The Power of Proactive Safeguarding: Empowering Schools for a Secure Future

May 30, 2023

In a recent thought-provoking fireside chat at the FOBISIA Safeguarding Conference, Peter Lynch, Assistant Headteacher of Safeguarding, Pupil Safety and Operations at Harrow School Beijing, engaged in an insightful conversation with Clipboard on the paramount importance of proactive safeguarding in schools. The discussion shed light on the risks associated with reactive approaches, the role of data management, and the future of safeguarding. Let's delve into the key takeaways and explore practical ways to implement proactive safeguarding measures.

  1. Risks of Reactive Safeguarding:

Reacting to safeguarding incidents after they occur poses numerous risks. Firstly, it compromises student health and wellbeing, as immediate intervention is crucial to ensure their safety. Secondly, a reactive approach can damage a school's reputation, as incidents may become public knowledge before the school can respond adequately. Moreover, without a systematic incident reporting and follow-up system, critical information may not be captured, leaving gaps in safeguarding efforts. This lack of data can not only hinder effective prevention strategies but also expose schools to potential litigation.

  1. Third-Party Providers and Data Management:

With the involvement of third-party providers, such as external activity coordinators, it becomes essential to ensure they align with the school's duty of care. Confirming the accuracy of data and verifying the safety measures implemented by these providers are crucial steps in proactive safeguarding. Furthermore, maintaining a comprehensive paper trail allows for proper documentation, follow-up, and check-ins to ensure all safeguarding concerns are addressed.

  1. Single Software Solution for Enhanced Accountability:

Managing multiple software systems can be time-consuming and challenging, especially for designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) or extracurricular coordinators (ECCs) who are responsible for proactively engaging with data. Streamlining safeguarding efforts through a unified software solution, like the MyConcern flagging system used at Harrow School Beijing, or Clipboard for an overall extracurricular management system, enables efficient identification of students' needs and facilitates proactive questioning. By having a reliable alert system in place, schools can take immediate action and minimise the potential risks associated with safeguarding incidents.

  1. Practical Implementation:

To implement proactive safeguarding effectively, it is crucial to ensure that vulnerable individuals are known to the DSLs and ECCs. Educating staff about potential safeguarding issues and providing the necessary training equips them to contribute to a safe school environment. Empowering multiple individuals with the knowledge and skills required to address safeguarding concerns ensures a shared responsibility among staff members. This approach is particularly vital for smaller schools where a single DSL or ECC may have limited capacity.

  1. Future of Safeguarding:

The future of safeguarding lies in creating a culture where every school has a proactive plan in place. It requires decentralising the responsibility by empowering all leaders and suitable staff members to champion safeguarding efforts within their respective areas. Collaboration, effective communication, and comprehensive systems that connect all components of safeguarding are the keys to success. By fostering a collective sense of accountability and ensuring that all eyes see the same information, schools can better protect themselves and their students.

In conclusion, by adopting proactive measures, schools can safeguard student health and wellbeing, protect their reputation, ensure adequate response and follow-up mechanisms, and effectively manage data. Implementing a unified software solution streamlines safeguarding efforts enhances accountability, and facilitates timely intervention. Looking ahead, the future of safeguarding requires empowering all stakeholders and creating a culture where proactive measures are ingrained in every aspect of a school's operations. Let us strive together to create safe, nurturing, and proactive school environments where every student thrives.

So, why wait? Connect with us to unlock the full potential of your school.

Lara Varrica
Marketing Manager

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