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The shocking truth about safeguarding in our schools

I attended a training course on safeguarding on Friday. Have you heard of safeguarding?
It is the requirement to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals especially children, young people and vulnerable adults so that they can live free from abuse, harm and neglect.
As a member of staff at 3 different schools, it is essential that this training is completed once a year in order to be brought up to date with current legislation and be made aware of the circumstances affecting today’s children.

 

It is shocking and devastating to hear that so many children are affected by all sorts of abuse, neglect and social dangers ranging from cyber bullying to gangs to radicalisation.
As a mother it is awful to hear of the suffering that children are enduring in this country in the year 2018. I am guilty of thinking that it happens elsewhere, that it is rare. But I’m wrong. In the average class of 30 children, 6 will have witnessed or experienced some kind of abuse at home. Last year one of the schools I work in reported 5% of the children to children’s services due to concerns for their well-being and safety.

The stories are heartbreaking, like something you hear on the news. I know from my own experience in the classroom 10 years ago that there are young children who are not fed, not put to bed, not washed, that have not had a kind word said to them since leaving school the previous day. How can a child be ready to learn if they have not eaten breakfast? How can a child play when they are exhausted? How can a child behave when they have no boundaries set or no role model to emulate?
And our teachers are expected to be vigilant for the signs of abuse or neglect on top of everything else they are required to do. They are required to be deal with the daily aftermath of whatever may be happening at home, which may manifest itself a violence, withdrawal or self harm as well as the catastrophic impact on schoolwork. Our schools are then judged only on academic results rather than celebrating the positive social input that is invaluable to suffering children.

I think of the area we live in as a nice place but apparently there is a gang issue called County Lines going on. I had no idea. Young people are being targeted to traffic drugs in modern day slavery rings. This isn’t an inner city problem: it is happening HERE.

Social media has its part to play in exposing our children to all sorts of risks. It makes me fearful about the future of my own children as they grow in independence and require privacy. The parental controls will help to keep them protected from inappropriate material but not against messages and bullying online. Next week there is an e-safety meeting at their schools and last time it was a huge shock to discover some of the risks they face.
Radical ideologies are also disseminated through social media. The young make easy targets as they are vulnerable to making impulsive decisions and acting in a way to challenge their parental norms. Teens often feel powerless and restrained so being offered the opportunity to be in control is very appealing and abusers, gangs and extremists prey on this.

I do not want to worry you but it is important to be aware of modern dangers. Too often I think we assume it happens elsewhere but it doesn’t. I think we need to appreciate the tough job that is facing our schools.
I will give my children an extra hug and let them know that they are my world. I will remind them to be kind to others because other children may have sadness in their lives. I will protect them whilst letting them develop into adults that can face the world armed with awareness but not fear.

28 comments

  1. Dad

    That sounds like a whole other world. I have a long time to go before I have to worry about my daughter, but I hope those aren’t the kinds of things she ever has to deal with. #globalblogging

  2. Last year we pulled our son (3) out of his rising 3 nursery (which we paid for) due to an incident of another child. This child was somehow found wondering down the busy street outside the school baring in mind the traffic surrounding was very busy. The school hid the fact this happened. No one knows about it. We do as it was a friends child. And we raised it with the school asking how he was allowed to leave with the parent being present. There response was ‘how do we know’ we advised that it may be best to inform the parents of this. But they didn’t.

  3. So sad (but necessary) that teachers need to be trained on it regularly. Parents should also get regular training / feedback from schools regarding this. I see so much of the bullying start at home alread. #globalblogging

  4. its terrifying what can and is often happening right under our noses. I am so relieved my son is now 20 and we made it through all the talks nd discussions about sexting, cyber bullying. We got off lightly . Many of his friends less so. #globalblogging

  5. Chris

    There was a high profile case of teen suicide in australia last week that originated due to cyber bullying. It’s pretty savage and it’s hard to address. Feels like trying to catch smoke sometimes

  6. My husband is a teacher and he deals with this annually. Sometimes signs of abuse is not on physical appearance but it is shown in school work – like handwriting, drop in grades, lack of concentration. He has picked on a few of this and used a subtle approach to get information out of the learner, where it came out that he/she is being abused. The school psychologist then deals with these kind of situations. It is sad to hear the stories what kids go through. I salute the teachers who help these kids.#globalblogging

  7. Our children are usually our greatest concern as parents and it’s so shocking when you read of such extreme abuse that only just this past week was uncovered in the States. It’s od great comfort knowing that educators are taught how to watch out for children in the class room too, you are so right awareness and compassion rather than fear is the way to proceed #globalblogging

  8. It’s so sad to think these things happen, but so important to wake up to the fact they do. It must be really hard for teachers to be vigilant on top of everything else. The gang issue sounds worrying. You are right though – we must give our children the awareness to protect themselves when we aren’t there. #GlobalBlogging

  9. This is scary stuff, but important to talk about. We also live in a “nice area” and I (probably naively) hope that when my son does start school, he won’t face issues like gangs or drugs. But I guess it can happen anywhere and we all have to be aware and just hope that we are equipping our kids with the skills to make the right choices. #globalblogging

  10. I’m going to hug my kids hard tonight, too.

    The good news is that there is training for recognizing these problems and addressing them, and knowledge is power.

    #globalblogging

  11. Unfortunately the world is a horrible place, with Hubby being a mortician and my bestie being a teacher and having a fair few foster kids in her classes over the years, it makes you want to squeeze your little ones that much tighter! #globalblogging

  12. Becky

    Very well said Laura. Sometimes being a Teacher and knowing about difficult situations that pupils have to endure breaks my heart. I hug my girls loads but when I hear of a horrible situation it always makes me squidge them just a little bit tighter.

  13. I have not heard of the safeguarding training but I am constantly invited to difference trainings throughout the school year for parents and teachers alike who choose to train on such things as helping children with Autism socialize. Or helping to identify bullying in your child’s life. That sort of thing. It would be great if they had this training though because I know the schools here could certainly use it. I live in a nice neighborhood too but I have seen a few children who I suspected of being abused or neglected at home and I approached the school about it and they put their heads in the sand. This training would definitely help! Thanks for hosting #globalblogging

  14. We are living this nightmare at the moment with my step-daughter in the UK. Not neglect or abuse but her almost ‘addiction’ to social media and the huge negative impact it’s having on her school work. It’s very real and it is happening all around us. #globalblogging

  15. It’s something that plays on our minds for our two, Fidget & Little Man. I work in compliance dealing with safeguarding to ensure that all those we employ are cleared to work with children and vulnerable adults, so I have quite a good understanding. It still worries me, though. Great post. Parents should read this on a regular basis as a reminder for vigilance.
    #globalblogging

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