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Dilton Marsh Helps Prisoners’ Children

by Michael Ford last modified 29 Aug, 2014 02:50 PM

Dilton Marsh Church of England Primary School has embarked on a new initiative to provide a Prison Champion in every school and help prevent inmates’ children from following in their footsteps.

Dilton Marsh Helps Prisoners’ Children

Sarah Beveridge

Teacher Sarah Beveridge is being trained as part of a scheme begun by Nick Howard, Erlestoke’s custodial manager and one of the School Governors. The training programme operates in partnership with Barnardos and Erlestoke Prison.

Headteacher Judith Finney says, “Schools grow the adults of the future. For us to do a great job we need to meet the needs of all children at all times. I was taken aback by the numbers- 200,000 children are affected by family members being in prison. The fact is that we may not know, or a family may feel that they cannot tell us about it.

“There must be no barriers to our children learning to their maximum potential. There must be no barriers to our children being emotionally secure. All children should have the same opportunities, but all children have different needs. As schools, the more we know, the more provision we can put in place and the more successful we can be.

“We received an ‘Outstanding' grade from Ofsted in March 2013. They stated in the report that ‘The commitment to every child is seen in pupils’ achievement and personal development.’ We are very keen to become involved in this initiative and to add another dimension to our children’s pastoral and emotional care of all our children, which in turn will promote high standards of academic achievement.”

“Sarah Beveridge is our Champion. It is an initiative to tackle prejudice and to help any children who are part of these ‘hidden sentences’. Largely, we would be a listening ear and a signpost to other services. The real thing is to encourage those affected to share with us rather than suffer in silence, through any sense of guilt or shame.”

“We are enormously proud to be the first school in England to take part in the project.” 

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