This is the fifth monthly Gallery Teachers Safeguarding Newsletter this year.

The Newsletter gives some thoughts and reminders about safeguarding in ELT. There are three sections;

  1. general safeguarding topics
  2. classroom ideas
  3. updates

We hope you find it useful.

Ready for Summer?

Training – who needs what information?

Has everyone working with international students aged under 18 had the right training to safeguard well, according to their role? 

Basic Awareness level for everyone

Gallery Teachers online Basic Awareness course provides what it says; ‘basic awareness’ of safeguarding. Being an online course it can only provide generic knowledge, information which is useful for everyone; it cannot provide specific information about every ELT organisation. 

Section 4 of the online course tells people that they need to find out more details from the organisation they are working with. This may be done via the school’s safeguarding policy and handbooks for staff, homestays and group leaders. Section 4.1.2 of the training provides a list of 12 things that people need to find out from their school/centre.

  • the names of the school’s/centre’s safeguarding team and how to contact them in the event of you having any concerns about a student. There should be a 24×7 contact number.
  • school’s first aid and medical arrangements; you must know what to do and who to go to if a child is sick
  • fire safety procedures; these are usually explained on arrival; they are very important
  • the school’s code of conduct, (it may be called something else), giving expectations of how adults should behave with under 18 students
  • how to use risk assessments; these help reduce dangers to students and staff and can be used for locations or activities. 
  • school rules for students and how to respond if they are broken. The rules exist to keep students safe; you must follow them, don’t ignore or contradict them
  • supervision; how it is done, who needs to be on duty, what the ratios are for adults to students
  • if students are allowed time away from direct adult supervision, what rules exist and how is that time managed
  • accommodation curfew times and how to respond if a student misses them
  • student absence and what procedures to follow
  • online safety; there will be rules for this and maybe a safe-user contract to ensure everyone, especially the under 18s behave responsibly online
  • anything else. Ask questions if you are not sure about anything

If you are staff, a homestay host or a group leader, do you have all this important information?

If you are responsible for safeguarding in an organisation, have you ensured that your staff, homestays and group leaders have this important information – and is it up to date for summer 2018?

Designated Safeguarding Staff – training at higher levels.

Does your organisation have enough people trained with greater knowledge of safeguarding? 

At each of your centres there must be staff who know how to respond if an incident happens. These ‘go-to’ staff need Advanced Safeguarding training (it used to be called Level 2) which gives them greater understanding of safeguarding and knowledge of the right procedures to use for different situations. These people are often called Designated Safeguarding Staff but could have other titles; each organisation decides what to call their safeguarding team. There must be enough to provide 24×7 cover at each centre.

In addition, every organisation needs a lead person (often called a DSL, Designated Safeguarding Lead) who is responsible for safeguarding throughout the company. The DSL will be supported by others, trained to a similar level (Specialist Safeguarding, used to be called Level 3), so that there is 24×7 DSL cover. These lead safeguarding staff are usually senior members of staff; they will take the most important decisions, for example, contacting local authorities about child protection issues. 

Bullying – often happens in the summer

Bullying is officially defined in UK as ‘the repeated act of deliberately making another person unhappy’. 

Some key points about bullying for those looking after international students this summer

  • it can take many forms;
  • cyber bullying is particularly unpleasant because it can be 24×7; the victim can never escape
  • the concept is not known in many countries, so the international visitors will probably not understand it as UK residents do
  • it must be addressed, even the first time – to make sure it does not become repeated.
  • the initial approach is usually to explain and educate, before implementing tougher sanctions

The government recently published some strategies to help reduce the incidence of bullying in schools. They include:

  • having a whole school approach that everyone knows and follows
  • focusing on and rewarding positive behaviours and attitudes such as being friendly, including people into groups, helping others especially if they are struggling to do something
  • empowering students to look after each other, particularly during unsupervised time, via anti-bullying roles, e.g. monitor or anti-bullying ambassador

Some of these will already be happening in ELT summer courses; other ideas might be adapted to suit your situation.

Remember the first challenge will be educating the students, whatever their age and language level, to understand the concept of bullying and that it can take many forms. Ways this can happen:

  • student handbook
  • induction
  • ensuring group leaders understand and have passed information to their group
  • lesson (or part lesson) on bullying (see Classroom Activities section)
  • posters around school
  • accommodation staff and homestays helping students understand
  • reminders in student meetings

Procedure for responding to bullying

Schools must also have a clear procedure for dealing with bullying when it occurs. That is a requirement of the AccreditationUK (British Council) Inspection Scheme, criterion W4, which applies to all students and staff, not just students aged under 18. The procedure should be simple, easy to understand by everyone, stated in handbooks and maybe on posters too. A step-by-step procedure is often easiest. For example:

If we hear about bullying we will

  • talk to the people involved, individually and maybe together
  • explain what is happening and tell them it must not happen again. Usually we will ask the bully to apologise. We may also contact parents
  • if it happens again, that is more serious; the bully’s parents will be contacted and the bully will be sanctioned and warned that it must not happen again. If the bullying was very bad, the bully might be sent home immediately.
  • if it happens yet again, the bully will probably be sent home

Depending on their age and language level, images will probably be a good way to help students understand the procedure.

Classroom activities

Continuing the subject of bullying, here are two ideas which might help you get the message across to students.

Accessing ready-produced materials

1) A link to lesson materials produced by the British Council for an anti-bullying lesson.


I was talking to a school in Bournemouth yesterday that used British Council anti-bullying lesson materials for the first time last summer and found them extremely helpful. The school believed that introducing these lessons as part of the Monday arrival ‘stand-alone’ lesson, whilst classes were being allocated, changed a negative feeling where bullying happened too easily into a more positive community where bullying hardly occurred.

2) A link to lesson materials produced by the UK Safer Internet Centre specifically about cyber bullying


These materials are produced for UK resident children, so will probably need adapting for the ages and language levels of the international students. The British Council materials are also produced for a particular age and language level; make sure that what you use with your students is at the right level. 

Students producing their own materials

1) If you do not have students of the same age or language level as the sample materials suggested above, can you take the ideas from these lesson plans and get the students to produce their own materials? 

Tell the students that the school needs to make some new anti-bullying information for students who are coming later in the summer or next summer. Have a class discussion about bullying;

  1. think about behaviours that are not OK and must not happen.
  2. think positive as well, about good behaviours that students and everyone (adults, as well) should be displaying.
  3. challenge the students to explain how they are going to help to stop bullying, because it isn’t just down to adults to stop it.

Use whatever resources you have available to produce materials that can be shared later. Simple tools like paper/pens/card/felt-tips can produce fantastic results. These days, young people are usually more motivated if you ask them to produce something online, especially if using photos or videos, to get their message across. As you want their message to be well-received by later students, try to produce it in medium that those students will more readily accept. 

When the materials are completed, will you be able to use them on blogs or social media or the company website (a) to show how well the students have worked and (b) to use another way of transmitting the message about bullying, what it is and why it is not acceptable? 

Remember that you need permission when using images of students online or in hard copy. Permission from parents of students under 18 and, if they are old enough, from the under 18 students themselves.

Updates and developments

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSE) – statutory guidance for schools and colleges in the regulated sector.

This document has recently been revised and re-issued; however, the new version will only commence from September 2018. It has been re-issued now to give schools time to be ready for September.

There is a link to the document here.


The ELT sector is not obliged to follow this document in the way that regulated sector schools are unless they are inspected by ISI who refer to KCSE when setting their inspection standards.

There are very few changes of note in the new 2018 revised version. One revision is that there must be more than one DSL (trained to the same level as the main DSL) in the event of the lead person not being available. I would be surprised if there were any ELT organisation that did not already have more than one DSL; it is a key expectation of our industry that there must be proper cover in the event of people not being available.

British Council Accreditation UK Scheme Updates

The Accreditation Unit recently published some updates to the guidance document that supports and explains the inspection criteria. The changes were in the second column; this is the middle column which gives additional guidance on how members can meet the requirements of each criteria (listed in the first column). The new guidance now includes a link to the Gallery Teachers free basic safeguarding training available at https://galleryteachers.com/service/safeguarding-basic-awareness-course/.

Next Newsletter

Because everyone is so busy with students in the summer, the next Safeguarding Newsletter will come out in September 2018.


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