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.
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.
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:
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)