We don’t know if you watched the start of the Three Girls on BBC1 this week but we did and although we at Your HR Lawyer are an upbeat, smiley sort of a bunch – safeguarding children requires a more serious approach.
We thought this would be an opportunity for a reminder not just about the statutory requirements for those working in schools but a reminder about the wider context of keeping the children in our care, safe.
What is our duty in schools?
To protect children.
You may think that because you have an up to date child protection policy and procedures, a designated lead and safe recruitment processes, you’re covered. Job done. But is it all about policy and procedure?
We know that the school environment must be a safe place for children. If you work in a school you have the opportunity to have close, regular contact with children so you are in a strong position to recognise changes in a child that might be as a result of a child protection issue. You can then provide help and support and work with the relevant agencies at the earliest opportunity, minimising the risk of harm.
So, you may have annual safeguarding updates, preventative measures in recruitment procedures, extensive documents detailing what we need to be aware of and how we report it but what are the key things we must remember;
1. Be aware – know your pupils. Teaching or supporting in a school is not just about lessons but it’s knowing your class or cohort. Noticing if a child has changed their behaviour. It might be an early indication of a safeguarding issue
2. Act -even if you think you might be wrong, do something, tell someone, record it – don’t regret it
3. Responsibility- Don’t leave it for someone else to deal with, take action as soon as you have a concern. Time could be of the essence.
Be the person that could make a difference in a child’s life both from a teaching and learning and a safeguarding point of view.