For most children, home is a sanctuary – a safe place. But sadly this isn’t the case for children who are classed as vulnerable and at risk. School becomes that place for them. So when the news came that schools across the country were to close their doors on 20th March, vulnerable children not only sensed the same confusion as others, but for many of them it was also accompanied by a real sense of fear.
Children can be classed as vulnerable for a number of reasons:
- they are receiving support from Health & Social Services including family support
- are on the child protection register
- have been recognised as having emerging or already been diagnosed with a mental health need
- are young carers
- they have a parent with mental health problems, or alcohol and drug addictions
- are affected by domestic violence.
There’s a very present danger of any one of these circumstances ending up in tragedy when contact from someone who knows and looks out for these children is removed.
Having to stay at home during Covid-19 meant the one safe space available to at risk children – school – was no longer available to them. And for the school’s leadership team and teachers it posed a huge challenge: how would they be able to continue their role of safeguarding children and protect them when they were no longer on site? How would teachers be able to contact children who may not yet be identified as at risk, but have issues at home which means they benefit from additional support to help maintain their stability?
When I was asked to help facilitate a brand new Telephony project that meant these children could still be contacted during Covid-19 it resonated with me just how important a project it was, and how quickly the solution needed to be in place – as a mum myself, the thought of these children not being able to talk to someone they trust in a time of need was unthinkable.
Our team quickly set to work. The remote working Hosted Telephony solution set the teachers up from home so they could contact any of their children from a School number rather than their own personal number, maintaining the teachers’ privacy at all times. The children could also reach out to their teachers or any member of staff they felt safe talking to.
Speed was essential and our team rose to the challenge, rolling out the Cloud based Telephony platform in just 48 hours without any need for an onsite visit.
How has it been?
Feedback from the school has been outstanding, and they are delighted to be able to continue to safeguard their children even within the uncertain new world we’re all facing.
From a simple technology perspective the solution wasn’t a complicated one, but the impact will be huge. I’m proud to have played a part in such a well-meaning and important project.