Child Protection Guidance and Advice

Education practitioners, school staff and staff in other learning settings play a crucial role in the support and protection of children as well as the development of their wellbeing. The role of the Named Person in education services will be key to the identification of wellbeing concerns and the assessment and planning to improve outcomes. Teachers are likely to have the greatest level of day-to-day contact with children and so are well placed to observe physical and psychological changes in a child that could indicate abuse and to contribute to the assessment of vulnerable children.

Education staff may be the first to be aware that families are experiencing difficulties in looking after their children. They should share information about any concerns with the social work service or the police at an early stage via their established reporting mechanisms including discussing any referral to the Children’s Reporter if there might be a need for Compulsory Measures of Supervision. They may be asked to help with investigations into reported or suspected abuse or neglect. Children and young people often see teachers as a trusted source of help and support. Where the concerns do not constitute a child protection concern, the Named Person will have a key role in developing a Child’s Plan where appropriate.

Through Curriculum for Excellence, education practitioners have an important role in equipping all children with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to keep themselves and others safe. This could include offering advice and guidance on issues such as drugs, alcohol, under-age sexual activity, honour-based violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, using e-technology and bullying.

Education services work with a range of other agencies, including youth workers and Community Learning and Development. Education services can provide a range of services and support to meet the needs of a child or young person, with education staff providing support to a child in ongoing planning, including participation in Child Protection Case Conferences and core groups.

Further information for local authority education services can be found in the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014.

The National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014 child protection advice to Local Authority Education Services

Resources and Guidance:

Child Protection Booklet

Aberdeenshire has produced guidelines for Child Protection set out in a series of three booklets, which apply to all Education staff.  They also apply to all other employees, volunteers and others working with children and young people in educational establishments.  This guidance will be updated as required to take account of changes in legislation and practice.

These guidelines will assist all employees who work with children, young people and families by:

(a) Developing an ethos which safeguards and promotes the welfare and wellbeing of all children.

(b) Providing clear guidance for all staff on the roles and responsibilities involved in child protection.

(c) Ensuring that staff respond appropriately when abuse is identified.

(d) Describing the processes and procedures that all staff must follow in response to disclosure, allegation or suspicion of child abuse.

(e) Ensuring effective interagency communication, collaborative working and provide a consistent framework for practice.

Book 1 The Context

Book 2 Roles and Responsibilities

Book 3 Practice Guidelines

 

Signposting a number of key guidance documents

Child Protection Briefing for Education Staff February 2020

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Act 2019

On 7 November 2020, all physical punishment of a child was made illegal, meaning children in Scotland now have the same protections against assault as adults.  A 7-Minute briefing has been created by Aberdeenshire Education to provide an overview from an education perspective:
Education 7 Minute Equal Protection from Assault Briefing

Child Sex Exploitation (CSE)

CSE is a form of child sexual abuse in which a person(s), of any age takes advantage of a power imbalance to force or entice a child into engaging in sexual activity in return for something received by the child and/or those perpetrating or facilitating the abuse. As with other forms of child sexual abuse, the presence of perceived consent does not undermine the abusive nature of the act.
Education 7 minute CSE briefing

Neglect

An Aberdeenshire neglect toolkit was published on 6 October 2021. It provides a range of practitioner practice tools/materials in the form of guidance documents on the practice considerations and challenges across our diverse workforce when working with neglect
Education 7 Minute Neglect Briefing

Annual Child Protection Training delivered to education staff Schools Child Protection Briefing August 2021
Schools GIRFEC Briefing August 2021 
Aberdeenshire UNCRC Training Aberdeenshire Insert UNCRC Training
GIRFEC Training Professional learning opportunities aim to support continuous development of Aberdeenshire’s multi-agency workforce in GIRFEC and Child Protection.
Children Missing from Education Guidance produced by Aberdeenshire Authority
Additional Guidance on GIRFEC and Child Protection Multi-agency guidance including child protection information
Covid Specific Guidance

Please access the website for the most up to date version