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Schools unsure when to contact social services about a child protection issue

Two thirds of schools are unsure when to contact social services about a child protection issue.

Teachers could be missing vital signs of child abuse because they lack adequate training, according to a study by the NSPCC. With an average of just two hours’ child protection training before they begin work, many teachers feel ill-prepared to deal with the issue, the survey found. And despite the school’s child protection role having been set out by the Government, a large number feel inadequately supported by Social Services to carry it out.

Eight out of 10 trainee teachers are worried their colleagues could not recognise the signs of child abuse and act on them. Two thirds of schools are unsure when to contact social services about a child protection issue, and three quarters are worried about the time taken up dealing with it the report said. More than nine out of 10 schools are also unsure how to maintain relationships with parents when involved in child protection cases.

The report made a series of recommendations, including better training and greater support from social services for teachers dealing with parents on matters of child protection. It also called for full guidance for schools on their responsibilities and a helpline to give teachers the opportunity to discuss their concerns before referring a child to social services.