Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding children. School and college staff are key as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children, to prevent concerns from escalating.
Schools and colleges and their staff form part of the wider safeguarding system for children where agencies are expected to work together to ensure children are safeguarded and their welfare protected.
Section 175 (Section 157 for academies and independent schools) of the Education Act 2002 requires governing bodies of maintained schools and further education colleges (including sixth form colleges) to ensure they safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are either pupils at the school or who are students under 18 years of age attending the further education institution.
The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children details how schools and colleges should work with social care, the police, health services and other services to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Further statutory guidance specifically for schools is in Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Each school and college should have at least one designated safeguarding lead who will provide support to staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely with other services such as children’s social care. There must be a designated safeguarding lead available at all times, so it is good practice to ensure that there are enough staff trained to carry out this role, to provide the cover advised by statutory guidance.
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure there is an effective safeguarding and child protection policy in place together with a staff code of conduct which should include- staff/pupil relationships and communications including the use of social media.
All staff including temporary staff and volunteers should be provided with the school’s safeguarding and child protection policy and staff code of conduct on induction. The child protection policy should describe procedures which are in accordance with government guidance, be updated annually, be signed off by the governing body, and be available publicly either via the school or college website or by other means.
Headteachers should ensure that the policies and procedures adopted by governing bodies, particularly concerning referrals of cases of suspected abuse and neglect, are followed by all staff.
All children between the ages of 5 and 16 years old must be in full-time education. A child is considered missing from education if they are not on a school roll or if they are not being home-schooled. Children who are classed as missing from education are at a greater risk from harm including child sexual exploitation.
Governing bodies should put in place appropriate safeguarding responses for children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect including sexual abuse or exploitation and to help prevent the risks of repeatedly going missing.
If you suspect that a child is missing from education, you can report your concerns to:
Access and Engagement Service, Islington Council.
Tel: 020 7527 3747
A full range of safeguarding and child protection training for education staff is provided for schools and education services through the Safeguarding Children in Education Training and Development Officer and the Islington Safeguarding Children Partnership. Training can be provided to individual schools through INSET and twilight sessions or through centrally delivered training. Everyone working with children whether teaching, non-teaching, volunteers and other staff, should have training once every three years at a minimum. It is good practice to refresh training annually to comply with statutory guidance which stipulates that annual updates are necessary
Designated Safeguarding Leads must have specific training every two years at a minimum.
Governors need to understand their responsibilities about safeguarding and have an overview of what occurs in their school. Specific training can be provided for Governing bodies. Please contact Governor Services on 020 7527 5755.
Safer Recruitment - At least one member of any interview panel must have completed a Safer Recruitment course. Senior staff and governors should attend this course which is run in conjunction with Schools Human Resources. All centrally delivered courses can be booked online through the training portal.
If you have a concern for a child or children please Contact Children's Social Care on 020 7527 7400 or CSCTReferrals@Islington.gov.uk.
The Principal Officer, Safeguarding in Education writes a monthly newsletter which goes out to all schools, academies, independent schools, free schools, City and Islington College, pupil referral units and supplementary schools in Islington. The Newsletter includes updates in the world of safeguarding in education, and provides useful templates, including a child protection policy template for schools, links and other training courses. The newsletter is also accessible through the School Bulletin.
For more information please contact:
Principal Officer, Safeguarding in Education
Access and Engagement Service