As parents we expect, rightly, that our children will be safe at school. However, we often read new articles about teachers physically and emotionally abusing children in their care, incidences of sexual offenders of children moving from one school to another, and extreme cases of bullying.
Many schools have excellent polices and processes in place that provide a safe environment for their children. However, some schools could do more to ensure that those policies and processes are effective.
Following are five questions you can ask your children’s schools to give you an idea of whether they are doing enough to keep your children safe.
- Do they have comprehensive policies on child protection? Do they provide information for families about their policies?
- Do they provide clear guidelines for what to do if there are concerns about a child's safety or wellbeing?
- Do they have a specifically trained person who can deal with any allegations of abuse and provide support to children affected?
- Do they have rigorous recruitment and selection processes to ensure all adults involved with children are safe to be in that role?
- Do they have clear policies about dealing with bullying and complaints?
If you ask your school these questions and you are not satisfied with the answers, it is important that you do something about it.
A good starting point would be to contact the Board of Trustees and voice your concerns. Whilst the Principals, Associate Principals and Deputy Principals are the most visible ‘managers’ in the school, ultimately the responsibility for having safe policies, procedures and systems in place rests with the Board of Trustees.
Child Matters is a specialist in child protection and can provide advice, training and resources to schools in child protection, policy development and recruitment. If your school wants any support with these areas, it can contact Child Matters.
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