What does the Safeguarding Governor do?

The Education Act 2002 places a duty on schools to have arrangements in place to ensure that they to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children; and follow statutory guidance. Governing Bodies must have someone who understands the requirements of the safeguarding guidance and legislation.

The safeguarding duty on the boards of maintained schools and academy trusts includes having arrangements in place to ensure that they:

  • carry out their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children; and
  • have regard to the statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State in considering what arrangements they need to make (Governance Handbook (DfE 2017))

The role of the safeguarding governor is key to understanding the effectiveness of safeguarding for everyone in the school. The safeguarding governor should understand the requirements of safeguarding guidance and legislation, and are ‘confident in their challenge to executive leaders on strategies for monitoring and improving the behaviour and safety of pupils.’ (Competency Framework for Governance (DfE 2017)). The safeguarding governor needs to understand the requirements set out in the Governance Handbook, and in Keeping Children Safe in Education.

Key aspects of the safeguarding governor’s role include:

  • Understand the safeguarding requirements
  • Support the work of the Designated Safeguarding Lead
  • Report back to the Governing Body about how effective safeguarding is
  • Check that the school is compliant with statutory guidance
  • Check out whether there is a consistency in safeguarding across the whole school
  • Make sure that there are effective systems in place to keep vulnerable children safe

The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is the senior school leader responsible for the effectiveness of safeguarding on a day-to-day basis. The DSL might do much of the child protection work by themselves, or may have a few people to help. In large schools or those with many complex children, there may be a safeguarding team.

For safeguarding to be most effective, it is important the the safeguarding governor and the DSL work together to ensure that the strategic and the day-to-day work well. The DSL and governor should meet together on a regular basis to discuss safeguarding issues.

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