7 Safeguarding Scenarios for Schools and Youth Workers
Safeguarding children and young people is an ongoing responsibility for all staff working in education and care settings. Child welfare and well-being is a priority and fast responses and early intervention are critical to outcomes. Regardless of age, sex, religion, belief or sexual orientation, all children and young people have a right to protection from harm and risk.
Safeguarding is an ongoing action, once the training course is complete, ensuring your staff’s skills and knowledge is kept up to date and fresh is imperative to early identification. Whilst this includes identifying the signs and symptoms of potential abuse or neglect, how does your setting support staff to identify the more covert issues or the behavioural issues inside the setting?
The use of case studies and scenarios can be a powerful opportunity for staff to consider the wider risks to younger people and discuss how, as a setting, you can respond to these quickly and effectively, utilising the appropriate channels.
In this article, we offer seven scenarios to explore at your next team meeting:
Amy is in Year 8 and you have noticed that she has become more withdrawn over recent weeks. In class she appears tired but her quality of work is still high. She frequently has multiple layers on, or does not want to remove her coat. At lunch time she walks loops of the playground or sits with friends but does not appear to be eating lunch. She seems to have lost weight. When asking how she is, she answers ‘fine’ and leaves quickly. You overhear her telling friends that she is running at the weekends. What do you do?
On your journey to work you notice that a group of students is crowded in a corner of the staff carpark. You believe that you see them passing items to each other. As you walk into school you notice that there are a number of younger students with them who appear to be distracted and agitated. In the staff room that morning, colleagues comment that some students behaviour is out of control that morning and they are concerned that they are drunk. What do you do?
Lucy arrives to class noticeably upset and distressed. You ask if she is ok and she nods and avoids eye contact. You notice that throughout the class she is distracted and whispering to a friend. After the lesson, in the corridor, you observe as she moves quickly to her next class. Later that week, another student comes to you and tells you that one of the male students has been putting his hand up girls skirts as they walk up the stairs in the latest ‘craze’. What do you do?
Jack has always been a quiet class member, but you have noticed that recently he is making excuses to leave class more frequently, often not returning for long periods. He is often late to lessons and seems unsettled. He tells you he feels ‘stressed’ and cannot concentrate. What do you do?
A parent contacts you raising a complaint that her son has been receiving abusive messages through SnapChat from other students at the school. They have not been able to save them but are concerned that these include threats to hurt her son and that they will kill him. What do you do?
When teaching a year 10 class, you notice that a small number of students struggle to maintain eye contact, are visibly more animated and there is a ‘sweet’ smell when you walk by them. One student, part way through the class lays on the desk and falls asleep. What do you do?
In class, you notice that a small group of students is distracted and looking at phones. You ask them to put them away and continue teaching. Later, as you check in on work being completed, you catch site of one of their Instagram pages and there are multiple images of naked girls. What do you do?
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