Safeguarding in Schools, an interview with Mike Glanville

We recently sat down with The Safeguarding Company’s Chief Safeguarding Officer Mike Glanville to discuss safeguarding in schools, and the key issues facing safeguarding leads today.

Mike is the Chief Safeguarding Officer and Co-founder at The Safeguarding Company and has responsibility for ensuring that the latest best practice on safeguarding and child protection is integrated into the range of products and services delivered by the company. He oversees all aspects of safeguarding training, using his knowledge and experience to support the development of high-quality courses that support front-line practitioners across a wide range of sectors. 


What are the key issues and challenges for schools?

The biggest challenge facing schools right now is the demand on time and resources. Safeguarding Leads are under immense pressure to manage safeguarding concerns and without the right systems or culture in place, that can lead to huge strains on top of their academic objectives. In terms of specific issues, we're seeing growth in concerns relating to Mental Health, particularly post-COVID. One of the challenges safeguarding leads face is the lack of external resources to support children. The increased demand for CAHMS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) is outstripping the resource and so responsibility often falls back to the school. The other key issue facing schools right now is online safety. We're seeing an increase in online harassment, access to pornography and other inappropriate sites, and unmonitored social media. In June last year, OFSTED published a review into sexual abuse in schools and colleges which found, amongst other things that there was a big under-reporting issue, notably in children reporting concerns involving other children, or adults. Between September 2019 and March 2021, Ofsted received 291 complaints against schools and colleges about child-on-child sexual abuse.

How can schools be aware of, monitor, and handle issues?

The key thing is to ensure schools have good systems and processes in place, and that all staff, safeguarding leads, and students know not only how to report concerns, but what qualifies as a safeguarding issue. We immediately think of the extremes, but attendance, general mood, and well-being, and mental health are all considered safeguarding issues. The systems and software are key but it's also important that a school has a strong safeguarding culture, which is established by good governance and strong leadership. With MyConcern, staff are trained to report, monitor, and escalate concerns about pupils, but also about other staff members, and without a strong safeguarding culture, those concerns, no matter how small, can go unmonitored.

How do schools build a safeguarding culture?

A great safeguarding culture starts with leadership. Having a clear understanding and knowledge of the subject helps leaders put strong and affirmative safeguarding practices in place, that everyone can follow. One of the main barriers to safeguarding is the staff that do not feel comfortable or supported enough to report concerns about colleagues, but an established safeguarding culture encourages an open and transparent process. For any organisation looking to build on their safeguarding culture, we always recommend training and open dialogue. Members of the free platform, The Safeguarding Community are encouraged to raise questions, share best practice, and discuss safeguarding with other ‘Safeguardians’.

What training and resources are: a) currently available and b) further required?

There is no standard training requirement as such. So, when guidance talks about training and how often safeguarding leads and members of staff need to undertake training, it does not talk about the actual quality of the training. Consequently, there are a lot of training providers who may not be designated, safeguarding experts. It's the responsibility of each individual school to seek out further training and learning to help nurture their safeguarding culture and ensure best practice. Safeguarding isn't just about compliance; schools have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of all pupils and staff. Look for a credible and trusted training provider (such as The Safeguarding Company) who has a sustained focus on child protection. Expert trainers can help schools with a top to toe approach to safeguarding which includes training that goes beyond statutory requirements.

On Wednesday the 7th of December we’ll be joined by the Safeguarding Company’s Chief Executive Officer Martin Baker for a webinar titled ‘Safeguarding and Ofsted: Learning Lessons from Inspections’. Secure your place on our free webinar here.



Posted Date

28th November 2022

Rosie Eastwood
Marketing Content Manager

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