Schools are well practised at keeping records. It is important that systems should be practical and that the reasons for keeping records and what should be recorded are clear.
; Records are kept for a variety of reasons:
- to provide information upon which others may act;
- to provide evidence which may protect a child;
- to act in line with agreed procedures;
- to ensure the school can make informed decisions;
- to safeguard the person writing the record who may be a teacher,
other school staff, other LEA staff in regular contact with the child
; Schools need to record when there are concerns about:
- marks on a child’s body;
- unusual or different behaviour;
- mood changes;
- puzzling stories;
- a disclosure (which may have to be passed on as a referral);
- information from others;
- the welfare of the child.
There may also be a request from another agency.
; Children subject to abuse over a period of time may demonstrate
changes in behaviour, demeanour and approach to education. On
children giving cause for concern, it would be appropriate for schools to
- patterns of attendance and related absences;
- changes in mood and behaviour;
- changes in approach to lessons and achievement;
- relationships with friends, other peers and adults;
- particular statements and demeanour;
- changes in home circumstances or family circumstances;
- injuries, marks past and present.
; Records used for monitoring purposes should be reviewed regularly, so
that the frequency of information stored and patterns can be identified.
Such records are useful additional information in cases which are
referred for other reasons.
; To ensure accuracy and clarity it is advised that records should:
- be written within 24 hours of any incident or concern being noticed;
- be accurate and include a chronology of events;
- be factual;
- be descriptive stating the content;
- not make assumptions;
- be signed, dated and timed;
- be part of a process, not the task itself.
; Retention and transfer of records:
- pupil academic records should be passed on to the next school,
and after that records should be kept indefinitely at the final school.
Child Protection files should be kept with the child’s academic file
once the child has left school;
- informal teachers’ notes, the content of which would appear as part
of the report to Conference for Child Protection matters should be
kept for some time to allow any questions regarding the accuracy
of the Education report to have appropriate background evidence.
; Where teachers have kept a diary-type record of a child it should be
passed on to the Designated Teacher of the new school, in a reasonable
form. This would enable the new school to use this previous information
should the need arise.
; Informal notes made by teachers may be passed between schools,
should they be considered of a serious nature.
; Child Protection files should only be passed from Designated Teacher to
Designated Teacher, in confidence.
The Child Protection file is chosen to be of one colour for all children recorded and that colour is used only for Child Protection information. A similar format could be adopted for recording concerns about a child for whom there has been no referral to Social Services. A file should also contain any minutes of meetings relevant to the child and copies of reports to Child Protection Conferences.
Monitoring Children Who May Be Abused
Occasions will arise whereby there are concerns about a child, which individually do not constitute abuse, but collectively over a period of time, may do so. It is important that these concerns are noted at the time giving details of:
Date of Birth/Class
Signed .............................................. Dated ............................ Time .................
Such monitoring notes should be kept in a separate file for each child concerned and then kept in a locked filing cabinet, separately from the child’s other records. This file would become the child’s Child Protection File should
the case go further.
It is, however, most important that the monitoring notes are reviewed regularly. Writing a monitoring note is not an end in itself. Such notes should be used to collate an overall picture of a child’s situation which may or may not result in a referral being made. Using the Children and Families Assessment Grid from the Children in Need procedures may help in coming to a conclusion as to whether or not the monitoring information is building to a picture of mild, moderate or serious concern. Should the concerns appear serious it may be that ‘child abuse’ as opposed to a ‘child in need’ will be the outcome of the referral. The Assessment Grid refers to a series of indicators; it is not a checklist in which each indication has to be obvious, similarly there may be other indicators not noted.
A résumé of the monitoring information should accompany the written confirmation of any referral.
Children in Need Assessment Grid
Environmental Health Education Identity Family/Social Emotional/Behavioural
Insufficient heating, facilities and Child has serious illness, Challenging behaviour in school Confused about self and Poor relationship with Insecure furniture medical condition or disability situation parents/carers M Poor Concentration Overcrowded living and sleeping Feeding problems/Diet poor Lack of age appropriate social Poor Peer Relationships Inconsistent parenting/behaviour I arrangements Poor Attendance (approximately skills management L Preventative health measures 20% unauthorised attendance) Unkempt/uncared for not taken (e.g. immunisation, Experiences of bullying D dental checks, vision and Parental support/interest lacking Lack of family support networks hearing) Not appropriately dressed for Numerous changes of school weather or social situations Not registered with GP
Subject to infestation Frequently attends GP/hospital/ Lack of stimulation/learning Low self-esteem Inappropriate Peer Child involved in or at risk of frequent periods of materials in home Relationships involvement in criminal activities M Home in poor repair illness/accidents Parents are highly critical and At risk of permanent exclusion show little affection Inappropriate Social Behaviour Self harming O Lack of basic amenities Missed appointments/not D receiving treatments Non attendance (50% over 6 Infrequent contact or Mental health difficulties Hazards for young children months period) acrimonious relationships with E Services refused non-custodial parent Challenging/inappropriate R Parents have no contact with behaviour (e.g. sexual) Experimental substance misuse child’s school and condone Socially isolated A (young person) absence T Domestic violence in home Hidden pregnancy Learning difficulties not E addressed
Serious neglect of primary Failure to thrive Deprived of Stimulation/learning Scapegoated/rejected by Frequent changes of primary Traumatised needs (food, safety, basic care) opportunities parents carers S Global development delay Mental illness/suicidal/eating Homeless Global developmental delay Constantly Dangerous/abusive disorder E Special needs not met undermined/denigrated R Drug paraphernalia accessible Permanently excluded from Young child left alone Running away to child Unexplained injury school Rejected by peers I Child shows no sign of Child’s behaviour beyond O Faeces and food left on surfaces Malnourishment Parents hostile to Education Damaged identity attachment to primary carer parents/ carers control and floors U No ante-natal care Parents encourage absence Child embarrassed or ashamed No long term stable relationship Abusive/violent behaviour S Essential supplies disconnected to form relationships with at least one adult (verbal or physical) Pregnant Intravenous drug user Significant underachievement in Problematic substance misuse all areas at school Child has no peer relationships Severe physical punishment (parent) in home or whilst caring Previous death or permanent for child health impairment of a child of 100% non-attendance Child has inappropriate the family responsibilities