The head and governors
It’s best practice to identify a governor who will be responsible for safeguarding and child protection. But the whole governing body is responsible for ensuring the school fulfils its safeguarding and child protection duties.
The head and the governors should make sure the school's child protection policy and procedures are robust, up to date and include:
- a definition of all forms of abuse
- information about the signs and indicators of abuse
- what staff and volunteers should do if they have concerns about a child.
They should ensure all staff and volunteers read, understand and follow the school's child protection policy and procedures and code of conduct for adults.
They should meet regularly with the nominated child protection lead to ensure child protection risks are being appropriately recognised and responded to.
The head and governors should also:
- read and understand national and local guidance about preventing and responding to abuse
- ensure all staff and volunteers receive regular child protection training
- put support systems in place for children who have experienced abuse, for example by arranging school counselling or contacting external support services
- ensure healthy relationships are promoted through the whole school ethos, lessons and assemblies
- make sure children know they can approach any member of staff or volunteer if they have a problem and that they will be listened to and taken seriously
- make sure sources of help such as Childline are promoted around school so children know where to go to get help if they don’t feel able to talk to a trusted adult
- provide parents with information about abuse including what action the school is taking to prevent it and support children affected by it
- ensure that the school site is safe and secure and that there are policies and procedures in place around school visitors and for the safe dropping off and picking up of children
- ensure that safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures are in place for school trips and events and that suitable risk assessments have been carried out.
> See our range of child protection training courses for school staff and volunteers
> Find out more about responding to disclosures
> Take a look at our range of resources and services to support safeguarding and child protection in schools
When recruiting new staff and volunteers to work in school, the head and governors must follow safer recruitment principles.
They should ensure the appropriate checks have been carried out on staff and volunteers and make sure the school’s records are up-to-date.
> Find out more about safer recruitment
> Take our safer recruitment in education training course
Responding to concerns about abuse
The head and governors should support the nominated child protection lead with the child protection referral process and ensure they and their deputies have sufficient time and resources to carry out their role. The head and governors should challenge decisions if the school believes a child is at serious risk of harm and not receiving appropriate help.
They should also:
- help the nominated child protection lead inform parents about what's happening (unless there is reason to believe that doing so would put the child at further risk of harm)
- regularly review all safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures
- update safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures in the light of any lessons learned from a child protection incident.
> Take a look at our free safeguarding self-assessment tool for schools
If there are allegations of or concerns about abuse by a member of school staff or a volunteer, the head and governors should liaise with the local authority as appropriate.
The nominated child protection lead should provide the head and governors with an annual report on child protection. This should be used as a basis for the governing body’s annual report to the local authority.
> Our online training course for school governors will help you understand what needs to be included in the annual report
Our training course for school governors will ensure everyone understands their safeguarding and child protection responsibilities and their role in creating a safer culture in school.