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Abuse laws spark training day call

Teachers will need an extra training day every year to meet tough new legal requirements for child protection, teaching unions have predicted.

Teachers will face increased responsibility for the welfare of pupils from June when Section 175 of the 2002 Education Act comes into effect.

Schools will be expected to have clearer systems in place to protect children from abuse, prevent bullying, and maintain security on their sites.

Education workers will also be made more accountable for the care of young people by the Children's Bill, which is due to go before Parliament in the spring.

Teaching unions have broadly welcomed the changes, but say that staff should be given an extra day annually for training. Currently teachers have five in-service training days each year when they do not teach.

"It is absolutely crucial that the training should be done well and should be run by experts rather than in-house, which makes it a subject for a whole day of training," an NUT spokeswoman said.

Every school is expected to have a senior teacher who is responsible for child protection. But in new guidance the Department for Education and Skills is proposing that a senior member of the leadership team, not necessarily a teacher, will be responsible for child protection.

Smaller schools may share a designated person with others. But the NUT said it would be difficult for someone to spot a child's problems if they were not based in their school.

The Secondary Heads Association said it supported the guidance. Bob Carstairs, assistant general secretary, said: "We see it as vital after the incidents at Soham."

The DfES said it would be considering all responses to consultation on the guidance and would issue final advice in June.

Child Protection: Guidance About Child Protection Arrangements is at www.dfes.gov.ukconsultations Primary forum 24

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