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Creating the Right Safeguarding Culture


Kelly Ofasi

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This blog post was originally published on The Safeguarding Company website >> https://www.thesafeguardingcompany.com/resources/blog/creating-the-right-safeguarding-culture/

CREATING THE RIGHT SAFEGUARDING CULTURE

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022, the term ‘Creating the Right Safeguarding Culture’ is peppered throughout the guidance. Our Content Manager Georgia Latief sat down with Luke Ramsden, deputy Head at St Benedict’s Independent school, to discuss this in a new episode of The Safeguarding Podcast. This blog is a summary of that discussion.

Read the full Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance

Listen to the full Podcast Episode  

WHAT DOES ‘CREATING THE RIGHT SAFEGUARDING CULTURE’ MEAN?  

Luke believes that a good safeguarding culture includes two things:  

1. Becoming unconsciously competent

  •          Without thinking about it you can do the right thing in safeguarding 

2. Focusing on proactive safeguarding 

  •           In which people have professional curiosity and know what to look for as a vital stage of early intervention  

But how do you create this culture? 

KEEP IT SIMPLE 

There is so much temptation to focus on high-level details such as categories and thresholds and precisely what to do in each different safeguarding scenario. While this does have its place, it is important that all staff understand four things when it comes to safeguarding:  

  1. Safeguarding is the responsibility of every staff member within the organisation  
  2. Every staff member needs to be actively vigilant 
  3. All staff need to report anything they see or any concerns to the right person   
  4. All staff need to understand how to handle an active disclosure  

If all members of staff within the organisation, not just teaching staff, understand these four elements they will have a good understanding of safeguarding.  

SHARED RESPONSIBILITY OF SAFEGUARDING  

While training is vital, it is just the starting point when it comes to safeguarding. Creating the right culture of safeguarding in your establishment involves what each staff member is doing day to day to protect the children and young people in their care. There should be the idea of a team in which every individual works together to create the right safeguarding culture. 

Luke also stresses the importance of the senior leadership team in recognising the staff who are following the safeguarding procedures in the organisation, showing them that you appreciate them taking their safeguarding responsibility so seriously.  

LEADERSHIP TEAMS 

The senior leadership team should ensure that all members of staff understand what to do when faced with the safeguarding concern or disclosure and make sure the safeguarding team understand their roles and responsibilities.  

Ideally, you want all staff to be so comfortable with the organisation's safeguarding policies and procedures that they themselves respond as the safeguarding lead would have. This includes knowing what the right thing to do at the moment is and who to get involved in the management of the concern.  

The key is repetition, excellence is not an act but a habit. This goes back to the idea of creating a proactive safeguarding culture in which staff are looking for opportunities for early intervention before things reach a crisis point, moving away from reactive safeguarding and into the more strategic territory. 

Another way to train staff is to empower them with knowledge about current safeguarding issues; mental health first aid training, information on Nero-diversity and approaching organisations to help with Relationships Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education curriculum, can help staff understand current safeguarding issues and concerns.  

WHAT IS INCLUSIVE SAFEGUARDING?  

The 2022 Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance has extensive quotes from the following acts:  

  • The Human Rights Act 1998 
  • The Equality Act 2010 
  • The Public Sector Equality Duty 2011

It is vital for schools and staff to be aware of potential barriers that may exist for students depending on their sex, race, disability, religion, belief, sexual preference, gender reassignment or pregnancy. Staff need to do their best to overcome these barriers and give all students a safe space to speak out and share any concerns they have.  

Part of the safeguarding culture should include educating staff and students alike on equality as well as having a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination of any kind.  

WHAT IS THE BEST PRACTICE IN INFORMATION SHARING? 

A good safeguarding system is vital for sharing information, ensuring everyone is up to date and lessening the safeguarding team's workload. As the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance continues to update each year, there is always more added to the responsibility of the DSL/safeguarding lead.  

If the safeguarding culture that has been established uses a team structure of several staff members working together and collaborating not only, will it reduce the workload on the safeguarding lead, but it will also help prevent burnout, stress and improve the mental health and wellbeing of the safeguarders.

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