Children’s safety should come as standard in all school’s without exception, which makes safeguarding paramount for any education establishment.

Whilst most schools have a very good handle on keeping school children safe, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of the obligations education establishments must have with regard to safeguarding.

Safeguarding and ensuring the welfare of students is everyone’s responsibility. Students should feel safe and secure whilst in school and schools should promote a robust safeguarding ethos.

Here is a reminder of what each school should be doing.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children [those under 18] is generally defined as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children grow up in safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
  • If schools have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them
  • Immediately by following their own organisation’s child protection policy and speak to
  • The designated safeguarding lead.

All staff should be aware of systems within their school or college which support safeguarding and they must be aware of the following:-

  • Child protection policy;
  • Behaviour policy;
  • Staff behaviour policy or code of conduct;
  • The safeguarding response to children who go missing from education; and
  • The role and identity of the designated safeguarding lead and any deputies

Schools should be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:

  • Is disabled
  • Has special educational needs
  • Is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour,
  • Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
  • Is at risk of being radicalised or exploited

Safeguarding options will often include:

  • Managing any support for the child internally via the school’s or college’s own pastoral support processes;
  • An early help assessment;
  • A referral for statutory services,

The designated safeguarding lead or a deputy should always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns.

Staff should not assume a colleague or another professional will take action and share information that might be critical in keeping children safe.

If early help is appropriate, the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment as appropriate.

Local authorities are required to provide services for children in need for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting their welfare. Children in need may be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Where a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from harm, it is important that a referral to children’s social care (and if appropriate the police) is made immediately.

Research and serious case reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action.

Examples of poor practice include:

  • Failing to act on and refer the early signs of abuse and neglect;
  • Poor record keeping;
  • Failing to listen to the views of the child;
  • Failing to re-assess concerns when situations do not improve;
  • Not sharing information;
  • Sharing information too slowly; and
  • A lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action

If there are any issues or if you would like further safeguarding advice please contact Partner Chris Burns.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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