“I know I am just a student but….’ An education provider’s perspectives in supporting students to raise concerns about professional practice in the context of safeguarding children.” (Area 6)

Claire Richards (NCSPVA) & Catriona Robinson (IoE)

The paper will present the initial findings of a study which aimed to highlight aspects of professional practice dilemmas for students of Early Childhood Studies and Education where they are working with children and families. Consequent to students’ understanding of their safeguarding responsibilities, dilemmas are identified when theory and practice may be at a critical variance. Early Years practitioners and Teachers continue to play an increasingly pivotal role in their safeguarding responsibilities to promote the rights of children. The promotion of the voice of the child is viewed as synonymous to hearing the voice of the student where concerns are identified in the context of professional practice. The university seeks to offer procedural approaches to enable students to raise concerns and access emotional support from staff. The study therefore examines the role and implication for academic staff in this process. The research is a qualitative study and acquired ethical approval from the Institute’s Ethics Committee of the Worcester of University. The results of this research indicate that students do identify a range of anxieties in the context of professional practice and there is a strong message that there is a need for more teaching focus on safeguarding children in preparation for practice. Academic staff have also indicated some concern about the need for support and further training on this issue.

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