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Dennis-June-19

Safeguarding Pupils Doesn’t Stop at the School Gates

May 3, 2019, 6:54 GMT+1
Read in about 4 minutes
  • Mark Bentley explains why safeguarding knowledge is as important for support staff as it is for teachers, and how to roll it out effectively...
Safeguarding Pupils Doesn’t Stop at the School Gates

When was the last time staff at your school attended an all-staff safeguarding refresher? Before tutting at this seemingly silly question, think about what ‘all staff’ actually means.

Was the site team available? Were your office-based and part-time colleagues there too? If they received the same session at a different time, great – but it’s worth remembering that every adult working in your school has a role to play in keeping children safe.

In the DfE’s statutory guidance document Keeping Children Safe in Education’, it’s made clear that all staff must receive regular safeguarding training and are required to read Part 1 of the document itself.

This is easier said than done if your staff is subject to regular changes and/or reliant on agency personnel, but most schools are very careful to ensure that every role with core duties that involve direct contact with young people complies.

But what about those roles that don’t? Are they any less important? It’s easy to presume so, but who’s most likely to enter every room after hours, when there aren’t many people about?

Probably a cleaner, at a time when teachers are liable to pop out of their rooms for a minute or two, when children are feeling relaxed and therefore more likely to disclose something. But would your cleaners or site staff know how to respond, in the same way as a teacher or LSA?

It’s key for consistency and effective safeguarding that they do. That’s one of the reasons for LGfL deciding to translate part 1 of the Keeping Children Safe in Education document into 10 community languages for the benefit of all schools – to help members of staff who don’t require high levels of English literacy for their roles, and are likely to be speakers of English as a foreign language. The translated documents can be found at kcsietranslate.lgfl.net.

Another topic on which staff can be supported is sexting. Designated safeguarding leads will have read the 58-page Education for a Connected World framework document, but what about the one-page Sexting: how to respond to an incident overview – have all staff read it? If not, ensure they do. Links to these and other documents can be found at shere.

It’s easy to ensure that classroom and office-based staff alike have read your school’s policy or acceptable use agreement, but how will that make a difference if it isn’t applied across the board? LGfL has some templates that can help you at safepolicies.lgfl.net. If you want to make your audit easier, try searching the Keeping Children Safe in Education document for mentions of ‘All staff should…’ and asking yourself (or indeed them) if they do.

It’s vital that we recognise the role all adults in school communities have to play in keeping children safe. Together, we can make a difference – remember that the next time you’re planning a CPD refresher or auditing who’s read which policy document.

Mark Bentley is online safety and safeguarding manager at The London Grid for Learning.

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