Many of you are aware of recent incidents of (alleged) child abuse that have shocked, saddened and concerned our international community. Child Protection and Well-being are among our most important responsibilities, so when incidents of abuse are reported, we ask ourselves, What more should we be doing? Two years ago, significant work was done to produce a Child Protection Handbook, led by Dennis Larkin and published by AISA, with support from the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools. This resulted in the revision and strengthening of Accreditation standards for Child Protection and Well-being by the Council of International Schools and the U.S. accreditation agencies.
Despite these outstanding efforts, we continue to examine our policies and practices. Many discussions are taking place around the world – in schools, in recruiting agencies and in the organizations that support and evaluate international school practices.
To consolidate our efforts, an International Task Force on Child Protection, at the request of ECIS, has been assembled to review and assess existing standards, policies and practices to ensure we are doing everything we can to ensure child safety. Our charter is to apply our collective resources, expertise, and partnerships to help international school communities address child protection challenges. This non-partisan task force will undertake three actions.
- Collect, review and assess external accreditation, inspection and other evaluation processes, standards and indicators used to regulate, evaluate and monitor school practices designed to ensure Child Protection and Well-Being, and determine what measures need to be put into place to ensure their effectiveness.
- Assess the role of international recruiting organizations to ensure schools have access to the best possible information to make informed decisions about candidates.
- Collect, review, create and provide resources for school communities to establish effective operational policies and practices for the selection of school employees and to provide training resources to ensure Child Protection and Well-Being.
We are in the process of contacting international recruiting agencies and organizations, as well as accreditation, inspection and other external evaluation agencies to establish sub-committees that will address actions #1 and #2.
To volunteer your time to serve on the sub-committee of international school heads to discuss action #3, please notify Jane Larsson at CIS via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A site will be established for the collection of resources that will be reviewed by the task force as part of action #3.
We will keep you updated about our progress and look forward to hearing from you.
In your service,
- Academy of International School Heads, Bambi Betts, Executive Director
- Association for the Advancement of International Education, Elsa Lamb, Executive Director
- Council of British International Schools, Colin Bell, Chief Executive Officer
- Council of International Schools, Jane Larsson, Executive Director
- European Council of International Schools, Ed Greene, Chair-Board of Trustees
- International Schools Services, Roger Hove, President
- U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Schools, Christine Brown, Regional Education Officer