Agenda and minutes
Venue: The Shire Hall, St. Peter's Square, Hereford, HR1 2HX
Contact: Matthew Evans, Democratic Services Officer
Welcome and Introductions
The Chairperson will open the spotlight review and make opening remarks.
Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Nicola Kinson.
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest in respect of schedule 1, schedule 2 or other interests from members of the spotlight review in respect of items on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
The attached report provides the background to the spotlight review and includes, as appendices: the scoping document; and programme for the review. The presentations from Herefordshire Council, Public Health and the West Mercia Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre are also attached as appendices.
The spotlight review received presentations from the following organisations:
· Herefordshire Council
· Public Health
· Herefordshire Schools
· West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre
The following is a summary of the discussions that informed the recommendations of the spotlight review:
The spotlight review heard that a number of schools had chosen to implement a separate policy to address peer on peer abuse in schools. The numbers of schools which had chosen to implement a separate policy was not available but it was hoped that in 2020 when a review of safeguarding policies had been completed all schools would introduce a separate policy. The spotlight review felt that in order to ensure consistency across Herefordshire, all schools should be encouraged to establish a separate policy regarding peer on peer abuse.
It was further felt that peer on peer abuse policies at schools in Herefordshire contain provision for children inside and outside of the criminal justice system and children under the age of criminal responsibility.
The spotlight review questioned the guidance from the DfE concerning the separation of victim and perpetrator and whether it was felt to be adequate. The difficulty of ensuring there was no contact between victim and perpetrator was raised and the guidance concerning the potential return to a school of a perpetrator who had been convicted of a criminal offence. It was confirmed that the separation of victim and perpetrator did present a challenge but schools employed methods such as staggered start times and establishing safe areas at break times.
It was queried whether guidance should be amended to state that a perpetrator should be suspended or removed from a school if they were convicted or currently under investigation. It was explained that such guidance would require a change to exclusion rules however it was confirmed that if a pupil was convicted of rape or a serious sexual assault it was likely they would have breached school disciplinary policy and would be excluded from school.
The spotlight review heard that Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019 had assisted to provide better guidance regarding peer on peer abuse in schools and demonstrated that the issue was receiving prominence nationally. In producing a school policy for peer on peer abuse in schools the importance of learning from best practice was highlighted whilst retaining a focus on the contextual elements of each school.
The spotlight review felt that guidance from the DfE could be clarified to include greater detail regarding the separation of perpetrator and victim and that exclusion policies at schools should state explicitly the types of peer-on-peer abuse that could result in an exclusion. It was also felt that the likely consequences of committing peer on peer abuse should be outlined in schools disciplinary policies.
Herefordshire Council review of historic cases
The spotlight review requested details of the review of cases of peer on peer abuse referred to the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) between 2017 and 2018 and when it was likely that the review would ... view the full minutes text for item 4.