Teachers may be missing signs of child abuse because they lack training, says a report from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Child Protection and Education is a comprehensive survey of training courses, schools and local education authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. It finds that many teachers feel ill-prepared to deal with child abuse and that the profession is not supported in this important role.
NSPCC Chief Executive Mary Marsh said: "Teachers are expected to identify the signs of child abuse and know how best to respond to them after just a few hours' child protection training. This is not good enough."
The report highlights OFSTED's responsibility to ensure that policies and procedures conform to DFEE guidance. It recommends that all teams have a consistent approach, with school representatives beingkept up to date on policies, procedures and their implementation. Attention is drawn to the training needs of students and newly qualified teachers, with particular emphasis on the identification of signs and symptoms of abuse. Other recommendations include: improved liaison with social services; support in dealing with parents and helping children who report abuse; and an increased role for teachers in case conferences.
Danger signs to look out for include: injuries that cannot be otherwise explained or could have been caused by physical abuse; a child constantly seeking attention or being very withdrawn; dramatic changes in behaviour; a child who appears to be neglected or who exhibits unusual sexual behaviour.
Child Protection and Education is available, price pound;15 + pamp;p, fromNSPCCPublications, 42 Curtain Road, London EC23A 3NH