Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding children. School and college staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children, to prevent concerns from escalating. Schools and colleges and their staff form part of the wider safeguarding system for children. (Keeping Children Safe in Education – DFE 2018)

The DSP, Head Teacher and governing body should consider the following areas (request safeguarding audit document) in order to establish whether the school policies and procedures effectively safeguard children. Supporting evidence must be provided for each indicator. All identified actions should have an indicative timescale.

The words ‘safeguarding’ and ‘child protection’ are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. Safeguarding is what we are doing for all our children; child protection refers to the policy and procedures we have for referring and supporting children at risk of serious harm, or who have been seriously harmed. The definition of safeguarding is given in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, paragraph 4, and yet many people I ask do not easily refer to the four key elements.

‘Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and 
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.’

Interestingly, the last bullet point makes the definition into a pro-active one: if you’re concerned about the other three, do something about it.

The annual checklist needs to be completed by all members of the safeguarding team jointly (i.e. the DSP, Headteacher and Governing Body).

It has been developed to align it with the following statutory guidance and inspection frameworks:

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 – The government has published the latest update to Keeping Children Safe in Education, which will come in to force on 1st of September 2018. The DfE are at pains to say that this document is ‘For Information Only’, and schools should continue to refer to Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016. Download the Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018) guidance here: Keeping Children safe in Education 2018

This document has been produced by the AM Team who can be contacted on This is for school use as an auditing tool.

Please also check the latest documents for Safeguarding. We will be uploading key notes every month.

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