July 2018 – Forced Marriage – Leeds school uses spoons to help prevent forced marriage

Saw this article and thought it was such a simple and yet creative way to support girls who may be at risk of forced marriage. There is still time this term to support and safeguard your pupils for the long summer break. Sometimes safeguarding is as much a part of helping young people identify ways to safeguard themselves as to identify abuse.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-44812530

A further link on the same subject from TES

https://www.tes.com/news/school-tackling-forced-marriage-spoon-underwear

July 2018 – Update to Working Together to Safeguard Children and Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners published today

Dear colleagues

Please note there are two significant new guidance documents published today:

 Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners

Guidance on information sharing for people who provide safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-practitioners-information-sharing-advice

Working together to safeguard children

Statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children–2

Kindest regards

Sandi

 

July 2018 – Childrens Commissioners report released today

The children’s Commissioner has today released a report on vulnerable children with some startling statistics that really highlight for me the importance of early recognition and intervention. when you transfer the statistics such as one in six children children are living vulnerable lives due to complex family circumstances and then translate that into your street, your class, your sports organisation it really makes you think.

I have copied the information below from the Children’s Commissioners website including the links for you to be able to read this yourself and consider how you can be a part of supporting and protecting young people.

  • Children’s Commissioner’s report into childhood vulnerability estimates 2.1 million children in England – one in six – are living vulnerable lives due to complex family circumstances. 
  • 1.6 million ‘invisible’ children are living in vulnerable situations but receiving no known support or help from the system.
  • Report estimates 825,000 children are living in a family with domestic violence and that over 100,000 children are living in a family with the so-called ‘toxic trio’ of domestic violence, mental health and alcohol or substance abuse.

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, is today publishing a new report that brings together a range of information held by various government departments, agencies and others to reveal the scale of child vulnerability in England.

The report, “The Children’s Commissioner’s 2018 Report into Childhood Vulnerability”, estimates that 2.1 million of England’s 11.8 million children – one in six – are living in families with risks so serious that they need some level of help. The study also warns that for 1.6 million of those vulnerable children, the support is effectively ‘invisible’ – we don’t know if they are actually getting any coordinated help, despite the difficulties they are growing up with. Some of the risks these children face include parents with mental health problems or parents who are alcoholics or have substance abuse problems.

The 2.1 million children growing up in families with these complex needs includes:

  • 890,000 children with parents suffering serious mental health problems
  • 825,000 children living in homes with domestic violence
  • 470,000 children whose parents use substances problematically
  • 100,000 children who are living in a family with a “toxic trio” (mental health problems, domestic violence and alcohol and/or substance abuse)
  • 470,000 children living in material deprivation
  • 170,000 children who care for their parents or siblings

This year’s second annual Children’s Commissioner’s report on childhood vulnerability widens the groups of children associated with forms of vulnerability or risk from 32 to 37 (with 70 sub-groups) after making progress in identifying new groups of vulnerable children. The purpose of the study is to gather all available data on childhood vulnerability into one place, which enables us to cross-reference one dataset against another. It is designed to provide a clearer picture of the numbers of vulnerable children in England, to demonstrate why that can be difficult and to analyse in more detail the groups of children who are most vulnerable. Changes in figures from last year’s report may reflect better estimates rather than an annual increase or decrease in vulnerability.

The report finds that of the 2.1 million children in families with complex needs:

  • 310,000 children are classified as ‘children in need’
  • 410,000 are in families that are being, or have previously been, supported by the Troubled Families programme
  • 30,000 are the registered with their council as a young carer

But there are considerable overlaps between these groups – for example, many of the children in so-called Troubled Families are also children in need themselves. Once these overlaps are taken into account, the total number of number of children who are actually known to receive some kind of support comes to only 570,000. That leaves behind another 1.6 million children for whom it is unknown if they are actually getting any sort of formal or structured support – despite their potentially serious family circumstances.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, responding to today’s report, said:

“Over a million of the most vulnerable children in England cannot meet their own ambitions because they are being let down by a system that doesn’t recognise or support them – a system that too often leaves them and their families to fend for themselves until crisis point is reached.

“Not every vulnerable child needs state intervention, but this research gives us – in stark detail – the scale of need and the challenges ahead. Meeting them will not be easy or cost-free. It will require additional resources, effectively targeted, so that we move from a system that marginalises vulnerable children to one which helps them.

“Supporting vulnerable children should be the biggest social justice challenge of our time. Every day we see the huge pressures on the family courts, schools and the care systems of failing to take long-term action. The cost to the state is ultimately greater than it should be, and the cost to those vulnerable children missing out on support can last a lifetime.

“We get the society we choose – and at the moment we are choosing to gamble with the futures of hundreds of thousands of children”.

https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/2018/07/04/over-two-million-children-in-england-are-growing-up-in-families-where-there-are-serious-risks-major-study-from-childrens-commissioner-reveals-2/

July 2018 – Gender separation in mixed schools Non-statutory guidance June 2018

Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment in HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills v the Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published non-statutory guidance on what mixed schools must consider when separating classes by gender. The guidance is for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies in all mixed maintained and independent schools, academies and free schools.

Gender separation in mixed schools

Non-statutory guidance

June 2018

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/719398/Gender-separation-guidance.pdf

July 2018 -Planning for the summer break and safeguarding y

Dear education colleagues

This is just by way of a gentle reminder.

The sun has been shining for many days now and we creep ever closer to the long summer break which we all hope will be fun and enjoyable for young and old. However, for many children, young people and their families this can be a time of stress caused by finances, difficult relationships, isolation, the heat and many other factors and sadly there will be some children you will know in your establishments who may not be looking forward to the summer holidays as much.

Now is a good time for Safeguarding Leads and their teams to review the children and young people they have had concerns about over recent months:

  • have you liaised with their parents/carers or other professionals where appropriate?
  • have you considered all the information you hold holistically considering all concerns, risks and all protective factors?
  • what is your analysis of need, are there supports that need to be put in place for the duration of the break, have you spoken with the child/young person and heard their views wishes and any worries they may have?
  • are there services you can refer the family to such as foodbanks, Citizens advice and similar local charities if they have financial worries.
  • does the parent need to know about services to protect and support where alcohol or domestic abuse is involved?
  • perhaps Samaritans and other listening services for those who are experiencing poor mental health or emotional wellbeing.

Could you raise awareness of these services in a newsletter? The benefits of forward planning for children cannot be underestimated.

It’s good to remind children and young people of the contacts they can make themselves if they are worried such as Childline, NSPCC and Young Minds.

It is also important to think about the children who may have additional needs due to disability, Autism, ADHD and other factors. Change and lack of routine can be difficult to manage, carers can at times find it a difficult time too and feel isolated in managing the level of care. Being able to plan prepare and talk can make a difference.

Finally does your risk analysis indicate there is a need for social care assessment? If so please make this in a timely fashion with full information of the concern, your assessment of risk, what has been tried and what your expectation is, your chronologies are always helpful. Remember social care will need time to triage your referral and by making you referral at an earlier stage it allows time for further communication an information gathering if needed, this makes it easier for you and other services to work together in the best interests of the children and young people.

Thank you

Sandi