Child Protection & Safeguarding in Schools
Keeping children safe in education
Keeping children safe in education is without question, a top priority for all those who work in schools and colleges.
Our Education team regularly supports and advises schools to help ensure compliance.
Team members are highly experienced having advised on a wide range of high profile enquires including the 2004 Bichard inquiry leading to the publication of the Bichard Report after the subsequent media attention around the Soham murders, where two young girls were killed in Cambridgeshire by school caretaker Ian Huntley. https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/6394/1/report.pdf.
Safeguarding issues the team's regularly assists schools and colleges with include -
- Receipt of a disclosure of abuse from a pupil or parent
- Liaising with the multi-agencies
- Updating policies and procedures
- How to deal with an allegation made against a member of staff
- Reporting obligations to the DBS
- Reputation management
The Education team's recent safeguarding work includes -
- Advising a large HMC Independent School in relation to as historic allegation of safeguarding made against a member of the senior management team. The case required a careful handling of the allegations and co-ordinating a response with police and two local authorities.
- Working with the Headteacher of a large Independent Girls’ School in London dealing with disclosures of abuse, including working with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
- Advising the Governing Body of a Maintained School following a Teacher being convicted for assault – advising in relation to an internal investigation and employment processes – and referral to the DBS and TRA.
- Advising a large Independent School in London in relation to the referral of a staff member’s conduct to the DBS and the TRA.
- Reviewing the safeguarding policies for an HMC School, including Safeguarding and Child Protection, Sexual Exploitation, Extremism, FGM and Forced Marriage.
- Advising an Independent School in relation to allegations of Cyber-bullying following the mis-use by pupils of WhatsApp, including liaising with the multi-agencies, including the LADO and police. Advising on exclusion proceedings and correspondence between the school and the parents.
Safeguarding queries often and understandably move quickly with the result that important decisions need to be made at the outset as well as at short notice with quickly emerging facts requiring difficult judgement calls. To ensure that schools are always properly supported through this, they always work with a designated member of the Education team who will be available 24/7 to deal with any immediate concerns or questions.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE)
The primary guidance for safeguarding in schools and colleges is found in Keeping Children Safe in Education. The current version can be found here and came into force on 1 September 2020 providing key changes in the following areas -
- Changes in the legislation such as upskirting, and Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education
- Inclusion of further guidance/external support e.g. in relation to mental health, domestic abuse, child criminal and sexual exploitation and county lines
- Amendments to guide schools further in certain circumstances
There is also some additional wording to clarify that KCSIE continues to apply during the pandemic, and a link to the COVID-19 specific safeguarding guidance (although this guidance was withdrawn on 31 July 2020).
A list of all the substantial changes can be found at Annex H of KCSIE 2020.
To help ensure that schools and colleges are able to deal with safeguarding and related issues Safeguarding+ provides essential support, training and resources including -
- Audits: we visit schools and spend time with their designated safeguarding lead to help the school audit its practice and create development plans.
- Training: we provide small group seminars for designated safeguarding leads as well as in-house school training for all teachers.
- Advice: we ensure that schools are up to date with any changes and then to help with implementation of any changes in policy.
Please get in touch with Partner Simon Henthorn to discuss how this may be customised for your school or college.
Health and safety software
Working with iProtectu (www.iprotectu.co.uk) a tried and trusted health and safety system for schools and colleges is available.
This is based on education tailored risk templates, fully configurable and used by schools such as Harrow and Wellington College to manage employee and student incidents and provide training resources including fire, COVID awareness, home working and DSE as well as resources to schedule certificated IIRSM (International Institute of Risk and Safety Management) approved courses.
iProtectu also includes COVID Gateway as standard which supports the return to work of employees and is aligned to UK Government and WHO guidelines. To see a short demonstration please click here.