Saturday 8 October 2011

Schools' Insight: Children's Welfare

BBC News - Rethink on schools' duty to work with councils on welfare
Ministers have abandoned plans to remove schools' duty to work with England's councils to improve children's welfare.

With reference to the above article by Angela Harrison, although it is good the Education Bill will retain the duty of schools, I think a more important issue is for councils to take a fresh look at whether they really heed child protection issues raised by schools.

From what I've seen and read (as a local councillor and school governor) it can be fiendishly difficult for a school to make a strong enough case for a pupil to be protected meaningfully (and promptly) by their local council.  Since school staff do have daily contact with their pupils, they are often the professionals best placed to spot behavioural or performance changes, and the ability to spot physical signs, all or any of which could signal a child protection issue.

It surely must be desperately disheartening and upsetting for school staff when their council fails to take robust action to protect a pupil.  I know a huge amount of time goes into case preparation by schools, so school staff need to see justification for what action their council does or doesn't decide to take - don't they?