Education is a powerful protective factor for young people. It plays a vital role in early intervention and prevention of the worst possible outcomes for young people, including involvement in county lines and serious violence.
The department’s statutory safeguarding guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) contains extensive safeguarding advice, which all schools and colleges must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It contains advice about all forms of abuse and neglect including the indicators of these harms. KCSIE is clear that all staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm.
The new statutory relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum was introduced in September 2020 with a focus on building respectful, healthy relationships, including ways of resolving conflict. Schools have the freedom to ensure the curriculum meets the need of their pupils which allows them to respond to local issues such as violence and exploitation, with high quality materials available to support teaching.
In addition to this wider work, we are investing £45 million in two new programmes, which are funding specialist support in both mainstream and alternative provision (AP) schools in the areas where serious violence is most damaging to local communities. The first of these are the Alternative Provision Specialist Taskforces, launched in November 2021, which involves specialists being drawn from across health, education, social care, youth services and youth justice to work directly with young people in AP settings.
The second programme is the SAFE (‘Support, Attend, Fulfil, Exceed’) Taskforces programme, launched earlier this year. SAFE Taskforces are being led by partnerships of local secondary schools in 10 serious violence hotspots with the aim of re-engaging young people in their education through intensive support, informed by the research on what works to prevent serious violence.