Social services rapped over response to sexualised behaviour

July 1, 2009

Ofsted cites lack of response to referrals from schools from some social workers

An Ofsted report into school exclusions of pupils aged four to seven has uncovered a worrying lack of response by some social workers after children were referred to them over concerns about their sexualised behaviour.

Ofsted called on the government to take urgent action to ensure that all child protection services responded appropriately to young children who displayed inappropriate sexual behaviour at school.

Of the 69 schools examined in the report, eight said that they had excluded children for sexually inappropriate behaviour, with the majority also instigating child protection procedures. A further six schools referred cases directly to social services without excluding the child.

Lack of social services response

However, two schools reported a lack of response from services to seemingly serious incidents.

One headteacher of an infant school was told by a local authority specialist support agency that a child was too young for a referral and he might grow out of it. Ofsted discovered that the same child had subsequently moved to a junior school where he was again referred for the same types of behaviour.

Ofsted urged the Department for Children, Schools and Families to issue guidance for schools on identifying and responding to childrens sexually inappropriate behaviour and said that teachers should consider the reason for such behaviour as part of their child protection training.

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