We #StandWithUkraine, find out how to help here.
Last updated: 20.02.20

Teachers & Safeguarding: Your roles and responsibilities

Safeguarding children comes into play at practically all points of a kid’s life, with a large amount of their time spent as students at school with various members of teaching staff. Whilst children go to school to learn about interesting subjects and useful skills, schooltime is a critical time for teachers to provide safeguarding for their students and raise any concerns through procedures implemented by their school. The role of the modern teacher goes beyond just classroom learning, so we’ve taken a look at the responsibilities that teachers have in relation to safeguarding their students.

Safeguarding training

Child protection training is a statutory requirement for any and all staff members working with children in order to provide proper care to vulnerable students and be able to implement safe working practices in schools, youth groups and other similar settings.

The Department of Education states that “Everybody who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding children”, with teachers being amongst those who have the most time with children and could potentially see changes in behaviour or signs of abuse.

This places them at a critical juncture for all students and makes proper safeguarding training essential to allow teachers to carry out the additional responsibilities within their safeguarding role effectively.

Safe environments

Within the Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance which came into force in September 2018, the Department of Education outlined that schools should create safe environments for children and young people through vetting of staff to ensure no adults pose a risk to students, teaching them about staying safe both in school and online, and maintaining an approachable front so that students feel confident in bringing any worries or problems they may have to staff.

It is the responsibility of the school as a whole to create these environments and have a proactive approach in making sure students feel safe. Online safeguarding training from Virtual College covers measures which can be put in place to help teachers appear as approachable as possible and other techniques which can be useful for staff working with children.

Part of creating a safe environment for students can include the digital environment which students are becoming a bigger part of, which schools will need to monitor in some form to ensure the safety of young people. This will need to be an internal discussion the school has to decide on the specific line your staff take on this.

Raising concerns

As part of the safeguarding training for teaching staff, there will be key information around recognising signs of abuse and neglect in children and young people. This can include becoming withdrawn, unexplained changes in behaviour, aggression and more, all of which can be key indicators that a child is experiencing abuse or neglect in some form.

Whilst it is possible that these behaviours aren’t due to some form of abuse, they should be followed up on with the affected young person to figure out the cause. If you do have concerns then you will need to raise them through the proper channels which your school or institution has established as soon as possible, which may involve discussing the indicators of abuse or conversations with students with a headteacher or external agencies.

If you’re interested in undertaking safeguarding training for education settings, then Virtual College can provide an online safeguarding course which fulfils your legal obligation for staff training. Our course has been created in collaboration with leading safeguarding experts who have over 100 years of joint experience operating in the education sector to ensure our training is as comprehensive as possible. You can also check out our useful and informative downloadable resources, including this infographic on the signs of child abuse and a video on the 6 principles of safeguarding.