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A school safeguarding policy is essential, the policy outlines the procedures that staff must follow, in order to protect the wellbeing of children. Ensuring your safeguarding policy is up to date will demonstrate compliance with statutory safeguarding guidance.
We have created a safeguarding policy template that you can use and tailor to suit your school.
Carry on reading to find out the steps you must follow to ensure you know what should be included in your policy.
Step 1 – Create a Clear Safeguarding Ethos
This means embedding safeguarding into everything that the school does. It starts with the Governors and Senior Management assuring and communicating their commitment and support to making it happen.
This is one of those “top down” initiatives that MUST be more than a “tick-box” activity or statement of intent. If school staff, pupils and parents/guardians see action from the top, you will gain “buy-in”, commitment and action from everyone involved with the school.
But don’t stop there, explore how staff, pupils and parents/guardians feel about safeguarding in your school. They may be familiar with the phrase “safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility”, but do they really know what that means?
Monitor behaviours – I mean really observe them and not just pupil behaviours, everyone’s behaviour; for example, bullying is just as likely to occur at the school gates as it is in the building or, is the focus on inspection detracting attention from the needs of a child?
Step 2 – Create your Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
The Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is a vital document that every school should have. It not only states the school’s commitment to keeping children safe but also provides a reference guide to issues, roles, responsibilities, contacts and procedures involved in safeguarding children at your school.
Your Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy MUST be a “living document”. What do I mean by that? Policies have to be kept up to date, not just reviewed on an annual basis (although you need to do that too).
Changes in law, changes in circumstances, for example COVID 19, changes in staff, changes to their contact details, and updates on training carried out (more about this later) mean that the policy MUST be revised to reflect these changes as they occur and ensure that everyone has the latest information (more about this later).
Here is a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy checklist. Does your policy contain the following?
This includes all key safeguarding staff, e.g. your Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), Deputy DSL, Head Teacher, Chair of Governors, your local authority, local police, and any other support organisations and networks
Safeguarding Training Log
This needs to detail all safeguarding related training undertaken by individual named staff and governors, refresher dates and future training planned.
Introduction and Ethos
This is a statement of the school’s commitment to keeping children safe and how you intend to do this.
This should detail all the people this policy applies to.
Detail here the laws that govern this policy, the relevant other polices that apply to safeguarding, together with the statutory polices, for example:
- Health and Safety policy.
- Central record of recruitment and vetting checks.
- Child protection policy and procedures.
- Statement of procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff.
This section should detail how the school works in partnership with parents/guardians, local authorities, police and all other support organisations and networks.
Specific Issues and Vulnerabilities
Here the policy should outline what is meant by “safeguarding issues”, giving examples of types of abuse and neglect. It should also explain many of the terms referred to in the policy such as “Child protection”.
Roles and Responsibilities
In this section explain in detail the specific roles and responsibilities that the school’s key people have in keeping children safe.
Remind people here that by monitoring certain activities, for example attendance, safeguarding concerns may be triggered at an early stage, enabling intervention. Add the triggers that you have identified for your school.
Responding to Concerns from a Child
Your school’s own process for dealing with concerns raised by a child should be detailed here so that everyone in the school knows what to do and what not to do.
Here the policy should outline the step-by-step process your school follows when responding to any safeguarding issue.
Monitoring and Reviewing
This policy is a “living document” and as such requires updating when circumstances require. It also needs to be reviewed regularly to ensure it is fit for purpose. You need to document when this happens, by who, and record details of any changes and state when it will be reviewed again.
To help you with Step 2 we have developed an editable Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy template which you can tailor to your school’s needs.
Step 3 – Create a Training and Continual Professional Development Log
By law, all teaching staff MUST undertake safeguarding training, but what about refreshers? How often do you plan refresher and update sessions?
This rule doesn’t only apply to teachers, but to all staff who work in a school setting, including admin staff, caretakers, senior leadership teams, governors, and even work experience or temporary staff. COVID 19 hasn’t changed this, in fact it has only served to highlight the need for essential training topics such as online safety.
Having an updatable training log ensures that everyone in the school knows who has participated in what training topics, who requires training or refreshers, and it gives stakeholders confidence that the school takes its safeguarding responsibilities seriously.
It also assists with financial planning, knowing the actual and forecasted training requirements for the school year. The training log should be kept with the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and kept up to date
Step 4 – Create and Implement a Communication Strategy
Having put the first 3 steps into action, don’t keep it to yourselves, communicate it!
The school’s commitment to “Keeping Children Safe” – Who needs to know about this? Where are you going to publicise this? Anywhere else?
Your Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy – who needs access to this? Where can they read it? Do you need to provide an abridged child-friendly version for your pupils? Where will they be able to see this? Do they need it explained to them? Can they contribute by making posters etc. which can help them to embed the learning?
Your training and CPD log – Who needs to see this? Is it accessible? And most importantly, is it relevant and up to date?
But please remember, you can’t take these steps in isolation, and completing step 4 is only the start of an ever-continuing improvement cycle to make safeguarding more effective in your school.