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Following the launch of the government's investigation into peer-on-peer sexual abuse, Ofsted has published its terms of reference.

The review will look at whether schools and colleges have appropriate processes in place to allow pupils to report sexual abuse concerns freely, knowing these will be taken seriously and dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

Ofsted will visit a sample of schools and colleges where cases have been highlighted, with ISI where appropriate, to look at how well safeguarding is working and to discuss the wider issues raised by the evidence. The review will not report on individual schools or cases, but present a picture of good and poor practice across the country.

The review will consider a number of areas, including:

  • Whether the safeguarding guidance to schools is strong enough to safeguard children;
  • How schools can be further supported to teach the new RSHE curriculum;
  • Multi-agency safeguarding arrangements; and
  • How well schools and colleges listen to the voices of children when reporting sexual abuse

The review is to conclude by the end of May 2021.

Read the document here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsted-review-of-sexual-abuse/ofsted-review-into-sexual-abuse-in-schools-terms-of-reference

Everyone's Invited - Browne Jacobson (Dai Durbridge)

Dai Durbridge, head of the education safeguarding team at lawyers, Browne Jacobson, has written two really helpful blog posts covering:

  • Managing reports relating to current students
  • Managing reports where the alleged perpetrator has left your setting
  • Previously investigated reports
  • Statement for press, parents, stakeholders and the wider community
  • Insurance considerations
  • Data protection issues – sharing and retaining evidence
  • Policy, procedure and staff training
  • Further help and support


Update 1: https://www.brownejacobson.com/education/training-and-resources/legal-updates/2021/03/everyones-invited-managing-reports-of-child-on-child-assault-and-harassment

Update 2: https://www.brownejacobson.com/education/training-and-resources/legal-updates/2021/04/everyones-invited-ofsted-to-review-safeguarding-policies

Beyond Referrals: levers for addressing harmful sexual behaviour in schools (Contextual Safeguarding Network)

In my opinion this is the go-to guide for helping you look carefully at harmful sexual behaviour in your school. This toolkit includes a range of school self-assessment methods:

  • Student Survey
  • Staff Survey
  • Parents' Survey
  • Reviewing Policies and Procedures
  • Reviewing Safeguarding and Behaviour Logs in Schools
  • Hotspot Mapping Guidance


Download the toolkit here: https://www.csnetwork.org.uk/en/beyond-referrals-levers-for-addressing-harmful-sexual-behaviour-in-schools

Peer-on-peer abuse toolkit (Farrer and Co)

Legal provider Farrer & Co's Safeguarding Unit, in collaboration with Dr Carlene Firmin, MBE, from the University of Bedfordshire created a peer-on-peer abuse toolkit which was updated in 2019.

Download the toolkit here: https://www.farrer.co.uk/news-and-insights/peer-on-peer-abuse-toolkit/

Harmful sexual behaviour prevention toolkit (Lucy Faithfull Foundation)

Stop It Now! UK and Ireland was established in 2002 by The Lucy Faithfull Foundation – the only UK wide charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse. Recognising that around a third of child sexual abuse is believed to be carried out by under 18s, the Stop It Now! Campaign has a Harmful sexual behaviour prevention toolkit.

Download the toolkit here: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Stop_It_Now_harmful_sexual_behaviour_prevention_toolkit_Oct_2020.pdf

Find a range of other useful resources from Stop It Now! here: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/resources/

For parents and carers: Sexual Abuse Learning Programme (Parents Protect)

Parents Protect (a project of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation) has developed an online child sexual abuse and exploitation awareness learning programme for parents, carers and professionals to help:

  • Understand potential risks
  • Recognise the signs of possible abuse in children
  • Be aware of inappropriate behaviour in adults
  • Know where to go for help if you have concerns and would like to talk about them


Find the programme here: https://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/sexual-abuse-learning-programme.htm



Dedicated NSPCC helpline 0800 136 663

The new helpline will provide both children and adults who are potential victims of sexual abuse in schools with the appropriate support and advice. This includes how to contact the police and report crimes if they wish. The helpline will also provide support to parents and professionals too.

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New Emotional Health and Wellbeing in schools release from PHE and CYPMHC

Public Health England alongside the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition have released "Promoting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing - A whole school and college approach" that provides evidence-based key actions that headteachers and college principals can take to embed a whole school approach to promoting emotional health and wellbeing. These actions build on what many schools and colleges are doing across the country but, if applied consistently and comprehensively will help protect and promote student emotional health and wellbeing.

This document should be read alongside statutory guidance on ‘Keeping children safe in education’, ‘Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions’ and existing advice on targeted approaches for supporting pupils with, or at risk of developing mental health problems including:

• statutory guidance on ‘Promoting the health and wellbeing of looked after children’

• advice for school staff on ‘Mental health and behaviour in schools’

• advice on ‘Counselling in schools’

Other supporting documents include guidance from the PSHE Association to support schools in teaching about mental health safely and effectively and ‘Resilience and results’ which outlines how schools can work with external agencies to commission additional support for pupils with behavioural and emotional difficulties.

To see the full guidance, click here.

 

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New Guidance on Remote Education Provision

The government released new non statutory guidance last week to support expectations on the education sector.

Where pupils need to self-isolate, or there are national or local restrictions in place requiring pupils to remain at home, DfE expects schools to be able to immediately provide them with access to remote education. Full expectations for remote education provision, including on delivering remote education safely, are set out in the schools’ guidance and the COVID-19 guidance for FE providers. Whilst the context and challenges will differ for each school, many elements of effective safe practice in remote education will be relevant to all schools.

For more details visit the site here to support your remote education provision.

  

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Youth warnings, reprimands and cautions will no longer be automatically disclosed to employers who require Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates from 28 November.

The changes, which come as a result of a Supreme Court judgment that found some elements of the existing filtering rules for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks were disproportionate, are intended to make it easier for people with certain convictions to find employment.

The multiple conviction rule will also be removed, meaning that if an individual has more than one conviction, regardless of offence type or time passed, each conviction will be considered against the remaining rules individually, rather than all being automatically disclosed on the certificate.

Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock – a group that campaigns for people with convictions – welcomed the changes, but said they did not go far enough to improve access to work for some people with childhood convictions. 

“The changes coming in on 28 November are a crucial first step towards achieving a fair system that takes a more balanced approach towards disclosing criminal records,” he said. “However, we are still left with a criminal records system where many people with old and minor criminal records are shut out of jobs that they are qualified to do.

“We found that over a five-year period, 380,000 checks contained childhood convictions, with 2,795 checks including convictions from children aged just ten. Many of these childhood convictions will continue to be disclosed despite these changes.

“Reviews by the Law Commission, Justice Select Committee, former Chair of the Youth Justice Board Charlie Taylor and David Lammy MP have all stressed the need to look at the wider disclosure system. The government’s plan for jobs should include a wider review of the criminal records disclosure system to ensure all law-abiding people with criminal records are able to move on into employment and contribute to our economic recovery.”

New DBS guidance advises organisations to update their recruitment processes in light of the changes and check the Ministry of Justice website for which convictions or cautions should be disclosed by job candidates.

It suggests that employers ask job candidates: “Do you have any convictions or cautions (excluding youth cautions, reprimands or warnings) that are not ‘protected’ as defined by the Ministry of Justice?”

It also urged employers to include the following paragraph in their standard job application forms: “The amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (2013 and 2020) provides that when applying for certain jobs and activities, certain convictions and cautions are considered ‘protected’. This means that they do not need to be disclosed to employers, and if they are disclosed, employers cannot take them into account.”

The guidance says: “Employers can only ask an individual to provide details of convictions and cautions that they are legally entitled to know about.

“If an employer takes into account a conviction or caution that would not have been disclosed, they are acting unlawfully under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

“Employers should conduct a case-by-case analysis of any convictions and cautions disclosed and consider how, if at all, they are relevant to the position sought. It would be advisable for the employer to keep records of the reasons for any employment decision (and in particular rejections), including whether any convictions or cautions were taken into account and, if so, why.”

Cedit: Ashley Webber - Personnel Today

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More than 1,000 children have been linked to county lines drug gangs following a three-week crackdown by authorities.

The National County Lines Coordination Centre (NCLCC) said the children were among more than 2,400 vulnerable children protected in October 2018, January and May this year.

Around 131 referrals were made to the National Referral Mechanism, which identifies possible victims of human trafficking.

A total of 1,882 arrests were made, 403 drugs lines disrupted, £182,000 worth of drugs seized and 391 weapons - including 38 firearms - were found during the three week intensified crackdown.

The Home Office NCLCC was set up in a bid to target gangs exploiting children to sell drugs throug the so-called county-lines.

The term refers to the mobile phone lines dedicated to taking orders from drug users, which are operated by gangs from large cities who have expanded into smaller towns.

Young and vulnerable people often have their homes made into bases where drugs are sold from and turned into drug dens.

NPCC lead for county lines, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Duncan Ball, said: “Since the NCLCC was set up we have made great strides in tackling and dismantling cruel county lines gangs and protecting the vulnerable people exploited by them.

“The large number of arrests and weapons seized is testament to the hard work and dedication of the centre and of officers across the country who work tirelessly to pursue and prosecute those involved.”

The NCA predict there are around 2,000 "deal lines" in operation.

Nikki Holland, the NCA’s county lines lead and director of investigations, said: “Thanks to the dedication of law enforcement officers over the past year since the centre launched, we have been able to target county lines networks in a co-ordinated way like never before – taking huge numbers of drugs and weapons off the streets and safeguarding those most vulnerable.”

Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Kit Malthouse added: “County lines has a devastating impact on our communities and we are working relentlessly to disrupt these gangs and put an end to the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults.”

Credit: ITV

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