The role of the designated safeguarding lead or DSL (designated safeguarding person or DSP in Wales) has changed dramatically in the last five years and it now carries significant responsibilities that may not be formally recognised or written into the job description.
For many schools and colleges, the DSL/DSP role comes with the territory; if you happen to be the head or deputy head you may find yourself as the safeguarding lead in addition to all your other responsibilities.
We know that every year around 120,000 referrals relating to children in need are made by schools to social care and this number has been increasing year on year. We are also seeing a much wider range of issues falling into the category of safeguarding. Emerging trends linked to the use of the internet is proving to be one of the major safeguarding risks facing young people today and increasingly schools are having to pick up the pieces when there are problems at home. DSLs and their staff are also expected to keep up with the wealth of new government guidance that has been published in recent times; not easy when you are effectively doing the job part-time.
The increasing workload has meant that some schools and colleges are having to invest in more resources to manage safeguarding (despite falling budgets) and in some cases they are having to employ or buy-in additional specialist support such as school counsellors and family liaison officers.
The spending cuts to local authorities has also meant that schools are taking on more responsibility for interventions and support work previously undertaken by agencies such as social services and CAMHs.
The majority of senior schools and colleges now have established dedicated safeguarding roles to enable them to meet the demand and in most primary and special schools the DSL is supported by at least one deputy.
As a consequence, schools and colleges find themselves very much on the front line of child protection and safeguarding and DSLs are frequently managing serious and complex situations that could end up in in formal legal proceedings such as family or criminal court or even subject to a serious case review. Given these challenging responsibilities should safeguarding leads expect more formal, professional support and guidance to prepare them for this critical role?
The increasing complexity of the safeguarding role raises issues around competence, qualifications and support. For example, there are no formal qualifications necessary to undertake the role of the designated safeguarded lead and no nationally agreed frameworks in place that adequately describe the skills and competencies required for the role – is it time to properly professionalise one of the most important roles in education and give DSLs the much-needed support that they need?
Join us on the 25 September at 3.30pm for this free, live discussion. A panel of safeguarding professionals will address some of the important topics around safeguarding in education and the critical role of the DSL. The panel will be exploring the roles and responsibilities of the DSL, how that has changed in recent years and what needs to be done to professionalise the role and provide more effective support.
You will also have the opportunity to ask our experts anonymous questions and get honest answers.
Mike Glanville – Director of safeguarding services for One Team Logic (the makers of MyConcern Safeguarding Software used in many thousands of schools domestically and internationally). Mike was a former assistant chief constable of Dorset Police with responsibility for all child and adult safeguarding issues and sat on the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board. He is also chair of governors at a primary school in Dorset and has been a school governor since 2010.
Vikkey Chaffe – Vikkey is Community Manager at The Key a provider of up-to-the-minute sector intelligence and resources that empower education leaders with the knowledge to act. She is a former Designated Safeguarding Lead and the Founder of the Primary School Leaders Facebook Page which currently has over 22,500 members.
Luke Ramsden – Deputy headmaster at St Benedict’s School, a leading London catholic school and flagship school for MyConcern safeguarding software. Recently a co-educational school, St Benedict’s is an all-through setting which caters for students from the age of three through to sixth form. It has a proactive approach to safeguarding and has recently held its own safeguarding conference for schools in the surrounding area.
Date: 25 September
Location: Participate from the comfort of your own home for this online event
Register for free