Child protection and safeguarding has been a major issue of concern in primary schools prompting the enacted of The Children Act (1989) that ensures that children are protected from abuse. Child protection refers to activities undertaken to ensure children who are vulnerable to suffering as a result of abuse or neglect are protected. England’s Department of Health recorded cases of child abuse under four different categories; neglect, bodily injury, sex and emotional abuse, the record showed that approximately 25% of children in England suffered at least one of the listed form of child abuse (DCSF, 2007). However, it is important to note that since 1990s, cases of child abuse in primary schools have reduced drastically. In addition to offering knowledge to students, teachers are expected to safeguard and ensure that students are protected from any kind of harm (Whitney, 2014).
Child protection is not an issue of concern to a limited number of stakeholders as various parties such teaching and non-teaching staff are expected to protect children from any form of harm. It is imperative teachers ensure their students are safeguarded and protected against any harm owing to the fact that they have daily contacts with the students, since they spend most of their time in school (Blake, 2008). The school should provide flawless and brief guidance on how to identify symptoms of child abuse and neglect and the correct channels of making a referral so as to make sure children are safeguarded (Macpherson, 2012). Non-teaching staffs such as nurses responsible for treating ailing students should identify symptoms such as bruises that may implicate that the child suffers physical abuse and consequently report the matter to the school’s department responsible for child protection. I cases where a child displays symptoms of neglect, teachers are expected to monitor the student’s behavior and discuss the issue with the parents in the presence of school’s child protection department. So as to make the child feel protected in the event of physical abuse, the most harmful type of abuse, the teacher should report the matter to the child protection authorities immediately (Ferguson, 2004).
After the school creates a department responsible for child protection, the department should formulate policies that will ensure children are protected from both physical and emotional harm (Munro, 2011). Failure to follow this policies should be followed with severe punishment so as to ensure the child protection personnel follow these policies to the latter. Parents, teachers and other stakeholders in ensuring child protection seek measures of protecting children from physical and emotional harm. These measures are well stipulated in the school’s child protection policy, thus failure to follow these policies may result to children undergoing severe abuses with no measures to curb the abuse (Walker, 2011). Policies for maintaining personal boundary maybe jeopardized when the policies that guide personal boundary are not followed. It is important for teachers to build relationship with parents and guardians so as to ensure mutual trust where parents can freely seek advice on issues that affect their children’s emotional problems and learning difficulty. The teachers can also comfortably discuss issues affecting children that maybe emanating from parents for example neglect (Kay, 2003).
Blake, G. (2008) The Primary Teacher’s Responsibility for Pastoral Care in Browne and Haylock et al ‘Professional Issues for Primary Teachers’ DCSF (2007) Byron Review: Safer children in a digital world. HM Government DfE (2013) Working together to safeguard children. HM Government: www.workingtogetheronline.co.uk/documents/Working%20TogetherFINAL.pdf Ferguson, H (2004) Protecting Children in Time: Child Abuse, Child Protection and the...
References: Blake, G. (2008) The Primary Teacher’s Responsibility for Pastoral Care in Browne and Haylock et al ‘Professional Issues for Primary Teachers’
DCSF (2007) Byron Review: Safer children in a digital world
DfE (2013) Working together to safeguard children. HM Government: www.workingtogetheronline.co.uk/documents/Working%20TogetherFINAL.pdf
Ferguson, H (2004) Protecting Children in Time: Child Abuse, Child Protection and the Consequences
Kay, J. (2003) Protecting Children (Practical Childcare Studies.) Continuum International Publishing
Macpherson, P., (2012) Safeguarding Children in Hansen et al ‘Primary Professional Studies’ 2nd Ed SAGE
Munro, E., (2011) The Munro Review of Child Protection. DfE
NSPCC (2003) Learning to Protect
Ofsted (2011) Safeguarding in schools: best practice
Whitney, B. (2014) Understanding the Teacher’s Pastoral Role in Cremin et al ‘Learning to Teach in the Primary School’ Routledge
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