Childrens Conference – Voices from the Child
Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board in conjunction with the Voice Project, Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCYVS) and Safeguarding Education Services at the Local Authority developed and delivered a bespoke conference, ‘Talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids can talk’ attended by children to seek their views with the idea of upskilling front line staff in Staffordshire.
Seventy two children from schools across the county attended the conference on Wednesday 15, November 2023. The schools St Luke’s Cannock, St Luke’s Newcastle-under-Lyme, King Edwards Lichfield, Billbrooke Middle School, Etching Hill Primary Academy, Leasowes Primary School, Queens Croft and Walton Hall Academy chose children from across years six to 11.
The conference which was developed based on recent and on-going local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews, whereby children told us how support for them could be improved, and one way is in how practitioners listen, understand, and communicate with them. Activities with the children brought about opportunities to seek their views on how they would share their own worries and concerns so as to help front line staff spot signs early on, and develop the right skills and tools to build trusting relationships to respond appropriately to their needs. Activities also focused on preferred communication methods for children and young people to support future practice and understand how children and young people perceive friendships and challenge misconceptions about not telling on a friend (especially where there is a safeguarding concern).
The event was also supported by skilled facilitators from across our partnership including the NSPCC and Police, and the Boards Independent Chair and Scrutineer, Ian Vinall opened the event with a warm welcome to all supported enthusiastically by the children.
Ian said ”
‘Talk so kids will listen and listen so kids can talk’, what a great strapline for the inaugural Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board children’s conference held on the 15 November at the Staffordshire Rugby Club. I had the privilege of being a very small part of this very special day, where children from eight Staffordshire schools worked tremendously hard with teachers, facilitators, and organisers to produce some magical feedback about what keeps them safe, healthy, and well. So many different messages they gave us as adults and now its our job to ensure we listen and act upon their feedback. Huge thanks has to go to staff from SCYVS, PHSE Education, the Voice Project, the Police, NSPCC and the Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board for organising and facilitating an interactive and fun event. A yearly children’s conference should become part of the regular feedback we get from children in Staffordshire.
Learning from the event has already been shared with the strategic safeguarding partners’ to help build on existing arrangements for seeking the views of children, and to consider Ian’s suggestion of an annual event. SSCB training will be refreshed in line with the learning, so look out for tips on how best to engage with children via the SSCB training pages. A comprehensive evaluation and feedback report will now be produced and shared with the schools and our strategic partners in order to facilitate changes to system and process based on the children and young peoples voices. More information will appear in the Boards newsletter.
Children at the event said
“It was the best day ever, it just made our voices heard” and “Today was amazing, I learnt about safety and boundaries and about if I am worried or someone else is I know who to tell”
Facilitators and teachers at the event said
“Hearing the children considering their own safety and wellbeing, and that of others, was inspiring” and “Being invited to be part of the conference from so many schools from across Staffordshire. The students loved the dinner (it was simple but they loved it) The enjoyment of the conference, the students said to me, can we do this again next year. The voice of students was heard”
What makes a trusted adult – Queens Croft High School