Parentkind has welcomed the publication of the Department for Education’s response to its ‘Keeping children safe in education’ consultation. It had sought views on child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment, whole school approaches to safeguarding and improved online safety. On the back of that, the new ‘Keeping children safe in education 2022’ statutory guidance for schools will be implemented from September 2022.
Parentkind’s Executive Director of Programmes, Membership and Charitable Services, Kerry-Jane Packman said:
“We’re really pleased to see that the DfE’s proposals acknowledge the need for a greater involvement from parents.
“As ever, Parentkind represented parents’ views both through advising on Ofsted’s review of sexual abuse in schools and in a written consultation response. We were clear that further consideration of parent voice was essential, along with greater communication and improved involvement for parents. This would ensure that issues of abuse in schools are dealt with effectively and that parents are an integral part of that process.”
Parentkind has particularly welcomed the government’s response on the following key areas:
1. Better communication with parents about online safety and filter and monitoring systems
Parentkind is delighted by this move to increase parental participation and strengthen the partnership between homes and schools. In responding to government, Parentkind said, ‘…in partnership with others, a communications campaign should be launched about sexual harassment and online sexual abuse, which should include advice for parents and carers. Our research has shown that this would benefit parents and increase their confidence in understanding and tackling these issues…’
2. Engaging parents and carers remains a priority for the Department for Education
Parentkind strongly welcomes any move by policymakers to more deeply embed parental participation within the school system. This links directly with Parentkind’s Blueprint for Parent-Friendly Schools, a tool that schools can use to ensure best practice parental participation strategies are in place.
3. More information on remote education, reminding schools and colleges to support young people being safe online
In its response to Government, Parentkind said, “…communication with parents is essential in supporting young people in talking openly and confidently about their experience of sexual harassment and violence. The review also recognises that schools are often the place that parents, children and young people turn to first in cases of sexual violence before going to the police.”
Within the consultation response, the government provides helpful links to parental support that schools and colleges can signpost parents to, which may be particularly useful in schools’ communications with parents about this issue.
Parentkind is pleased to see that, in publishing its consultation response, the Department for Education has demonstrated that parents’ voices are being heard and that their views are being taken into account in high level policy decisions.