Engendering an excitement and confidence for learning in order to secure the best outcomes for all our young people drives our core purpose. However, that core purpose would flounder without systems to ensure that our students feel safe, generally enjoy a sense of wellbeing and understand how to seek help when they experience difficulties. It is for this reason that safeguarding sits at the heart of all that we do. Clearly, any young person whose wellbeing is compromised in some way or who is experiencing a period of distress, will not be able to fully engage in and enjoy the rich opportunities on offer here. It is, therefore, of paramount importance to us that we make provision to support our young people and their families, to the very best of our ability.
The Safeguarding Safety Net
All staff in the school, both teaching and non-teaching, are required, by law, to undertake safeguarding training regularly and we are vigilant in providing that training and rigorous in checking that all colleagues’ knowledge and understanding remains current. Key members of staff, including the Heads of House access higher levels of Safeguarding training in order to ensure that more complex issues can always be addressed with confidence.
We have a Safeguarding team made up of teaching and non-teaching staff, headed up by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, who is a member of the Senior Leadership team. This team is the key point of contact when a young person is believed to be at risk of harm.
The Pastoral team (from Form Tutors to Heads of House) and Pastoral HUB play a major role in supporting young people to feel and stay safe.
We have a busy and highly supportive student welfare team who are based in the medical room. They work with students across the school for a myriad of reasons and are also part of the safeguarding team.
The Inclusion and Equality Department’s fundamental remit is to support individual and more vulnerable young people; they are critical in providing bespoke packages of support for our students and while this is principally focused on ‘learning’ they also nurture emotional wellbeing.
We have two on-site ‘Mentors’ who are part of the school’s Emotional Learning Support provision. They provide individual and ongoing support to students (and parents) dealing with a wide range of personal challenges that they may be experiencing.
Beyond our on-site mentoring provision, we have a number of external providers who will come into school to meet with individual students as the need arises.
The school also employs the services of a Parent Support Advisor who will work with parents and young people at home to try to help with issues that may have arisen. The teenage years can be difficult for young people to navigate sometimes and it can be equally difficult for parents. The Parent Support Advisor is often able to help parents and children to find a mutually supportive way forward.
Email links for these teams can be found here.
Empowering Young People to Stay Safe
Part of the school’s remit by law is to try to equip young people with information that will help them to keep themselves safe. The Personal Social and Health curriculum is one vehicle we use to deliver information that will enable students to adopt safe practices; the ICT department delivers lessons relating to online safety and other curricular areas deliver modules relating to personal health and wellbeing.
Assemblies and the Tutor time programme are used to address specific issues as they arise and, indeed, to promote positive behaviour at all times both in terms of caring for ourselves and also ‘looking out’ for one another. The aim is for students to feel confident to seek help for themselves but also for other people, should the need arise. We run day events, working in partnership with other organisations who deliver workshops, with a focus on health (mental and physical), staying safe and wellbeing.
Student Voice is also very important to the agenda of safeguarding and wellbeing. Through the mechanisms of speak–outs; an extensive student leadership structure and an open door policy, students are able to alert us to difficulties that may be occurring within the student body, whether that be relating to in-school issues or within the community.
Problem Solving and Children’s Services and Child Protection
The school always endeavours to work in partnership with parents and students to solve problems that are being experienced. Occasionally it becomes apparent that a young person is in serious and/or complex difficulties and we need to broker additional support from other agencies in order to give that student and their parents the help that is needed.
Under such circumstances, we will seek advice from Children’s Services and complete an IARF (Inter Agency Referral Form). The Multi-agency team will then advise the school about help that may be available to the young person and their family through the Family Support Service or via Social Services, depending on the level of need. They will contact the family directly or ask the school to talk to the family about the help available. We always advise young people and their families to accept the support on offer (it is like gold dust in these times of stretched resources). We also seek to reassure both our students and their families that such support is a positive opportunity and that other agencies strive to make things better for families and young people, not worse; that they are in fact, a force for good.
Our safeguarding practices are regularly scrutinised by the Governing Body. We report to the governors about our Safeguarding work and systems, and liaise regularly with the governor whose remit is Safeguarding. The governors not only listen to what we are telling them but also come into school to verify the information. They have focus group meetings with a cross-section of students and staff in order to confirm what they are being told. They check our systems governing employment, on-site safety, aspects of pastoral work and staff training.
To date our Safeguarding practices have been shown to be robust and ‘at the heart of what we do’, verified by both OFSTED and LA inspectors.
Hampshire CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health): https://hampshirecamhs.nhs.uk/
See our Wellbeing area on Moodle for more resources
Keeping Safe in the virtual world - the Local Authority advises the following:
“Parents/carers should be encouraged to have conversations about the online activities in which children are engaged, who they are talking with and the safeguards they are taking”.
Guidance on these conversations can be found at:
Digital Parenting Magazine (The school holds copies of this magazine, please just collect one from reception)
Other Staying Safe and Well Issues: The Local Safeguarding Children Partnership website can be found below. This has advice, guidance and resources for parents, young people and professionals on a number of safeguarding areas.
The NSPCC have been commissioned by the DfE to provide a specific helpline: