This section seeks to provide information to senior leaders and governing bodies to support school monitoring and evaluation of safeguarding arrangements. The use of the safeguarding audit will enable school leaders and the governing body to monitor compliance with legislation and to identify any areas for improvement.
Safeguarding - The Current Context
The inspection of safeguarding remains a key area within the framework for school inspection. The impact of safeguarding arrangements is evidenced under the new framework judgement on behaviour and safety, and is a key factor in determining the judgement for leadership and management. Where safeguarding arrangements do not meet statutory requirements, or where they give cause for concern, leadership and management will be judged to be inadequate.
A number of high profile incidents have put safeguarding firmly in the spotlight in North Yorkshire. Where schools have encountered difficulties, or children's safety has been put at risk, this has often been associated with one or all of the following:
- a lack of clarity amongst stakeholders about safeguarding procedures
- complacency or lack of rigour in implementing safeguarding procedures
- failure to monitor safeguarding procedures
- the failure of senior leaders to establish suitably robust safeguarding procedures
Safeguarding - A Definition
The definition used in the Children Act 2004, and in Working together to safeguard children 2015 can be summarised as:
- protecting children from maltreatment
- preventing impairment of children's health or development
- ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
- Statutory guidance for schools and colleges, Keeping Children Safe in Education, DFE 2016
- Working together to safeguard children, DfE 2015.
'Keeping children safe in education', statutory guidance for schools and colleges, statutory guidance for schools and colleges, which replaces the 2014 guidance.
Additional guidance www.ofsted.gov.uk
- Ofsted Handbook for inspecting schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act
- Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills - guidance for inspectors
Safeguarding includes the establishment and implementation of procedures to protect children from deliberate harm. A school's child protection procedures, safer recruitment practices and the maintenance of a robust single central record remain key requirements.
However Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. Safeguarding action may be needed to protect children and learners from:
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- emotional abuse
- bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying
- racist, disability and homophobic or transphobic abuse
- gender-based violence/violence against women and girls
- radicalisation and/or extremist behaviour
- child sexual exploitation and trafficking
- the impact of new technologies on sexual behaviour, for example sexting and accessing pornography
- teenage relationship abuse
- peer on peer abuse
- substance misuse
- issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence
- domestic violence
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- fabricated or induced illness
- poor parenting
- other issues not listed here but that pose a risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults.
Safeguarding is not just about protecting children, learners and vulnerable adults from deliberate harm, neglect and failure to act. It relates to broader aspects of care and education, including:
- children's and learners' health and safety and well-being, including their mental health
- meeting the needs of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
- the use of reasonable force
- meeting the needs of children and learners with medical conditions
- providing first aid
- educational visits
- intimate care and emotional well-being
- online safety and associated issues
- appropriate arrangements to ensure children's and learners' security, taking into account the local context
The safeguarding audit sets out the responsibilities placed on schools and colleges to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Annual Safeguarding Report for the Governing Body
It is recommended that an annual safeguarding report is provided for the governing body on the school's safeguarding practice that enables the governing body to monitor compliance with the Education Act 2002 Section 175, and to identify areas for improvement. An Annual Report template can be found here:
Safeguarding audit for schools