Wiltshire Publications

Westbury school “delighted” to be part of scheme that safeguards children

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A PILOT scheme to help young people who are at risk of becoming victims of exploitation or harm outside of the home is being trialled in Matravers School. 

Wiltshire Council has worked with four schools in the county to identify and respond to harm young people experience both within education environments but also within their communities. The scheme called Safer Young People has been trialled in a number of schools and Wiltshire Council say that it is having a positive impact.  

Tom Phillips, the assistant headteacher of Matravers School said, “We’re delighted with the progress being made to embed practice that safeguards children in all aspects of their life. In today’s society it is never ok for any child to suffer adverse experiences. 

“As a collective of professionals dedicated to child welfare, we’re all committed to establishing replicable framework which will prevent children from harm and support those who have experienced any form of abuse.” 

The work by Wiltshire Council involves supporting schools to evaluate how they respond to child exploitation or peer-on-peer abuse. This includes directly supporting schools, with face-to-face meetings, reviewing policies and providing a toolkit to assess their responses to harm outside of the home. This builds on previous work where there have been meetings with schools and young people to talk through potential issues. 

This has involved mapping out support and a way to move young people away from factors that may cause harm outside the home. The work is carried out alongside partners including police, children’s services and health and community organisations. It also helps schools to evaluate their responses to young people experiencing these issues. 

Cllr Laura Mayes, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services said, “A young person today lives a very different life to just a few years ago and the way we offer child protection needs to change to keep up with the different experiences and factors which can affect a young child’s life. This is important pioneering work which we are doing alongside our partners and I want to thank our schools for being key to this and helping us to put into practices new ways of working which will ultimately provide better insight and protection for our young people.” 

Detective Superintendent Ben Mant, head of public protection at Wiltshire Police, said, “We, along with our partners like Wiltshire Council, are committed to tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and the wider issue of Child Exploitation (CE).   

“This crime is not something that just happens in the home – it can take place anywhere in our society – both in our physical world and the virtual cyber one.  This is why a pilot scheme like this one is very welcome. 

“It also helps our police work, as part of our zero-tolerance approach to exploitation, urging members of the public to be aware of the potential signs of CE or CSE and to report any issues to us.  

“If you have any concerns about a child or group of children that is at immediate risk of exploitation, please ring Wiltshire Police on 999.  Otherwise call 101 or report via our website: www.wiltshire.police.uk.”