Anybody who comes into regular contact with children in the course of their work has a duty to protect their welfare. This duty applies to anybody, including school cleaners, kitchen staff, and caretakers.
It’s expected that anyone with regular contact with children should be able to identify and recognise when there’s a potential issue. So, understanding your responsibilities and the role you play in safeguarding is absolutely crucial.
It's extremely important that schools create environments where children feel safe and train staff in how to be approachable, spot potential issues and most importantly... address them.
Is Safeguarding Training mandatory for all school staff?
All school staff, no matter how junior or senior their role, must complete Safeguarding Training. However, different staff have different levels of training appropriate to them. As a minimum, school receptionists and cleaners should be trained to level 1, teachers and teaching assistants to level 2, and Head Teachers and DSLs to level 3.
Our current Safeguarding Children Training course covers both Levels 1 and 2.
Safeguarding responsibilities as a teacher/assistant and issues to look out for
Ultimately, safeguarding responsibilities are in place to keep children safe from harm - either from themselves and their choices, from other children, or from adults.
However, what exactly is “harm”? It’s a pretty vague term and it can be difficult to both protect children from harm whilst also allowing them the freedom to explore and learn for themselves. To help, we’ve produced a list of some of the key issues to look out for:
FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) - This is an illegal practice that is classed as child abuse in the UK. Typically carried out on young girls between the ages of four and eight, it is often performed in order to inhibit sexual feelings before they start puberty.
Radicalisation - Those working in schools have a duty under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to prevent students from taking part in terrorist activities. School staff have a responsibility to educate children on British Values to challenge any extremist views they might have.
Bullying - This can have a damaging effect on both the mental and physical health of children. It can happen anywhere, inside and outside of school. So, it’s essential that school staff understand when bullying becomes a child protection issue.
Self-harm - This often stems from other forms of abuse, including depression. It’s an issue which must be approached very delicately, and the response should be tailored specifically to the individual child.
CSE (Child sexual exploitation) - This can be any form of sexual abuse in a young person under the age of 18. It could be that they were physically forced, manipulated, or deceived into sexual activity with an individual or group.
Grooming - This is when somebody creates an emotional connection with a child in order to exploit them sexually, for criminal activity, or any other nefarious reasons. Offenders can be strangers or even somebody close to the child, so it’s important to keep a keen eye on the child to recognise the signs that grooming is taking place.
Do you need a Designated Safeguarding Lead?
Every organisation is expected to have a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), formerly known as a Designated Safeguarding Person, as it ensures that the relevant responsibilities are shared between staff, management, and DSLs. This enables organisations to meet the legal requirements regarding the safeguarding of children.
Safeguarding responsibilities as a governor
Compliance of safeguarding ultimately lies with the governing body of a school, so there are a number of things you need to be aware of:
- Monitoring Attendance - As a governor, you should be regularly monitoring students attendance and be on the lookout for any anomalies. If you notice a student is taking more and more time off school or you recognise a pattern with their absence, you should start to ask questions. You should also be communicating with local authorities about regular absences and students that are missing from education; these are children that are old enough to go to school but are not, and are not receiving any other means of education. Children that are missing from education are more likely to be exploited or abused.
- School Security - This means not just implementing security measures and procedures if needs must, but also monitoring them. Security measures can include CCTV, gates and railings and correct policies. Security measures go further than just the school grounds; however, security checks must also be carried out on school computers to prevent any breaches and anyone accessing the system without admin rights.
- Safer Recruitment of Staff - How do you know the staff you are recruiting are safe enough to work with children? Every candidate should be DBS checked and then checked every 3 years after. All staff should also undergo safeguarding training prior to their induction and we recommend that governors and anyone involved in the recruitment process undergo Safer Recruitment Training.
- Continued Safeguarding - Training policies should be in place and we recommend renewing training for staff at least once per year.
Safeguarding responsibilities as a designated safeguarding lead (DSL)
DSLs need to follow and fulfil essential responsibilities, including:
- Working with families where an issue has been raised.
- Creating and enforcing safeguarding policies around the school.
- Making referrals to social services if needed.
- Recognising issues.
Safeguarding concerns and how to report them
Reporting safeguarding concerns are vital, even if you're not 100% certain that there is an issue you should still report it to be on the safe side.
Your first port of call should be to call the police (999) but you can also use the following helplines:
- The NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.
- Your local authority, which you can find here.
- Your Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
Our Safeguarding Children Training
We offer an online Safeguarding Children Training course that covers both levels 1 & 2 and also covers standard 11 of the Care Certificate.
The course is essential for anyone who comes into contact with children regularly at work. It covers the difficult subject of child abuse and considers the different kinds of abuse, how to spot signs, and how to correctly report your concerns.
If you are interested in the course, you can claim your no-obligation free trial today!