Teachers in the West Midlands say they have seen an increase in the number of safeguarding referrals made over the last year.
A total of 600 teachers took part in the survey by the charity NSPCC, with 98% stating they had seen an increase in concerns since the pandemic. The research shows that 59% of those surveyed described the increase as "significant".
Meanwhile, the survey showed that teachers in the region have reported an 87% increase in the number of neglect referrals.
The NSPCC says the findings underline the vital role that schools play in keeping children safe, and how important it is that everyone connected to education knows how to recognise and respond to concerns whether they happen in the classroom, corridor or community.
This echoes new analysis of Government data that shows from 2020/2021 to 2021/2022 schools in the West Midlands saw a 55% increase in the number of safeguarding referrals and re-referrals made to children’s services.
The NSPCC's research comes after a joint UK-wide survey of 8,329 teachers, with the teaching union NASUWT.
Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said the pandemic left many children at an "increased risk of abuse and neglect".
He said: “The vital role that teachers play in keeping children and young people safe cannot be underestimated.
"They are in a prime position to spot concerns, and, in many cases, they are the trusted adults that children turn to when something worrying, or upsetting has happened to them.
“We know that the pandemic left many children at an increased risk of abuse and neglect and since children returned to school, teachers have been key in raising their hand and reporting concerns to ensure they can get the support they need.
“Whilst we recognise that teachers are an essential part of the jigsaw in protecting children, at the NSPCC, we believe everyone can play their part.
“Strong communities are vital in helping to keep children safe, and that’s why we are encouraging people to do their bit in their community and get behind Childhood Day 2023 by taking on the Childhood Day Mile.
“Everyone can get involved from schools, work colleagues and families and by taking part, you’ll be helping the NSPCC ensure child protection is a top priority.”
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