What I do
I used to be a headteacher and now I help schools do all they can to keep children safe from harm. Whether that's helping teachers identify risk for young people, supporting senior leaders to audit their safeguarding systems or working with governors and trustees to ensure they are not just compliant, but developing outstanding safeguarding practice.
The statutory guidance 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' defines safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development;
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Safeguarding is what we do for all children; child protection is the procedures we follow when children are at risk of serious harm, or have been seriously harmed.
Safeguarding is proactive, it is everything we do ensure that children aren't harmed. Child Protection is reactive as we respond to a child's risk or actual harm.
How I got here
I began teaching in the mid-eighties, and things are very different now. Not only the risks and challenges for young people now, but in the way we respond. I've worked mostly with vulnerable young people as a headteacher and teacher in schools, a psychiatric hospital and special settings. What I saw and heard throughout those, sometimes, very challenging situations now informs my practice. And I endeavour to share it with you.
I can help by leading safeguarding CPD sessions with DSLs, whole school teams and governors, online and in person. I am the author of the 'Safeguarding Handbook', and I send out a free Safeguarding Briefing every week in term-time.
Safeguarding.Pro is my members-only website dedicated to supporting Designated Safeguarding Leads carry out their sometimes tough task with all the tools they need. I create resources so that DSLs spend their time working with pupils, or dare I say it, putting their feet up for five minutes!
Why I do it
Early in my career a new boy started in my class. He was nine. Danny* has lost his father suddenly in traumatic circumstances. I didn't know what to do. I understand now that his behaviour was totally expected, but to my new probationer eyes, I'd never seen anything like it. I enrolled in courses, read books and talked to more experienced people. As I learnt more, I supported him better and gradually things improved.
I think we all come into teaching to make a difference and I felt I had started to do just that. I learnt more. I helped more students.
School leadership helped me help teachers to help more children.
Today, I carry that legacy on. Unbelievably still at it more than 30 years later.
(*Danny of course isn't his/her real name, but thanks Danny on behalf of all your peers you indirectly helped by inspiring me to respond.)
Get in touch!
I'm sorry to say that I'm unable to help with individual cases, or to make child protection referrals.