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Learning from Serious Case Reviews for education

Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) were established under the Children Act (2004) to review cases where a child has died and abuse or neglect is known or suspected. SCRs could additionally be carried out where a child has not died, but has come to serious harm as a result of abuse or neglect. They aim to establish learning for agencies and professionals to improve the way that they work together to safeguard children. A local safeguarding children board (LSCB) can commission a review for any case where it suspects anything can be learned to improve local practice.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department for Education, 2018) changed the structure of these reviews, now known as Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (SPRs). Responsibility for learning lessons lies with a new national panel – the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) – and with local safeguarding partners.

The Panel and local partners help to identify serious child safeguarding cases that may raise issues of national importance. They commission a review that involves all practitioners who may be relevant or have information that will help to provide learning for future practice.

A serious child safeguarding case is one in which:

  • abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected
  • the child has died or been seriously harmed.

For Designated Safeguarding Leads and others with responsibility for safeguarding in schools, learning from reviews is important to improve the way that children and young people are protected.

Under Working Together to Safeguard Children’s new arrangements, the education sector is seen as a ‘relevant agency’ but not a statutory partner. It is therefore important for schools to inform the process of learning and think strategically about any possible cases that may help to inform and drive practice in education – advocating for this view with safeguarding partners to inform the commissioning of SPRs.

SCIE’s Learning Together model takes a systems-thinking approach to establishing the best evidence and draws out the deeper systems issues that help or hinder professionals and organisations to safeguard effectively. Learning Together underpins our approach to audit, independent incident reviews and conducting SCRs.

Find out more at Practice issues from Serious Case Reviews – learning into practice

Support from SCIE

Safeguarding in education: SCIE Support

SCIE’s knowledge and experience of safeguarding means that we are well placed to support your organisation on your safeguarding journey. 

Our collaborative approach provides organisations with the tools to learn from safeguarding incidents and put in place the right measures to improve safeguarding in the future.

Drawing on extensive experience of using our  Learning Together approach, we conduct audit, independent incident reviews and consultancy with multi-academy trusts and schools to improve safeguarding provision and governance. 

Work with SCIE

  • SCIE has worked with a range of schools, trusts and education organisations and has developed a deep understanding of the context, sensitivities, issues and concerns relating to safeguarding
  • SCIE knows that safeguarding applies to both children and adults, but also to the site and health and safety provisions in place
  • Co-production is fundamental to what we do and we understand the importance of involving children, families, staff and others that use services in that safeguarding journey
  • SCIE works with education organisations to support them through tailored programmes of learning and development and audit and review. We can work with your organisation to embed good safeguarding practice through
    • developing and updating policies and procedures that reflect latest legislation, learning, good practice and your context;
    • Learning Together, a systems-based approach to support with audit, review and consultancy;
    • CPD-accredited, tailored classroom and e-learning courses for staff and designated safeguarding leads;
    • free online resources for safeguarding children and adults.