The recent report exposing the shocking scale of sexual harassment in schools reinforces the importance of compliance with safeguarding requirements. The new statutory guidance (Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016) is now in force. The guidance is pretty hefty and requires schools/colleges to update their policies to ensure compliance. So, what new points does your policy need to cover?
Your policy should now deal with the following:
- The role of the DSL.
- Confirmation that, as well as training on induction, all staff will receive safeguarding and child protection updates at least annually and that the DSL will have formal training bi-annually.
- A description of early help and what this means in your school or college, including the difference between a safeguarding concern and immediate danger or risk of harm
- The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline number.
- A description of peer-on-peer abuse and the signs of such abuse, as well as what the school/college will do to minimise this risk.
- Details of the responsibilities of the Virtual School Headteacher.
- A statement that children with SEN and disabilities are more likely to be abused or neglected, as well as how to identify and keep these young people safe.
- Information about so-called honour-based violence (HBV) including what HBV encompasses, the potential indicators that a child may be at risk of HBV and actions to take if staff have a concern that a child might be at risk of HBV.
- In proprietor-led independent schools, confirmation that concerns about the proprietor should be raised with the local authority designated officer (and provide contact details).
Report by the Women and Equalities Committee exposes the shocking scale of sexual harassment and sexual violence that is not being tackled effectively in English schools.