Safeguarding e-Bulletin – 9th May 2019

Sam Preston 9 May 2019 4 min read

Welcome to this week's Safeguarding e-Bulletin which will keep you up to date with the very latest safeguarding news.

As you know we love to hear your feedback and wherever possible endeavour to incorporate your suggestions.

In response to a great suggestion this month we've added a new feature to our system which will allow admin users to receive an email when one of their users passes an assessment. We appreciate this is not a feature that everyone will want to use so, if you wish to activate you can turn the feature on in your admin dashboard. Simply, login to your Admin dashboard, then select 'Account Preferences' and finally select the option at the bottom of the screen to receive assessment completion emails. You can switch this feature on and off as required.

New SEND Consultation

In December last year, the DfE announced an extra £250 million SEND funding is to be made available up to 2020. Now the DFE want your views on the future of the funding system.

In his speech this month to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the Education Secretary Damian Hinds launched a Call for Evidence on the funding arrangements for pupils with complex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Hinds praised the work of schools, teachers and support workers for enabling those pupils to achieve great outcomes.

Recognising that over a quarter of a million pupils with the most complex needs have benefited from personalised Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) since 2014, the Education Secretary wants the views of schools and colleges on how to make funding arrangements for such pupils more effective.

Currently there are almost 120,000 pupils with EHCPs educated in mainstream schools and the number of pupils whose needs are being met in special schools has risen to over 112,000 in the last five years.

In his speech to conference, the Secretary of State stated his personal admiration for "the incredible work they (teachers) do to support children with special educational needs and disabilities" however acknowledged that such support needs investment to provide for the additional complexities and pressures it places on schools, colleges and alternative provision settings.

An additional £31.6 million has also been made available to train over six hundred new educational psychologists, recognising their expertise as a critical element in the assessment process and in identifying special educational needs. The call for evidence will run until 31st July 2019.

16-year-old found guilty of terrorist offences

This week a 16-year-old boy from Bradford (who cannot be named for legal reasons) was found guilty of terrorism and explosive offences following a trial at Leeds Crown Court. Guilty verdicts were returned for one offence contrary to Section 4 (1) of the Explosives Substance Act – making an explosive substance and three offences contrary to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 – possessing a record of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of Terrorism.

The teenager first came to the notice of police in 2016 and a referral to Prevent was made in 2017. Despite the hard work of Prevent officers and other safeguarding professionals over an extended period, the boy's behaviour continued to be of serious concern. Last summer the decision was made to arrest him. He was arrested by officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North East under terrorism legislation and charged on August 17, 2018.

In a search of his home, officers found a device constructed in line with instructions around the manufacture of a CO2 bomb, in his bedroom. The device was not fully completed and was not classed as viable. Analysis of the boy's online activity showed extensive research around bomb-making, searches about attacks on Muslims and a wide range of videos showing death, mutilation and torture; evidence which clearly demonstrated his escalating interest in violence and extreme ideology.

Commenting on the case, the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, stated "This is a disturbing case of a teenager who developed an alarming interest in extremist ideology, violence, firearms and explosives. He has spent considerable time alone on the internet and has intentionally accessed the 'dark web'. His fascination with violence and death is particularly concerning given his age and vulnerability. Despite extensive attempts to steer this boy away from the path of criminality, due to the progression of his behaviour, he was arrested and charged with serious offences. His online searches combined with the manufacture of an explosive device had the potential to put the safety of others at risk and could not go unprosecuted."

The teenager will be sentenced in June.

Schools, academies and colleges should follow their Local Authority's Prevent Duty protocols if there are concerns / information about suspicious or terrorist activity. The police can be contacted in confidence on 0800 789 321 or online.

Our Prevent Duty training course is included in our Safeguarding Suite.

School exclusions

New legislative measures look likely for schools following the publication of the Timpson Review into school exclusion.

The review, set up last year due to concerns about the rising number of permanent exclusions, and variations in the exclusion rates for different groups of children, says that Head Teachers should beheld accountable for the pupils they exclude. The report reveals that there is great variation in the consequences of exclusion, where often the excluding school has no further involvement with excluded pupils' educational future.

In an interview with the BBC about the report's findings, former DfE minister Edward Timpson said that "78% of excluded children have SEND, deprivation or childhood need" and that often the knowledge schools have about these children is lost when they are transferred to alternative provision.

Timpson has also commented that he was not "confident every exclusion is legal, fair and reasonable". The report recommends that HM Government should cut the number of fixed-term exclusions schools can give a pupil in a year. Currently, a pupil can be suspended for up to 45 days in an academic year. Whilst the review does not suggest a new maximum, it does say that the current limit on days should be reduced.

In a key recommendation, the report also states that exam results of excluded pupils should count in school league tables. Currently when schools exclude a pupil, they are handed over to the Local Authority, which becomes responsible. Excluded pupils' results are not included in the excluding school's rankings. It is thought this recommendation is included to tackle off-rolling, the process of excluding poorer-performing pupils to improve school league table rankings. The DfE has welcomed the review and agreed to all 30 recommendations in principle.

Honour killing

A new book has been published this month describing a family's experience of honour killing. Written by the Norwegian-born investigative journalist Lene Wold, the book includes both victim and perpetrator accounts in an attempt to understand the perspectives and motivations for such action and its impact.

The book describes the story of a now 40-year-old woman Amina, an honour killing survivor. An honour killing was carried out on Amina's elder sister Aisha and attempted on Amina, who was 13 at the time, by their father. Amina had revealed to her mother that she thought her sister was in a secret lesbian relationship. As a result, both girls were tied up and Aisha was shot dead. Despite being stabbed in the chest and a pistol being fired directly at her face, Amina survived the attack. Amina has been left with severe facial disfigurement including deep scars, one of which sliced through her eye, and the removal of parts of her chin.

In line with practice at the time in Jordan, where the honour violence took place, following the attack the survivor, Amina, was removed from the family home and kept in "administrative custody" imprisoned for 13 years to protect her. She was jailed whilst her father, who attempted to kill her and had killed her sister, remained free.

The book, written after five years of investigative journalism, uniquely also gives the perpetrator, Amina's father's account and rationale for his actions. At the age of 11 he was forced to undertake an honour killing – he killed his mother who had left the family due to domestic violence. This experience embedded his support for severe action to be taken against supposedly immoral behaviour which can include adultery, homosexuality, relationships outside the family culture or wearing Western clothing. Honour punishments are severe and include stoning, burning, drowning, shooting or poisoning.

Since the attack on Aisha and Amina, laws have changed regarding honour violence in Jordan. A fatwa was issued in 2016 declaring that honour killings are against Sharia Law, increasing the penalty to 15-years imprisonment for convicted perpetrators.

The book is a compelling account of how the code of shame governed the lives of this family as, despite the fatwa, it still continues to affect many today.

Inside An Honour Killing, by Lene Wold, is published by Greystone Books.

"Toxic Trio"

New quantitative analysis has been published by the office of the Children's Commissioner showing the number of children in England living in households where "toxic trio" factors are affecting adults. The term "toxic trio" refers to the combination and interaction of domestic violence and abuse, parental substance misuse (drugs and alcohol) and parental mental health issues.

Releasing the statistics, the office of the Children's Commissioner stated:

"We wanted to hear from children and give them the opportunity to talk about their experiences of living in households with mental health, parental substance misuse and domestic abuse." These views are presented in the report "Are they shouting because of me?"

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Find out about our Safeguarding Suite.

Sam Preston

SSS Learning Safeguarding Director

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