Safeguarding is a crucial responsibility shared by all professionals who work directly with children and young people. This comprehensive guide aims to cover some of the critical areas of safeguarding in schools for teachers, providing a detailed understanding of the responsibilities of teachers, governors, and the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). We will also delve into the importance of internet safety and the procedures that schools must implement to ensure the online safety of students.
You can also find our guide to safeguarding in schools for Teaching Assistants (TAs) here.
Under the new Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2023 guidelines, safeguarding encompasses not just protection from harm but also a broader responsibility for the welfare of children. This includes a specific focus on online safety, recognising the increased digital exposure of students and the new risks this presents. Thus, the definition of safeguarding should be expanded to include the safe and responsible use of digital platforms.
KCSIE 2023 emphasises the need for schools to have robust online safety protocols. This includes the implementation of effective filtering and monitoring systems to protect students from harmful or inappropriate content online. Schools are also encouraged to regularly review these systems to ensure they remain effective and responsive to evolving online threats.
With the updated KCSIE 2023 guidelines, teachers are now required to be trained in recognising and mitigating risks related to online safety. This extends to understanding the different ways children can be exploited or abused online and the importance of digital literacy in safeguarding students. Teachers should incorporate online safety into their curriculum and daily interactions with students.
School governors under KCSIE 2023 have a heightened responsibility to ensure that online safety policies are in place and effective. This includes overseeing the implementation of the school’s filtering and monitoring systems and ensuring that these measures are regularly reviewed and updated.
The DSL now has increased responsibilities under KCSIE 2023, particularly in the context of online safety. This includes overseeing the school's approach to online safety, ensuring that policies are up-to-date, and staff are trained in recognising and responding to online safeguarding issues. The DSL should also be aware of the specific risks associated with online abuse and ensure that these are addressed in the school's safeguarding strategy.
In line with KCSIE 2023, schools should have a comprehensive approach to internet safety. This involves educating students about the risks associated with online activities, such as cyberbullying, sexting, and exposure to extremist content. Schools should also engage parents in understanding online risks and collaborate to create a safer online environment for students.