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The role of schools, colleges and academies in protecting children from grooming and entrapment

Children spend the majority of their waking hours in school and parents place their trust in school staff giving them the primary responsibility for assisting their children to develop to their full potential. The vast majority of teachers and other school staff work tirelessly to ensure the education of future generations. There are, however, a select few who use the power inherent in their role to abuse that trust and to target vulnerable children and young people for sexual abuse.

Most schools, colleges and academies provide a safe environment for the education of children and young where there are professional relationships based on care, respect and trust. For many teachers and other school staff, promoting the social and emotional development of children is a critical and central aspect of their role and there is no doubt that many who work in education have a profound effect on the lives of their pupils.

Conversely, the power imbalance present in this influential relationship may be abused, resulting in long-term trauma for the pupil. This is particularly the case for some sex offenders who use their role in educating children and young people to target and abuse victims. If we are to prevent sexual abuse by teachers, other school staff and those who hold positions of trust in education, it is important to gain a better understanding of what grooming behaviour look in the context of those working in schools, academies and colleges.