In the name of safeguarding: The education experiences of children experiencing extra-familial harm
What are the education experiences of young people impacted by extra-familial harm? Who do social work consider impacted by extra-familial harm and how are panels used to discuss young people? This report presents data looking at the education experiences of children impacted by extra-familial harm.
Those working with children impacted by extra-familial harm have spoken about how decisions about school exclusions are sometimes taken “in the name of safeguarding”. That is, as a means of keeping other students safe from the influence of violence and harm that can be associated with children experiencing criminal exploitation, youth violence or sexual exploitation. If true, it is important that educational decisions about children and young people impacted by extra-familial harm are sensitive to, and promote, the best interests of those children and their welfare, including decisions about whether to exclude them. It is essential that those whose task it is to protect children from harm (safeguarding professionals) and those tasked with promoting their access to education work together.
By collecting data from 17 local authorities in England and Wales, we start to see an emerging picture of how safeguarding professionals are responding to the issue of extra-familial harm and importantly, who they think is who they think is impacted by it. The data starts to show the complex relationship between how systems ostensibly designed to keep young people safe can themselves adversely impact different young people.