Category Archives: Children

Presentations to help children and young people stay safe on the internet

Parents in Sutton can book their seat for the borough’s first-ever Community Safety Presentations to help children and young people stay safe on the internet.

Two free hour-long sessions have been arranged at the Sutton Life Centre on Tuesday, 20 October at 12noon and 6pm focusing on ‘sexting’ – the sending and passing on of explicit texts, images and video via mobile phone and the internet.

Parents will hear from two guest speakers who are specialists in protecting children from harm.

The first speaker will be Joanna Sharpen, who is the Children and Young People’s Project Co-ordinator at Against Violence & Abuse (AVA), which is working to end all forms of violence against women and girls. Joanna advises the Government on children’s issues and is working locally on a Big Lottery funded project with Limes College in Sutton to set up a group of students as peer educators.

The second speaker is Detective Constable Karen France from the Met Police Sexual Offences, Exploitation & Child Abuse Command. Det Con France is the Child Sexual Exploitation Special Point of Contact for Sutton Borough and attends the Borough’s monthly, multi-agency child sexual exploitation meetings.

In addition, parents will be able to raise any issues or questions in person with Sutton’s police officers, who work with teachers and pupils at Sutton’s secondary schools, as well as the Council’s e-safety officer, who gives talks about online safety at junior and secondary schools in the borough.

Police schools officers believe that children are unwittingly putting themselves at risk of distress and harm by posting explicit images of themselves with little or no control over those images being seen and captured by internet users around the world who actively seek out such material.

Charities working in this field believe many children have come to accept ‘sexting’ as a normal part of growing up and are often reluctant to talk about it with their parents because they are afraid of being judged or having their phones taken away.

Cllr Wendy Mathys, Chair of the Children, Family and Education Committee at Sutton Council, said: “Increasing numbers of children and young people have ready access to mobile phones and tablets that have cameras built in. We want young people to learn about using such technology in a safe and responsible manner.”

Places are available at both presentations on Tuesday, 20 October from 12-1pm and 6-7pm. To book your place, email ztmedia@met.police.uk and provide your name, how many places you wish to book (one or two) and state which session you would like to attend (either 12noon or 6pm). Or call 020 8649 0681 or 020 8649 0613 weekdays between 8am – 4pm. Please note there is no answerphone on these lines.

Free childcare for Sutton’s two year olds

Sutton Council is appealing for parents of two year olds to come forward to find out if they can benefit from free childcare as part of a scheme to support low income families.

The scheme provides eligible children with 570 hours of free education a year (normally taken as 15 hours a week of free early learning for up to 38 weeks a year).

The scheme is available to residents who earn less than £16,190, receive Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Support, or other benefits, from the term after a child’s second birthday, thanks to funding from the government.

The free childcare can be provided by nurseries, childminders, pre-schools or playgroups.

There are currently around 250 two year olds in Sutton benefiting from the scheme, but this is a fraction of the number who may be eligible. The council wants to ensure that everyone who is entitled to this support receives it.

Councillor David Callaghan, Chair of Sutton Council’s Children, Family and Education Committee, said:

“Free childcare will give a real boost to low income families in Sutton and ensure that children get the best possible start in life. However we know that not everyone who is entitled to this free childcare is getting it so it’s important that families get in touch with the council to find out if their children are eligible.

“Support is there for parents who wish to return to work or adult education, and we don’t want anyone to miss out.”

For more information visit www.sutton.gov.uk/familyinfo.

People can also contact Sutton Family Information Service at Sutton Council: call 020 8770 6000 or familyinfo@sutton.gov.uk.