Our view is that such options can and should complement each other. Both have significant advantages for young people and schools and colleges and should not be viewed as either or options. When offered in conjunction, they can give young people a range of avenues to share information in a way that they feel most comfortable with.
Confidential reporting should be used to share specific concerns that young people have about their own safety, well-being, and school life or that of a peer(s) in their community. Students that use this option will know that their identity is known and protected.
Community mapping is our anonymous reporting tool and can be used to share concerns about school community, culture, and safety through the mapping tools on The Student Voice page. These maps include the school campus, local community and home learning environment.
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Transparent communication with our young people
We further believe that such processes must be transparently communicated and be fully accessible to the young people under your care. We have therefore embedded our approaches to information sharing into The Student Voice Page, for students to access at any time and in any context, i.e. at school, in the community or during periods of home learning. For our member schools, we will develop a bespoke version of this document, one that reflects the values and processes of the school.
The ofsted report and removing barriers to reporting
Ofsted and their report into child sex abuse in schools and colleges were accurate when they identified the role that schools need to play in removing barriers to reporting. Schools and colleges live and work with young people daily, and therefore have the opportunity to listen and understand the unique experiences they have, in an authentic way. Schools and colleges through providing varied and authentic channels for reporting will succeed in both reducing barriers to reporting and creating a culture that prevents future harm. For example, students feeling unsafe in an underpass on the way to school can report this anonymously, using their voice in a positive way to help their community, and the area is then improved with better lighting. Students know they are being listened to and this in turns built trust in the system, so students feel confident voicing concerns in the future.
Through this cycle of care, schools will empower the voices of their young people, and further, role model empathy, respect and understanding. Schools and colleges that adopt this approach will succeed in both reducing barriers to reporting and creating a culture that prevents future harm.
The long-term benefits for society through providing such opportunities for young people, as they move into adulthood, could be significant……