KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION: SUMMARY
This article summarises part 1 of the government's updated statutory guidance on safeguarding. It outlines what staff should know and do. It also looks at the arrangements that should be in place for safeguarding, recruitment and managing allegations.
On 22 July 2015 the Department for Education (DfE) published an updated version of its statutory guidance on safeguarding, Keeping Children Safe in Education. The guidance is organised into four main parts covering:
- Safeguarding information for all staff
- The management of safeguarding
- Safer recruitment
- Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff
The DfE says the document should be read alongside the government’s inter-agency safeguarding guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children, which was updated on 26 March 2015, and its departmental advice, 'What to do if you're worried a child is being abused: advice for practitioners'.
These documents are summarised in the following articles:
Part one: safeguarding information for all staff
Page 4 explains that governing bodies should ensure that all staff read part one of the guidance, as a minimum. Part one outlines what school and college staff should know and do in relation to safeguarding.
Safeguarding is defined on page 6 as protecting anyone under the age of 18 from maltreatment, preventing impairment of their health or development, ensuring they grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and taking action to enable them to have the best outcomes.
ROLE OF SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
Paragraphs 4-5 outline the role of schools and colleges in safeguarding children. It says schools and colleges “form part of the wider safeguarding system for children” and should:
- Work with social care, the police, health services and others to protect children, and promote their welfare
- Have a designated safeguarding lead who will provide support to staff members and liaise with other agencies
ROLE OF SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STAFF
Paragraphs 6-15 explain that school and college staff have a responsibility to identify children who need help, or are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm, and to take appropriate action.
The document says that all school and college staff should:
- Be aware of systems within their school which support safeguarding (including child protection and staff behaviour policies, which should be provided during induction)
- Receive appropriate child protection training which is regularly updated
- Be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect
- Be aware that they may be asked to support social workers to take decisions about children
- Always act in the interests of the child
ACTIONS TO TAKE WHERE STAFF HAVE CONCERNS
Paragraphs 16-20 outline what action should be taken where staff have concerns about a child. Page 10 features a diagram illustrating this process.
The guidance explains that concerns should be raised with the designated safeguarding lead, who will make decisions about referrals. Where a child and family would benefit from co-ordinated support, an inter-agency assessment should be made.
However, it emphasises: If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made to children’s social care immediately. Anybody can make a referral. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.
The guidance also gives examples of poor practice, such as failing to act early, poor record keeping, failing to listen to the views of the child, sharing information too slowly and failing to challenge those who are not taking action.
Paragraphs 21-23 set out what staff should do where they have concerns about another staff member (including the headteacher) or the school’s safeguarding practices.
TYPES OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
Paragraph 29 includes links to advice and help on specific safeguarding issues such as domestic violence, gangs and youth violence, and sexting.
On pages 13-17, it also includes further information on children missing from education, child sexual exploitation (CSE), FGM and preventing radicalisation.
This includes details of the new statutory duty to report FGM from October 2015, and schools' duties under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act as of July 2015.
YOU WILL FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE DUTIES IN THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES :