To help schools and colleges know what to do if they are worried about a child or young person, the CHSCP has published ‘The City of London Thresholds of Need‘ and ‘The Hackney Child Wellbeing Framework‘. These documents set out the local criteria for action in a way that is transparent, accessible and easily understood.
To support high quality practice in response to allegations made against staff or volunteers, schools and colleges should refer to the London Child Protection Procedures and relevant guidance set our in Keeping Children Safe in Education. Designated Officers (LADOs) are available in both the City and Hackney to help support schools and colleges through this process.
Across both the City of London and the London Borough of Hackney, schools and colleges have an important role in identifying children in need or at risk of abuse and working with others to provide support as soon as problems emerge. To help them do this, the CHSCP has approved and published practice guidance that covers a broad range of safeguarding topics.
Online safeguarding self-assessments are issued by the CHSCP to all schools and colleges in the City of London and Hackney. They replace the Section 157/175 audits and are a key part of our local arrangements. They can help schools and colleges focus on what matters most and improve the sufficiency of their safeguarding practice. As relevant agencies, schools and colleges must complete a self-assessment when requested to do so. The new online system allows schools and colleges to save progress, access the audit at a later date and regularly update it once submitted.
To support schools and colleges reflect upon and improve their arrangements to tackle Harmful Sexual Behaviours and Extra-Familial Risk , an addendum to the CHSCP self-assessment programme is in development. This will be released in the coming weeks.
The Experiences of Staff
To benchmark the self-assessment process, the CHSCP issues an anonymised staff survey. This can help validate returns and identify themes relating to the health & stability of the safeguarding workforce and emerging practice issues. Scheduled for early 2022, this survey will seek to explore how practitioners are responding to the ‘stubborn’ challenges’ identified by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. In addition, the CHSCP is planning a bespoke survey to test the confidence of school and college staff in tackling harmful sexual behaviours. This will include a focus on sexual harassment and sexual violence (including online) and the ability of staff to identify patterns, intervene early and prevent abuse.
The Experiences of Children and Families
Additional benchmarking of the self-assessment returns will be undertaken through wider engagement with children, young people and their families. Seeking their experiences is intended to support safeguarding partners, schools and colleges better understand what might be needed to improve and to identify and share good practice.
Learning from Case Reviews
The purpose of reviews of serious child safeguarding cases, at both local and national level, is to identify improvements to be made to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Schools and colleges play an important role in the case review process and are fully engaged where required. Learning is relevant locally for all schools and colleges and is disseminated via the CHSCP’s TUSK briefings / Schools bulletins and CHSCP training.
The CHSCP maintains a multi-agency case auditing (MACA) programme. MACAs can involve looking at the safeguarding practice in schools and colleges. The selection of themes for audit are guided by the CHSCP’s Learning and Improvement framework. The audit process focuses on the child’s lived experience, the quality and impact of practice and involves ‘appreciative elements’, to highlight what worked well in cases as well as areas for action. Lessons and recommendations for practice improvement are shared with all partners of the CHSCP, with actions tracked by the Quality Assurance Sub group.
In the field of safeguarding children and young people, standing still is falling behind! To help schools and colleges stay up to date with key issues, the CHSCP produces monthly ‘TUSK briefings’. Easy to access and simple to understand, schools and colleges can sign up to the TUSK mailing list to receive updates directly from the CHSCP. Hackney Education also sends out a termly bulletin to all schools and colleges that includes reference to the TUSK briefings and other relevant safeguarding communications.