Children’s Commissioner investigates best practice in child protection in England’s primary schools
19 January 2012
The Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC) has today announced research to be undertaken by the NSPCC to discover how well primary schools in England deal with child protection concerns of young children. The research will result in the Children's Commissioner publishing best practice guidance for teachers, school leaders, Local Safeguarding Children's Boards (LSCBs), and other children's professionals later in 2012.
From next week, as part of its ongoing work in this area, the NSPCC and Youthworks will contact a selection of English primary schools asking them to assist the project's evidence gathering phase. As well as professionals, children and young people will be asked for their views in the evaluation of good practice child protection models.
Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England said: "The policy agenda on child protection is absolutely focused on early identification of need and help for children. But research shows there are a number of barriers to the development of good practice models in schools, including confusion and concern about information sharing and understanding the law on data. Some teachers lack confidence and/or expertise in this area and can be uncertain about the consequences for the child and families following child protection referrals. It is our intention to support teachers and school staff so that they are well placed to identify signs of abuse and neglect and to offer support for children. It is essential that through interagency liaison they are well supported to do this. Our vital work with the NSPCC will draw on the experience and expertise of schools who are working on ensuring the most appropriate child protection practices are in place."
This project will focus on how schools can:
- identify risk and harm to children and respond to concerns of abuse and neglect
- promote preventive measures
- provide access to advice and help directly to children
- use ‘whole school' approaches to children's physical health and wellbeing as a backdrop to protection strategies.
OCC good practice guidance will be developed to include the identification of key staff and school policies, links with Local Safeguarding Boards and communication with local authority children's services. The research will examine both practice in schools and interagency liaison from the school's perspective, and how best to involve schools more effectively in interagency working.
The Childrens' Commissioner's guidance will be published by Autumn 2012.
Notes to Editors:
1. For further information about the OCC research on good practice in response to child protection concerns in primary schools, contact Jenny Clifton, Principal Policy Adviser - Safeguarding at the OCC: Jenny.email@example.com
2. The Office of the Children's Commissioner is a national organisation led by the Children's Commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson. The post of Children's Commissioner for England was established by the Children Act 2004. It requires us to refer to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) when planning and carrying out our work. The Children's Commissioner has a duty to promote the views and interests of all children in England, in particular those whose voices are least likely to be heard, to the people who make decisions about their lives. www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk
3. The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) specialises in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to children. The NSPCC runs projects and services across the United Kingdom and Channel Islands, including ChildLine, the UK's free, confidential 24-hour helpline for children and young people. www.NSPCC.org.uk
4. Youthworks consults children and young people to develop guidelines with them on a number of issues. www.youthworksconsulting.co.uk
For media enquires contact:
Denise Malcolm, Senior Communications Officer, on:
T: 020 7783 8580 /8330