No school wants to be faced with accusations of systemic failures made by management and leadership around safeguarding.
Ellis Whittam supports more than 400 schools and education providers with their Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety challenges, so we know exactly what schools should do in order to keep on top of their safeguarding duties.
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Here are our top 10 tips:
1 Make sure your school has clear and robust policies and procedures in place, including a child protection policy and a code of conduct.
2 All staff should be familiar with the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and how they can support them in their safeguarding issues.
3 Employees should receive frequent training and regular updates on this subject.
4 It is important that everyone shares the burden of the responsibilities – all staff must be aware that the safeguarding of children’s well-being is extremely important and is part of their professional duties.
5 Any allegations that may indicate that a member of staff poses a risk of harm to a child if they continue to work in a regular or close contact with children must be taken seriously and dealt with without any unnecessary delay.
6 If a concern about safeguarding has been raised, it is important you do not conduct an investigation before informing LADO because this may prejudice any subsequent investigations.
7 While an investigation is being carried, every effort must be made to maintain confidentiality against the accused employee. This extends to parents or carers, who should be kept informed of the progress of the case.
8 It may be appropriate to consider suspending the employee until the allegations have been fully investigated. However, great caution needs to be taken here – you should not suspend an employee as a knee-jerk reaction, but after thorough consideration and thought and after an initial investigation has taken place. It is recommended that you take legal advice before taking any action.
9 It is important not to forget that employers have a duty of care to their employees. The accused employee will need to be offered support, for example, you can suggest they seek advice from their trade union or any counselling support service.
10 If it has been found that someone has harmed or poses a risk to a child, you will need to inform the Disclosure and Barring Service.
We always recommend that you take advice from a professional with issues of safeguarding.