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Safeguarding for 16 and 17-year-olds

Volume 641: debated on Monday 14 May 2018

It was wonderful to see “Three Girls” triumph at the BAFTAs yesterday, and that was also a demonstration of what happens when agencies fail. Schools and colleges must have regard to the Department’s statutory safeguarding guidance, “Keeping children safe in education”. Ofsted has published a document setting out the approach inspectors should take to inspecting safeguarding. Inspectors will always report on whether arrangements for safeguarding children and learners are effective.

In my constituency, the schools that serve our 16 and 17-year-olds and that have sustained the biggest cuts were graded level 3 by Ofsted, which means that they are now deemed to require improvement. Does the Minister agree that the average of £300 less per pupil is having a negative impact?

The same safeguarding duties apply for 16 and 17-year-olds as for children of any age. That would be the message that I would send to the hon. Lady’s school.

Sixteen and 17-year-olds are overrepresented in the secure residential estate. Instead of addressing capacity issues, last year, in the face of opposition, the Government changed legislation so that the most vulnerable children from England and Wales can now be placed in Scotland, miles away from their families, friends, schools and the health professionals who support them. Written questions that I have asked show that the Minister has made no attempt to look at the impact of this dire legislative change. Why is that?

Placing any child or young person more than 20 miles away from their area requires the agreement of the director of children’s services. Children should always be placed where appropriate and the director of children’s services must make that decision.