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Safeguarding policy and practice in educational environments

School leaders will be aware of the updated national guidance (2013) which aims to assist responsible bodies in reviewing their procedures and practices.  Educational Establishments should also review their own standards in relation to staff knowledge and behaviour. 

Statutory guidance:

There is statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004

  • “Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Children”.

  • “Safeguarding children and safer recruitment”. This guidance sets out the responsibilities of all local authorities, schools and further education colleges in England to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

  • “Working together to safeguard children”, provides guidance on how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and how practitioners should conduct the assessment of children.

These documents are available to download from the DfE website.

The Role of local authorities

Local Authorities provide information and resources for Head Teachers, Governors and Child Protection Liaison Officers in schools. 

Child Protection Training is provided on application to a local authority Safeguarding Children’s Board; in practice, training is often supported by partner providers for the authority, offering multi-agency training on working together to safeguard children. Authorities also offer bespoke courses for Child Protection Liaison Officers new in post, or for those officers who require a refresher course and training for Governors.

LA responsibilities are set out in...

Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970; this document requires local authorities in their social services functions to act under the general guidance of the Secretary of State.

Section 11 (4) of the Children Act 2004 requires each person or body to which the section 11 duty applies to have regard to any guidance given to them by the Secretary of State.

Section 16 of the Children Act 2004, states that local authorities and each of their statutory partners must, in exercising their functions relating to Local Safeguarding Children Boards, have regard to any guidance given to them by the Secretary of State.

Information can also be gleaned from Serious Case Reviews (SCR). For example, the North Somerset Local Safeguarding Children’s Board undertook a review following the case of Nigel Leat (a teacher who was convicted of offences against children). Their review not only raises awareness but also provides recommendations which could support better practice in all educational institutions.

A framework should exist within which agencies and professionals at local level – individually and jointly – draw up and agree on their own ways of working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Duties are placed on key people and bodies to ensure that in carrying out their functions and any services they contract out to others, they safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Educational Establishments

Every educational establishment must have a Child (Safeguarding / Protection) Policy which fits the overarching national and local authority guidance. It should contain information on how the school safeguards its pupils and how it provides a safe and secure environment which minimises the risk of harm to all pupils. The school policy should include the procedures that will be followed in the event of a child protection concern arising in the case of individual children.

It has been mandatory since 2010 that all interview panels (convened to select staff to work in schools) should have at least one person who has successfully completed an approved Safer Recruitment training course.

It is essential that all staff in schools understand how pupils will view them as safe and trusted adults and that their behaviour at all times must be appropriate to their role.

Wider Implications

NAHT is aware that often wider ramifications / consequences exist for our members.  Therefore, we would stress that school leaders should be mindful, as professionals, that although not directly involved, they might experience (through external links within their wider family and / or friends) difficulties that impact on their professional role. For example, a family member / friend may be accused of downloading child pornography. In this case it would be safer for a member to make a disclosure to their employer, to avoid repercussions, which might result from their non-disclosure which could impact on their school and themselves. It is therefore good-practice and safer to inform your Chair of Governors and to discuss the matter with the appropriate local authority lead officer and / or Human Resources Officer. This disclosure will ensure that relevant officials are aware of and agree how the matter will be handled in the event of media coverage and possible broader issues in relation to a member’s own children and the pupils in the school. It may be the case that School Staff are accused of violence or become a victim of violence within the home environment the impact of these incidents could also have wider implications which school leaders will need to take into account.

 

Page Published: 31/05/2013