Safeguarding in schools
Safeguarding children is a vital part of the work of schools in all sectors, maintained and independent. It is also a key element of Ofsted inspections.
All schools are in a strong position to support children through early intervention and to recognise when a child or young person may need protection from abuse or neglect and to refer to the Children and Families Hub (formerly known as the MASH). See What to do if you are worried about a child.
Duties and responsibilities
The role of schools in safeguarding children is set out clearly in HM Government guidance:
- Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
- Keeping children safe in education: for schools and colleges 2023
The government expects that all schools will ensure that all staff are given a copy of the statutory guidance The MSCP recommends that this is also issued by schools to all Governors.
Each school must have a designated safeguarding lead to support the school and staff in safeguarding awareness and procedures. Schools should also have safeguarding policies.
We have adopted the following multi-agency procedures:
Schools and other statutory agencies have a statutory duty to report cases where they have reason to believe that Female Genital Mutilation has occurred.
Schools are also in a strong position to identify children who may be privately fostered; that is, children who are not living with their parents or very close relatives.
Schools should also be aware of the specific procedures for dealing with investigating allegations against staff and volunteers
Schools and the Merton Safeguarding Children Partnership
Schools are represented on the MSCP by Head Teachers from the primary, secondary and special school sectors as well a representation from the independent and further education sector; this important representation enables the Partnership to take into account schools’ perspectives when agreeing local priorities, strategies, policies and procedures; and when identifying training needs to develop the MSCP multi-agency training strategy and annual training plan.
Schools can contribute to the work of the MSCP through supporting the participation by and consultation with young people for the MSCP.
The MSCP also expects schools to assist in the duty to learn and improve by taking part in multi-agency case auditing or case reviews when a family case is identified for audit and a child attends a local school. These multi-agency audits and case reviews are led by the Quality Assurance Sub Group
In supporting schools Merton Council has produced a safeguarding audit tool, endorsed by the Merton Safeguarding Children Partnership, to enable all types of schools to assess their safeguarding capacity.
The MSCP reviews the outcome of these audits annually and will comment on them in the MSCP Annual Report.