‘Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’

As a former police officer with more than 35 years of high-level safeguarding experience, director of safeguarding services at MyConcern Mike Glanville explains how schools can leverage technology to reduce pressures on safeguarding leads

No matter what your role is in school, there’s one mantra to always keep in mind: safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding is one of the most fundamental responsibilities schools have. Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs, or Designated Senior Persons/DSPs in Wales) are under significant pressure to ensure schools are not just meeting their statutory responsibilities, but more importantly keeping the children in their care safe from harm.

The crucial role of the safeguarding lead

Statutory guidance in both England and Wales stress the importance of the role of the safeguarding lead.

Safeguarding isn’t just about policies and procedures – it’s about creating a culture of vigilance in which everyone involved feels empowered to flag a concern. Technology helps to remove potential barriers to reporting concerns by making it a more efficient process compared to paper-based systems. It also ensures that issues needing early intervention are more likely to be identified at an earlier stage as the safeguarding lead is in a much better position to see the big picture.

Gone are the days of spending hours and hours each week filling out paper forms and spreadsheets, and triangulating areas of concern between different members of staff. Technological innovations have completely revolutionised the management and effectiveness of safeguarding in recent years – not only saving significant time and money, but also making it easier to track concerns around a child and identify crucial actions and interventions that can make all the difference.

Safeguarding solutions

A comprehensive technology system helps to keep pupils at the heart of the process. It makes it easier to triage concerns and gives senior leaders and DSLs better visibility of issues by allowing them to track the pupil’s full history to aid decision-making.

Technology keeps DSLs ahead of the curve. Online safety is a major and growing concern for both parents and schools. Having anything and everything available at a child’s fingertips brings a world of knowledge to the fore, but also a world of risk and exposure to images, topics and indeed actual people that children and young people aren’t yet equipped to handle.

The power of edtech

The ability to track concerns securely, instantly, and comprehensively with technology at your fingertips, means lives can be changed and saved because safeguarding leads are able to spot patterns and trends more easily.

Always trust your judgement – if it doesn’t feel right, flag it. If no change for the better is occurring for the child, escalate it. We should be taking advantage of every innovation possible to make a difference for the children who need it most, and at the same time, be as efficient as we can possibly be.

You might also like: DfE issues guidance on safeguarding students while working from home


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