VALUES AND VISION
I have spent the last 25 years working with schools on a range of welfare-related issues. I may not always tell you what you think you want to hear, but I hope I offer an independent, honest and well-informed voice that keeps the needs of every child and young person at the centre.
My personal vision is to help schools to be places of safety, with caring and compassionate staff who always act within the law and who are constantly striving to improve the quality of both their own practice and each child's overall educational experience.
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THERE IS CONSIDERABLE ROOM FOR DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS AND PROFESSIONAL JUDGEMENT ABOUT MANY OF THESE ISSUES. OFFICIAL GUIDANCE DOES NOT ALWAYS COVER EVERY SITUATION. ALL INFORMATION AND ADVICE PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE AND IN RELATED RESOURCES IS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH AND IS TRUE AND ACCURATE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF. HOWEVER NO LIABILTY IS ACCEPTED FOR ANY ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES ARISING THEREFROM OR FOR ANY IMPLICATIONS OF UNINTENDED MISTAKES.
LINK TO NSPCC WEBSITE AND 'CHILDLINE'
It's been a privilege to speak at at a couple of FORUM 'Attendance Matters' conferences this month and to write regular features for the related journal. Schools are clearly much more focused on attendance than they used to be and many are using a variety of creative strategies to combat disaffection and make learning so good that no-one would want to miss it. At least, I hope that's what they're doing, not just making the figures look good!
So what is there left for local authorities to do? Sadly, in many areas, not much. Cuts have reduced the level of support services to a shadow of what they were and many seem content to concentrate on putting as many parents through the fining process as possible. I heard recently of an LA that had taken a parent to court for one day's absence that hadn't been authorised. Tens of thousands of parents are now being fined every year, mostly for very short holidays where the child is already back in school as before. I would never have seen much point in that when I ran a department myself. Most just pay up and go anyway.
I hope this enthusiasm for small victories does not also mean that nothing is being done about the much more difficult to resolve cases where schools have been unable to make progress and where complex and time-consuming responses may be needed. We should never count our achievements based on how many parents we take to court or how big the fines are. In many cases legal action is a sign of failure, or just the easiest thing to do, not a measure of any actual success in meeting children's needs. Are we missing the planks because we're so obsessed with the splinters? How many children are genuinely out of education and no-one is left to do much about it?
Can I find a moral and fully human way to live but without a religion or a God? Click HUMANIST BOOKS for my latest writings (including a FREE download) where I explore that question as an atheist with a Christian heritage
A NEW VERSION OF DfE GUIDANCE 'KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION' WAS PUBLISHED ON MARCH 26TH 2015 ALONG WITH A REVISED OFSTED BRIEFING ON SAFEGUARDING AND A NEW EDITION OF 'WORKING TOGETHER'.
ALL 3 DOCUMENTS CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE
ALL MY RESOURCES AND TRAINING EVENTS WILL REFLECT THIS NEW GUIDANCE
Do you need a Child Protection Update for your staff or would you prefer to deliver your own regular whole-school training? Would your school benefit from a Safeguarding or Attendance Audit? Do you and your governors need to make sure safeguarding policies and procedures are in place or receive training in developing a Staff Code of Conduct, Managing Allegations or in Safer Recruitment?
Are you sure your school is using the absence codes correctly and that everyone is clear about your whole-school attendance strategy?
I offer RESOURCE AND TRAINING PACKS by email on child protection, preventing and managing allegations about staff and attendance. These practical up-to-date packages will help you address your school's pastoral and legal responsibilities in a cost-effective and flexible way. Study the packs at your own pace, identify what you need to do next and then cascade the information to your colleagues using the included Power Point presentations. See also on this page details of a self-study training course for attendance and family support workers in schools.
I provide in-school audits and run face-to-face training primarily in the Midlands area (see below). I facilitate regular interactive day seminars for FORUM Business Training and contribute to journals and conferences.
ALL THE MATERIALS USED IN TRAINING EVENTS ARE ALSO PROVIDED BY EMAIL FOR PARTICIPANTS' FUTURE USE IN THEIR OWN SCHOOL
(Scroll down page to download details of each event)
CHILD PROTECTION WHOLE-SCHOOL TRAINING
'Twilight' (in Wolverhampton/Staffs area only) or half-day. An update for all staff on current safeguarding issues and national priorities, DfE statutory Guidance, Ofsted expectations and child protection procedures for schools; the definitions of abuse; signs and indicators; e-safety and sexual exploitation; staff behaviour and dealing with any allegations; best practice advice and lessons learned from Serious Case Reviews. Presentation, groupwork activities, film clips, discussion-starters and opportunity for questions.
NOTE: This is single-agency training primarily on in-school requirements and what everyone working with children needs to know. Suitable for both teaching and non-teaching staff. It is not training in multi-agency working ('Level 2') which should be provided via your Local Safeguarding Children Board.
CHILD PROTECTION 'TRAIN THE TRAINER' WORKSHOP
Half-day. For groups of Designated staff in schools or on behalf of an LSCB on request. Relying only on an occasional session presented by an outsider may not now be the best way to keep all staff informed. There is no longer a fixed 3-year training timetable, so many Designated Persons wish to deliver their own more frequent 'Level 1' events as part of induction, or focusing on one issue at a time as an integral part of continuous professional development. This interactive seminar provides practical advice and resources to support training for your colleagues and explores ideas to ensure its effectiveness. Work through the included PowerPoint, practice the suggested exercises and activities and reflect on how best to use them in your setting.
CHILD PROTECTION IN SCHOOLS
POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Half-day (can be combined with 'Train the Trainer' or the Staff Behaviour and Allegations Workshop to make a full day). Can be delivered as a shorter session for whole Governing bodies in West Midlands area only. Child protection is far too important to be left to chance. All schools and colleges for under-18s need to be sure that their policies and procedures are in line with DfE statutory Guidance and Ofsted expectations. What is the role of the school within local inter-agency procedures and what should be expected of the Safeguarding Lead or Designated Senior Person? What management responsibilities do senior leaders and governors need to be aware of? An opportunty to explore a range of policy issues, deal with questions arising and plan for using the included Audit tool for further reflection and action.
Half-day. All schools are vulnerable to those who wish to exploit their 'position of trust'. In the light of several Serious Case Reviews, a specific Code of Conduct or Staff Behaviour Policy is now a requirement in DfE statutory Guidance and Ofsted expectations. An opportunity to look in depth at what constitutes a 'child protection' concern, potential risks and how to plan for them; reducing the likelihood of false allegations; developing agreed standards; how to manage any genuine concerns and allegations appropriately within local inter-agency procedures, the role of the LADO etc. Aimed primarily at governors, school managers and senior leaders. Abusers can be extremely devious or colleagues may unwittingly risk disciplinary infringements. In either case, you need to be prepared for the possibility.
'An interesting if challenging session that's really made me think. Thank you.'
TRAINING ON BEHALF OF THE SAFER RECRUITMENT CONSORTIUM
Maintained schools must still have at least one person trained in Safer Recruitment on every appointment panel. (Other kinds of schools may choose to do so as best practice). I am accredited to deliver the 2014 updated materials devised by the Safer Recruitment Consortium, (which includes the NSPCC and the Lucy Faithfull Foundation) and can offer their one-day course, either on my own or, ideally, co-training with someone who is familar with the applicable local HR arrangements. Only an SRC-accredited trainer can present this content, which is copyright to them.
While there is no longer any nationally-defined Safer Recruitment course, these resources from such highy-regarded organisations, and which were produced at the request of the DfE, will be seen as setting the 'gold standard'. A whole day is required for a face-to-face event, including completing individual brief assessments in order to provide accreditation.
School leaders and governors should seek advice from your Local Safeguarding Children Board about what training is most appropriate in your setting. They may offer their own course, arrange for someone like myself to deliver or co-deliver an event on their behalf or suggest you host a bespoke event for local schools. Previous training may still be recognised or you may be advised to undertake a new course as there are additional elements not previously included. More details below.
MANAGING ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCE
Half-day. Attendance has never been better according to the published data, but every school needs to be constantly refreshing its practice. Even if overall attendance is high, there may be vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and individuals who are not attending as they should and who need a targeted response. Many of the things that all schools have to do are legal requirements, not just best practice. This interactive workshop for attendance staff in schools and their managers explores: the registration regulations and collecting absence data; the correct use of the codes; criteria for authorising absence; enforcement, pastoral and strategic approaches; Ofsted expectations; attendance tactics and ideas and evidencing the impact of what you do. An opportunity to audit and review your policy and procedures and plan for any changes.
This seminar can also be delivered as part of a group training course with follow-up reading and an accredited Portfolio. See RESOURCE PACKS for more details.
FORUM BUSINESS TRAINING I regularly run whole day Seminars on Child Protection/Safeguarding in Schools and Attendance and Absence. Click the link below for current programme, dates, venues etc. www.forumbusinesstraining.co.uk/seminars/education
'One of the most useful days I have ever attended. Ten out of ten!'
FEES (NO VAT PAYABLE)
£200 for a 'Twilight' (Wolverhampton/Staffs area only)
£250 for a 2 hour session (West Midlands area only)
£400 for a half-day + reasonable expenses
Whole day or where substantial travel or accommodation is required: £500 + reasonable expenses
Repeated sessions or longer-term work by agreement