Ask The Experts: Nursery medicine, CSE concerns, council help for academies and youth film nights


Our panel offers advice on drugs in nursery settings, addressing CSE concerns, council help for academies and youth club film nights.

Question: How do I ensure we administer medicine to children at my nursery correctly?

June O'Sullivan: Where possible ask parents to administer the medication outside nursery hours. You can insist all children on antibiotics remain at home for the first 48 hours.

Parents must complete a signed permission form with details of medicine, dosage and any additional information. Medication should only be administered by senior staff witnessed by another qualified staff member with the date, time and dosage recorded on a medicine sheet.

When a child is on medication all nursery staff must be informed, know about possible side effects, what constitutes an emergency and what to do. All medication must be in its original container complete with prescription label. All medicines should be stored in the medicine fridge or first aid cabinet. Never make changes to the prescribed dosage and never give a child another child's medication for similar symptoms. If a child has a high temperature you could administer Calpol but you must get authorisation from parents first.

June O'Sullivan is chief executive of the childcare charity and social enterprise, the London Early Years Foundation

Question: I am concerned a 15-year-old boy I work with may be a victim of child sexual exploitation (CSE). Where can I go for support and advice?

Jeanie Lynch: CSE of boys and young men is often unrecognised, and when it is, agencies can struggle to support victims. The Blast Project works with boys and young men at risk of CSE and is helping agencies across the country to improve their practice. They have developed a range of CSE risk indicators for professionals and parents to better spot the signs of CSE, which can often be hidden. These include being befriended by older men, being taken to parties, developing online relationships with older men and becoming involved in crime.

Talk to this young man and explain you are worried about him. There are some excellent resources that support young people to understand what grooming is and how it happens. Find out from your local safeguarding board what services exist to support both boys and girls at risk of CSE. Let them know your concerns and ask them to pass on this information to the relevant authorities.

Jeanie Lynch works for Barnardo's and has 25 years' experience of working with vulnerable children and families

Question: Now their funding has reduced, some local academies want to work more closely with the council. How do we make this work?

Peter Lewis: In many areas councils and academies have continued to work closely together but if that hasn't happened where you are then you will need politicians, your other schools and the rest of the council to agree to any new arrangements.

If council members do not support closer working you may have to work hard to achieve it. Similarly, those schools who did not become academies may resent others for "milking the system".

There is much to gain from closer working. Sharing of resources, expertise and curriculum support can be very powerful. We all knew the funding was unsustainable over the long-term so let's not get hung up on status or personalities but focus on making a real difference to children's learning.

Peter Lewis is a freelance providing interim local authority children's services leadership, and a former DCS in Haringey

Question: Our youth club works with under-16s. However, on some nights our young people have been watching films rated over 18. I suspect their parents would be furious if they knew. What should I do?

Tracie Trimmer-Platman: Parents may well be concerned at their children watching inappropriate content. Are the films they are watching educational or relevant to current issues or debates? Documentaries and dramas can encourage young people to discuss concerns or think about issues differently and there is certainly a place for screening relevant television programmes and films - followed by discussion. Sometimes this can be done without parents knowing if the education and information value is sufficient. Youth work has often operated in this way.

However, if these films are purely for entertainment then there must be some dialogue between parents and youth workers. They may want a say in what their children watch and wish to stick to watersheds and other guidance. If the youth club is offering something different this could be seen as subversive and harmful. Parents might also think it dishonest if they are not informed. Raise this issue in your next team meeting.

Tracie Trimmer-Platman is senior lecturer in youth and community work at the University of East London

Email questions, marked "Experts", to cypnow@markallengroup.com

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