Fortnightly Safeguarding Briefing

25th March 2019

Safeguarding Network - Confidence in safeguarding

Welcome to your latest briefing

Towards the end of last year the government ran a consultation around proposed changes to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) with a view to the changes being implemented from September 2020.  The outcome of the consultation was issued recently and essentially the message is that there will be little change to the original draft regulations that were consulted on.

The response notes that there was a significant disagreement with the proposals to teach about LGBT with this representing the full spectrum of the argument (i.e. the proposals do not go far enough through to LGBT should not be included at all).  The government's response is that pupils should understand the world in which they are growing up and that this includes respecting difference (which is in line with previous guidance around promotion of fundamental British values).

This is not without controversy, particularly with the recent news coverage around events in Birmingham where there have been protests at the teaching of LGBT in schools.  More information is awaited as the regulations are debated through parliament, however the response document provides an initial indication of the way the regulations are likely to be shaped.

In this briefing:

  • Knife crime
  • Emotional abuse
  • Managing allegations
Image of knife

Knife crime

It seems that hardly a day goes by without there being something in the news about knife crime, with many reports looking at the potential link to schools. Ofsted have recently produced a research document from work that they did with 29 educational establishments in London.  This looks at three broad questions:

  • What were the education provisions doing to safeguard children and learners from knife crime whilst in school?
  • How were the establishments providing learners with the knowledge and skills to stay safe in the wider community?
  • How are exclusions being used when children bring knives into school?

Want to know more? Safeguarding Network has developed a safeguarding insight looking into knife crime, vulnerability, the Ofsted research and the safeguarding of children and young people involved.

Emotional abuse

Last week the New Scientist published an article on recent German research which shows that child abuse may have a direct impact on brain structure in victims and make depression more severe in later life.  The research shows that abuse impacts the region involved in emotional awareness - finding that this area of the brain is smaller in victims of abuse than other adults.

This is very relevant in relation to emotional abuse, the definition of which includes the phrase, "the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development." (Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2018) - this is therefore further evidence of what is meant by severe and adverse effect.  Although present in most abuse to a certain degree, emotional abuse in its own right can be difficult to identify as there is not necessarily one trigger point which can be classed as abusive, but instead can be a picture that builds up over time - it is also potentially very subjective about what is an is not emotionally abusive.

For more information see our resource page. Safeguarding Network members can access update materials for staff in relation to emotional abuse and the impact on children and young people.

School corridor

Managing allegations

For all organisations that work with children and young people there is a need to ensure that the people working in the organisations are safe.  Part of this process is about having a clear mechanism in place to identify and manage allegations as they are identified, and that everyone has confidence in these mechanisms.  There is also a need to maintain a culture of "it could happen here".

Managing allegations policies should be reviewed annually. Guidance is provided in Keeping Children Safe in Education, and your local authority should have a designated officer who will assist if there are concerns raised.  Safeguarding Network has a resource page providing information about the duties on organisations, the role of consent and risks to look out for.  Members can access update materials to use in staff meetings.

Need support with reviewing / rewriting your policy?  Safeguarding Network has developed a Managing Allegations policy rooted in the guidance that includes analytic tools to copy into your safeguarding records and weigh up the decisions at each stage of the process. It’s the best policy we hope you’ll never have to use!


"This is really good ... I wish I'd had it before"

Senior leader responsible for investigating an allegation


For more information contact us.

Painted eggs in tray

Happy Easter

We're taking a break for the Easter Holidays.  Due to the way they fall the next safeguarding briefing will be delivered to your inbox on the 29th April 2019.

Need something to read in the meantime? You can revisit previous briefings here.

Who are we?

Safeguarding Network recognise that the demands on schools are increasing from every aspect. Safeguarding is no exception. Using our front-line safeguarding experience and knowledge we develop resources to help schools meet their safeguarding requirements with the aim of helping lighten the load.

Visit for more information.

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