112 WORDS: Safeguarding & Child Protection Blog

The information contained within this blog comprises a series of 112* word individual safeguarding posts, specifically tailored and adapted for Expatriate Communities and in particular the International Schools’ global community. In this context I am using the term 112 Safeguarding to mean ‘Emergency’ or ‘First Responder’ Safeguarding. Use the ‘search’ functions at the top or bottom of this page to look for specific topics of interest.

*112 being the International emergency service contact number from mobile phones and some landline phones. See link for global emergency contact details, including those where 112 can be used: Global 112 Usage

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A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic.

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“When will they actually go back to school?” This is the cry from many parents, as we write and there is no answer. But that does not stop us thinking about what it will be like for each and every one of our children, at whatever age, stage or ability level on the day they walk through the classroom door.

It would be naive of any Headteacher/Principal to think that the child will pick up the Curriculum at exactly the same point at which they left it on the day their school closed. Too much has happened. Listen to what the children are saying (Full report by Barry Carpenter & Matthew Carpenter).

Child Protection Incident Recording

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CPOMS provide safeguarding, pastoral and wellbeing solutions for schools across the world. They have recently been recognised for their innovation by receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Given the current international COVID emergency, and the challenge for schools having to track vulnerable students in disparate locations around the world without having access to key information, CPOMS are offering their digital safeguarding recording system FREE until September 2020 to all schools not currently using a digital safeguarding recording system.

Furthermore, MyConcern Safeguarding Software who provide safeguarding services and software to many thousands of schools is being offered FREE to all schools until September 2020 that currently don’t have an electronic record keeping system.

Online Safety (ii) ‘Whisper’ Anonymous Reporting

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The South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) UK have made their reporting app ‘Whisper’ available for FREE for UK and International Schools  at this time. An anonymous reporting service that will enable anyone in your whole-school community to securely raise safeguarding or other concerns by using a reporting form.

There are numerous inclusive encrypted features including Live Chat via Website, so that you can keep in touch with the individual who is reporting. Users need to know how frequently their messages will be reviewed and what the response times are likely to be.

A safe way for parents, staff and students to report safeguarding concerns 24/7.

IMPROVED VISIBILITY – REPORT WITHOUT FEAR

Online Safety (i)

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The global coronavirus pandemic has increased opportunities for online child abusers to target children. We should take measures to ensure that our whole school communities monitor any increased risks – and act to prevent or intervene wherever necessary.

The effect of the pandemic means some IT companies may reduce usual levels of moderation commonly in place to combat sexual abuse online. Many children are not currently at school and are spending considerably more time online at home. They will be using the Internet to stay in touch with family and friends as well as to learn. This could lead to an increased risk of exposure to harmful content and possible sexual exploitation.

Statute of Limitations

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The USA as the only country in the world not to have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989) has recently (2019/2020) been focussed on a review of their respective state ‘statute of limitation’ laws pertaining to child sexual abuse.

In International School settings this raises a significant issue for senior leadership within strategic safeguarding and child protection team discussions. What do you know about the statute of limitations specifically related to sexual abuse – historical adult or child related – and legislative equivalents in your host countries? This knowledge has potential relevance when it comes to responding to and supporting staff or students – current and past.

Bullying (iii)

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‘Ditch the Label’ has published its annual bullying survey 2019. Findings of survey results from 2,347 children and young people aged 12-20 across the UK include: 22% said they were bullied in the past 12 months; of those bullied 62% were bullied by a classmate and 37% by someone at school they did not know; and 33% said that they had suicidal thoughts; while 41% were left feeling anxious after being bullied.

In light of this report now may be a good time to review your Peer-On-Peer Abuse policy; your anti-bullying policy and procedures; curriculum materials and suicide recognition and prevention strategies. If you need help, support or guidance, please contact me.

New Online Child Safeguarding Awareness Course

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The team from ChildSafeguarding.com together with 112 SAFEGUARDING are attending EARCOS 2019 to talk about the planned launch of a new online course in 2020.

The International Schools’ target cohort includes but is not restricted to those in the following roles: gardeners, security guards; cleaners; maintenance staff; contractors; drivers; administration staff including HR, finance, receptionists, PAs and secretaries; chaperones; volunteers; personnel carrying out accreditation processes; guest speakers; long stay visitors; returning alumni; and similar.

The course is designed for these non-teaching employees, volunteers and subcontractors operating within an International School context, no matter their role, seniority, education or background. It is structured for delivery in the languages of the respective host countries.

Safeguarding Challenges for Senior School Leadership (Part Two)

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An externally derived and bespoke safeguarding audit or review can provide your school with baseline measures and related recommendations for developing and improving standards going forward. Accreditation bodies integrate safeguarding assessment as only part of their comprehensive inspection processes.

Alternatively schools can undertake an internal review to yield some baseline data for benchmarking future progress.

Any review should examine efficacy linked to:

  • The ITFCP recommendations as a minimum standard;
  • A safeguarding ‘whole school community’ framework that is fit for purpose;
  • Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or Child Protection Officers (CPOs) sufficiently trained and in adequate numbers for organizational size;
  • Appropriate levels of safeguarding awareness and training for all those within the ‘school community’.

Safeguarding Challenges for Senior School Leadership (Part One)

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What are your school’s benchmarks for achieving safeguarding success? Passing your regular accreditation inspections might be one? Who establishes your safeguarding standards; the accreditation bodies, you or both? Are they based on ITFCP recommendations or higher?

Is success measured by decreasing numbers of recorded safeguarding incidents at school, or by the quality of your inquiries and outcomes achieved for children? Is it ‘the best interests of the child’ that forms the central measure of safeguarding achievement, or is it assessed by the expedience with which such matters are finalized?

Consider enhancing levels of confidence and understanding for senior leadership and establish a ‘safeguarding roadmap’ via an externally derived and tailored 112safeguarding audit.

Transferring Pupil Safeguarding/Child Protection Records (i)

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All safeguarding and child protection concerns must be recorded. Related discussion-points and rationales for decision-making should be recorded as part of each child protection/safeguarding file.

When children leave your school the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or equivalent) should forward child protection/safeguarding files to the new school ASAP. A secure transfer, separate from the main pupil files, should be arranged. Always obtain a confirmatory receipt for your records.

  • Retain copies for time period designated by school policy.
  • Retain files in line with school policy for students completing education.
  • If transferring school unknown, undertake enquiries, or enact your Children Missing Education (International School protocol).
  • Consider sharing information in advance of a child leaving, if appropriate.