'Lessons have been learned' following Amber Peat death

Amber Peat.
Amber Peat.

Amber Peat's death "sent shockwaves" through Queen Elizabeth Academy in Mansfield according to its new headteacher.

Giving evidence at the Amber Peat inquest, Helena Brothwell, headteacher since 2016, said that the death of the 13-year-old pupil "brought about change" as to how teachers handle the safeguarding of pupils.

Before Amber's death in June 2015 the young girl had reported issues of emotional abuse in her Mansfield home to teachers, however concerns were "not adequately picked up" by academy officials.

Speaking before assistant coroner Laurinder Bower, Mrs Brothwell, who became head teacher 15 months after the schoolgirl's death, suggested that lessons have been learnt and a case such as Amber's would "absolutely not happen now".

She said: "I became aware of Amber's case when I first started working at the academy and it sent shockwaves through the school.

"Staff and students wanted change after Amber's death and students now get safeguarding training with anonymous ways to report any concerns they have.

"There was a lot of support offered for pupils and teachers and now there is a much more robust system.

"As soon as a concern is logged I know who allocated it, and then we have discussions about the seriousness of the case and have a professional conversation with the pupil and members of staff about how to handle it."

The inquest also heard that both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire county councils have overhauled their multi-agency safeguarding help (MASH) support for vulnerable children.

Mrs Bower heard that social services in Derbyshire had "not communicated effectively" about concerns of Amber's wellbeing when she moved from Tibshelf to Mansfield.

Social service bosses in Derbyshire told the inquest that new frameworks were "now in place to prevent young people who may be the victims of emotional abuse from their parents from slipping through the net" if the family relocated to a different area.

Under new frameworks introduced following a 'serious case review' to explore failings in the system following Amber's death, Adele Glover of Derbyshire County Council's social services said "contact would now be made with social services in the family's new location" if safeguarding issues have been identified.

Social service bosses in Nottinghamshire also assured the coroner that the council has a more robust system which "checks the history of children as soon as a concern is lodged".

The inquest heard from social worker Theresa Godfrey who said that, under the authority's new system of analysing MASH reports into child safeguarding issues, "all information is captured and checked to see if any information is already in the system".

She added that social workers are "able to see previous concern through reports to see what other queries are visible".

During the final day of evidence, the assistant coroner said she is considering four possible conclusions - suicide, open, death by accident or misadventure, or a narrative verdict.

She is expected to return her conclusion a week today (Friday).