All teachers want to protect their students.
Keeping them safe isn’t as simple as closing the school gates between 9am and 3pm. There’s a lot more to it.
It’s hard to digest the vast amounts of information on safeguarding, though. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the five things teachers can do to be better at safeguarding.
1) Understanding the difference between safeguarding and child protection.
Child protection is what you do in response to child abuse or neglect. Safeguarding is the process by which we prevent child abuse and neglect.
Understanding the difference is important because safeguarding goes beyond child protection. Rather than acting on abuse that has already occurred it protects children from maltreatment and promotes safety.
So you aren’t just waiting for a child to declare abuse, but instead you’re actively looking to prevent it.
2) Understanding which children are at the highest risk
This follows on from the previous point. In order to prevent abuse or neglect you need to be aware of those at the highest risk of becoming victims of abuse.
Children of poor economic backgrounds, of colour and with disabilities are of higher risk statistically, whether that abuse is from other students bullying them, or at home.
Children who isolate themselves are thought to be a cause for concern, too. It could that they isolate themselves because they are upset about bullying or issues at home.
It’s important to keep an eye on these children as isolation could lead to further exclusion and harm to the child’s wellbeing.
3) Looking out for little things
It might not be blatantly obvious that a child is suffering.
Things like constant absences, poor educational progress, bad hygiene and tiredness are indicators of a safeguarding concern.
It might be the case that these children aren’t being abused currently, but these are signs of neglect and possible future abuse.
4) Abuse is not just physical
A bruise might be from physical abuse, or it might be an accident from playing football. Of course you should be alarmed if a child looks hurt, but this isn’t the only thing you should be concerned by.
You need to be focusing on more.
In this day and age social media has a big place in the harming of children. Things exist now that many teachers never had to worry about as children themselves, such as internet grooming and cyber bullying.
Incorporating internet safety into your classes can help prevent their pupils from becoming a victim of this. If a pupil seems upset by the subject matter it could be also an indicator that something’s not right.
5) Understanding the four types of abuse
There is more to abuse than physical abuse, as just mentioned.
There are four common areas of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.
You can prepare lessons based on your understanding of the variations in abuse and possibly prevent a child from accepting this if it’s about to happen by someone they trust.