Why is Safeguarding in Schools Important?

School isn’t just an educational institution where you learn math, history, and biology. It’s a haven for students, a safe environment where children and adults are protected from mental and physical harm, and a place that reassures parents about their child’s safety.

That’s what safeguarding in schools is all about. If you want to know more, we cover the nuances of safeguarding and its role in KCSIE Part 1 to show you how crucial it is in schools.

Reality, however, isn’t always that simple, and staff members can’t always prevent bullying and abuse incidents. However, they can learn how to identify children experiencing abuse and take proper action to keep them safe.

Please complete the contact form below to learn more about Classroom365 and how we work with schools across the UK with safeguarding policies in schools.

why is safeguarding in schools important

What is Safeguarding for Schools?

Safeguarding best practices refer to the measures a primary, secondary, or special needs school takes to protect the physical and mental well-being of its students. It’s a responsibility that all staff, whether teachers, administrative, or support staff, must take.

Some of the common measures for safeguarding include:

  • Hiring conscientious teachers and enforcing a professional code of conduct for staff members.
  • Make staff, parents, and students aware of the school’s CCTV policy and procedures if CCTV is installed.
  • Providing safeguarding training to ensure all teachers know how to treat students and each other.
  • Creating a straightforward process to follow if a staff member is worried about the well-being of a student.
  • Understanding the sharing of safeguarding information in relation to data protection in schools.
what is safeguarding in primary schools

Teaching safeguarding to children

Safeguarding isn’t just about enforcing rules to keep children safe. It’s also about teaching these children to avoid harmful behaviour and protect themselves. That includes:

  • Establishing proper behavioural policies.
  • Teaching students the difference between suitable and inappropriate physical contact.
  • Helping students deal with peer pressure.
  • Explaining the damaging effects of bullying and harassment.
  • Teaching students how to navigate the internet safely in school and at home.

Why Should Schools Care About Safeguarding?

As you probably know, the world hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows these past few years.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people lost their jobs and faced numerous mental health issues. From that time, a cloud of uneasiness has been floating over everyone’s heads.

Unfortunately, that uneasiness has manifested in recurring violent acts at homes worldwide. Parents who have lost their jobs took their frustration out on their children in the form of physical and verbal abuse.

The Guardian reports that child abuse cases have risen by 20% in England during the first year of the pandemic. A 2020 study showed that parents who were experiencing depression during the pandemic were more likely to mistreat their children.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, precisely, these behavioural patterns make safeguarding policies for schools crucial.

The lack of a supervising figure whose job is to keep these children safe allowed for abuse cases to spread. If these children were able to confide in a staff member outside their homes, they would have received the help they needed.

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Here’s the problem: Some children prefer to keep their abuse secret. They might be embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid of getting blamed for what happened.

That’s why it’s crucial for school staff to create a safe space where children won’t hesitate to talk to them about these incidents. Ultimately, safeguarding is about staff members having empathy and forming safe connections with students.

safeguarding within schools

What Are the Most Common Safeguarding Issues Within Schools?

Now that you understand the crucial role safeguarding plays in schools, let’s look at the most common safeguarding issues that school staff face.

Bullying

You probably saw this one coming. Bullying is the most common cause of concern at schools. Whether it’s acts of violence, name-calling, or spreading false rumours, bullying can have long-lasting effects on the ones experiencing it.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to detect. Bullying can happen inside school grounds, but it can also take place outside it, be it in a physical location or online. To combat online bullying, schools should implement a mobile phone policy, which could include banning phones or installing mobile phone lockers on school premises.

The first step staff members need to take when they see a child getting bullied is to identify the cause of bullying. That way, they can address the core of the issue, which will help them solve it quickly.

Racial and Ethnic Marginalisation

Schools host students with different backgrounds, cultures, and ideologies. It’s a perfect opportunity for staff members to teach students to tolerate, accept, and respect other ideologies, no matter how different they are.

Unfortunately, that diversity can also create a space of discrimination and marginalisation. While some can attribute that to children being children, enabling that behaviour at a young age will perpetuate it in the long run. These children will never grow out of it.

That’s why staff members need to act quickly when they see these incidents, ensuring that children understand the implications of their behaviour.

safeguarding policy in schools summary

Sexual Abuse

Yes, children can experience physical, verbal and sexual abuse on school grounds. It’s actually more common than you think.

That behaviour can occur in all educational phases, whether nursery school or college. According to a 2021 study in the USA, 1,064 sexual abuse cases have been recorded in 726 schools in 2017-18 alone.

Here’s the problem: Sexual abuse doesn’t always involve students solely. The same study showed that 939 schools have reported sexual misconduct from staff members.

Ultimately, it’s the staff’s responsibility to solve sexual harassment issues between students. However, all the teachers and governing bodies must stay alert, ensuring no staff member abuses students.

Self-Harm

Self-harm is a common phenomenon among youngsters. A 2013 study examined the widespreadness of self-harm thoughts in 3964 young adolescents.

The study shows that 27% of them have reported to have thought of harming themselves. 15% of those students acted on those thoughts, and only 18% of that small group sought help.

Identifying signs of self-harm can be challenging, as youngsters tend to hide the cuts and bruises they inflict upon themselves.

However, there are several signs that indicate someone is harming themselves. A student wearing long-sleeved clothes in warm weather and refusing to change in front of people is probably trying to hide their cut marks.

safeguarding for schools

Isolation, low mood, and sudden behavioural changes are common symptoms among people who indulge in self-harm as well.

In that case, school staff members need to provide an empathetic ear and provide the student with judgment-free support.

Safeguarding Summary

Now you know why safeguarding for schools is a crucial part of growing up. After all, school isn’t just an educational institution. It’s almost like a second home for students.

School senior management and governing bodies have to work to create a safe space where everyone is welcome to be themselves unapologetically.

If you have any questions regarding Classroom365 and safeguarding in schools, then please get in touch.

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