East Riding school sees rise in safeguarding cases after lockdown

East Riding school sees rise in safeguarding cases after lockdown

Girl in front of railings
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Incidents included self-harming, eating disorders and pupils dealing with domestic violence at home

An East Yorkshire school has dealt with more than double the number of safeguarding cases compared with before the coronavirus pandemic.

East Riding councillors heard Hornsea Secondary School had seen a rise in pupils self-harming, eating disorders and domestic violence at home.

The school has recorded 265 incidents since September, compared with 102 at the same time of year before lockdown.

The school headteacher Steve Ostler described the figures as “alarming”.

Mr Ostler told the council hearing that schools were increasingly having to pick up the pieces of the fallout from the pandemic and the impact of the cost of living crisis on children.

He added it was not just confined to Hornsea, but was affecting all schools.

“This is what school staff are dealing with now and education is almost being pushed to the backbenches,” he said.

“There’s a bulge of children who are now in very difficult situations and the effects of that are being pushed into schools.

“I think we’re going to see more issues like domestic violence at home as money becomes tighter and we’re facing our own significant financial pressures.”

Image source, LDRS
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The headteacher of Hornsea School said a rise in safeguarding cases was affecting all schools in the county

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the meeting of the council’s Children and Young People Sub-Committee was told the number of children eligible for free school meals in the East Riding has risen from around 6,000 before the pandemic to 8,500.

Schools Director Eoin Rush told the committee it was important to “try and intervene earlier and work to create a climate where pupils can feel a sense of optimism”.

“This is something schools don’t want to be facing, especially in the current climate,” he said.

“Headteachers are shot through with a determination to keep going and we need to continue our partnership with them because this isn’t just the responsibility of schools.”

He added: “Pupils have had an understandable reaction to the very odd experience of the pandemic and families have been and are under intense pressure.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can visit IPGCE Action Line.

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