Involving Students in Safeguarding
Safeguarding is not only about adults looking after students under 18.
We often think safeguarding is about adults looking after students properly, especially students under 18, and of course, that is very important. We should also think how we can get under 18 students thinking about safeguarding themselves, and each other. Here are some ideas.
Talk about safeguarding with your students. Explain
- what it is (keeping them safe)
- why it is important (because UK law says we must, and anyway, their parents would be cross if we didn’t)
- they need to be careful themselves, and be ready to help each other.
Students being careful. What does that mean in practice for your students and the situation? First, follow any rules because they are there to help keep students safe, for example;
- don’t go out on your own, go with a friend
- tell an adult where you’re going and what time you expect to be back
- keep your mobile charged so you can contact somebody in an emergency
- check you have the contact number of an adult who can help you (school, group leader, homestay)
- stay safe online
Students respecting and being tolerant of each other; those are important elements of safeguarding. We don’t help anyone if we say bad things about other students. We cannot always be friends with everyone, but we can be tolerant and respectful of everyone!
Students helping other students.
- Be aware of friends and how they are.
- They might tell you they are unhappy (maybe they are being bullied), or you might notice they are unhappy or alone or maybe not behaving sensibly.
- Tell an adult if you are worried about any of your friends. Adults need to know so they can help.
Ask the students – of any age or language level. I have seen great results from this activity.
- tell the students they need to help other students new to their town / local area.
- students must produce clear information (appropriate to age and language level) about what these new students need to do to stay safe locally.
- results could be interesting, unexpected and make useful display material
- a UK school located in a seaside town expected the visiting international students to list traffic hazards, or the dangers of the sea. But no! What did they have at the top of their list? ‘Be careful of seagulls; especially if you have chips or ice-cream!’
And the students’ pictures were very clear about what the seagulls might do.
This was a wonderful example of how students see things that sometimes adults don’t! Never underestimate your students’ ability to stay safe.
Find out about what duty of care adults have when working with students in the UK and what to do if a safeguarding situation should arise with Gallery Teachers Safeguarding Basic Awareness Course.