I have a lifetime of knowledge in child protection and therefore offer Child Protection training through my company, so I want to share my training experiences.
Infant schools, primary schools and secondary schools are all sending staff to these courses and some universal themes have emerged from those sessions I have conducted myself. Whatever age the child, there is an increasing influence of technology in their daily lives and, especially with older children, schools are wrestling with cyber bullying as a growing problem. Not only bullying but seeing the vulnerability of children and young people to online exploitation.
Young people have told Barnardo’s services that they have been targeted online by perpetrators through a variety of mediums including:
- social networks like Facebook,
- instant messaging apps like Blackberry messenger,
- photo sharing apps such as Snapchat,
- dating apps, and
- via online gaming.
These findings serve as a reminder of the importance of parents and guardians being aware of the tell-tale signs of sexual exploitation.
Every teacher I have talked to agrees with the idea I put forward concerning verification of age for social media accounts. The idea that Facebook, Google and others that spend multi-millions on safety measures should divert some of that to fund a part time member of staff to verify children’s ages seems so logical seeing as there are 10’s of thousands of accounts set up for children under the age of 13 by their parents or older siblings.
I’m not going to stop going on about this until I achieve a wider debate.
Another area that surprised me was that how few teachers were aware of the processes that happen should allegations be made against them. Sadly this is a growing number. In explaining the process and discussing the role of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) I’ve come away with the feeling that this is something which should be made much more clear either by teaching unions or individual schools. It seems that only in adversity do these processes come clear – which is often very troubling and upsetting and confusing for those involved.
Teaching is such a full on profession with staff having to commit themselves to long hours outside of the classroom as well that when they come for their mandatory 3 hours of child protection training it’s not surprising that schools find it difficult to fit any more in. But that does not stop me advocating for more training for schools. This is a wide and complex subject that can be relatively unforgiving if basic policies are not followed or staff don’t have a fundamental understanding of procedures, signs, symptoms and outcomes.
As a final thought for today, I do have sympathy for them as, almost universally, they feel that when they refer matters to the local authority or the police they’re not kept as informed as they could be of the process or the outcome and this does go against the basic practices of working together.
We now offer Child Protection training in between the statutory requirement time of three years as obviously schools don’t recruit in 3 year cycles.
People often miss child protection training as a result and they need to be informed of such an important issue.
Once a month we put on foundation training approved by the Bristol Safeguarding board for those who can’t and shouldn’t wait for the whole school event.
Call 0845 833 0859