Schools play a crucial role in safeguarding children. As they’re in almost constant contact with children and young people throughout the majority of the year, they’re in the best position to identify any signs of maltreatment, abuse and neglect.
Children are often unlikely to talk to adults or reveal any notice of abuse, which can be for many different reasons. They can also feel unlikely to be believed even if they do speak out. Schools and associated bodies need to position themselves as reliable safe spaces where communication and respect are seen as core practices.
As the modern safeguarding policies are child-centric, practitioners can use the wants and needs of children to guide their own practices. As a school we aim to involve children in all aspects of school life. We decided to enhance our Safeguarding team with some of our wonderful pupils.
Here, at Wilfred Owen Primary School, 8 children completed a selection process and have been awarded the role of Safeguarding champions. We believe in offering children real-life scenarios that will prepare them for their future lives as young adults. They applied, were shortlisted, interviewed and secured the job on their own merit.
Research has shown that some children find it easier to speak initially to another child, rather than an adult about things that are worrying them. This could be about friendships, school work and other bigger worries. The Safeguarding Champions also support children to keep safe throughout the year, focusing on themed topics such as Bonfire Safety, Bullying, Online Safety to name but a few.
The successful candidates are a representation of the Year 3,4,5 and 6 cohort but their role has coverage across the whole school. The Safeguarding Champions are expected to uphold the highest expectations for behaviour and attitude as outlined in school policies.