All schools must have a child protection officer or coordinator and a back-up child protection officer or coordinator.

These roles are often filled by the headteacher and the deputy headteacher, as the responsibility for referral to social services is usually the responsibility of the headteacher. If a referral needs to be made, parents should be informed, unless this would place the child at risk or affect an investigation, for example by alerting an abuser.

The child protection officer or coordinator needs to provide information for a referral and a possible case conference. This may include:

  • factual information about the child, such as date of birth, address and names of parents or carers and other household members, including non-family
  • key agencies working with the family
  • reasons for referral.

If a child is placed on the child protection register, then the school becomes part of the core group which must ensure that the child protection plan is implemented.