Certainly when I was a Head Teacher, I spent a lot of time, along with my SLT, ensuring our safeguarding training for staff and volunteers was comprehensive. We had our annual KCSiE training and county-led safeguarding training for all; we had certain staff attend DSL training or safer recruitment training etc. We also had regular updates through a standing item on our staff meetings and through our weekly briefings throughout the year.
What did we do for governors?
I made sure they had completed the same KSCiE Part One training as staff, which I will explain a little further on, and always invited governors in to any safeguarding training in school, such as our county training, so that they could share at our FGB. Is this good enough? Not anymore!
Keeping Children in Education 2022 now explicitly explains says, “81. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that all governors and trustees receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection (including online) training at induction. This training should equip them with the knowledge to provide strategic challenge to test and assure themselves that the safeguarding policies and procedures in place in schools and colleges are effective and support the delivery of a robust whole school approach to safeguarding. Their training should be regularly updated.”
So, what does this look like?
As a current school governor, I was invited to meet with the Head Teacher recently to outline what safeguarding training should look like next academic year given the new requirements in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022.
It says, in KCSiE 2022, “It is essential that everybody working in a school or college understands their safeguarding responsibilities. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that those staff who work directly with children read at least Part One of this guidance.
“Governing bodies and proprietors, working with their senior leadership teams and especially their designated safeguarding lead, should ensure that those staff who do not work directly with children read either Part one or Annex A (a condensed version of Part one) of this guidance. This is entirely a matter for the school or college and will be based on their assessment of which guidance will be most effective for their staff to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.”
So, governors could just read Annex A. Personally, as a Head Teacher, I never wanted to be in a position where I had to try and justify why I had perhaps chosen a less thorough approach to safeguarding by providing governors with just Annex A so I always insisted all governors had completed the full Part One training. Fortunately, this is a view shared where I am currently a governor so all governors will complete Part One training in 2022.
What other sections of KCSiE should governors complete?
This all depends on their role. I think that all governors should complete Part Two of KCSiE 2022, “The management of safeguarding.” This sets out the responsibilities of governing bodies so this is essential in ensuring governors have the knowledge to “provide strategic challenge to test and assure themselves that the safeguarding policies and procedures in place in schools and colleges are effective” and also outlines what legislation schools must follow, what policies schools should have in place and what procedures schools should have.
I do not think that all governors need to complete the remaining sections but these can be selected to ensure complete coverage and dependant on their role.
- Part Three, “Safer recruitment” – I would perhaps choose the governor that reviews your SCR so that, during a monitor visit, might go through a recent recruitment process to ensure that it met the requirements in terms of safer recruitment.
- Part Four, “Safeguarding concerns and allegations made about staff, including supply teachers, volunteers and contractors” – I would give this section to any governors that would be involved in any type of disciplinary panel for staff or volunteers. This might be your Chair and Vice Chair but this will be dependant on your school.
- Part Five, “Child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment” – as there is a significant focus on this in the new document, I would ensure that at least your Safeguarding Governor had read this section so that they can offer appropriate challenge and support to the School Leadership Team in their approach and response to and child-on-child abuse reports.
- Annex C, “Role of the designated safeguarding lead” – I would ensure at least your Safeguarding Governor had read this section to ensure that they have an understanding on the role and requirements of the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Having all governors complete KCSiE 2022 Part One and Part Two and selected governors (dependant on role and responsibilities) complete other sections as appropriate, would, I believe, put you in a really strong position in terms of equipping your governors with the necessary knowledge to offer appropriate support and challenge to the School Leadership Team. I should add at this point, I would always invite governors to attend any in school training run by an external provider so that they can then ask appropriate questions about the schools’ implementation following this input.
I would have safeguarding as a standing item on your governor meeting agenda, which I am sure you do, where I would always share how many concerns had been reported by staff and the response we were taking as a school, e.g. we’ve seen an increase in cyber bullying so are now doing x, y and z. I would also use this opportunity just to spend a minute or two reminding governors of the various safeguarding acronyms, what they mean and what we are looking for in schools such as CCE, CSE, FGM etc.
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