Safeguarding in Schools

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Safeguarding in Schools

Schools and colleges have a legal duty and legal responsibility to safeguard the children enrolled in their institution. This is a very serious responsibility but one which, sadly, schools do not always live up to.

Where a child has been harmed or put at risk due to school safeguarding failures, parents should take action to ensure their child is kept safe from further harm, get the support their child needs for the future and prevent other children being affected in the same way.

Please note that we are only able to take on cases on a privately paying basis. If you are unable to privately fund your case or you are looking for general guidance on what actions you can take to protect you or your child’s education rights, you can speak to Citizens Advice.

Specialist School Safeguarding Solicitors

We only act on behalf of children, students and their parents. We do not act on behalf of or advise schools, colleges or universities on the issue of safeguarding children. Everyone in our education law team have decided to specialise in helping children and young people, so you can be assured of committed support. One of our solicitors, Celia, has a particular interest in child safeguarding, so do contact her direct on celia.whittuck@ibblaw.co.uk. Alternatively contact our senior legal administrator, Rachael, to make an appointment. Rachael can be contacted on 01895207230 or educationteam@ibblaw.co.uk.

Raising issues with a school can be daunting, so it helps to have expert advice and strong practical support. At IBB Law, our educational law solicitors, who work exclusively in the field of education law work, are experienced in working with parents, children and students to raise concerns about safeguarding in schools.

We can advise you on whether a school has likely failed in its safeguarding role, assist you with raising an issue with your child’s school, and support you every step of the way towards achieving a positive resolution.

How can we help with a school safeguarding issue?

We have helped many students and parents with school safeguarding concerns, including but not limited to matters such as:

  • Bullying
  • Peer-on-peer physical abuse by other children or students
  • Peer-on-peer sexual abuse by other children or students, whether penetrative or non penetrative sex
  • Failures by a school resulting in children and students suffering injury

Protecting children from bullying is part of a school’s safeguarding responsibility, especially where there is reason to believe a child is suffering or may suffer serious harm. This includes bullying in school, outside school or online.

If you believe your child’s school has not done enough to protect them from bullying, then our school safeguarding solicitors can advise you on your options and help you take action.

Violence and Sexual Assault in Schools

Sadly, students can sometimes suffer very serious abuse at the hands of other students, including violence and sexual assault. This can cause very significant harm, so schools and colleges have a responsibility as part of their safeguarding role to prevent such abuse and take appropriate action where there is reason to believe peer-on-peer abuse has occurred.

Where your child has suffered abuse from a fellow student or students and you believe their educational institution did not do enough to protect them, our experts can step in to help you raise your concerns. For expert help with a school safeguarding issue, please contact our senior legal administrator, Rachael, on 01895 207230, or educationteam@ibblaw.co.uk to make an appointment to have an initial fixed fee consultation.

Fixed Fee Initial Consultation

We offer a fixed fee consultation meeting of up to 2 hours, to hear your story and advise what action is available to, enable you to achieve your best outcome. Get in touch today.

If you wish to proceed, after the initial fee consultation, we then charge for our services on an hourly basis. We provide a fee estimate at the beginning of the case so you are clear from the start how much you may have to pay.

Looking for quick answers about safeguarding in schools? Take a look at our safeguarding in schools FAQs below.

For experienced education law specialist legal help around school safeguarding, please contact Rachael, senior legal administrator in our education law team on 01895 207230 or educationteam@ibblaw.co.uk.

Types of school safeguarding issues our education law experts can assist with

Protecting children from bullying is part of a school’s safeguarding responsibility, especially where there is reason to believe a child is suffering or may suffer serious harm. This includes bullying in school and outside school or online.

If you believe your child’s school has not done enough to protect them from bullying, then our school safeguarding solicitors can advise you on your options and help you take action.

Sadly, students can sometimes suffer vary serious abuse at the hands of other students, including violence and sexual assault. This can cause very significant harm, so schools and colleges have a responsibility as part of their safeguarding role to prevent such abuse and take appropriate action where there is reason to believe peer-on-peer abuse has occurred.

Where your child has suffered abuse from a fellow student or students and you believe their educational institution did not do enough to protect them, our experts can step in to help you raise your concerns.

Common questions about safeguarding in schools

Schools and colleges have a legal duty to safeguarding and promote the welfare of their students as set out in the government’s ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance.

Aspects of this duty include:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing any impairment of children’s health or development
  • Making sure children are growing up in circumstances that give them safe and effective care at home, in school and in the community
  • Enabling children to achieve the best outcomes for their lives

A school is more than just a place where children are educated – it is where they grow and develop into adults. Any harm to a child’s physical or emotional wellbeing can seriously affect them, both in the short term and in later life. Proper safeguarding in schools is, therefore, critical to ensure children are able to achieve the best possible outcomes for their lives.

Safeguarding and child protection in schools are closely linked but describe different parts of the process of looking after children’s wellbeing.

Safeguarding generally refers to the policies and practices a school has in place to protect and promote children’s safety and wellbeing. Child protection is part of safeguarding and refers to activity taken to protect specific children who are suffering significant harm or at risk of suffering such harm.

Schools and colleges are required to have appropriate processes in place across a number of areas in relation to safeguarding, including:

Staff recruitment – Staff must provide a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Check to show that there is no evidence that they are not safe to work with children. All new staff must provide a DBS check and most schools and colleges require staff to have a new DBS check every 3-5 years.

Staff safeguarding training – New staff must have safeguarding training and existing staff must regularly redo this training, usually every 3 years. If statutory guidance changes, all staff must have appropriate training to notify them of these changes and any new requirements.

School security – Schools and colleges must have proper security procedures and systems such as fencing and gates to stop unauthorised people entering school grounds, CCTV and child collection policies. Security measures must also be in place for school computer systems to prevent unauthorised access and any risk to confidential information held.

Student attendance monitoring – Students’ attendance must be monitored and appropriate action taken if a student misses an excessive amount of school time. Details of any ‘students missing from education’ must be communicated promptly to the relevant local authority.

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – Every school and college must have a Designated Safeguarding Lead responsible for ensuring safeguarding policies are followed. The role of a DSL includes:

  • Drawing up safeguarding policies
  • Enforcing safeguarding policies
  • Acting as the first point-of-call for staff with safeguarding concerns
  • Recognising any safeguarding issues that arise
  • Working with families to address potential safeguarding issues
  • Making appropriate referrals to social services

Teachers are required to have safeguarding training so they can spot potential safeguarding issues. They have a legal duty to report any such issues or safeguarding concerns they have to the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Teachers are on the frontline when it comes to safeguarding, so any errors or negligence on their part can have very serious consequences for children at risk of harm.

If you have a concern or complaint and safeguarding in your child’s school or college, you will need to follow the school’s complaints procedure.

In the first instance, you would normally need to raise your concerns with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). If you are unhappy with their response, you may need to refer the matter to the school’s governing body.

If you feel your concerns have not been appropriately addressed, you may need to refer the matter to Ofsted, which has ultimately responsibility for monitoring safeguarding in schools.

In some cases, there may also be the potential for a compensation claim against a school that has failed in its safeguarding roles. Our claims team has extensive experience in this area, having acting for a number of clients in claims related to safeguarding generally,  child abuse in schools and child abuse in boarding schools.

Types of school safeguarding issues our education law experts can assist with

  • Bullying
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Errors and failings leading to injury to children and students
  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Enabling children to have the best outcomes
  • Preventing the impairment of a child’s mental and physical wellbeing and their development
  • Non contact acts of sexual abuse, such as involving children looking at, or in the production of sexual images, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in a sexually inappropriate way
  • Emotional abuse, such as conveying to a child they are worthless or unloved
  • Grooming

Common questions about safeguarding in schools

What is safeguarding in schools?

Schools and colleges have a legal duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils and students as set out in the government’s ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance.

Aspects of this duty include:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing any impairment of children’s health or development
  • Making sure children are growing up in circumstances that give them safe and effective care at home, in school and in the community
  • Enabling children to achieve the best outcomes for their lives

Governing bodies and proprietors have a leadership responsibility for school and college’s safeguarding arrangements.  They must comply with their legal obligations and guidance.

What is the importance of safeguarding in schools?

A school is more than just a place where children are educated.  It is where they grow and develop into adults. Any harm to a child’s physical or emotional wellbeing can seriously affect them, both in the short term and in later life. Proper safeguarding in schools is, therefore, critical to ensure children are able to achieve the best possible outcomes for their lives.

What is the difference between safeguarding and child protection?

Safeguarding and child protection in schools are closely linked but describe different parts of the process of looking after children’s wellbeing.

Safeguarding generally refers to the policies and practices a school or college has in place to protect and promote children’s safety and wellbeing. Child protection is part of safeguarding and refers to activity taken to protect specific children who are suffering significant harm or at risk of suffering such harm.

What responsibilities do schools have for the safeguarding of children?

Schools and colleges play an important role in the issue of safeguarding children. Schools, colleges and others have responsibility to promote the welfare of and safeguard children, that is everyone under the age of 18 years of age. Schools should protect children from maltreatment, prevent the impairment of a child’s physical health, mental health or development, making sure that a child can grow up in circumstances which are consistent with providing safe and effective care, as well as taking steps to ensure all children have the best outcomes.

What safeguarding measures are schools required to have?

Schools and colleges are required to have appropriate processes in place across a number of areas, in relation to safeguarding, including:

Staff recruitment – Staff must provide a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) Check to show that there is no evidence that they are not safe to work with children. All new staff must provide a DBS check and most schools and colleges require staff to have a new DBS check every 3 years.

Staff safeguarding training – New staff must have safeguarding training and existing staff must regularly redo this training, usually every 3 years. If statutory guidance changes, all staff must have appropriate training to notify them of these changes and any new requirements.

School security – Schools and colleges must have proper security procedures and systems such as fencing , CCTV,  child collection policies and gates, to stop unauthorised people entering school grounds. Security measures must also be in place for school computer systems to prevent unauthorised access and any risk to confidential information held.

Student attendance monitoring – Students’ attendance must be monitored and appropriate action taken if a student misses an excessive amount of school time. Details of any students missing from education must be communicated promptly to the relevant local authority.

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – Every school and college must have a Designated Safeguarding Lead responsible for ensuring safeguarding policies are followed. The role of a DSL includes:

  • Drawing up safeguarding policies
  • Enforcing safeguarding policies
  • Acting as the first point-of-call for staff with safeguarding concerns
  • Recognising any safeguarding issues that arise
  • Working with families to address potential safeguarding issues
  • Making appropriate referrals to social services

What are teachers’ safeguarding responsibilities?

Teachers are required to have safeguarding training so they can spot potential safeguarding issues. They have a legal duty to report any such issues or safeguarding concerns they have to the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Teachers are on the frontline when it comes to safeguarding, so any errors, mistakes or failings on their part can have  serious consequences for children at risk of harm.

What can parents do if they have a concern about school safeguarding?

If you have a concern or complaint about safeguarding in your child’s school or college, you will need to follow the school’s complaints procedure.

In the first instance, you would normally need to raise your concerns with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). If you are unhappy with their response, you may need to refer the matter to the school’s governing body.

If you feel your concerns have not been appropriately addressed, you may need to refer the matter to Ofsted, which has ultimate responsibility for monitoring safeguarding in schools.

In some cases, there may also be the potential for a compensation claim against a school that has failed in its safeguarding roles. Our team has extensive experience in this area, having acted for children abused in a school environment over many years.

Our school safeguarding legal advice fees

We offer an initial fixed fee video consultation with a member of our specialist education law solicitors. We will listen to your story and learn about what has happened to your child. We will advise you how we can help with the safeguarding concerns, what we can do and, most importantly, the steps required to help your daughter or son.

Should you wish to proceed, after the initial fixed fee consultation, we will provide a cost estimate for dealing with your matter, to bring about the result you seek for your child. The work we do for you will be agreed in advance, as well as the cost, giving you certainty, comfort and transparency over the costs involved.

The exact cost of our services will depend on the nature of your problem, including the amount of time and level of expertise needed to support you effectively. We will be happy to discuss this with you at the end of the initial fixed fee consultation.

For more information on our education law pricing, please get in touch to speak to one of our school safeguarding solicitors.

Get clear legal advice and support for school safeguarding concerns

The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

For experienced specialist legal help with a concern around school safeguarding, please contact our senior administrator, Rachael, in the education law team on 01895 207230 or educationteam@ibblaw.co.uk.