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Special Educational Needs

Question for Department for Education

UIN 208631, tabled on 9 September 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance she issues to (a) maintained and (b) independent schools on recording instances where staff have verbally abused a special educational needs student.

Answered on

25 September 2014

All schools have a duty to safeguard all children, particularly those in need of additional support which includes pupils with special educational needs. In April, the Department for Education issued ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) guidance which sets out what schools and colleges must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18.[1]

KCSIE provides guidance to schools and colleges about managing allegations that a teacher or member of staff has:

1. behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;

2. possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or

3. behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she would pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children.

KCSIE makes clear the importance of recording on the personnel file of the accused: a summary of the allegation; how the allegation was followed up and resolved; any action taken and what decision was reached.

Schools are responsible for determining whether an allegation, including one that alleges that staff have verbally abused pupils, would meet any of the criteria and, where it appears to do so should discuss the matter with the Local Authority Designated Officer. In most serious cases the children’s social care services and/or the police should be consulted. Local arrangements should be followed for those cases that are judged to have not met the criteria.