Ann Coffey MP is to meet the Children’s Minister to discuss a ground breaking scheme used by Stockport Academy to keep its pupil’s safe.
Ms Coffey, the MP for Stockport, was invited to a meeting with Edward Timpson after she raised the innovative work being done by Stockport Academy in the House of Commons during education questions yesterday.
Ofsted recently praised Stockport Academy for doing “outstanding” work to safeguard its pupils.
The school is using a new software application for monitoring child protection, safeguarding and pastoral and welfare issues. Staff input any concerns they have about a child, including if they are missing from lessons or behaving unlike themselves. Anyone can input concerns about a child and a picture can build up – accessible to senior safeguarding staff at the school, which could trigger further investigation, or be helpful in establishing where children are when they go missing.
Attendance at the school has increased, exclusions have reduced and teachers immediately check on the whereabouts of those who have not turned up for a lesson to make sure they are in a safe place.
Ms Coffey said: “This approach using modern technology should be adopted by more schools to safeguard our children, including those who are missing from school and may be at risk of child sexual exploitation. Using modern technology in this way means everyone has an input into keeping children safe.”
Mr Timpson praised Ms Coffey for her “assiduous” work to help keep children safe and said he wanted to meet her to hear more about the Stockport initiative and to see how such “best practice” could be used more widely.
Frank McCarron, the Principal of Stockport Academy, said:
“‘We are delighted that our work to safeguard our young people will be shared with others. Here at Stockport Academy, we see it as our duty and our moral obligation to put into place not only reactive support, but also to be proactive in protecting our students from some of the dangers of modern society in the most effective way that we can.”
Ms Coffey, is the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, and is the author of an independent report commissioned by Tony Lloyd, the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, published last year called ‘Real Voices’ – Child Sexual Exploitation Greater Manchester. In the report she called for a change in cultural attitudes towards young people and for schools and the community as a whole to get more involved in protecting young people.
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Ann Coffey (Stockport) (Lab): Ofsted recently praised Stockport academy for its outstanding work to keep pupils safe. The school uses a software application into which staff input any concern they have about a child, including if they are missing from a lesson. That means that immediate checks can be made to ensure that the child is in a safe place. Does the Minister agree that that approach to safeguarding, using modern technology, should be used by more schools?
Edward Timpson: I know how assiduous the hon. Lady has been in pursuing these matters, and it is good to hear of that initiative in her constituency from Stockport academy. I would like to learn more—as, I am sure, would the Department—about how it has achieved that, so that that best practice might be spread more widely, and I am happy to discuss that with her further.