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Webinar 23

GESS Talks Webinar 23- Creating Safe Haven: Safeguarding Practices for Schools and Online

Don't miss this webinar!

In light of recent headlines highlighting online safety concerns, our distinguished panel of experts will delve into the multifaceted aspects of safeguarding, addressing both the online and in-class environments. This webinar aims to underscore the significance of comprehensive safety measures across schools, social settings, and homes, emphasizing the pivotal role that online and personal safety play in ensuring a secure and protected learning experience for students.





Chairperson: Zen Khan, Partner, Zen PD 

Zen is an inspirational educator, International speaker, and safeguarding expert who has worked in education for over 10 years. Her diverse background, enthusiasm, and passion are the driving force that empowers those she works with, helping them to achieve lasting outcomes. Zen has designed and delivered online qualifications (including safeguarding) for multiple disciplines in large and small organisations both in the UK (Government) and Internationally. Zen is a member of the International Task Force on Child Protection and the Founder of the Child Safeguarding Conference Middle East With a unique background of over 20 years of experience in Education, Business leadership, HR training, and strategic planning, she provides her clients with unique advantages.

The Zen PD team collaborates with local/international safeguarding experts to deliver quality online/face-to-face, internationally accredited Safeguarding training that is aligned with International best practices and provides the most up-to-date information and tools for organisations to protect children in their care. The Zen PD Team has organised key UAE-based safeguarding-related events and webinars (Child Safeguarding Conference in the Middle East) and understands the local challenges faced in the region. Zen PD empowers leaders through engaging interactive online/face-to-face training that is aligned to the bespoke needs of the learners and the unique context of the Middle East.


George Peterkin Managing Director Mind Your Health Ltd

Mental Health First Aid, Safeguarding & Suicide First Aid Instructor

Level 4 Counsellor & Eating Disorder Consultant

With a background in teaching and experience in pastoral roles, George created Mind Your Health Ltd in 2018 to provide CPD support to educational systems and their staff, parents, and most importantly the children and young people. As of 2023, Mind Your Health provides Mental Health First Aid, Safeguarding, and Suicide First Aid to local, national, and international communities. George is also an accredited therapeutic counselor, with a specialism in Eating Disorders - offering further focused workshops to those who wish to provide support to those living with Eating Disorders.

John Paton Assistant Headteacher: Inclusion and Pastoral Care Arcadia School

John Paton is a passionate and dedicated school leader and director, with a strong focus on providing and developing the high standards he believes all children should be entitled. With over 15 years of experience in education, he has a proven track record of facilitating and delivering outstanding teaching, learning, and provision across various educational settings. John has also worked closely with children, families, and other professionals to enhance the resources and opportunities available to students and young people he has worked with. He deeply understands and appreciates the crucial role that schools play in nurturing children's independence and equipping them with skills for their future.

John brings a wealth of experience in analyzing requirements, establishing systems, and working with individuals of diverse needs, including pastoral and well-being challenges. This has provided him with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of how to foster holistic teaching and learning within and beyond the school environment. He considers himself an advocate for fair, holistic, and student-centered education and eagerly seeks collaboration with like-minded professionals to continue promoting effective and high-quality education at both regional and global levels.

Annika Jisu Babu School Counselor, Member of Child Protection and Child Safeguarding Team GEMS Modern Academy

With over 8 years of experience in the field of teaching, counseling, and promoting student and staff wellbeing, Annika Jisu currently serves as a Psychology Teacher, School Counselor, and a member of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Team (CSG) at GEMS Modern Academy. Having completed her Master in School Counseling (Diploma - U.S.A.) and Master in Clinical Psychology (India), her passion has been in the field of supporting, protecting, empowering, and uplifting the student community. During her time at Modern, she has worked closely with the team to plan, promote, and empower our stakeholders with key skills to promote holistic well-being. Currently, she is also a Restorative Practice core team member who introduced the research-backed process to the school community to promote healthy resolution of conflicts and restore relationships.

The last three years as a CSG member proved to be a challenging yet extremely meaningful journey. Along with her colleagues, Annika has been fully committed to protecting and promoting children's rights, especially their right to be protected from any form of harm, abuse, and exploitation. Through dynamic student-led initiatives, using current, up-to-date research and policies such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Wadeema Law, and the Digital Intelligence framework, she aims to develop children's understanding of their rights and responsibilities as global citizens and leaders of the future.


Rasha Al Najjar Assistant Principal – M/S & H/S Al Hekma International School

Rasha Al-Najjar is an Agricultural Engineer and a certified educator with over 15 years of experience in education. She began her career as a Science Coordinator and has since become a prominent advocate for educational advancement and innovation, with a particular focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Currently serving as the Assistant Principal for the Middle and High school divisions at Al-Hekma International School in Bahrain, Rasha continues to make a difference in the educational world.

Rasha actively contributes to the field of education through her writings and podcasts, where she shares her insights, experiences, and best practices with educators worldwide. Her educational articles provide valuable resources to support the professional development of her colleagues and inspire positive change in the educational community.

Recognized for her expertise and dedication, Rasha has been appointed as a judge for prestigious educational awards. She served as a judge for the GESS (Global Educational Supplies and Solutions) Award in 2020 and 2021, showcasing her ability to inspire and engage audiences with her knowledge and passion for innovative educational practices. Beyond her role in the school, Rasha actively seeks opportunities to collaborate with local and global institutions. By fostering partnerships, she aims to enhance educational experiences for students and contribute to the advancement of education on a broader scale.

Additionally, Rasha Al-Najjar is a passionate advocate for sustainable and environmental education. She actively promotes the integration of sustainability principles and environmental awareness into educational practices, aiming to inspire students to become responsible global citizens who prioritize environmental stewardship. She continues to make a positive impact, shaping the future of education and empowering educators worldwide.