The Metropolitan Police has published new guidance for schools and colleges to help them safeguard children from sexual violence, child sexual exploitation and harmful practices.
In a forward to the guidance, former police officer and National National Leader of Governance Advocate, Matt Miller MBE says, 'Safeguarding is never far from our thoughts whether we are paid professionals working in schools and colleges, or serving there as volunteers, like governors. It is not simply enough to provide a safe learning environment; we must also consider the risks that extend beyond the school gate and after the school bell. We must be vigilant to the signs and indicators which suggest a pupil might be at risk of radicalisation, or child sexual exploitation, or modern-day slavery, or female genital mutilation, or forced marriage or witchcraft. The list seems endless, but above all, we must never take our eye off the ball.'
The Metropolitan Police guidance 'Safeguarding children from sexual violence, child sexual exploitation and harmful practices' can be found on the website of the National FGM Centre here:
The National FGM Centre also has a very useful list of 20 questions around harmful practices, but are equally applicable to other areas of safeguarding. The questions challenge schools to think about the wider range of safeguarding.
What is our biggest safeguarding concern in school and how are we tackling it?
If a child's behaviour is out of character or gives rise for concern, will staff speak to them to ascertain any safeguarding concerns or underlying issues?
If the matter is peer on peer [abuse] and involves young people from the same school, are we confident in how we manage these situations?
I think these are particularly good set of strategic questions for governors to ask.
Download the 'Considerations for Schools and Colleges' checklist here: http://nationalfgmcentre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/MET-Considerations-for-Schools-and-Colleges_A4_Print_Proof-1.pdf