Teachers, alongside all professionals working with children must keep the wellbeing of all children at the forefront of their mind.
The Teachers’ Standards state that Teachers must, understand, and act on ‘the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions’ (DfE, 2011).
Spotting signs of abuse in children
One of the challenges we face is, how to spot signs of abuse in children. Being aware of the signs abuse, whether it be emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect, is key in Safeguarding. The NSPCC website offers information on signs of abuse and safeguarding, broken down in to age groups. Through reading this, it highlighted to me how some signs are easier to spot than others. For example, if a child ‘acts out excessive violence with other pupils’ (NPSCC, 2017), it immediately flags up that there could potentially be a safeguarding issue. However, children suffering from abuse can, instead of lashing out, become very withdrawn. This can be a more difficult sign to spot as, some children are just naturally shy.
The most important thing to remember is you’re worried at all, make someone aware. If you’re unsure who to talk too, all schools should have designated safeguarding leads. Their role is to ‘provide support to staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties’ (DfE, 2016). Something I took away from the lecture that I hadn’t considered, was the issue with telling a child that you won’t tell another adult. While it may be the case that doing this will build trust and give the child the ability to confide in you, it is against safeguarding regulations. If you are concerned, you must share your concerns with another professional. Therefore you should tell the child that you will do what is in their best interests.
‘BE ALERT, QUESTION THE BEHAVIOR, ASK FOR HELP, REFER.’
(HM Gov, 2015).
Staying Safe Online
In the classroom environment, it is easier to monitor what a child is sharing and, who they are talking too. However, in the modern world where ‘34% of 5 to 15 year olds have their own tablet’ and ‘62% of children use a tablet at home’ (Ofcom. 2014) there is a huge focus on online safety.
Be Share Aware – Safety advice from a 10 year old – NSPCC & O2
The video Be Share Aware draws our attention to how, children may not see the danger of sharing information online in the same way they see the danger of things like crossing the road. As Teachers, with a responsibility in safeguarding, it is important that we make children aware of these dangers. Discussing Issues like your ability to share your information through your phone and tablet is key in protecting children online. Even if the children in question are aware of Stranger Danger in their day to day life, they may not understand that this exact principle applies to their online activity in exactly the same way.
Lucy and the Boy: Be Share Aware – NSPCC
This also applies in the second NSPCC E-Safety Video, Lucy and the Boy. Here we see Lucy freely sharing information to someone online she believes to be her age. At the end of the video, we see an older man at the school gates helping children understand that people online may not be who they say they are. While we cannot monitor everything our pupils look at online outside of school, it is our job to make them aware of the dangers. Videos like this can be surprising but eye-opening for children who may not have before questioned that people online may be going under a different persona.
Department for Education (2011) Teacher Standards – Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies, Crown Copyright : 2011 DfE
Department for Education (2016) Keeping Children Safe in Education Crown Copyright : 2016 DfE
NSPCC (2017) Signs Symptons and Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect [online] Available https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/signs-symptoms-effects/ [Accessed 19th September 2017]
NSPCC (Janurary, 2015), Be Share Aware – Safety advice from a 10 year old [online], Available <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwcL-VP3FYc> [Accessed 20 September 2017]
NSPCC. O2, (May. 2017), Lucy and the Boy: Be Share aware [online], Available < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGIEKGJRWEo> [Accessed 20 September 2017)
Ofcom (2014) One in three children now have their own tablet computer [online]. Available < https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2014/media-lit-audit-oct2014 [Accessed 20 September 2017]