What is Safeguarding in Schools?

All schools have a duty of care and safeguarding is everyone's concern when in an school environment.

The phrases ‘child protection’ and ‘safeguarding’ are often used interchangeably, but the words have distinct meanings.

The key statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ explains what safeguarding is:

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of the guidance as:

protecting children from maltreatment;

preventing impairment of children’s health or development;

ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;

and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Put simply safeguarding is :

Child protection

Supporting vulnerable children

Safe care, at home, in school and in the community

Taking action

Keeping Children Safe in Education (often shortened to KCSiE) is a piece of statutory government guidance that sets out the legal duties all staff in education must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people aged under 18 years in schools and colleges.

The guidance applies to all schools and education settings, and Part 1 in addition to Annex A should be read by all school staff, including teachers, headteachers, and all staff working in education settings, plus governing bodies, proprietors and management committees.

What does KcSiE mean to me as a parent?

Schools having their own safeguarding policy – one that is relevant to specific issues particular to the school such as societal and locational issues.

Schools are required to have at least two emergency contacts per child.

Schools should carry out a risk assessment to decide if volunteers require an enhanced DBS check.

In regard to children with SEN and disabilities, there needs to be a greater awareness that behaviour, mood, and injury may correlate to abuse not just disability – therefore extra pastoral support is required.

Schools are required to have policies on behaviour and children missing education and these should be included in inductions.

Children missing school should be viewed as a vital warning sign for a potential safeguarding issue, i.e. child sexual exploitation, forced marriage, etc.

There are has been some key updates to the document which include:

‘Child criminal exploitation: County lines’, which looks at child exploitation in criminal activities such as drug trafficking.

‘Domestic abuse’, which looks at the risks to a child’s welfare with regard to domestic abuse cases.

An expanded section and definitions of contextual factors surrounding sexual violence and harassment between children.

‘Homelessness’, which looks at the risks to a child’s welfare with regard to homelessness.

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