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Faith Schools: Abuse

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to prevent the verbal or physical abuse of children in faith-based learning environments before the implementation of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Scheme in 2008. (145413)

Safeguarding children in all communities is a top priority for this Government.

No community supports the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of children. And wherever we see abuse, in whatever context, we need to challenge it. Abuse in any community will not be tolerated. “Working Together to Safeguard Children” was recently updated and sets out clearly how individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This guidance must be followed wherever there is concern about the welfare of a child. Local Safeguarding Children Boards have an important role to play in engaging with organisations in their area, including key faith groups, with a view to safeguarding all children.

The DFES recognises the significant contribution over a great number of years that many communities make towards the education of our children, particularly children from minority ethnic backgrounds, through supplementary school initiatives.

In recognition of the many achievements of the supplementary and mother tongue school sector, DFES recently announced the establishment of a new National Resource Centre (NRC) to support and promote supplementary schools in England. The centre jointly funded by the Department and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and managed by ContinYou, will support the development of more and better supplementary schools through, in particular, the extended schools and specialist schools programme, and will help to spread good practice in all areas, including safeguarding children.