A Barking school is turning to technology to safeguard pupils with a first-of-its-kind safeguarding platform app—proved to be better than an email “worry box”.

Barking Abbey secondary and sports humanities college brought in the technology in 2022 to “give students a voice”.

The platform, ‘Imabi Inspire’, makes youngsters feel safer and better represented, offering named or anonymous reporting to flag up “inappropriate behaviours” with targeted guidance from trusted sources.

It is also used as a portal for school information — an ‘all in one place’ resource.

The platform had 800 reports of inappropriate behaviour in schools using it in just 12 months.

This included an incident at Clarendon School in Thanet, Kent, where a sixth form girl reported a teacher kissing her - he was later removed from his post and cautioned by police.

Barking Abbey integrated the platform as part of its anti-bullying programme in 2022. It had 30 reports from pupils in the first two months, providing a window into incidents that teachers were previously unaware of.

“We tried a 'worry box' email,” Barking Abbey senior deputy headteacher Stephanie Gibson explained. “But it just wasn’t being used.

“Launching the app has had a huge impact already. It’s important that young people feel able to stand up when they don’t think something is right or fair.”

Mark Balaam, founder and chief executive of Imabi, said: “We are already seeing the profound impact our platform is having on safeguarding children. Barking Abbey is a ‘standout’ example of where it’s been fully integrated and making a real difference.”

The platform is tailored to each school with an admin portal that creates customised content.

Users take reliable information from trusted sources on all kinds of issues, from bullying at school to harassment in the workplace.

The app is named after the founder’s daughters Imogen and Abigail, who he witnessed were growing up “in an ever challenging and harmful world”. He felt more needed to be done to protect them and millions of people around the globe.