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Comment on DfE’s serious incident notifications data

Commenting on the Department for Education’s serious incident notifications data, Chair of the Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committee, Sarah Tough said:

“The data published by the Department for Education showing an increase in the number of serious incident notifications during the first half of 2020/21 across all age groups is very concerning. The figures, although partial, sadly illustrate the pandemic’s impact on the most vulnerable children and young people. The data shows that the largest increase was amongst children aged 5 and under, a cohort that we have all been worried about since March. Local systems to support children and families have remained in place throughout the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns but it is clear that this period has intensified a range of challenges and pressures as well as disrupted access to the formal and informal support networks that children and families rely on, from health visitors to grandparents.

“Our work has never stopped but it has certainly changed and social workers have continued to prioritise face to face contact with those most at risk. More children identified as vulnerable are attending school during the current lockdown in comparison to the first and this is to be welcomed from a safeguarding perspective. Beyond education, schools provide a vital safety net for our most vulnerable learners and have a key role in identifying safeguarding concerns early.

“The past year has highlighted a number of longstanding societal issues including ‘hidden harms,’ and it is clear that the safety and wellbeing of children and young people needs to be much higher in national planning and recovery.”


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