Daniel Pelka died 3rd March 2012 at the age of 4. Daniel died from head injuries, but he had been subjected to months of abuse and starvation by his mother and her partner.
The shocking case review as revealed by the BBC news on 17th September 2013 stated that Daniel had been invisible to professionals, the report stated that the abuse that he has suffered was terrifying and dreadful.
“the review’s key findings include:
? Police were called to 26 separate incidents at the family home, many involving domestic violence and alcohol abuse
? Excuses made by Daniel’s “controlling” mother were accepted by agencies
? Professionals needed to “think the unthinkable” and act upon what they saw, rather than accept “parental versions”
? Daniel’s “voice was not heard” because English was not his first language and he lacked confidence
? No record of “any conversation” held with Daniel about his home life, his experiences outside school, or of his relationships with his siblings, mother and her partners
? None of the agencies involved could have predicted Daniel’s death
? There were “committed attempts” by his school and health workers to address his “health and behavioral issues” in the months before his death
? But “too many opportunities were missed for more urgent and purposeful interventions”
? Two of those chances were when Daniel was taken to an accident and emergency department with injuries” (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-coventry-warwickshire)
At the time of his death Daniel weighed 30.4lb, reports have shown that Daniel was underweight but would not have died from malnutrition; Daniel died from a severe head injury and suffered a catalogue of 30 other injuries.
During his time of abuse and starvation the school at which he attended became increasingly concerned about his health, however, his mother informed them that he suffered from a rare dietary disorder and said that they were not to feed him. The school complied.
The family had had contact with police, social services and health visitors during the time that the abuse was taking place.
It is recorded that over 26 police incidences were recorded at the family home leading up to Daniels death and many concerns were recorded by the school, however, the school did not report their concerns to the police.
David Tucker, head of policy at the NSPCC, said: “The worrying thing about this case is that there were teachers who were aware of the problems, they seemed to have taken some sort of action, but that course of action wasn’t effective.
Following Daniels death, a serious case review was conducted, this looked at the multi-agency failures and suggests that each incidence involving the family has been reviewed as an isolated case and the emerging pattern of abuse was overlooked. The review found that too many opportunities for intervention were missed and although some intervention took place they were not sufficient in protecting Daniel. Yet again the multi agencies involved with the family failed to communicate effectively as seen in other serious child abuse cases. It was recommended on the back of this case that a review of the systems in operation at the time were made, particular focus was suggested for the following, “the timeliness of notifications, – the agency to which they should be distributed, including schools, – the importance of a focus on the needs and safety of the children, – the efficiency and effectiveness of the joint screening processes and the responsibility for agreed outcomes, and – how repeat domestic abuse incidents need to be responded to more holistically.” (moderngov.coventry.gov.uk/documents/s13038/DanielPelkaSeriousCaseReview)
Single Equality/ Equal opportunities Policy/ Inclusion
“At St Nicholas Primary School, we value the individuality of all our children. We are committed to giving all our children every opportunity to achieve the highest of standards. We do this by taking account of pupils’ varied experiences and needs. We offer a broad and balanced curriculum, and have high expectations of all children. The achievements, attitudes and well-being of all our children matter. This policy is intended to help to ensure that this school promotes the individuality of all children, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, attainment, age, disability, gender or background.” (www.st-nicholas.lancs.sch.uk)
The schools’ policy has been written within the lines of the following legislations: –
• Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000;
• Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Act 2002;
• Sex Discrimination Act 1975.
It is unlawful for any school to discriminate against any pupil, should it be a disability, religion, ethnicity. At St Nicholas school they strive to eliminate all forms of racism and racial discrimination; promote equality of opportunity; promote good relations between people of different racial and ethnic groups.
They make sure that all the children attending school have access to all school areas and are included in all activities. Every child has the same opportunities.
All pupils must be included in every lesson whatever their needs. Within a classroom environment lesson are sometimes altered to each different attainment level and some groups may have extra support, the lesson should have the same learning outcome and all students should be accommodated for within the lesson plan. The classroom environment should also be inclusive and access to all areas and equipment should be available to all.
Gifted and Talented
Gifted and talented children are children that develop quicker or have greater ability over their peers. Gifted and talented are differentiated, talented children are classed as those who excel in skills such as music, sports, creativity or performing arts, gifted children are those who excel in academic subjects such as maths and English.
School are responsible for meeting the needs of all their pupils, if a school felt as though a child was particularly academically gift a decision might be made to move the child into a higher year group for a lesson, however, the school must maintain an awareness of a child’s emotional needs, especially children of primary school age. A child may be excelling academically but that does not necessarily mean that a child is developing at the same rate emotionally. (www.nidirect.gov.uk)
ccea.org have guidelines for teacher and schools on how to teach gifted and talented children.
If a child has been identified as being gifted or talented before reception age, then parents can apply to the board of governors at school for early acceptance into reception.
School Counsellor/ Pastoral worker
A school counsellor is someone who can help students make decisions in relation to their academic goals, they can help and give guidance with personal and social development. School counsellors usually work in high schools and further education and were introduced initially to assist in helping underachieving students.
A pastoral worker is someone who offers support on many different levels to children in modern schools, a pastoral worker gives guidance to help children and young people and offer emotional support be it spiritual or other. The role of a pastoral worker can include welfare work, nurture and generally help children to develop their moral compass and help them to become valued members of society.
The police work with schools for many different reasons, they help to create positive relationships and reduce barriers between police, school and families. The police involvement with schools help to reduce antisocial behaviour and crime by involving schools in activities that help students understand the law and help in creating positive role models. Some schools have a police liaison officer. The police may also become involved with the school in more serious circumstances such as child abuse cases and missing children, the police would work closely with the school to gain an understanding of the child and their background.
At St Nicholas school a school nurse is available to see parents every 4 weeks, this gives parents an opportunity to discuss any health problems that they may be concerned about in relation to their children or themselves. The school nurse can signpost parents to other agencies and make suitable recommendations.
The school nurse also assists the school in helping raise awareness of NHS health programs such as Change for life.
Within a secondary school environment, the school nurse is available to students to offer health advice and discuss contraception, sexual guidance and raise awareness not only of healthy life styles but make students aware of sexually transmitted diseases.
A school nurse can also offer advice to schools in relation to their medical emergency procedures and support them with guidance for any medical procedures that may need to be preformed as part of a students prescribed medication or condition.
Childline was launched by Esther Rantzen in 1986 following her involvement in the TV show That’s Life, she suggested a Television show named Child watch, following this a Telephone line was set up to enable children who were in danger to ask for help. In 2006 Childline joined with the NSPCC and extra resources were made to make sure that no call went unanswered. As many as 4,500 children phone Childline every day. (wikipedia.org)
Childline is a 24-hour help line for children and young people up to the age of 19 with any issues; it is a free service and offers one to one chat with counsellors. The service is confidential, children and young people have a choice of speaking to someone over the telephone, by email or through a message board, they also have a Facebook page and a YouTube channel. (childline.org.uk)
Child psychologist Michele Elliot founded Kidscape in 1985. Kidscape focuses on child safety and equipping children with the tools and mindset they need to stay safe and keep safe.
kidscape’s work falls into five main categories:
• A nationwide training program in all aspects of anti-bullying and child protection work for children, teachers and other professionals
• Workshops for bullied children that teach them how to stop the bullying; their parents also learn and are supported in their own session
• A range of publications on bullying and general child safety advice.
• An extensive website with information and advice
They work to educate children and adults about bullying and positively promote antibullying, they strive for children to live in a world that is safe and bullying free. By educating parents and carers it creates the best possible environment for children to feel safe and nurtured. Several antibullying workshops are held through the year, some focus on children that have been bullied others on making adults aware of extremism and radicalisation (www.kidscape.org.uk)