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Child protection "neglected" in some secondary schools, warns children's commissioner

Child protection in secondary schools is often seen as a “neglected” area of practice, according to a new report published today looking at safeguarding.

The document, produced by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, also reveals that school staff often feel “ill-equipped” over child protection concerns.

The report comes as Coventry City Council is expected to publish next Tuesday its serious case review into the death of Daniel Pelka, the four-year-old boy who was killed by his mother Magdelena Luczak and step-father Mariusz Krezolek last year.

The couple were both sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison in July for starving and beating the child to death. Daniel’s school, Little Heath Primary, is expected to feature in the findings.    

The Children’s Commissioner’s report, called Feeling Safe, Keeping Safe, said that schools with the best track records on child protection are often those that train all staff “from bus drivers to senior leaders” to spot the signs of abuse of neglect as they will spend time with students in their “everyday school lives”.

“Child protection in secondary schools is often seen as a neglected and challenging area of practice,” the document states. “The experience of participants in our case studies indicates the value of working to overcome such challenges.”

Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner forEnglandsaid: “Safeguarding must be a key concern in schools. The consequences of not being addressed properly can be dire. This report provides a new perspective on safeguarding – that of children.

“It identifies schools in which child protection concerns are more likely to be recognised, and robustly but sensitively addressed. It includes good practice principles and illustrations of schools' structures, ethos and processes.”

This Friday's TES magazine features advice and resources on the subject of child protection.

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