Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “A school leader’s first duty is to keep pupils safe. It is welcome to see that it has been made very clear that the guidance applies to all schools, including primaries and all ages of children.
“It is important to recognise the dual role which schools fulfil – dealing with incidents of negative behaviour which occur, but also proactively seeking to prevent such behaviours from happening.”
NAHT is also pleased to see greater clarity around use of restraint in schools, as the guidance now acknowledges that this isn’t solely an issue for consideration for special schools.
One of the new additions to the document is the inclusion of a summary of the newly released guidance on peer on peer sexual violence and sexual harassment. NAHT provided extensive input into the development of the full sexual violence and sexual abuse guidance and will be continuing to support the DfE in reviewing it on a regular basis.
Mr Whiteman continued: “If school leaders are alerted to a problem, they should have the confidence that their action will result in an appropriate response from social services. It is understood that social services are working under tremendous pressure and with reduced resources early intervention rather than crisis management is better for all parties and so we need more responsive services at the point of first identification.
“It is also really important is that there is time in the curriculum for schools to help young people understand their rights and responsibilities. The best way to do this is through statutory PSHE which should also be available to all children in all schools, and we encourage the government to quickly get on with the job of implementation.”
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