Becca Morgan from Principal Teachers
Anna Addison

Catterick teaching agency fears for child safety

A North East-based supply teacher agency has expressed its anger and concern about child safety following the Government’s recent announcement that the industry’s Quality Mark will be abolished from the end of March.

And, as Safer Internet Day approaches (Tuesday February 5th), managers at Principal Teachers in Catterick are raising their concerns about the effects the move will have on overall child safety and teaching standards.

The Quality Mark is a joint initiative by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Department for Education (DfE), started in July 2002, to improve standards in supply teaching. It sets minimum standards for agencies and local authorities to attain in areas such as the recruitment process of supply teachers, the way they check and manage performance and how they remain at the forefront of changes in the teaching sector.

The high standards of the Quality Mark ensure that schools only receive teachers employed using the strictest levels of recruitment practice and safeguarding of children.

However, the Government announced last week (23rd January) that the Quality Mark would be abolished from March 31st.

Principal Teachers in Catterick have been established for 13 years and have held the DfE Quality Mark since it was introduced in 2002, consistently being awarded 100% in audits.

Becca Morgan is a director of the company and is shocked by the Government’s decision. Becca said: “I have serious concerns relating to the safeguarding of children and see this as a worrying development. With the Quality Mark, schools are assured that we operate to the highest standards.

“Although Principal Teachers will continue to operate to these standards, many of our competitors may not and I believe that this could place children at risk. It is of great concern to me that there is no planned replacement scheme and that this retrograde step leaves the teaching industry and children in our schools vulnerable and at the mercy of more unscrupulous ‘cowboy’ businesses- child safety should always be the number one priority.”

Principal Teachers’ fears come as Safer Internet Day approaches on Tuesday February 5th which promotes online safety, especially amongst children and young people. The company is an active supporter of all aspects of child safety- whether in the classroom or online- and is teaming up with children’s social networking site, www.jabble.co.uk, also based in Catterick.

The partnership will offer free resources and lesson plans for schools for teaching eSafety, deliver fun and engaging ‘Safer Surfing’ workshops for children and host ‘Understanding Digital Risk’ workshops to teachers and parents.

http://www.principalteachers.co.uk/

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