Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Child Protection policy - 1

Let's look through the St. Benedict's Child Protection Policy in detail. it'll take a while, So I'm going to have to spread this over several posts.

But let's start at the beginning.
1. This policy has been authorised by the Trustees, is addressed to all members of staff and volunteers, is available to parents on request and is published on the School website. It applies wherever staff or volunteers are working with pupils even where this is away from the School, for example at an activity centre or on an educational visit.
This meets the legal requirement as regards distribution of the policy, but it ought not to be necessary for parents to request the policy. It ought to be included in the document pack provided to all new parents of the school. If you are serious about child protection the documentation should be made as widely available as possible. Admittedly, if parents know where to look it is also available on the school website.
2. The welfare of our pupils and students will always be our central concern informed by the Schools’ Mission Statement and by legal requirements. Pupils are actively encouraged to raise personal and general concerns with members of staff.
This sounds very good, until you realise that the first sentence isn't grammatical. A lack of attention to detail is an indicator that the document isn't taken seriously.

But more concerning is the second sentence. The form this encouragement should or does take is not described. The range of "personal and general concerns" is not described, nothing is stated as regards whether specific members of staff have a special role in this respect. Lastly, it should be noted that paedophiles groom their victims by expressing just this kind of encouragement to confide in them. So the mere fact that pupils are encouraged to share their concerns is not of itself a contributor to child protection.

Overall, this paragraph adds nothing to the document except to try and instill a nice warm fuzzy feeling in those who read it.
3. In both Schools the Headmaster and Deputy Heads have very important roles in being available to all members of the community to offer advice. In the Senior School this is also true of the Heads of Sixth Form and Upper and Middle School and in the Junior School of the Head of Early Years.
This is another nice warm fuzzy statement that has no content. We are dealing here with the school's child protection policy. Text in here should be concerned with the roles of various people with respect specifically to child protection. Being available "to offer advice" of an unspecified nature is not a child protection role. If the advice is nothing to do with child protection, then the paragraph shouldn't be here at all. If the advice is to do with child protection, then the nature of the advice and the circumstances in which it is given should be specified in far more detail.

If you look through the rest of the policy for details of the Headmaster's advice, there is nothing there.

More to follow on subsequent paragraphs

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