How are school staff trained in safeguarding?
By law, all staff working in a school must have safeguarding training. It supports adults who are responsible for children, such as teachers, to identify the signs of abuse and neglect and ensure the necessary steps are taken to keep children safe.
This includes training on specific areas, such as identifying children who may be at risk of radicalisation (also known as Prevent training), female genital mutilation, and sexual exploitation.
Training can be either face-to-face or online. A number of educational training organisations provide a range of online courses and resources, for example an e-learning course on child protection which aims to develop and refresh the knowledge of staff members working in schools so they can continue to keep the children that they work with safe.
Schools must also appoint a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL): a senior staff member who has overall responsibility for child protection issues. The DSL must have refresher training every two years.
What is Safer Recruitment?
Safer Recruitment is a key part of safeguarding and ensures that people who apply to work in a school are vetted for their suitability to work with children. It encompasses a number of checks, including an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check which looks at things like criminal convictions and police cautions.
At least one person on every school interview panel must have had Safer Recruitment training.
Do I need safeguarding training to volunteer in a school?
The decision about whether volunteers should have safeguarding training and/or a DBS check lies partly with each school, and is usually based around how much contact a volunteer will have with children, and whether it’s supervised or non-supervised.
For example, a parent who volunteers to help on a school trip, comes into school to do a one-off talk in assembly, or helps sell cakes at a cake sale is unlikely to be unsupervised, and therefore not need safeguarding training or a DBS check.
However, a parent who comes into school regularly to listen to children read outside the classroom without supervision, or who accompanies children getting changed for swimming lessons, will very probably need an enhanced DBS check.
All school governors must also have an enhanced DBS check.
What should I do if I’m concerned about another child?
Any parent, carer or professional who is concerned about a child and wants advice or guidance can call the NSPCC helpline (0808 800 500) or the Sutton’s Children’s First Contact Service (020 8770 6001). One of our trained professionals can talk to you and provide you expert advice and support. It’s completely free, and adults can call anonymously.’
You can also talk to school if you have a safeguarding concern about another child. You can approach the DSL directly, or any another member of staff, who then has a responsibility to respond by referring it to the DSL.
It’s your right to raise a concern in confidence, and the school shouldn’t reveal your identity.
What will happen if a safeguarding concern is raised around my child?
It can be very distressing if a safeguarding concern is raised about your child, but it’s important to bear in mind that Children’s Services (social services) want to do everything they can to keep families together.
If a referral is made, Children’s Services have 24 hours to decide what action needs to be taken, such as whether an assessment should be made.
In some cases, all that will happen is that a social worker will have a phone conversation with you to discuss the nature of the referral and any next steps needed. This may be enough to reassure the social worker, and the case may be closed.
Sometimes, though, an assessment is required, which must take place within 45 days of the referral. It’s usually done by a social worker, and will involve:
- A family visit at home to discuss the allegations.
- An interview with your child/ren, away from the family (e.g. in another room).
- Liaising with other professionals who are involved with your child/family, such as their teacher and GP.
- Assessing the child’s developmental needs.
- Assessing the family’s ability to meet the child’s needs.
- Considering the impact of factors such as family history, health issues and housing issues on the child.
Following the assessment, if it’s determined that your child is not ‘in need,’ the case will be closed. If your child is deemed to be in need, children’s services will continue to be involved, for example by drawing up a plan to support the family.
Only in very extreme circumstances, where there’s risk of significant harm, is immediate protection required (such as entrusting the child to a relative or to foster care).
Why can’t I post photos of my child’s school play on social media?
It’s important that children and young people feel happy with their achievements, and we know family and friends also want to share these moments, perhaps on social media. However, many schools are forced to forbid parents and carers from taking photos or video of events such as school plays, prize-giving and sports days.
Sharing images of children on social media comes with its risks, and some children, parents or carers may not be comfortable with images being shared. One of these risks includes children being more vulnerable to grooming, and images being downloaded and shared by people not known to the families. Another is that a child may be in care, and would be at risk if their family knew which school they were attending.
For reasons like these, some schools have a ban on images being shared on social media by parents and carers, and only post images of children whose parents and carers have agreed to this on the Media Permissions Form.