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Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility!

Safeguarding should be a key component in a quality school – if not THE component to a successful school...

Worldwide, outstanding schools have developed policies and guidelines to ensure students and those working in them feel safe, know how to stay safe, and how to report when unsafe. This session at the conference will cover some important aspects of safeguarding. John F Kennedy stated, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. The care and attention required by all stakeholders for students is binding from a contractual and moral standpoint as you have been entrusted with the life of another human being. One of my previous director generals used to remind the staff; “the student, the student, and the student”, to emphasize the importance of student wellbeing.

The Department for Education (DfE) in the United Kingdom mentioned two key words that must be used with regard to safeguarding, must and should. Must is related to what is legally binding on the staff member (based on the law of the country the school operates in) and should be guidelines to be followed. It is important to note that safeguarding may not always be bound to a school and can require additional parties from outside. Academic success is great, but it doesn’t thrive without a child feeling safe and secure. Happy students = happy outcomes.

Safeguarding policy:

Every school should have a safeguarding policy and a comprehensive set of guidelines, a handbook, that is shared with all stakeholders outlining the school’s policy/approach, types of safeguarding hazards, signs of potential safeguarding concerns, the procedures carried out and who to contact. The school must always ensure it is up to date with national/international guidelines and have documented and effectively implemented policies and procedures that are practised and well understood by all stakeholders.


A school’s leadership must assume overall stewardship and clearly define the roles and responsibilities that pertain to safeguarding being aware of the legal, religious, cultural, and ethical expectations of the country in which it operates.

Designated safeguarding lead (DSL):

The role of the designated safeguarding lead and their team is crucial in safeguarding, they are responsible for maintaining/updating safeguarding records in accordance with the schools safeguarding policy. They also provide staff with training and guidance on how to deal with situations to ensure the student(s) are provided with the best possible solutions and care. They work with the school counsellor and medical team.


Staff play a crucial role in safeguarding, especially those who interact with students daily. It is a collective responsibility and not restricted to your classroom or section of the school. Unlike subjects being taught safeguarding is not bound by time, it starts the minute you enter the school until the time you leave and may sometimes go beyond (depending on the situation). All staff members should be trained to deal/recognize potential safeguarding problems and feel confident to identify and report concerns to the designated lead. Start with courses that are offered within your city/district, if not, bring in a recognized company to train your staff, and lastly, if that is not possible promote online courses. The most important thing is to always encourage your staff and lead by example.


Safeguarding in today’s world goes beyond the realm of school. The world of social media/gaming has no boundaries and children of all ages can access the entire world from their bedroom, a scary thought. This topic can be an article/articles shared on its own or holding parent conferences about safeguarding. I merely want to touch on the importance of getting parents/guardians involved, so both school and home are working together! Visible statements around the school stating that it takes safeguarding very seriously and keeping children safe is its priority send a clear message to all.


Getting students involved through information, discussion, activities, and appropriate role-playing will empower them.  Students should know that if something happens there is a procedure they can follow and at no point will they be judged, only supported.

I look forward to seeing you all at the conference. Until then, all the best and be safe!

Written by, Cian Salleh Matta, Vice Principal RIyadh Schools