Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

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5.2 Safeguarding and school life

Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. It relates to all aspects of school life including:

  • children’s health and safety
  • the use of reasonable force (for example, what is appropriate and safe to contain a child who is exhibiting violent behaviour)
  • meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions
  • providing first aid
  • educational visits (out of school, for example when children go to a museum; and in school, for example, when professional musicians give workshops or perform)
  • intimate care (such as changing a child’s clothes after an accident, or helping children dress for PE)
  • Internet safety/e-safety
  • appropriate arrangements to ensure school security, taking into account the local context.

Activity 4 Safeguarding issues

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

What kinds of issues in schools do you think safeguarding covers? Think for a moment and jot down your ideas.

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Safeguarding can involve a range of potential issues such as:

  • bullying, including cyberbullying (by text message or on social networking sites) and prejudice-based bullying
  • racist, homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • disabilities
  • radicalisation and extremist behaviour
  • child sexual exploitation
  • sexting
  • substance misuse
  • issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence
  • particular issues affecting children including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

If you volunteer or work in a primary school, you must be aware of safeguarding procedures and know who to report to if you have a concern. Furthermore, the school has a legal requirement to vet you, to make sure you are safe to be in the school with children. The next section reviews these vetting procedures.

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