judge Simon Carr as ‘a predatory paedophile with an entrenched sexual interest in children that will last the rest of his life’, Williams has been jailed for an extended 12 years in custody and further six years on licence. 

EU report focuses on UK “county lines”

A new EU report highlights the “extensive exploitation” of vulnerable young people, by county lines drug trafficking gangs operating across the UK. The  EU Drug Markets Report 2019 is the third comprehensive overview of illicit drug markets in the European Union by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction ( EMCDDA) and  Europol

The report highlights how the “county lines” model of drug supply, which involves drug supply from a central base to rural supply areas using dedicated mobile phone lines to take orders, has become widespread in the United Kingdom. The report details how this exploitative business model is allowing criminal groups to expand to new areas at low cost and minimal risk through the recruitment and exploitation of vulnerable children, for example those in the care of social services or excluded from school.

The 2017 National Crime Agency threat  assessment on county lines showed that nearly every police force in England and Wales has been affected to some degree. The new EU report also states that “In the United Kingdom some provincial police forces have highlighted concerns about increasing firearms use related to the phenomenon of county lines”. The report also reveals that in the UK heroin is one of the main drugs now supplied through “county lines” and that the crack trade through this model is associated with increasing levels of violence.

This is a lengthy report which reviews the markets for heroin, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA and new psychoactive substances, providing action points to inform policy development at EU and national level. 

Serial killer charged with Estelle Mouzin murder

Michel Fourniret, known in the media as the “Ogre of the Ardennes”, is one of France’s most notorious serial killers. He has now been charged with the abduction and murder of Estelle Mouzin, the nine-year-old girl who vanished without trace in 2003. Estelle disappeared in 2003 whilst walking home from her school. Her body was never found. 

Detectives first suspected 76-year-old  Fourniret was behind Estelle’s abduction and murder in 2006 after a photo of her was found on his computer. A white van, resembling the one Fourniret drove, had also been spotted in the area when Estelle disappeared.

Fourniret, previously jailed for life in 2008 for the rape and murder of seven girls and young women, has now been charged over Estelle’s disappearance from a village east of Paris after his wife came forward to contradict his alibi.

Fourniret always maintained he had nothing to do with Estelle’s disappearance, claiming he was at home in Sart-Custinne, southern Belgium, at the time. This alibi held until last week when his former wife, Monique Olivier, told investigators that the phone call Fourniret said he made from his home on the day the child disappeared was in fact made by her at his request.  Monique Olivier is serving a 20-year sentence for helping Fourniret kidnap the girls and watching through a one-way mirror whilst he raped and killed them.

Fourniret is already sentenced to life with no possibility of parole however, an additional successful conviction for the abduction and murder of Estelle Mouzin will offer closure to a case which has gripped the nation for years.

Serious safeguarding failures at multi-site college set to be exposed

According to an  article published in FE Week last week, the independent learning provider  City College Nottingham is preparing to receive the publication of a grade-four Ofsted report. 

The Ofsted inspection was conducted after a whistle-blower brought concerns to the Education and Skills Funding Agency ( ESFA).

It is reported that inspectors found no restrictions on the internet for material such as pornography and radicalisation and a complete lack of security over who was coming and going to the provider’s multi-site campus.

In addition to its own students, City College Nottingham teaches young people and adults on courses in construction, beauty, care, IT and business courses under a £1 million subcontracting agreement with Nottingham College. Ofsted has alerted Nottingham College to its findings which has terminated the contract with City College Nottingham.

According to a spokesperson for Nottingham College, quick and decisive action has been taken after being made aware of the safeguarding situation, which includes providing reception and security staff at the Carlton Road campus whose role is to “ensure secure access and strictly enforcing the use of lanyards for staff and students to ensure only people with a legitimate reason to be in the building are in the building”. The college has also “suspended IT access to control safeguarding risk online until such time as adequate software monitoring can be introduced”.

The college was graded “ Inadequate” by Ofsted in January 2018, which included a judgement that “Teachers do not do enough to develop learners’ understanding of British values and their relationship to radicalisation and extremism”. The report included a recommendation for:

support staff to improve their own understanding of British values, and to improve the ways in which they make links between these values and the dangers of radicalisation and extremism, for example, by:

  • training staff so that they understand British values more fully 
  • sharing the good practice that already exists in parts of the organisation 
  • providing staff with details of news items that might provide useful discussion topics, along with guidance notes and helpful questions to ask. “

Despite a monitoring  report, published in January 2019, which judged that the college was making “reasonable progress” in this safeguarding area, it appears the latest report will contradict this judgement.

Published updates

State-funded schools inspections and outcomes as at 31 August 2019 – Provisional data for the period April to August 2019 and revised data for the period September 2018 to March 2019.

School inspection update: academic year 2019 to 2020 – This is the first edition since the rollout of the EIF. It focuses on the minor changes to section 5 and section 8 handbooks following the first two months under EIF. A summary of the changes is included and the edition also includes information on the release of key stage 4 checking data.

Social care questionnaires 2019: what children and young people told Ofsted – Published data of survey responses which captures children’s views about social care settings, including children’s homes, boarding schools and living with foster carers and adopters.

Research into further education subcontracting launched – Ofsted is launching a new research project to look at the subcontracting landscape within further education.

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Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 21st Nov 2019

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, keeping you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter @SSSlearning and my commentary on @Sam_SSSLearning

New free resource for parents/ guardians

Following on from our Parental Controls Streaming Resource link we produced last month, in this edition we’re including another support link to help parents/ guardians set up parental controls on mobile phones so they can set restrictions and limit the content their children may be exposed to. Please let us have your feedback and feel free to place the link:https://ssscpd.co.uk/parentsandguardians/parental-controls on your websites as a free parent resource. If there are any other resources you’d like us to provide let us know!

Record high of pre birth “children in need”

Latest Department for Education annual figures, published last month, reveal there were concerns about 400,000 children identified as children in need. Domestic violence, parents with mental health problems, and drug and alcohol abuse are among the biggest factors impacting on the children’s health or development, making them more likely to be at risk of significant impairment without extra support.

More than 7,000 of such vulnerable children fall into this category before their birth, leading to pre-birth child protection plans or other social services / local authority intervention. The annual figures (2018-19) record a new high of 7,360 children considered as vulnerable before their birth, a figure which has risen steadily over recent years.

The statistics show abuse or neglect to be the biggest concerns, together with family dysfunction, family in acute stress, parents’ disability or illness and low income factors. More than 50% of children in need cases, over 200,000 incidents, involved domestic violence.

Commenting on the latest figures, the Local Government Association (LGA) said:

“It is absolutely vital that councils are able to support families and help children who are at risk of significant harm, but it is also important that help is available before problems escalate to that point.”

The LGA has also raised concerns about children in need for reasons “linked to faith or belief”, which had risen by 320 to 1,950 cases, stating that some cases include beliefs in witchcraft or “spirit possession”.

Man who blamed baby’s brain damage on a puppy jailed

Paul Carlton has been found guilty of attempted murder despite his claims that the injuries to a baby boy in his care had been caused by a puppy. Carlton was looking after the boy while the baby’s mother went for a beauty appointment and lunch with her sister.

Carlton told jurors he had been briefly tidying his garden and had left the child on a baby swing in the flat. He claimed he heard a “loud cry” from the boy who he had left alone in the flat with his two dogs, one a cross breed American Bulldog-Staffordshire terrier puppy. He stated that he realised something was wrong when he went back into the flat and the boy was not opening his eyes properly. Carlton told the jury he could only “speculate” that the dog had seriously injured the baby.

The baby boy had no bite marks or cuts associated with a possible dog attack and when Professor Robin Sellar, a neuroradiologist, was asked in court how the injuries could have occurred he told jurors: “In that time frame, something very dramatic has happened. The injuries are consistent with a shaking injury.”

The eight-week-old boy, who has been left with severe brain injuries and cannot crawl, walk or talk, is now wholly dependent on his mother and the support of others.

Sentencing Carlton for 12 years, Judge Lord Burns said: “These cases are always tragic. The boy has been rendered helpless by your actions. He was as vulnerable a child as could possibly be imagined. You have tried to deflect responsibility by various means but the jury found you guilty.”

Jodie Chesney murderers sentenced

In follow up to the report in our last bulletin, the two teenagers found guilty earlier this month of the brutal and unprovoked murder of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney in Harold Hill have been jailed.

Jodie, who was stabbed once in the back when sitting with a group of friends in a park, died due to a combination of shock and haemorrhage.

Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 and Arron Isaacs, 17, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years.

Following the conviction of Ong-A-Kwie and Isaacs, DCI Whellams said:

“Jodie’s life was ended in the most brutal way by Svenson Ong-A-Kwie and Arron Isaacs, and I hope her family and friends feel some measure of justice has been served. On that Friday in March, Jodie was not in the wrong place at the wrong time, she was simply living her life as a teenager should – carefree and with her friends.”

Commander for the East Area Borough Command Unit, Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman, also said:

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies remain with Jodie’s family as sentencing is today passed down to the two people responsible for her murder. It has almost been nine months since Jodie was killed in Harold Hill, and nothing could ever have justified the extinguishing of her young life. Havering, like many boroughs across London, has experienced the tragic and inexcusable loss of young life as a result of knife-related violence. This is why bearing down on violent crime on the streets of our capital continues to be the Met’s top priority. We will continue to work tirelessly – day and night – to identify and pursue offenders, help bring perpetrators to justice, take weapons off the street, support victims, engage and reassure the public, and keep our communities safe.”

In an impact statement, Jodie’s father Peter Chesney said: 

“The murder of my beloved daughter has destroyed my life and the full extent as to how this has affected my family and me cannot possibly be explained simply in words. I have no idea how I am going to continue with my life or even come to terms with the loss.”

£700,000 compensation for head teacher sacked after having sex with two 17-year-old boys.

A tribunal has ordered the governing body of Tywyn Primary School, Port Talbot, to pay former Head Teacher Matthew Aplin more than £696,000 in compensation.

Safeguarding issues were raised when the school became aware that Aplin had sex with two teenagers he had met on a gay dating app in August 2015, resulting in the Governing Body’s decision to sack him.

Aplin was accused in May 2016 of “behaviour bringing the school into disrepute, conduct incompatible with the role of the head teacher both which seriously undermined the trust and confidence of the school in its head teacher”

However, in September 2017, a tribunal upheld Mr Aplin’s claims of unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination. The tribunal ruled he was unfairly dismissed and was discriminated against by the school’s investigating officer from Neath Port Talbot council, on the basis he was gay. School governors appealed that decision and lost earlier this year.

The tribunal criticised the governors for “acquiescing” to the wish of the Local Education Authority (LEA) to dismiss Mr Aplin stating: 

“The panel had no understanding of the reasons given for dismissal, the tribunal drew the conclusion that the panel decided upon dismissal but were entirely reliant on the LEA advisers for its reasoning.”

However, it found Mr Aplin would not have been treated differently by the governors if he was heterosexual, and they would have followed the LEA advisers either way. In its decision, the tribunal noted Mr Aplin had found it difficult to obtain new employment close to his home, which he believed was because he was being “deliberately undermined”. Since September last year, he has been working as a teacher at a primary school in the Merthyr area on a series of temporary contracts.

New guide to help primary teachers deliver LGBT-inclusive curriculum.

A new resource is now available which offers practical support and ideas for primary schools to include issues around lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and families into their lessons.

The free resource, published by Stonewall and education publisher Pearson has been produced in response to research carried out by the charity which found that two in five pupils (40 per cent) are not taught anything about LGBT issues and nearly half (45 per cent) of LGBT young people are bullied because of their gender identity.

The resource contains a glossary for pupils and staff, as well as example lesson plans and tips on building LGBT role models into the curriculum. It also advises providing examples in lessons that refer to different family arrangements where children might be looked after by same sex parents.

Launching the new resource, Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton, head of education programmes at Stonewall, said:

“Our new school guide will support primary school teachers and leaders to deliver an LGBT-inclusive curriculum so every young person feels safe, included and able to reach their full potential.”

Seven Staffordshire residents charged with child sex offences

Following an investigation by Staffordshire Police’s Child Protection and Exploitation Team, three men and four teenage boys from Burton-on-Trent have appeared at South Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court charged with serious sexual offences involving children.

David Korosi, 25, was charged with two counts of sexual assault and rape of a girl aged 13 to 15.  Adrian Demeter, 19, was charged with rape of a girl aged 13 to 15 and sexual assault. 

Jeno Maka, 18, was charged with causing/inciting a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity.

Four boys, two aged 15 and two aged 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were also charged with sexual offences against a child. One of the 16-year-olds was also charged with burglary and theft.

Leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales gives evidence to IICSA

Giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has said the Church was “shocked to the core” by child sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said the community had struggled to cope with “the presence of evil embodied in its members”. He went on to add that although the Church’s culture had improved “radically” in recent years, there was still “more to achieve”.

Giving evidence for the second time to the Inquiry, Archbishop Nichols said he had learned lessons about tackling abuse at a summit called by the Pope at the Vatican for senior bishops. He told the inquiry the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales had already implemented some of the measures discussed at the summit.

Lead counsel for the inquiry, Brian Altman QC, asked if he believed there was still much to improve, despite major inquiries held in 2001 and 2007. The cardinal replied: “The culture of the Catholic Church today is radically different from 2001 or even 2007, but I do think there’s much, much more to achieve.”

In response, Richard Scorer, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, acting on behalf of 27 abuse victims in the inquiry, said: “Cardinal Nichols’s evidence will cut little ice with victims. The Catholic Church has spent the last two decades promising to get safeguarding right, but the evidence in this inquiry has exposed these promises as so much hot air.” Mr Scorer said improvements had been “lamentably slow”, treatment of survivors was “consistently poor”. 

Archbishop Nichols was also asked why the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain, Monsignor Edward Adams, had refused to give the inquiry a statement about abuse at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School and specifically why it had taken so long for the Vatican to remove a particularly abusive priest from the Church.

The cardinal said he had stressed the importance of the inquiry to the other members of the clergy but added he was “not a diplomat” and did not understand “the niceties of international law in these things”.

Teenager jailed for Ellie Gould murder

Thomas Griffiths, the teenager who stabbed his 17-year-old girlfriend Ellie Gould has been jailed for life, with a minimum term of 12 years and six months. 

The teenager killed Ellie Gould at her family home in Wiltshire the day after she ended their relationship. Griffiths stabbed Ellie, then attempted to cover up his actions by dumping evidence and texting Ellie’s phone despite knowing she was dead. Forensic post-mortem reports showed that Ellie was stabbed at least 13 times.

Initially Griffiths attempted to cover up the crime by trying to clean his clothing to avoid forensic links and by telling neighbours and mutual friends on a group phone chat that he had started to self-harm because of the break up and exam stress in a bid to explain scratch marks to his neck obtained during the murder.

Griffiths, who was arrested just hours after the murder, initially denied involvement however later pleaded guilty to the murder.

22,000 young people face homelessness in England this Christmas

A new report by the youth homeless charity Centrepoint has revealed the extent of the issue of homelessness facing 16- to 25-year-olds this winter.

The charity sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all 326 councils in England asking how many 16- to 25-year-olds had presented as homeless or were at risk of becoming homeless last winter. A total of 248 councils responded. Under the Homelessness Reduction Act local councils must take the details of all people presenting to them as homeless.

The research suggests that between November this year and January 2020, more than 22,000 young people will seek help for homelessness, however this does not include data for a significant number of young people classed as “hidden homeless”. In a poll by the charity Centrepoint, almost three quarters of young people polled said they had stayed in abusive or overcrowded homes, sofa-surfed or slept rough.  The poll showed that:

  • 37% had stayed in an abusive home with a parent or guardian;
  • 46% stayed in an overcrowded property because they had nowhere else to stay;
  • 33% of young people spent a night in a park because they had nowhere else to stay;
  • 27% had spent a night in a tent;
  • 7% of young people had spent the night in a public toilet.

Of more than 200 people who participated in the survey, 4 in 10 said homelessness had made it more difficult to access education and more than two thirds said it had affected their mental health.

Centrepoint is calling on HM Government to change Universal Credit, which limits the amount of money available to young people to pay rent.

Additional funding for schools blighted by youth violence

Schools in areas of London blighted by youth violence will receive £4.7m to prevent children from being excluded and to better protect them after school hours. Researchthis year found that violence incidents involving young people are more likely to happen at the end of the school day.

The money, awarded through the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Violence Reduction Unit will be used to: train teachers and staff in identifying and supporting young people who are at risk of committing violence or becoming victims; help teachers and staff reduce violence and challenging behaviour; better support pupils in high-crime areas; provide peer support schemes and after- school activities. The action is seen as crucial to reducing the number of children who are excluded from school, who are at a greater risk of becoming involved in violence according to the mayor’s research. The research found that excluded pupils are particularly vulnerable to exploitation from criminal gangs.

In a statement Khan said:

“Evidence shows that nine out of 10 young people in custody have been excluded. That’s why London’s VRU is investing in a package of measures to support schools to reduce exclusions and support young Londoners with the most complex needs.”

The funding also aims to help pupils better cope with the transition from primary to secondary school, including offering summer schools and peer mentoring as pupils make this change in their education.

Pupils call for online sexual harm lessons from outside agencies

A new report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) shows that less than half (43%) of primary school pupils found lessons on online sexual harm at their schools “very helpful” and only 28% of secondary school students deemed their own experience of education about online sexual harm “very relevant” to what they had encountered themselves. In addition, 65% of young people said they would prefer to be taught by someone other than their teachers, preferring classes to be delivered in school but by a young person with experience of or expertise in online sexual harm “because it is coming from someone who knows what they are talking about”.

Issues of credibility related to teachers’ familiarity with the current social media landscape were also raised by young people. The majority felt that they had more extensive online experience than most teachers educating them on the topic.

The inquiry surveyed 213 young people aged 10 to 18 years old and held a focus group with 45 young people aged 14 to 16. Nine 13 to 20-year olds who had experienced online sexual harm while under the age of 18 were also interviewed.

Earlier this year the Department for Education published guidance on teaching online safety in schools.

Modern slavery in Birmingham soars

New statistics published by the Home Office show that the number of modern slavery cases has continued to remain at an alarmingly high level across the West Midlands this year. Of the 293 cases of suspected modern slavery taken place, around 70% of cases involved children.

Looking at cases from West Midlands Police as well as local councils, there were 86 cases in the first quarter of this year. The potential victims included a Vietnamese woman and a Polish man in domestic servitude, 35 cases of labour exploitation involving adults and children from 8 different countries, 4 cases of adult women and 2 underage girls being sexually exploited and two cases of unknown exploitation of Vietnamese men.

Across the UK, 2019 has seen a dramatic rise in modern slavery cases and the number of potential victims referred in the first three quarters of 2019 has already surpassed the 2018 total. Shockingly, the figures for the most recent quarter also included 3 cases where people were referred after potentially having their organs harvested. (In 2018 there were 6 cases of potential organ harvesting).

The Home Office suggest that a rise in county lines criminal activity is behind the increase in young people being exploited for their labour.

Please do let us know what you think of the e-Bulletin:
e-bulletin@ssslearning.co.uk

Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Here are the relevant online courses we provide that relate to this article:

To find out about our Safeguarding Suite click here

Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 7th Nov 2019

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin, keeping you up-to-date with all safeguarding news, information and updates. Between publications you can also get in the moment updates on safeguarding news by following us on Twitter @SSSlearning and my commentary on @Sam_SSSLearning

As I hope you know, at SSS Learning we really value your feedback and ideas on how we can further develop our service – we love your suggestions so keep them coming! 

Recently one of our schools asked if we could develop a service on our platform that would allow them to direct staff to read their bespoke policy documents, or any other publications, and provide evidence to track they had been accessed.

We thought this was a great idea so we’ve done it. You can now create a library of links and individually direct each member of staff to the documents relevant to them / their role.

To access this part of the service simply click on the ‘your policy documents’ button in the ‘your account’ section at the bottom of the admin dashboard follow the instructions to input links to your documents (for example on your school/academy website) then follow the instructions to issue an email to your team asking them to read the documents.

As soon as the documents are read by each team member this will be evidenced in the ‘show other reports‘ section accessed from your admin dashboard.

We’d love to hear what you think of this new resource, included at no extra cost, and if you have any ideas for further enhancing the system please contact us at: support@ssslearning.co.uk”

In the news:

Huddersfield grooming gang: guilty of multiple sex offences against young girls

Six members of a West Yorkshire grooming gang, convicted of multiple sexual offences against young girls in Huddersfield between 2005 and 2007, were sentenced last week.

The convictions were secured following Operation Tendersea, a police investigation into the systematic sexual exploitation of young and vulnerable girls in the Huddersfield area between 2004 and 2010.

Umar Zaman, 31, and Samuel Fikru, 32, were both found guilty of two counts of rape, each receiving a sentence of eight years. Zaman, who has previous convictions including burglary, drugs supply, violence and racially-aggravated offences, is currently on the run and believed to be in Pakistan. Fikru, who has previous convictions for sexual assaults and battery, was found guilty of two attacks on the same girl.

Three other men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were also found guilty and sentenced:

A 32-year-old man jailed for fourteen years for five counts of rape against two girls, which included raping one victim orally at knifepoint and another girl who he left lying bleeding in a park after taking her virginity; Another 32-year-old man jailed for eight years for raping a teenage girl outside near to a school; A 38-year-old man jailed for seven years for attempting to rape a teenage girl, who was wearing her school uniform, behind a shop.

A sixth man, 36-year-old defendant Banaris Hussain, also found guilty of raping a “particularly vulnerable” girl when others were present and abusing her at the same time, was sentenced to ten years this week.

The successful prosecutions and convictions are the culmination of over four years’ close collaboration between West Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The evidence, submitted to the CPS following an intensive and complex police investigation, included hours of detailed victim evidence against a large number of potential suspects.

Michael Quinn from the CPS said: “This case involved the cynical exploitation of a number of young girls by a group of predatory men in the Huddersfield area. These men deliberately targeted vulnerable children. The men cynically groomed and exploited children for their own sexual gratification, drawing them into a dark and sordid world in which they had little or no control over their lives. Throughout, the men cared only for themselves and viewed the girls as objects to be used and abused at will. At the heart of this case are the victims. They have all suffered trauma as a result of their childhood abuse. They have all shown immense courage in coming forward to assist the investigation and support the prosecution case.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard McNamara, West Yorkshire Police, said: “We welcome the sentencing of these six men for offences which can only be described as depraved.

Nursery licence suspended following sexual offence arrest

Following a number of unannounced visits last month, Ofsted have suspended the licence of Jack and Jill Childcare in Torquay. The visits to the nursery were carried out by the regulator following the arrest of a male employee, who is being currently being questioned on suspicion of multiple sexual offences.

The male suspect was arrested after a child alerted parents to an alleged incident. Having reviewed more than 250 hours of CCTV footage recorded within the nursery setting, Devon and Cornwall Police have launched a “major investigation” having also identified a number of additional potential victims aged between two and five.

To date officers have contacted around 100 families of children who attended the nursery, however have stressed that not all of these contacts have been made to identify potential victims. 

Acting Detective Chief Inspector James Stock, Devon and Cornwall Police, said contact with the suspect appeared to be “limited to within the nursery setting and we do not believe that any other member of staff had knowledge of these matters. These appear to be the actions of a lone individual and the offences do not involve the taking or distributing of any images.”

The male suspect is under strict bail conditions until 22 November.

(Note: SSS Learning has produced a Child Protection course, designed to meet the statutory requirements of KCSIE (2019), which is bespoke to supporting non-maintained nursery settings. You may wish to share this link with your feeder nurseries).

Child Abuse offences reach an all-time high

New figures, as a result of NSPCC Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent to police forces, state that in the year 2018-2019 there were 76,204 recorded sexual offences against children in the UK – a 60% increase on the previous year. The offences recorded included grooming, sexual assault and rape with 16,773 offences recorded against children 10 and under. This included 341 offences against babies under the age of 1. 

Statistics obtained by the NSPCC also report that a child abuse image offence is recorded every 7 minutes in the UK. 

Times investigation links trafficking and private education

An investigation carried out by The Times claims that private schools are making hundreds of thousands of pounds from Vietnamese children who are entering Britain on student visas then subsequently disappearing.

The investigation carried out by the newspaper found that children thought to be as young as 15 are being brought to the UK by suspected trafficking gangs through legitimate visas sponsored by private schools. It uncovered at least 21 Vietnamese children, in Britain on Tier 4 child visas, have vanished from boarding schools and private colleges in the past 4 years including 8 children who have gone missing from the £25,000-a-year Chelsea Independent College, the west London school owned by the for-profit body Astrum Education. Astrum Education Group stated it had been targeted by “organised criminal activity” and has reviewed safeguarding procedures. 

All the schools and colleges identified in the investigation followed protocol and reported the disappearances to police and the Home Office. 

APPG calls for review of school exclusion

A cross-party group of MPs, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on knife crime, has called for a review of school exclusions as evidence presented revealed that children outside of mainstream schools are at serious risk of grooming and exploitation by criminal gangs. A report produced by the APPG is calling for a government-led review to examine why many excluded children do not get the full-time education they are legally entitled to and calls for an end to part-time education for excluded pupils. 

Crucially the report calls for measures to make mainstream schools more accountable for the children they exclude. Under current legislative powers, if proposed action by a parent / guardian is deemed to place a child at further risk then social care action can be taken to prevent this action in order to safeguard and protect the child. However, there are no legislative measures in place to prevent exclusions when social care deems such action may increase the contextual safeguarding risk to a child.

Exclusion background statistics:

  • In England, there were 7,900 permanent exclusions in 2017/18 – a 70% increase since 2012/13;
  • APPG research has found that a third of local authorities in England do not have spaces in their pupil referral units (PRUs) for excluded children. (Young people who do secure a place are sometimes only taught for a couple of hours each day, with a restricted curriculum of just English and Maths);
  • Young people receiving free school meals are about four times more likely to be permanently excluded from school;
  • young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are over five times more likely to be excluded permanently;
  • children with SEND make up an alarmingly high percentage of all children who are excluded – 44.9 of permanent exclusions and 43.4 % of fixed-period exclusions in 2017/18;
  • There were 47,513 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year ending June 2019 across England and Wales – a 44% increase since March 2011.
  • Home Office statistics (2019) show that more than 17,500 boys aged 14 carry a knife or weapon in England and Wales; a third of those arming themselves have had weapons used against them.

Chair of the APPG, Sarah Jones, said:

“The number of children being excluded from school and locked out of opportunities is a travesty. They are easy pickings for criminal gangs looking to exploit vulnerable children. Excluding children must be a last resort. Our fight against this knife crime epidemic must start from the principle that no child is left behind. Schools and local authorities must be supported by government to do this.”

The link between school exclusions and knife crime has previously been raised by the cross-party youth violence commission.

DfE Direction Notice for Stoke Children’s Services

Stoke City Council Children’s Services, rated inadequate by Ofsted in February this year, have until January next year to identify another council with which it can enter into a formal partnership to help turn around provision. In their judgement following the last inspection, Ofsted warned that vulnerable children were not being safeguarded. A DfE-appointed commissioner of children’s services, Eleanor Brazil, was placed at the authority to determine how improvements could be made.

Her report for the Minister of State for Children and Families has found that the council does not have the capacity to make the necessary improvements on its own. Whilst recognising Stoke on Trent as an area of high deprivation with a high proportion of children living in poverty in some areas in the city and that the council have a number of strategic plans in place, the report found that those “relating to children do not seem to have driven improvements in the support and care for the most vulnerable children in the city.” Brazil also warned that the issues at Stoke are so significant that it is likely to take at least 2 years to see improvements in services

By 31 January 2020 the authority must have an agreed formal partnership arrangement with a strong local authority to deliver all of its children’s social care services functions. Whilst such a partnership is being sought the council will receive support from Stockport and Essex Children’s Services Departments, both part of the DfE Partners in Practice programme.

Children’s services in St Helens downgraded to “inadequate”

Children’s services in St Helens Metropolitan Council have been downgraded, rated “inadequate” for “widespread and serious failures” in the quality of services for looked-after children and care leavers.

Previously rated as “requires improvement” in 2014, services were subject to an Ofsted focussed visit focussing on children in need and child protection services in 2018 which criticised the department. The most recent inspection, carried out in September this year, found that while children that required help and protection were not at risk of immediate harm those in care experienced “significant drift and delay“.

Parental Controls Resource

Although the report produced by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) still identifies mainstream TV channels as the most common way we watch television, it cannot be denied that the world of online streaming is a growing medium offering access to a multitude of films, box sets and programmes. With so many options and such variety of choice it is increasingly difficult for parents to ensure they can monitor and regulate what their children are watching. 

To help we’ve produced a quick guide with links to the most popular online streaming services which you may like to place on your website. Simply use the following link.

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Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 24th October 2019

Welcome to our Safeguarding e-Bulletin which will keep you up to date with the very latest safeguarding news.

800% Increase in Modern Slavery Referrals

National Crime Agency statistics reveal that the number of children being identified as potential victims of modern slavery has increased by more than 800% since 2014. The rise in the number of local authority referrals using the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) has been linked to the growing phenomenon of “county lines” gang association.

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), the spiralling referral rates are being fuelled by both an increased awareness of modern slavery and by young people being exploited by “county lines” drugs gangs.

Currently, local authorities do not receive specific funding to help tackle modern slavery and support its victims. Chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, Simon Blackburn, said:

“The spiralling rate of council referrals, especially relating to children who face specific risks through county lines drug trafficking or child sexual exploitation, is having a huge impact on overstretched council services, particularly children’s services.”

Whilst acknowledging that the planned additional funding allocated for 2020 will help, Blackburn reiterated that HM Government needs to consider ensuring local authorities have adequate long-term resources to tackle this type of abuse, support its victims, as well as creating a sustainable NRM system.

“County Lines” Crackdown

More than 700 people have been arrested this month and more than £400,000-worth of drugs were confiscated following a week of coordinated police activity designed to crackdown on “county lines” gangs.

As a result, 49 “deal lines” across the UK were disrupted and 169 weapons seized which included 12 guns, knives, swords and machetes. A total of £253,200-worth of cocaine, £100,170-worth of crack cocaine and £72,670-worth of heroin was also seized. As part of the operation led by the National County Lines Coordination Centre (NNCLCC), 389 vulnerable adults and 292 children were safeguarded with 41 individuals were referred to the NRM for assessment as potential victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

In the ongoing strategy to combat “county lines”, further operations have been carried out last week. Stop checks and vehicle searches enabled Dorset Police to make 26 arrests, and seize drugs and money from dealers who were exploiting young people to sell them.

In Cheshire, police officers made twelve arrests and executed several warrants. Cash, mobile phones and weapons were also recovered with seizures of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis. As part of the operation police also visited twenty-five addresses to offer support to vulnerable adults, thought to be targets of exploitation by organised crime groups.

In an attempt to disrupt suspected “County Lines” criminal activity across Merseyside, eleven people from Wirral were arrested on suspicion of drug supply and other offences during a week of action. More than 20 potentially vulnerable people were also identified, with various safeguarding measures put in place.

Serious Violence

Over the last few months there has been an increased police and media focus on serious violence, exploitation and criminality involving children and young people. In addition to our “County Lines” and Child Sexual Exploitation courses, we will shortly be releasing our Serious Violence training course. The course examines the drivers into criminality, particularly knife crime and gang association, and explores the supportive role schools and academies can play in preventing and deterring children and young people’s involvement.

Call for compulsory visits to help disadvantaged families

Health visitors are calling for an increase in the number of statutory visits they make to better support disadvantaged families. Currently 5 mandatory visits are carried out when a mother is 24 weeks pregnant, in the first 2 weeks of their child’s birth then at 6 to 8 weeks from birth. Another check is required when their child is between 9 to 12 months old and then finally at two years old.

The Institute of Health Visiting (IHV) is calling for an additional 3 mandatory visits enabling further checks at 3 to 5 weeks, 3 to 4 months and between the ages of three and five. As outlined in their report, the final check will have a specific focus on “school readiness”, enabling health visitors to spot speech and language as well as communication issues before a child starts school and signpost to specialist support if needed.

Mental Health Risks

Two reports have been released this month outlining the mental health risks that children and young people face and the action needed to help them lead happy lives.

According to the Department for Education report, 5% of 10- to 15-year-olds feel unhappy and 3% of 16- to 24-year-olds report low satisfaction with their life. The report also looks at how bullying, particularly online abuse, is impacting on young people’s mental health.

The report states that “experiences of being bullied, including online bullying, was the risk factor most strongly associated” with mental health in mid to late teenagers. Latest crime statistics reveal that 17% of 10- to 15-year-olds in England reported being bullied in 2017/18. The report also states that younger children are particularly at risk, as “the prevalence of bullying decreased as children got older”, and that white children are among the most at risk of bullying groups.

The report also focuses on how teenage girls’ mental health can be better supported. The report found that getting enough sleep was a “consistent protective factor” for girls aged between 14 and 18.

An additional report published by Carers Trust offers a guide on how professionals can better support young people and their families. The report also focuses on the important role siblings can play in providing valuable mental health support.

The report also highlights concern about the “culture of parent blaming when a child develops a mental health need”, urging health services to better understand the impact on parents of being a carer for a child with additional needs.

A new £10m research centre, dedicated to adolescent mental health, is aiming to influence better policy in schools. The Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health, based at Cardiff University, will study how problems such as anxiety and depression arise in young people with the aim of developing more effective interventions.

Funded by The Wolfson Foundation, the centre will also undertake a study involving schools examining the role they play in promoting positive mental health.

DfE Relationships Education Guidance

On the 10th of October the DfE published new guidance for primary head teachers, setting out why they must engage parents on their school’s relationships education policy with tips on how to do this. From next September 2020 all primary schools will need to teach Relationships and Health Education, and secondary schools will start teaching Relationships, Sex and Health Education.

The guidance also provides more information on the central support the DfE will be putting in place for all schools.

Produced in partnership with in partnership with the NAHTNGA and ASCL. the resource provides information on what is expected of schools and why, alongside tips and case studies on effective parental consultation. It also includes information on where to go for help, and the important role Governors and trustees can play in this process.

Safeguarding Children in Sport

A new study from the European Commission has been published highlighting the importance of sporting organisations to have adequate safeguards in place to prevent children being harmed and bullied.

There is widespread evidence on the positive benefits of regular sport participation such as improved physical and mental wellbeing, personal and educational development and social inclusion. However, recent cases of violence and abuse of children in the media have highlighted the importance of ensuring organisations offering sport to young people implement adequate safeguarding procedures to reduce the risks of children being harmed. This study provides a mapping of initiatives in the EU and includes a series of best practice examples at national and international level.

We are pleased to announce that a new SSS Learning course, Safeguarding Children in Sport, is currently in production and due for release later this year. The course is designed to support organisations offering sporting activities, independent sports coaches and parents undertaking supporting or instructional roles in activities.

Please do let us know what you think of the e-Bulletin:
e-bulletin@ssslearning.co.uk

Please feel free to share our e-Bulletin. We are passionate about the role we play in safeguarding children and the more people that know about it the better. They can sign up to our safeguarding e-Bulletin by clicking here.

Here are the relevant online courses we provide that relate to this article:

To find out about our Safeguarding Suite click here