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

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Primary education: listening and observing

5 Child protection and safeguarding

People who work and volunteer in schools have a legal duty of care to protect children. Every school will have a clear policy on child protection and safeguarding, and will make this available to visitors. Think of ‘safeguarding’ as the overall concept or plan to keep children safe and cared-for, and think of ‘child protection’ as the specific steps or actions within the overall plan. Schools will also have explicit processes for reporting any concerns about children, and a named person, usually a senior member of staff, who is responsible for safeguarding.

You met headteacher Mark Millinson in Activity 1. He says that any person who wants to work or volunteer in a school will need to have a formal check on their identity and their background. This is appropriate, because primary school staff have close contact with children.

Watch the following video in which Mark talks about the importance of safeguarding.

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Transcript: Video 2

It's very, very important that our children in school are safeguarded. And so a volunteer coming to school to say, please, may I come in. Well, we need assurance that that person is the right person to be in contact with our children. We wouldn't open the front door and say, do come in, all of you. Come and work with our children, because there are evident safeguarding concerns there. So as it stands at the moment, a check is required-- an identity check. And through the questions that are asked such as proving who you are via your passport or your driving licence and your date of birth and where you've lived, the authorities can actually check against your name that there are no criminal convictions that would prevent you, most reasonably, from working with children. That does not mean to say that somebody with a criminal conviction cannot, but there are obviously some misdemeanours, shall we say, or crimes, even, that would prevent you from working alongside a child. And so as your interest in becoming a volunteer, the school would actually ask you to come in to take that, to give those pieces of information so it can be forwarded via a website. And then the school gets information that actually, absolutely everything is fine. Do invite them in. So please don't let that deter you, but I'm sure everybody's in a position to understand why it is so necessary.
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How is safeguarding defined, and what does it cover in a primary school? Find out in the next section.


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