You're in a classroom and a 17-year-old student's bag spills out on to the floor, revealing a fake ID card. How do you react?
It's one of the issues delegates at next week's English UK Management Conference will be considering during a session on safeguarding under-18s. Trainer Nigel Heritage says many people ask why it's pertinent to managers and academic managers, and adds: "Everybody is involved in safeguarding through duty and legal requirement: it matters they are looking after and working with what other people's children.The way I talk about it is to imagine if it was their daughter over in Beijing or Moscow how they would expect her to be looked after, and that gets people thinking."
Safeguarding has become more of an issue for English UK member centres in recent weeks since the Accreditation UK scheme was rewritten to include a new section on care of under-18s, adding new criteria. But with so much publicity around the Jimmy Savile and other high-profile cases, there is a tendency to confuse child protection and safeguarding.
"Child protection is part of safeguarding: safeguarding is the duty of care to look after everbody properly and make sure they are safe. Protecting children from abuse is part of it but we all have a duty of care to look after under-18s as a responsible and careful parent and everybody in school is involved with that," says Nigel.
Some people are more clued up than others, he says, but others think it's "just about recruitment and doing a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check on the teacher. Safer recruitment is just part of it: you have to think about what systems are in place. It's much more important to create a safer school culture because if that's in place it's a genuinely much safer environment and less likely that anyone behaving inappropriately with under 18s will make any progress. Ticking the box of having a DBS certificate only tells you that someone hasn't yet abused a child: it doesn't tell you if they're on the pathway to doing that."
Nigel promises a practical session at the conference in Bristol on Friday 7 March, with plenty of examples to get managers thinking and talking through all the issues to ensure it is relevant to everyone's centre and experiences.
"We talk about children of all ages. Nobody says I don't take kids so this doesn't affect me. Very few schools don't take 16 and 17 year olds on adult courses -- I think I've met two over the years -- therefore it does affect them. They may have signed up to adult courses but they still need safeguarding."
Interested in attending?
It's not too late to book a place on the English UK Management Conference, which includes sessions from David Graddol on trends in emerging economies, George Pickering on management research, Dianne Tyers on lessons from the management front line and Silvana Richardson on teachers' resistance to learning in professional learning programmes.
To see the full programme or book for the two-day conference at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel, click here.
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