Safeguarding teenagers: what do teachers need to know?
2 November 2015

So you're a English language teacher and you find a group of your 16-year-old students drinking in your local pub: what do you do?

"The answer isn't to say 'get the hell out - this is my pub - you go somewhere else,' which is the answer I got at one conference," says safeguarding expert Nigel Heritage. 

Join his session at the English UK Teacher Conference on 7 November in London, and you can discuss some of the safeguarding issues that might well come up for a teacher with a class of teenagers who are up to two years away from their 18th birthdays.

Some ELT centres regard safeguarding as everybody's responsibility, whilst others see it as primarily for the welfare officer, says Nigel, adding: "Ultimately, the welfare person might deal with these issues - but the teacher has to be observant and ready to report if they notice things. They have a role, not necessarily to sort things out. It's a bit like with the pub scenario - if they don't feel comfortable they don't have to say anything to the students, but they do have to tell the welfare officer the next day."

Nigel says his session, Safeguarding Young Adults: Teachers At The Frontline, will involve getting teachers to discuss how they might react in scenarios involving under-18s. "A lot of the session is relatively light-hearted and the important thing is we're not talking theoretically - it's very practical, about real-life situations teachers will recognise. Quite a bit of the session is spent on asking: what would you do in this situation? Generally when I run this with teachers, people tell stories about things which happened and get a chance to discuss things, and it gets them thinking."


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