• Sat. May 25th, 2024

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Safeguarding apps rolled-out to schools nationally after Sunderland trial

App that helps children share what’s good and bad in their lives to support schools’ safeguarding following year-long trial at Sunderland’s Oxclose Community Academy.

School children who receive extra support could be given access to apps created by Mind of My Own (MOMO) to help them talk about and influence the care they receive and share concerns and worries about their lives.

The two apps – MOMO One, for children and young people aged 8+ and MOMO Express, for younger children and those with learning disabilities – are to be offered to children in contact with Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENco) and safeguarding leads in schools following a successful trial at  Oxclose Community Academy in Sunderland.

The move follows their widespread adoption by children’s social care services provided by statutory and voluntary sector organisations both here in the UK and overseas in New Zealand. It also comes after the Children’s Commissioner for England report on ‘invisible’ at risk children highlighted schools as a place that children report they feel could be a “safe space to build relationships with professionals over time.”

The apps use child-focused language and design to encourage youngsters to share their thoughts using a tablet or phone screen. Evidence from young people using the apps in over 60 British local authority areas and across New Zealand shows children have been able to influence changes to the services they receive and even report instances of abuse as they feel comfortable and safe communicating via the MOMO screen.

Some children have started communicating with social workers for the first time via the apps. They have also shown to save social workers two days of paperwork time a week.

MOMO was trialled for schools use at Oxclose Community Academy, which is a Resourced Provision for children within Sunderland who have specialist Physical and Medical Needs.

Assistant Headteacher Elizabeth Quinn, who leads on SENDco and Designated Safeguarding, said: “MOMO apps empower children so that their voice is heard and they feel they have an input into discussions about them.”

She adds “ It gets children involved and talking, which leads to more engagement and discussion with the young person, whilst still capturing the required information during meetings about their needs. This can include a student’s likes and dislikes, who they would like to sit beside in their meeting or issues they wish to raise for discussion. It can help to capture their feelings and allows them to record their thoughts”.

MOMO director Jill Thorburn said: “We’ve been very lucky to have the chance to work with Oxclose to see how children and young people can benefit from using MOMO Apps with specialist teachers in a school setting. We’re now keen to start working with more schools at a time when they are seeing their safeguarding roles expand.”

She added: “We’re driven by our vision of ensuring all children’s voices are heard, so we can’t wait to start seeing how we can help children use MOMO in school settings to make a difference in their lives.”