All educational institutions have a fundamental responsibility to ensure children and young people are protected and kept safe from harm.
EDBlog reported this summer that safeguarding concerns could overwhelm teachers when students return to school in September.
But what does safeguarding policy entail? And how can it keep students safe in more ways than one? This blog post explains.
What does it mean to make children feel safe?
Keeping students safe includes much more than physical well-being.
Schools can make students feel both physically and emotionally safe by taking the proper precautions and creating the appropriate environment.
What can you do to make students feel safe in the classroom?
You can apply the following rules to make sure students feel safe in the classroom:
Keep all rules consistent: If rules are consistent it means students feel they can depend on you enforcing them. You can make sure students are aware of exactly what is allowed in the classroom and the repercussions for breaking rules. Students who are generally obedient should receive the same treatment for breaking a rule as a student who is generally disobedient.
Situate your students suitably: By making seating arrangements in the safest way possible you can place students who are aggressive towards each other on opposite sides of the classroom.
Keep a routine: When students are getting used to your way of doing things it is important to keep a routine. When people are used to doing things your way, a routine can make them feel safe.
Allow for some downtime during the day: When it possible to teach the same set of students for several hours, it is important to allow downtime to allow students to recover from rigorous learning, reducing the chances of burn out and improving mental health. A break in learning also reduces the level of aggression that the student may hold.
What are core safeguarding principles?
At EDClass we apply core safeguarding principles – to help learners grow and develop without fear of violence, abuse or exploitation. We therefore stand by the principles of:
- All children have a fundamental right of protection from abuse and exploitation and show receive the same degree of protection under the law, as adults
- Listening to children is paramount in ensuring their safety and children should be enabled to participate appropriately in their learning
- Children and young people are not responsible for their own abuse and exploitation or expected to bear the primary responsibility for their own protection. Whilst there may be steps children can take to enhance their safety, the ultimate responsibility lies with the adults caring for and supporting them
- We recognise that views about what contributes to abuse and exploitation of children and young people are informed by current research and societal attitudes and our work evolves to reflect and to contribute to current debate
- We recognise the importance of how issues of age, gender, race, culture, disability and sexuality impact on our understanding and responses to keeping children safe
- We seek to work in a child-centred way with safe and protective adults within children’s families and communities, being aware that children are directly affected by violence between adults, particularly those responsible for their care
- Keeping children and young people safe is an integral part of all our work
EDClass also operates a nine component framework in order to ensure safeguarding in their organisation. The nine components are: accountability, acting on concerns, recording and information sharing, recruitment, supervision, inspection, empowering children, raising concerns about poor and dangerous practice (whitle-blowing) and learning and development. We also operate a Professional Boundaries Policy.
What does safeguarding entail?
Safeguarding children means protecting them from maltreatment, preventing impairment of their health and development and ensure they grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
Key terminology involved with safeguarding includes:
Child Protection: Child protection is refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are at risk of suffering harms including physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect. This includes children affected by: domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour-based violence, missing children, young runaways, child sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Abuse: A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by people known to them or others.
Physical Abuse: A form of abuse which may involve hitting, throwing, shaking, poisoning, burning, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm.
Emotional Abuse: The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or making fun of them.
Emotional abuse may also feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning. It may also involve serious bullying which causes children to feel frightened or in danger.
Sexual Abuse: This involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities. This may include acts which involve physical contact or non-contact activities, such as encouraging children to look or act in a certain way.
Neglect: This is persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical or psychological needs, likely to result in serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment), protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, ensure adequate supervision, or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Prevent concern: Children and young adults can be vulnerable to exposure to or have involvement with groups or individuals who advocate intimidation as a means to a political or ideological end. These groups can include those promoting violence from extreme right-wing or other ethnic or religious organisations.
Prevent is part of the Government’s counter terrorism strategy and aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
Trafficking: Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harbouring of people. This can be via coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, a position of vulnerability, transfer of payments or having control over another person (i.e. for the purpose of exploitation).
Child Missing from Education: Local authorities have a duty to establish the identity of children who are missing education in their area. A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect and such children are at risk of being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation. School and college staff should follow their procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children that go missing from education.
Child Sexual Exploitation: This is defined as sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assault. Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and can happen online.
Honour-Based Violence: So-called honour-based violence encompasses crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community. This may include Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM), forced marriage and practices such as breast ironing.
How does EDClass ensure students are kept safe?
EDClass has a range of mechanisms to include students are safeguarded:
Attendance tracker: Learners will work to a pre-assigned schedule. Teachers can set when learners should register via the website in the morning and the afternoon. If a learner fails to report, an email will be sent to the school and the parents.
Online access: The platform can be accessed at any time from any location – with the school being in a position to deem which location is appropriate. This means hard-to-reach learners can be reached.
Support: Individualised support is available through their learning. Our support teams have extensive knowledge and understanding of lessons, the system, qualifications, methodology, exams, coursework and practical exams.
Safety Questionnaires: Learners will complete a safety questionnaire at the beginning of the sessions to confirm that they feel safe. This can be edited to suit individual learners.
Alerts: Learners have access to an alert button – which will direct an emergency contact should the circumstances require it.
Chat logs: Written communication between learners and supervisors is recorded. This can then be exported to the school and extracted accordingly.
To find out more, call 01909 568 338.