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Sherbourne Fields School Coventry Head Teacher Personal Statement

Welcome to Coventry Safeguarding Children Board’s latest newsletter. It is now a year since I took over the Chair and a lot has happened. We continue to develop how we operate and there is more to do. We are working to draw closer to our neighbouring boards where this looks to be a better way of working and at the same time making sure we are responding to the unique aspects of our City.

You will see in this newsletter that we continue to have a brilliant relationship with Sherbourne Fields School. Head Girl, Aaisha is moving on to study Health and Social Care at college, we wish her every success and will be staying in touch.

Also in this newsletter, you will find some important information about how to make referrals to children's social care, matters of consent and what private fostering means and what must be done when it is identified.

In March this year, Aaisha (Head Girl of the Student Council at Sherbourne Fields School) spent a week with our team on work experience. Aaisha’s placement began on the day Ofsted notified the Local Authority that they were coming in to inspect Children's Services so she got the full experience of a busy week in our office.

It was a pleasure to have had Aaisha with us, she left a big impression on all of us and we would like to thank her for her time. Aaisha is currently a Young Advisor to the LSCB so this placement was an ideal opportunity for her to get a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.

We would also like to extend our thanks to Aaisha’s teacher Ms Geary and the Headteacher at Sherbourne Fields, Ms Moriarty for helping us build on our already blossoming relationship.

In our ‘Young People’s Advisory Group’ column, Aaisha gives us her thoughts on how she felt the placement went.   

‘’I was lucky to be allowed to do my work experience with the Coventry Safeguarding Boards Team. It was a real insight to see what they do on a day-to-day basis.

I went to various meetings with the team, some were a bit confusing but overall it was a great opportunity to be able to go there with the team.

I also was able to be involved in talking to social workers. We discussed what they do and what I wanted to do in the future.

To sum up my work experience, I had a wonderful time. I was made to feel like an adult and one of the staff members at the council.

I would like to thank everyone in the office particularly Mo for making me feel so welcome.’’


There are an estimated 200,000 under 18s each year in England and Wales who have a parent go to prison. This is more than the number of children who are looked after in care.

The children of prisoners are at a higher risk of poor mental and physical health, negative school experiences, housing and financial disruption and stigma. Despite this, there is no robust national system for identifying or supporting them.

Professionals in all services that encounter children and families can help to identify and safeguard those who have a loved one in the criminal justice system and encourage them to reach their full potential.

i-HOP is a national online knowledge hub run by Barnardo’s which supports all practitioners and strategic level workers to help keep the children and families of offenders on course. i-HOP provides a free directory of targeted local and national services, events, practice examples, practical tools, research and policy. For example, for families visiting a loved one at HMP Hewell, CT passenger services run transport from Coventry train station and under-fives travel for free!

Their new Practitioner’s Guide to supporting children and families affected by parental offending is a fantastic free resource packed with practice tips and tools. The guide complements Barnardo’s practice training for working with offenders’ families- check to see what training is available near Coventry or to arrange a group session.

The i-HOP Quality Statements and Toolkitenables services to self-assess and develop an action plan for work with this potentially vulnerable group.We would love to share your completed action plan templates with i-HOP website users! Please send them to

Sign up for the FREE monthly i-HOP e-newsletter and follow us on twitter @barnardos_ihop for updates to support your work with the children and families of offenders.

The MARF is the agreed method of making a referral to children’s social care.

The online version is more secure, more efficient and up to date. When the MARF is submitted a reference number is provided to the referrer as well as a copy of the MARF that is submitted. Some professionals are still using old word versions of the MARF and deploying outdated ways to send them in, including by fax. Other professionals are by passing the MARF all together and making referrals by phone instead. This is fine, especially if the referral is urgent, but it still needs to be followed up by the completion of the on line MARF. Professionals need to be aware that from September 2017, it will no longer be possible to submit the MARF by fax. Compliance with using the online MARF and ensuring that professionals complete MARF’s for all referrals are going to be monitored and reported back to the LSCB.

To help you decide whether to make a referral or not you should always consult the threshold document and speak with your own agencies safeguarding lead. You can always seek further advice from a CAF Coordinator about thresholds. However, if you suspect or believe that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm you should always report your concerns immediately to the MASH.

If a child’s needs can be met by a level two or three CAF this should be considered first.

The MARF is there to make sure that we capture all your concerns in writing to enable us to take appropriate and proportionate action to support the child or young person. Without a good quality MARF a child could be left at risk or have overly intrusive interventions. Some questions to consider before completing a MARF are:

  • Have I assessed the child as being at immediate risk of harm? If I haven’t what is the source of the information that is to be shared
  • What has happened to cause concern and impact on the child’s safety?
  • Have I go the personal details of all family members and appropriate contact details to share
  • Are there siblings that could be at risk?
  • Has a CAF been considered?
  • Has a CAF been completed and why is this not an appropriate course of action at this time?
  • Have I discussed this with my designated safeguarding lead?
  • What has been done to safeguard the child (if needed?)
  • Have I told the parents of the child my concerns or would this place the child at greater risk
  • Have I told the child what is happening and why I am worried about them?

Don’t delay in sending your referrals in early – the earlier in the working day the better, this also means that decisions can be made about a child often in school / nursery time when a child is safe. Check your spellings of names and make sure contact details are up to date and accurate. If you have any supporting evidence (CAF etc.) please let us know forward to us.

Multi-agency referral and initial information form

Coventry’s Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub receives a high number of referrals where parental consent is not sought beforehand. Between January 2017 and April 2017 consent had only been sought by agencies in less than 50% of cases. Of these only 7.15% were deemed to need immediate safeguarding during the same period. All partners have agreed to reinforce the need for consent to be sought before a referral is made. Professionals should seek to discuss concerns with the family and, where possible seek the family’s agreement to making a referral unless this may, either by delay or the behavioural response it prompts or for any other reason, places the child at increased likelihood of suffering Significant Harm.

Where a professional decides not to seek parental permission before making a referral to children’s social care, the decision must be recorded in the child’s file with reasons, dated and signed and confirmed in the referral to children’s social care.

Remember… you should always talk to parents and carers, when you have a child in need or a child protection concern, unless to do so would place a child at risk of harm, to let them know that you intend to share information with other agencies and make a referral to children’s social care. If you are unsure about whether your concern reaches a child protection level phone the Initial Contact Service/MASH before you talk to parents and carers. A child protection referral from a professional cannot be treated as anonymous, so the parent will ultimately become aware of the identity of the referrer. Where the parent refuses to give permission for the referral, unless it would cause undue delay, further advice should be sought from a manager or your Safeguarding Lead and the outcome fully recorded.

If a child or young person under the age of 16 (or 18 if they have a disability) is being cared for by someone who is not their parent or close relative for 28 days or more, this is classified as a 'private fostering' arrangement. 

Close relatives include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and step-parents.'Private fostering' should not be confused with official fostering placements provided by Independent Fostering Agencies run by private companies.

It is not private fostering if:

  • The carer is the child’s legal parent;
  • The carer has parental responsibility;
  • The carer is an approved foster carer and the arrangement was made by social workers;
  • The arrangement lasts for less than 28 days.

Some examples of Private Fostering situations include:

  • A teenager living with friends or in the home of a boyfriend or girlfriend;
  • Younger children placed with friends of the family on a long-term basis following family breakdown or parent’s ill health;
  • Overseas students who are living with a carer for over 28 days;
  • Children in boarding schools who live with another family during school holidays;
  • Children needing to be cared for because their parent(s) work away from home.

Your role as a professional

Understanding the law: The law says that the Local Authority must be told about all private fostering situations.

The child’s parent(s), private foster carer(s) or anyone else involved in the arrangement are legally required to inform Coventry City Children’s Services. However, private foster carers are often unaware of the legal requirements which can leave potentially vulnerable children at risk.  

Recognising a 'private fostering' arrangement: Education and health professionals are often the first people to become aware of private fostering situations. 

Use the checklist below to help you identify a current or impending arrangement that comes under the private fostering regulations.  If the answer to the questions below is ‘yes’, then it is likely that a private fostering arrangement is in place:

  • Is the child/young person under 16 years (or under 18 years if disabled)?
  • Are they being provided with accommodation by someone other than a parent, relative or a person with parental responsibility?
  • Are the parents in agreement with the arrangement?
  • Has the child/young person been accommodated for a period of 28 days?  If not, is the intent to accommodate for a period of 28 days or more?
  • Are the child’s/young person’s parents/persons with parental responsibility living in separate accommodation from the child/young person?

Taking the correct action: Professionals becoming aware of a private fostering arrangement have a duty to satisfy themselves that Coventry City Council has been notified:  

  • Professionals should encourage the child's parent or carer to notify the authority.  
  • Professionals should also consider contacting Coventry City Council to ensure that the notification has or will be made.
  • You will not be breaching confidentiality by notifying us, but you will be helping to safeguard a child.
  • If you think you know a child who is being privately fostered please contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to notify or seek further information about private fostering.

Contact the ICT/ MASH on 024 7678 8555 if you want to discuss a potential private fostering arrangement.

Over the last 18 months a great deal of work has been taking place jointly with Coventry Muslim Forum (CMF) and Safeguarding Quality and Assurance Service (SQAS). The work initial came about as in 2015 the government was thinking of introducing plans to regulate Madrassah’s across the country.

During the same period CMF became more aware that there were no safeguarding policies and procedures in place within the Madrassah’s in Coventry and was keen to address this, especially as there had been a number of concerns raised regarding Madrassah’s, from the Initial Contact Teams, within SQAS and through the Prevent agenda.

Coventry has approx. 24 establishedMadrassah’s and approx. 2,200children studying the Quran and Islamic Etiquettesfrom Monday to Friday between 5:00pm to7:00pmat various Madrassah’s within the Coventry area. Their attendance at the Madrassah is generally term time only and they are encouraged to learn the Quran and Islamic way of lifeand to become good citizens.

The work to write the safeguarding policies and procedures commenced and a series of bi monthly meeting pursued until the policies and procedures were written and verified. The policies and procedures have been disseminated to all 24Madrassah within the Coventry area. To ensure sustainability some members of CMF have also attended the Safeguarding Train the Trainer course so that they are able to deliver the safeguarding training within the Madrassah’s. All Madrassah’s teachers have now been on their Level 1 Safeguarding Awareness training provided by the Coventry Safeguarding Children’s Board (CSCB) and delivered by CMF.

Work has also commenced on having Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) within the Madrassah, which is innovative and which will make Coventry Madrassah one of the few within the country to embrace this new way of working. The Madrassah DSL‘s is a voluntary role and there has been a good take up of people coming forward for the role. As volunteer DSL’s some have limited safeguarding and child protection knowledge and experience but they are keen to learn the new skills associated with the role.

All the designated safeguarding leads have now been identified in all 24 Madrassah’s and their training has commenced to ensure that they are ready to take up their new roles from September 2017. It is envisaged that over the next few months and years that teachers at the Madrassah’s and teachers within school will have a closer working relationship so that children remain safe within the community. Also that the Madrassah teacher may also have joint designated lead training to ensure that their skills and knowledge are kept up to date.

Such has been the interest in children’s safeguarding within the community that some parents have also been interested in taking up the training and the community are becoming more aware of what is deemed to be acceptable behaviour by them and the expectations from the teachers at the Madrassah that their children attend. Parents are themselves asking questions and making choices of where they send their children to study the Quran and if a particular Madrassah does not have a designated safeguarding lead some parents have chosen an alternative provision which has.

The work with CMF and SQAS has been welcomed amongst the community and the relationships that have been formed has empowered the project to move forward and it is therefore essential that this work continues to enable the project to continue to be sustainable in the future and the work can be replicated amongst other hard to reach communities and faith groups.

For further information on this project please contact tel: 07570 103 806 or contact Mona Cook, Local Authority Designated Lead (LADO) on  tel: 024 7683 3443.

Safeguarding professionals survey – more tile to tell us what you think.

One of the roles of the LSCB is to ensure that the partners that make up the Board are working together effectively to keep children safe. To help us do that we want to know about safeguarding practice directly from the professionals who deliver services to children and families across Coventry. Last year we had nearly 2,000 responses and we want to hear from even more of you this year. So, we are inviting practitioners, who have not already completed the survey, to complete it by 30 September. 

The results will be considered by the Board and used to make decisions about how services are delivered to improve the way in which organisations across the city work together to keep children safe. We really want to listen to your views, and use them to make a difference to children’s lives, so please take a few minutes to complete this survey.

Complete the safeguarding professionals survey

To support staff with potential concerns regarding FGM, the LSCB recently updated the FGM policies and procedures into a more user friendly document that clearly identifies professional roles and responsibilities and referral pathways through the use of easy to understand flow charts.

LSCB - Children and Female Genital Mutilation

Coventry has adapted the Department of Health FGM risk assessment tool into an electronic risk assessment tool designed to help professionals make an initial assessment of risk, and then support the on-going assessment of women and children who come from FGM practising communities:

FGM Safeguarding Risk Assessment Tool

The tool is designed to support professionals to identify and consider risks relating to female genital mutilation, and to support the discussion with the client and family members. It should be used to help assess whether the client they are working with is either at risk of harm in relation to FGM or has had FGM. If the client has children it will also help assess whether they are potentially at risk of FGM, or if there are other children in the family/close friends who might be at risk. The tool needs to be completed and included with referrals, in respect of FGM, that are made to Social Care. The procedures also give information about mandatory reporting.  

The West Midlands Teaching Partnership and the West Midlands Principal Social Work network have set up a new website called PracticeTools, which is a store of resources to help practitioners work with children, young people, and adults.

You may find that you collect tools, ideas, and reminders of how to work with people in specific ways, leaving you with paper, electronic files, and weblinks in different places.

PracticeTools brings many of these resources into one place for ease of use. This is a great resource for all practitioners working within children and adult services and you are encouraged to visit the site and have a look at the materials. New tools are being added all the time so do explore the site and keep checking to see what’s new. You can also suggest or submit tools too, these will be added if the copyright allows.

Register and access the site.

Since our last newsletter, a few of our colleagues have been busy winning awards.

Congratulations to the Coventry City Council’s Legal Services Team who have picked up the Birmingham Law Society Award for in-house Legal Services team of the year.

Congratulations to Rebekah Eaves (CSE Coordinator) and The Horizon Team who won an award for Partnership work of the year. Well done!

The West Midlands Paediatric Sexual Assault Service offers a holistic medical assessment and care for children and young people under 18 years of age

  • Who disclose rape or sexual assault
  • Where there is a reason for concern about possible sexual abuse.

The service includes:

  • Physical examination
  • Collection of forensic evidence
  • Screening and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Emergency contraception
  • Counselling and support package

The service is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

Referral Process

Call to Call Centre (G4S)
Tel: 0800 953 4131

Request either

Advice call - you will be put through to the Paediatrician on call 

To book a same/ next day medical assessment – if the assault was within the last 3 weeks. You will be put through to the Paediatrician on call. The Paediatrician will advise you of the location.

To book in for historical clinic – the assault was non-recent. Ask to speak to Co-ordinator via call centre (working hours only) or email Client choice date/venue/examiner.

More information:

WM PSAS Presentation - Delivering Best Care Preserving Best Evidence

School Direct

Applications can only be made through the UCAS website


Coventry Special School Network

Sherbourne Fields School ( is the lead for a group of special schools in Coventry who are looking to recruit high quality graduates into the teaching profession. Schools in our alliance include;

The following schools offer primary places:

  • Sherbourne Fields
  • Tiverton
  • Castlewood
  • Woodfield

The following schools offer secondary placements:

  • Baginton
  • Woodfield
  • Corley Centre
  • Riverbank

For information on current placements being offered please visit the UCAS website. 

Trainees will complete their PGCE with QTS at the University of Warwick Centre for Professional Education. Four days a week will be spent in the host school with the other day spent at the University of Warwick engaging in reflective practice, preparation for Masters level research and developing professional understanding. Subject knowledge development will be developed through school based practice and University support. All trainees will also complete a second placement at a complementary school. Successful completion of Masters Assignments will give candidates 90 CATS towards an MA in Educational Innovation.

Entry Requirements (in-line with the University of Warwick requirements)

  • 1. You have graduated, or are about to graduate from a British university or College of Higher Education with an honours degree, normally a 2:1 or higher if applying for English, History or Drama and at least 2:2 for remaining subjects. If you are an overseas student with a qualification recognised as equivalent to a British degree in the above mentioned classifications.
  • 2. Normally, a significant proportion of your degree must be in chosen subject.
  • 3. On application you hold at least Grade C in GCSE English Language and Mathematics. Other qualifications may be approved as equivalent. The University of Warwick offer equivalency tests in English and Mathematics for international applicants (PGCE Secondary only) who are unable to show evidence of equivalent qualifications in English and Mathematics gained outside of the UK.

DfE Professional Skills tests in literacy and numeracy will also need to be completed before the course commences. We recommend that candidates consider completing the Skills Tests as close to application as possible.

All applications should be made through the
Visit the lead school website at as well as the university website at to ensure that you have researched what is available in detail.

Why train with Castle Wood School?

We believe that we offer a unique and personalised specialist programme working in partnership with the University of Warwick and partner schools which incorporates hands on work at school, regular time at university and practical locally based training by skilled and experienced practitioners

What we are looking for?

A graduate who is genuinely motivated by the prospect of a career in teaching

Interested in benefitting from a school-based approach to teacher training 

Passionate about learning to teach from highly experienced and respected professionals

Enthused by the prospect of working alongside teachers in a special school


Most of your placement you will have an immersive experience as a 'real' teacher


We have a particular expertise in SEND 


All applications should be made through the
Visit the lead school website at as well as the university website at to ensure that you have researched what is available in detail.

It is very important that there are no breaks in your employment history. All time must be accounted for otherwise this will delay your application being processed and could lead to it being rejected.


How we select our trainees ? 

Within the personal statement it is important that you include information about:

  • Why you want to teach in a special school and why working with children is important to you
  • How your degree and its content links to your chosen curriculum subject and its teaching
  • What school experience you have had and what you have learned from this (consider at this stage the school you are applying to, what relevance does your experience have in their context?)
  • Other relevant experience that demonstrates your skills (particularly add information about any wider experience of working with young people such as sports coaching, uniformed organisations, youth work or mentoring)
  • What are your personal strengths that will support you in teaching? Try to give examples of where you have demonstrated these strengths.
  • Why the School Direct route into teaching is of interest to you.
  • How you could contribute to the school.

Please ensure that your application has been proof read and checked for accuracy before submission.