Education Listening Hub

The SSCP wishes to increase their engagement with schools to capitalise upon the knowledge and experience of those responsible for safeguarding within educational establishments across Salford.

The SSCP was successful in a bid to create an “Education Listening Hub”. The purpose of the hub is: “to listen to and respond to the voice and experience of schools, using this to inform safeguarding priorities, neighbourhood and place-based working”. It will support the work of the schools in Salford, high-lighting good practice, and provide schools with a “voice” so together we can improve our partnership approach to deliver a better service and safeguarding in educational establishments across Salford. It is hoped that the outcome of more partnership working, use of community resources and forging closer links with schools will reduce the number of children from escalating to statutory safeguarding services.

The Education Listening Hub is at present just a 1 year Project, but there is a wider multi-agency “Listening Hub” being developed whose remit is to continue to capture the lived experiences of our communities and to develop multi-agency responses and actions to their views, “voices”. We want to continue learning from the experiences of schools so this work will continue under the wider umbrella of the Listening Hub.

A questionnaire was devised and is being utilised in consultation interviews via Microsoft Teams. Invitations to take part in these consultations have been sent to all educational establishments within Salford. Since the start of the project 23 schools have been consulted. These have been mainly primary schools.

These interviews have highlighted examples of effective practice with partnership working and close engagement with children and families. We are seeing recurring themes relating to the challenge’s schools face as part of their ongoing commitment to safeguarding. How the schools gather the views of the child and families to ensure that the welfare of the child is paramount has also been explored. Initial findings show an array of creative methods of how schools listen and action any concerns.

The impact of COVID-19 on safeguarding has been raised by schools. From discussions schools continue to support the parent(s), children, families, and communities with regards to this and offer additional support such as reducing anxiety and signposting for other support services. This continued support is welcomed by children, parent(s), families, and carers.

This questionnaire also includes two questions on “peer on peer” sexual abuse both within and outside the school grounds. The focus on this issue is ongoing as part of the Ofsted Inspection and being led by Cathy Starbuck (Assistant Director of Education, Work and Skills, People Directorate) and will be shared as appropriate.

There is also a focus on how we strengthen the school’s capacity to utilise services outside of the school gates to improve how we meet the needs of children, parents and families thus utilising a holistic approach. Similarly, how diversity is strengthened; to meet the diverse needs of children, parent(s) and families within the schools’ processes and practice is also a recurrent theme. Schools are keen to improve their safeguarding practices and already have some excellent processes and innovative ways of hearing the voices of the child, parent(s), carers, and families and in taking positive action following feedback. Overall, schools consider safeguarding across all staffing levels as a priority and want to see children and families thrive.

All educational establishments have welcomed the opportunity for the first time to speak about safeguarding practices and processes. They have been able to voice what is working well and what needs to be strengthened with regards to safeguarding. Initial findings show that they want this work to continue so that schools and safeguarding services can link in with each other to learn from “best practice” and be able to support each other. This is coupled with recognising the need for greater partnership, community engagement in the best interests of the child.

The next steps are to launch the Listening Hub, which includes a focus on both education and community listening on 14th September! This includes the unveiling of the new Listening Hub logo, designed by a Salford young person and prize giving for the winners. For more information about the Listening Hub, or to find out how young people can submit their ideas for our logo and win great prizes, visit the Listening Hub page on the SSCP website.

The school interviews will continue until December 2021 and we will be reporting our findings and the outcomes of the project after this. Further updates to follow via this website. If you wish to know more or to engage please contact:

Maria Ogunyemi (Participation Lead, SSCP) 21 July 2021.

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