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Safeguarding and Child Protection as a TA

Megan Adams
21 Sep 2023
5 min read
Safeguarding and Child Protection as a  TA

Safeguarding and child protection are critically important in educational settings as they ensure that students have a safe, secure, and supportive environment in which they can learn and develop, protecting them from potential risks to their well-being. Teaching assistants play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of students by providing valuable support to teachers, actively observing and addressing any potential concerns, and fostering an inclusive and nurturing learning environment.

If you are a teaching assistant with a curiosity about your role in promoting child well-being or if you simply want to refresh your knowledge of safeguarding, then this blog serves as an ideal resource for you!

Understanding Safeguarding Protection

Diving Deeper into Key Concepts Safeguarding and child protection are closely related concepts that focus on ensuring the safety, well-being, and rights of children in the educational setting. Although they share common goals, they have distinct meanings:

  • Safeguarding refers to the proactive measures and strategies to protect young people from harm, ensuring their safety, well-being and overall development.

  • Child protection focuses on identifying and responding to cases where children are at risk of significant harm or experiencing harm, with the aim of ensuring their immediate safety. But how are they implemented into the wider-school practice?

Legal Frameworks

The legal frameworks governing safeguarding in the UK are a comprehensive set of guidelines designed to protect the well-being of children. Key elements of this include:

These frameworks collectively establish the responsibilities of various organisations in promoting the welfare of children. It is the responsibility of the school to maintain safeguarding and child protection to fulfil their legal obligations.

Your Role as the Associate! Your primary responsibility as an assistant is to support teachers in creating a positive and effective learning environment for students. This includes assisting with classroom management, 1-1 or small group instruction, administrative work and adapting materials, and offering support to students.

These responsibilities are intertwined with safeguarding and child protection as they actively contribute to identifying concerns, reporting issues, and providing support to ensure the safety of students.

How do we recognise these signs? Recognising Signs of Abuse and Neglect Teaching assistant’s can recognise signs of abuse and neglect in students through careful observation and awareness. Here are the four areas to explore:

Physical abuse:

  • Unexplained or inconsistent injuries (bruises, burns, or fractures)

Emotional Abuse:

  • Low self-esteem, withdrawal, or excessive fear
  • Destructive behaviour

Sexual Abuse:

  • Inappropriate level of sexual knowledge
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour


  • Poor hygiene
  • Malnutrition
  • Inadequate clothing

There are numerous signs to be aware of and it's important as the assistant to maintain a supportive and open relationship with students. It is crucial to approach these situations with sensitivity and confidentiality, to ensure the student receives appropriate help and support. If you suspect any form of abuse and neglect and are unsure what to do, keep reading!

Responding to Concerns

If you have concerns about a student’s safety or well-being, you should take these immediate and appropriate steps:

  1. Ensure the Child’s Immediate Safety: If the concern is about immediate risk, you should take swift action to remove the child from harm's way

  2. Document Concerns: You should carefully document a child's observations word for word, noting specific details such as dates, times, locations, descriptions of behaviours or injuries, and any statements from the student. These documentations can be crucial for later investigations. Don't make promises to keep anything a secret, and don't ask any leading questions.

  3. Follow School Policies: It is important you familiarise yourself with the school’s safeguarding policies and procedures. Adhering to these guidelines and reporting processes is crucial in maintaining consistency, and also in protecting the student’s rights.

  4. Report Your Concerns: You should report concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or the appropriate authority within the school who is responsible for coordinating safeguarding efforts. Effective communication is key, and you should make it your practice to feedback concerns to the classroom teacher.

  5. Cooperate with investigations: You might find yourself in a position to provide further information as part of the investigation. It is fundamental to co-operate with any inquiries from the school or external agencies.

  6. Attend training and development: Professional development in safeguarding is essential for associates to stay informed about the best practices to keep students safe.

Safeguarding relies on the active involvement of teaching assistants in creating a safe learning environment. You must identify the potential risks outlined and act promptly in accordance with the established policies and guidelines in your school. Your actions can make a significant difference in protecting the student from harm and ensuring they receive the necessary support and intervention!

Good luck in your career and stay safe!

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