Reading time: 4 minutes

Safeguarding procedures must now be scrutinised following several high-profile incidents. On Childhood Day, it is vital to highlight such an important issue and open a conversation discussing how the situation can improve.

There has been a significant increase in the number of incidents over the past year. A study from Tes found:

“There was a 77% increase in the number of safeguarding incidents in schools within the past 12 months.”

Why has there been an increase in the number of incidents? Have you seen an increase in the number of safeguarding incidents within your establishment?

The pandemic has caused an increase in the number of safeguarding incidents. Key factors such as increased stress on parents, increased vulnerability for children and a reduction in regulated protective services have all contributed.

Despite a sense of normality returning, safeguarding matters are still a concern. New measures need to be installed, especially to help those children who are abused behind closed doors at home.

Let’s not make the same mistakes from high-profile cases

Major incidents that infamously swept across mainstream news are just the tip of the iceberg of the true underlying problem.

  1. Arthur Labinjo-Hughes suffered abuse for over 18 months and was referred to social services several times with no action being taken. Why wasn’t his case pursued thoroughly?

  2. Similarly, Star Hobson was referred to social services “five times by concerned relatives and friends, and police also visited the family”.

  3. And even the investigation into Baby P “revealed that over an eight-month period he had been seen 60 times by social workers from Haringey council, doctors and police”.

Had social services conducted extensive investigations and delved deeper into what was happening then perhaps their lives could have been saved.

Annie Hudson, chair for the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel said:

“What we see very strongly in the stories of Arthur and Star is, perhaps inevitably, that what parents, parents’ partners and carers say cannot always be taken at face value, and the skill of getting underneath what people are saying is an extremely difficult and complicated task. But the way in which we organise our child protection systems does not enable professionals taking some of the most difficult public service functions to do those to the best of their ability.”

Taking safeguarding incidents at face value demonstrates the current problem with procedures. There isn’t enough care and it needs to be addressed, but what can realistically be done?

Potential safeguarding solutions?

Current guidance from the government stipulates that if educational staff have safeguarding concerns then:

“Staff working with children are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff should always act in the best interests of the child. If staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them immediately.”

Regardless of what has been advised, some processes are not followed by schools and local authorities so what could be implemented to change the situation?

A huge boost could be improved training for social workers, teachers and police to help recognise the dangers children may face at an earlier rate. Continuous professional development enables professionals to be constantly up to date with the most recent regulations and practices.

There also needs to be better communication and strategies from MASH teams. Ultimately, conflict arises within the teams and the person who requires the most support, the child, can suffer grave consequences because of the failings of others.

Designated safeguarding leads also need to ensure that incidents are scrutinised intently and not taken at face value. This is already the responsibility of the DSL, but if there was also more investment it could allow more time for attention to be focused on cases that may require more inspection.

According to statistics:

“Half a million children a year suffer abuse in the UK. That means 7 children in a classroom experience abuse before they turn 18.”

Not every child’s case will get dealt with, but if there was more investment then enhanced training could be implemented to effectively deal with certain situations.

What do you think needs to be done?

Something needs to change so that children no longer have to suffer from abuse and it can be difficult to find the right solution across the country. What would you implement?

What strategies and procedures would you put in place?

What do you think should be done to reduce the number of safeguarding incidents within schools and local authorities?

EDClass has successfully dealt with 50 safeguarding incidents within the last month alone. This one example demonstrates that safeguarding within the education sector needs revamping to ensure children are as safe as possible wherever they are.

There are multiple avenues where children can easily be exploited or abused that need fixing. The BBC recently reported:

“Children in care have reported being groomed and sexually assaulted in homes run by a firm making huge profits.”

This is just one area where abuse occurs and so let’s try to work together to ensure that children can learn and grow up without the fear of abuse.

If you would like some more information on safeguarding and how students can be monitored then click here.