Safeguarding Children and Young People
Our experience as a safeguarding company has provided insight into some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns about safeguarding and the protection of children and young people in schools, colleges, sports clubs and other organisations. We've collated our most useful FAQs and safeguarding information below for a quick introduction to safeguarding.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm (NSPCC). Safeguarding involves protecting children and young people from abuse and/or maltreatment, preventing harm to their health or development, ensuring they grow up with the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.
Child protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.
Why is Safeguarding Important?
Safeguarding is essential as it prevents harm to children and young people, allowing schools, colleges and other organisations to intervene before a crisis point is reached and improve outcomes for those involved. It also provides robust evidence which can support legal proceedings in finding survivors of abuse justice. Without safeguarding processes in place, children and young people face serious risk with serious, long-term implications.
Safeguarding and Child Protection
While safeguarding refers to the action we take to prevent harm to children and young people, child protection focuses on protecting those individuals identified (often via safeguarding processes) to be suffering from harm, or those who are considered likely to suffer significant harm.
Safeguarding in Schools
Schools have a statutory duty to protect their students from harm. School staff are often the first to notice when children and young people are experiencing issues, it is essential for schools to have robust safeguarding processes in place to record, report and manage these issues. Schools must also follow Safer Recruitment processes to ensure that their students can be kept safe from those who wish to do them harm.
Who is Responsible for Safeguarding in Other Settings?
In most settings there is at least one person who carries the responsibility for overseeing the wellbeing and safety of organisation members. In UK schools, this role usually carries the title of Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), or Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) in Wales. In independent schools this role is usually owned by the Deputy Head (pastoral) and in other education settings this may be the Headteacher or another senior member of staff.
In other settings such as sports clubs, charities and religious organisations, designated people and/or departments are responsible for keeping their service users safe from harm. Titles responsible for safeguarding include (but are not limited to) ‘Safeguarding Lead’, ‘Safeguarding Officer’ or ‘Child Protection Officer’.
It is essential for school staff to have up-to-date, reliable safeguarding training in order to support them in keeping students safe from harm. Safeguarding Leads are required to update this training at least every two years and other school staff should receive safeguarding updates at least annually.
Click below and to see our full range of CPD certified safeguarding training courses, all delivered live online by our safeguarding professionals.
In England, schools follow the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance to inform their safeguarding policies and procedures. This is updated annually, and you can see our full suite of KCSIE resources here.
In Wales, school follow Keeping Learners Safe in Education. This was last updated in 2021 and you can access our free handbook to manage these changes here. Other useful legislation includes:
Many schools are choosing to move their safeguarding processes online, using digital systems for electronic record keeping, designed specifically for safeguarding. This process is much more secure and reliable, not to mention more time-efficient for all staff. Safeguarding software helps schools' colleges and other organisations to keep an accurate record of all their concerns which can be relied upon for evidence in court proceedings, even years into the future. Unlike paper records, a safeguarding software also facilitates secure information sharing, while enabling an organisation to remain compliant with data protection regulations. Safeguarding software records are also without the risks associated with paper files: fire, theft and flood.
What is the difference between safeguarding and wellbeing?
Safeguarding is the moral and statutory responsibility placed on organisations such as schools and colleges to promote the welfare of all those who use their service (e.g. students). This involves providing a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued, being alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and following procedures to ensure that children receive effective support, protection and justice.
Wellbeing is a very broad term, which covers various safeguarding issues such as physical and mental health, living conditions and protection from abuse/neglect.
What is Contextual Safeguarding
According to the Contextual Safeguarding Network, ‘Contextual Safeguarding’ is the approach used to understand and respond to young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. This approach is significant as it recognises relationships that young people form in their local area, in schools and also online, which may expose them to violence and abuse. In these settings, parents and carers carry very little influence and children and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships.
Therefore, safeguarding practitioners in schools and other organisations need to engage with individuals and sectors who do have influence within extra-familial contexts. Effective safeguarding recognises that assessment and intervention of the risks in these spaces and situations are critical to keeping children and young people safe.
What is a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)?
According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence, a multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) is a structure which has been developed to facilitate information-sharing and decision-making on a multi-agency basis. This is often established by co-locating staff from the local authority, health agencies and the police. When working effectively, these hubs can prevent abuse, spot patterns of abuse and identify repeat offenders through sharing information.
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