How can schools safely approach searching, screening and confiscation? Safeguarding expert Elizabeth Rose looks at what to do and what to avoid

The guidance document Searching, screening and confiscation (DfE, 2022) has recently been updated following the publication of the Hackney and City Safeguarding Children Partnership Review into the case of “Child Q” (CHSCP, 2022).

Earlier this year, Child Q – a black female child of secondary school age – was strip-searched by police officers while at school following concerns that she was concealing drugs.

The child was not in possession of any drugs and the review into what happened to her led to national outrage about her treatment and the use of strip searches when responding to concerns about children.

I wrote about this case and the lessons we need to learn from it in more detail in my recent Best Practice Focus for Headteacher Update (Rose, 2022). However, one of the recommendations from the review was that the above guidance be updated and strengthened to include much stronger reference to the need to safeguard children. As such, the new guidance was updated for use from September this year.

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