About us

Want to be sure that you can trust Safeguarding Network to support your safeguarding needs? Let us tell you more about the team behind Safeguarding Network.

Established in 2017, the founding team behind Safeguarding Network are John Woodhouse & Andrew Martin. Two social workers, we have over 40 years combined experience in working with children and young people.  We are concerned that there is an increasing requirement on schools to fill the void left by decreasing social care budgets, with little by way of support particularly when something is not deemed to meet the social care thresholds.

Head teachers repeatedly tell us that they are teachers, not social workers, and that they feel ill equipped to lead the school in relation to safeguarding responsibilities.  The role of designated safeguarding lead is often in addition to an already busy work day, and the requirement of Keeping Children Safe in Education to ensure that staff are “regularly updated” is significant.  Safeguarding Network is therefore designed with the aim of reducing this burden.

There are two other members of the team, Chris Freestone and Kiks Sheppard, who bring a wealth of experience through having had positions as Headteachers, an Ofsted inspector and other senior leadership roles in education.  We believe that this mix of skills enables us to provide a rounded and informed base from which we can support and inform the debate on safeguarding in schools.

Have specific questions that we haven’t answered?  Please feel free to contact us.

Chris Freestone

Chris has a broad experience of education, social care and health settings including as a Head Teacher and safeguarding lead. She has been an inspector and compliance manager and understands the vital role of front line processes in education settings in keeping children safe and supporting staff in doing so.

The Safeguarding Network team - Chris Freestone

Kiks Sheppard

Kiks has 15 years experience at a strategic level, including Head Teacher (SEMHD), National Head of Education and Head of Quality for Children’s Services & Education. She has also held roles as Designated Safeguarding Lead for Schools and National Senior DSL for children’s residential care and education. Kiks has a child centred focus, assuring quality of provision and improved outcomes.

The Safeguarding Network team - Kiks Sheppard

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin comes with substantial social work experience of working in front-line child protection as a manager, chair of child protection conferences and through undertaking independent reviews.  More recently Andrew has been focusing specifically on supporting schools and designated safeguarding leads whilst maintaining practice links.  Andrew is a safeguarding governor at a local primary school.

The Safeguarding Network team - Andrew Martin

John Woodhouse

John Woodhouse is a safeguarding specialist working with schools and other organisations to audit their safeguarding requirements and train staff. His background is as a senior manager for child protection services and as a chair of governors.

The Safeguarding Network team - John Woodhouse

Further information

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