By Great Britain. Dept. for Education and Employment
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Schools should ensure that they are familiar with the procedures set out in the Department’s Child Protection circular 10/95 – “Protecting Children from Abuse: The Role of the Education Service”. 1 Schools must be absolutely clear about the boundaries of their legal and professional roles and responsibilities. A clear and explicit confidentiality policy should ensure good practice throughout the school which both pupils and parents understand. Teachers cannot offer or guarantee absolute confidentiality.
Peer education can therefore best be used to complement rather than to substitute for sex and relationship education in school. 9 Particular life experiences of the educators can help young people understand how sex and relationships can affect people positively and negatively. Examples include: ● young teenage mothers talking about their experiences of having a child and offering advice and support to their peers; ● young Asian women talking about their experience of learning about sex and relationships at home and from the wider community including school; 28 Sex and Relationship Education Guidance ● young people talking about their experience of living with HIV; and ● young people who are physically disabled talking to other young people with a disability.
12 When the teacher who receives the information believes there is a child protection issue to be addressed, they should refer the case to a designated teacher for child protection. They should also make clear to the pupil that they cannot guarantee confidentiality. The teacher should ensure that the pupil understands that if confidentiality has to be broken they will be informed first. 13 It is only in the most exceptional case that schools should be in the position of having to handle such information without parental knowledge, and where younger pupils were involved this would be grounds for serious concern.