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Will My Child Be Looked After In School? - KS4

Schools have responsibilities under Health and Safety legislation to make sure that pupils are safe while they're in school. Although it is not written into law, courts have also accepted that head teachers and teachers have a ‘duty of care' towards their pupils in school.

If your child is taking part in a work placement or Young Apprenticeship, all the activities will be approved for under-16s in terms of health, safety and welfare in the workplace.


Schools should be able to provide first aid if there are minor accidents. They will normally record incidents in a book and will send a note to you at home. If an injury or illness is anything other than minor, the school is likely to call you and ask you to collect your child.

Most state-maintained schools work with the local NHS Trust to detect any health problems that children might have. They may arrange for checks on your child's hearing, sight, growth and general development or for dental checks to be carried out.

At some point during secondary school, children over 13 will be offered the Td/IPV booster against diphtheria, tetanus and polio, which is given as a single injection. A BCG vaccination will be offered only to the children most at risk of tuberculosis (TB). All girls aged 11 to 13 will be offered a vaccine to protect against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer. There will also be a ‘catch-up' programme for girls up to the age of 18. You will be asked for your consent to vaccinations.

If your child has a medical condition or needs to take medication regularly, you should let the head teacher know. If a student gets pregnant and can't go to school, the local education authority still has to provide suitable alternative education.

Your child's school should also have:

- staff who have been trained to recognise signs of abuse;
- a senior member of staff who is responsible for child protection;
- procedures for checking on staff suitability before they are allowed to work with children;
- a child protection policy.


As a parent, you may be concerned about the possibility of your child having to deal with racism in school. Schools and teachers need to acknowledge that racism exists in society and it's therefore possible that it might exist within schools. They need to confront racism wherever and whenever it appears in schools.

Under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, public bodies (including state-maintained schools) must have ‘due regard to the need':

- to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination; and
- to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups.

Schools can't claim that they don't have the resources to meet these responsibilities.

All state-maintained schools must also produce a written statement of their policy for promoting race equality and you can ask to see it. Schools must also note and report racist incidents to the local authority. The school's race equality policy is just as important in schools with few children from Black and Minority Ethnic or Traveller families as those with many. Just because there are few BME or Traveller children does not mean that racism does not exist within that school.

Independent schools don't have to comply with these requirements in the same way although the Commission for Racial Equality strongly encouraged them to do so. However, the Race Relations Act does require them not to discriminate in terms of admissions, access to benefits or services, and exclusions. If your child's school is independent, you may still want to ask if they have a race equality policy.

If you believe that your child is subject to racism in school, you might first talk to his/her teacher or head teacher. If you are not happy with the results, you can discuss the matter with the parent governor representative. If that does not help, you can take your complaint to the local authority. You can try to get help from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau or Racial Equality Council.


Bullying includes written, verbal and physically abusive behaviour. More recently, much has been written about ‘cyber' bullying via email, websites and mobile phones.

Children may not tell parents about bullying, sometimes through fear of what it might lead to, sometimes out of embarrassment. As children get older, they may also believe that they can handle the situation themselves or with their friends.

Changes in behaviour or the quality of his/her work might be a sign that something is wrong. Your child might suddenly no longer want to go to school or he/she might be unwell more often than usual or have difficulty sleeping. He/she may ‘lose' more belongings. Or start asking for more money. He/she may have unexplained bruises.

Try to talk to your child about bullying. It's vital to listen to what your child says about school. There may be clues even if he/she doesn't want to be explicit. Do you know your child's friends? Have they mentioned anything? Is your child's teacher aware of any changes at school? Might your child talk to other members of your family or friends?

Schools must have written policies and procedures to prevent and deal with bullying. You can ask to see these policies.

If your child is being bullied, make notes of what is happening and talk to his/her teacher. Write down what action the teacher intends to take. If you're not satisfied, then you can talk to the head teacher or a governor. If that doesn't work, you can take your complaint to the local authority and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCFS) or OFSTED.

If you think that your child's health is being affected by bullying at school, you can ask your GP for a medical certificate so that you can keep your child at home. You could also consider moving your child to a different school. If the alleged bully is over the age of 10, then he/she can be prosecuted. You may feel that the incidents are serious enough to be reported to the police.

Being told that your child is bullying others would come as a shock. None of us wants to believe that our child is a bully, but the fact is that bullies do exist in schools. The first thing is to try to stay calm as you listen to any allegations. Listen carefully, too, to what your child has to say. While naturally wanting to defend your child, do consider the possibility that your child doesn't behave exactly the same at school as he/she does at home. If you believe that your child has been wrongly accused of bullying, then take this up with the head teacher. If there is any possibility that your child is bullying others or is part of a group of bullies, then you need to discuss this as positively as possible with the school and see if there are any sources of help. It is vital not to ignore this since any bullying can lead to extremely serious consequences.

You can get help and support from the following organisations:

- Parentline Plus has a helpline: 0808 800 2222
- Kidscape has a helpline for parents: 08451 205204
- The Advisory Centre for Education gives advice to parents and children on all school matters: 0808 800 5793
- The Children's Legal Centre gives free legal advice on all aspects of the law affecting children and young people: 01206 872466
- Bullying Online ( has help and advice for pupils and parents.
- The DCSF website, Don't Suffer in Silence ( has information for young people and parents.

Racist bullying

Unfortunately, some children experience racist bullying in school or on the way to and from school. This might take the form of verbal or even physical abuse. It is important to inform the school's head teacher about any incidents of this kind since they can escalate and lead to very serious consequences.

The school should have a written race equality policy and you should be able to get a copy. If the school is unwilling or unable to take action to prevent the bullying, you can complain to your local authority. If matters become serious enough, you may want to make a complaint to the police.

You can get help and advice from all the organisations mentioned under ‘Bullying' above.