Safeguarding wellbeing and e-safety

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There have been many complex issues raised following the lecture on safeguarding and wellbeing. This lecture has developed my understanding of the role of the teacher and emphasised the importance of safeguarding and wellbeing. Safeguarding and wellbeing has been defined by the Department for Education (DfE) as,

“Protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes” (DfE, 2014:4)

The roles and responsibilities of a teacher go beyond the classroom as they not only have a duty to ensure all children achieve academically and progress, but they are responsible for the safety and welfare of all children. This is highlighted within the Teachers’ Standards that states that teachers must:

  • Establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect.
  • Maintain good relationships with pupils, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary.
  • Have regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being in accordance with statutory provision.

(DfE, 2011)

As professionals we have a role to play in safeguarding children. These Government requirements have been selected as linking directly to the safeguarding and wellbeing of all children and must be adopted by all teachers. Teachers are in an ideal position to identify concerns early, provide help for children and prevent concerns from escalating. If we have any concerns they should be raised with the schools designated safeguarding lead (DfE, 2014). It is not always possible to be sure whether a child is being harmed. The teachers role can involve collecting evidence over time e.g. children being dirty, wearing no socks, reluctant to go home etc.

The requirements expected of us as teachers can appear overwhelming at times. However, whilst on placement and following the lecture I have been reassured of the measures, initiatives and multi-agency approaches that are put in place to ensure the safety of all children.

Nevertheless, there are cases when these requirements are not met, significantly the Victoria Climbie case. This tragic case of torture and neglect has reformed safeguarding policies. In 2003 the Every Child Matters agenda was introduced which has set aims for every child to:

  • Be healthy
  • Stay safe
  • Enjoy and achieve
  • Make a positive contribution
  • Achieve economic well –being

I believe this initiative has made a profound difference to the lives and protection of children. It has led to an increased focus on supporting families and carers and continues to ensure necessary intervention takes place before a child reaches crisis point, addressing weak accountability and poor integration and ensuring that people working with children are valued, rewarded and trained (Every Child Matters, 2003).

This case has made me question, what if this child was in my class? What if I didn’t report a concern? As a trainee teacher I believe the safeguarding and wellbeing of children is of upmost importance. It is crucial to understand and have prior knowledge of the safeguarding policy in school and act upon any concerns us as teachers may have.

E-safety

Issues in society are always changing. As professionals we must be aware of the changes in technology. Although the internet offers abundant opportunities for children to learn. Children are also exposed to issues surrounding e-safety. This includes children watching and playing inappropriate video games that are rated 18 (where children are exposed to violence and often sexual and racist language) children’s use of social media e.g. Facebook, twitter etc. exposure to inappropriate content including pornography and hate websites, the list can go on…

Although we cannot always prevent children from accessing these websites, games and social media sites it is important to know the risks associated with communicating online. Ofsted (2012) policy on inspecting e-safety states that outstanding e-safety is the result of,

The schools ability to protect and educate pupils and staff in the use of technology and to have the appropriate mechanisms to intervene and support any incident where appropriate’

Simon Haughton (2014) policy on e-safety highlights interventions to ensure children are protected, this involves:

  • Providing all staff with e-safety training;
  • Ensuring families can access e-safety education/advice;
  • Using a variety of ‘locked down’ and ‘managed systems’;
  • Having procedures in place for reporting e-safety issues;
  • Having a rigorous e-safety policy (including an acceptable usage policy);
  • Having suitable Internet filtering;
  • Displaying e-safety rules and ensure that children can recall them;

I believe it is important for children to be aware of the dangers of using the internet. Online videos are one way of giving children accessible information on how to stay safe online. This video shows children the dangers of giving information out on social networking sites.

Other useful websites aimed at providing information on e-safety to children and parents include:

http://www.childnet.com/

http://www.safetynetkids.org.uk/personal-safety/staying-safe-online/

http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/

References

Department for Education (2014). Keeping children safe in education: statutory guidance for schools and colleges. Available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/350747/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf(Accessed: 6th November 2014).

Department for Education (2013). Teacher’s Standards: Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies. [pdf] Department for Education. Available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/301107/Teachers__Standards.pdf (Accessed 6th November 2014)

Haughton, S. (2014) Developing outstanding e-safety provision. Available at: http://www.simonhaughton.co.uk/2012/11/developing-outstanding-e-safety-provision.html (Accessed 7th November 2014)

Ofsted (2012) Inspecting e-safety in schools. Available at: http://webfronter.com/surreymle/Esafety/other/OFSTED-Inspecting-e-safety-January-2014.pdf (Accessed 10th November 2014)

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One thought on “Safeguarding wellbeing and e-safety

  1. Having reflected upon the lecture on safeguarding, wellbeing and e-safety, and Helen’s thoughts on some of the measures and strategies in place, I would like to respond as follows…

    Safeguarding

    It should go without saying that safeguarding children is a moral obligation, over and above a professional concern. Depressingly, however, abuse, in all its forms, is so pervasive here in the UK that policy and procedure are a necessity, and the appropriate training of all staff and the appointment of a safeguarding official are requisite in all schools.

    • 1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused (NSPCC, 2014). http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/-sexual-abuse/sexual-abuse-facts-statistics/
    • 13,880 children and young people contacted ChildLine about physical abuse last year (NSPCC, 2014). http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/physical-abuse/what-is-physical-abuse/
    • 1 in 10 children have experienced neglect (NSPCC, 2014). http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/neglect/what-is-neglect/

    As Helen states, we as practitioners are accountable not only for the academic advancement of the children in our classrooms, but also for their safety and wellbeing. Our duty of care is made explicit in the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2011), and is fundamental to the facilitation of an enriching and inclusive education. Safeguarding is integral to protocol and provision at every level, from the responsibility of governing bodies to comply with legislation (DfE, 2014, p.11), to the process of recruitment and vetting that must be adhered to by schools (DfE, 2014, p.16), from behaviour management guidelines (DfE, 2014, p.6), to pupil premium, free school meals and breakfast clubs.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/372753/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/353921/Behaviour_and_Discipline_in_Schools_-_A_guide_for_headteachers_and_school_staff.pdf

    I also agree with Helen that the Every Child Matters reforms and the Green Paper proposals (Every Child Matters, 2003) represented a positive response to a profoundly sad situation, but that children should be healthy and safe in order to achieve physical, emotional and even financial well-being, should, again, go without saying. Nonetheless, new initiatives and restructuring will continue to be a feature of the political and educational landscape as the socio-economic tides advance and retreat and demographics shift. Safeguarding issues that are prevalent today – such as:

    • cyberbullying
    • sexting
    • faith abuse
    • radicalisation
    • female genital mutilation (FGM)
    • gender based violence/violence against women and girls (VAWG)

    (DfE, 2014, p.9)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/372753/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf

    – may not have been so 10 years ago, and may be less of a concern than others 10 years from now. The problems we face change over time, and it is vital that we have advice and strategies in place to be able to deal with them. All we, in our professional capacity, can do, is heed that advice and observe the process put in place, the essence of which is currently that all staff members:

    • (should) be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect
    • maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’
    • always act in the interests of the child
    • (raise concerns) with the school’s designated safeguarding lead.
    • (note that) if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made to children’s social care immediately. Anybody can make a referral. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.
    • (because) it is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating.

    (DfE, 2014, p.5-6)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/372753/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf

    E-Safety

    The internet is a seemingly inexhaustible resource for teachers and learners alike, abounding with new and exciting ways to make education more interactive, engaging and enriching. And given that children are now more technologically inclined than ever, and that the world they are growing up in requires them to be, it would prove to their detriment were schools not to utilise it. The problem, of course, is that the internet is also fraught with dangers, loaded with inappropriate material, stalked by predators, and a platform for the emergence of cyber-bullying. The internet has the potential to ruin lives, as well as to better them.

    • Around 50,000 people in the UK downloaded or shared online images of child abuse last year (NSPCC, 2014). http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/child-sexual-exploitation/child-sexual-exploitation-facts-and-statistics/
    • At least 70,000 online images of child abuse were shared in the UK last year (NSPCC, 2014). http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/child-sexual-exploitation/child-sexual-exploitation-facts-and-statistics/
    • 4,500 young people talked to ChildLine about online bullying last year (NSPCC, 2014). http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/bullying-and-cyberbullying/bullying-cyberbullying-statistics/

    Within the confines of the school, e-safety is, arguably, easy enough to police, provided the extensive guidance on offer is acted upon, a risk assessment is conducted and an accredited service is used (Becta, 2008, p.28-29).

    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eorderingdownload/bec1-15535.pdf

    As Helen noted, simply by having the mechanisms in place – those ‘locked down’ and ‘managed systems’ – intervention is achievable, or indeed, achieved.

    The greater difficulty is in educating children, and their parents or carers, in such way as not to over-expose the former, nor offend or patronise the latter. Internet safety is a prime example of our afore mentioned duty of care extending beyond the workplace, but given that we as teachers have no control over what children access on their computers at home, the wider school community must be equipped to assist us. No doubt it has been said before, but we all need to be on the same webpage, as it were.

    The example Helen has provided of an informational video is exactly the kind of media we need to be employing to teach children about staying safe online. Aimed at 5-7 year olds, it conveys one of the messages at the core of e-safety in a child friendly way. The topics we are forced to confront as a consequence of the perils of the web are difficult enough for us, as adults, to process, so it is vital that, when we ask children to do the same, we do so on their level if we expect them to understand. Another example produced by CEOP, aimed at 8-10 year olds, is:

    Those responsible for guardianship beyond the school gates should be encouraged to adopt the same approach, but they themselves may need assistance in navigating the complexities of the situation. To that end, there is a plethora of help available, ironically, online, and instruction as to how and where to find it is likely to be the least intrusive and most gratefully received starting point on our part. Helen has already listed one or two, but other examples include:

    http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/
    http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers
    https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/

    Posted by Luke

    References

    Becta. (2008) Safeguarding children in a digital world [online], Available: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eorderingdownload/bec1-15535.pdf [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    CEOP. (2014) Thinkuknow for parents and carers [online], Available: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/ [Accessed 21st November 2014]

    Department for Education. (2014) Behaviour and discipline in schools [online], Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/353921/Behaviour_and_Discipline_in_Schools_-_A_guide_for_headteachers_and_school_staff.pdf [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    Department for Education. (2003) Every child matters [online], Available: https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/EveryChildMatters.pdf [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    Department for Education. (2014) Keeping children safe in education [online], Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/372753/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    NSPCC. (2014) Bullying and cyberbullying [online], Available: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/bullying-and-cyberbullying/bullying-cyberbullying-statistics/ [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    NSPCC. (2014) Neglect [online], Available: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/neglect/what-is-neglect/ [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    NSPCC. (2014) Physical abuse [online], Available: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/physical-abuse/what-is-physical-abuse/ [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    NSPCC. (2014) Preventing abuse [online], Available: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/ [Accessed 21st November 2014]

    NSPCC. (2014) Sexual abuse [online], Available: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/child-sexual-abuse/sexual-abuse-facts-statistics/?_t_id=1B2M2Y8AsgTpgAmY7PhCfg%3d%3d&_t_q=statistics&_t_tags=language%3aen%2csiteid%3a7f1b9313-bf5e-4415-abf6-aaf87298c667&_t_ip=86.144.52.97&_t_hit.id=Nspcc_Web_Models_Pages_TopicPage/_62dec983-67bd-477b-abe4-4b7343b682ad_en-GB&_t_hit.pos=8 [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    NSPCC. (2014) Sexual exploitation [online], Available: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/child-sexual-exploitation/child-sexual-exploitation-facts-and-statistics/ [Accessed 19th November 2014]

    UK Safer Internet Centre. (2014) Advice and resources [online], Available: http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-and-resources/parents-and-carers [Accessed 21st November 2014]

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