The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
In some cases, schools and other organisations may need to hire a safeguarding officer responsible for protecting students and vulnerable individuals from mental, physical, or emotional abuse. Safeguarding officers also help prevent harm by detecting imminent danger early on.
Teachers planning to become safeguarding officers should be familiar with the skills and responsibilities required for this role. They must be ready to protect, advocate, and guide.
Here’s everything teachers need to know about becoming a safeguarding officer.
What do Safeguarding Officers Do?
If you want to shift your career and have a passion for working with children, you can consider becoming a safeguarding officer. Every organisation that works with children needs a designated person who can ensure the safety and protection of children, which is what a safeguarding officer does.
Every organisation working with children should take proper measures to protect them from abuse or neglect before it’s too late. One of the measures they can take is hiring a safeguarding officer. A safeguarding officer plays a crucial role in promoting a secure and safe environment for children.
As a safeguarding officer, you will have an important role to play. It covers ample scope, which requires getting more involved in supporting and helping children and vulnerable individuals and promoting and protecting their health and wellbeing.
Sometimes, a safeguarding officer is called a designated safeguarding lead or child protection officer if they work with children exclusively. They will be responsible for all the safeguarding procedures in the organisation, including providing training, ensuring policies are up to date, and reporting any concerns to relevant authorities.
Can Anyone Be a Safeguarding Officer?
Anyone can become a safeguarding officer. It’s a role that is not only limited to teachers. However, you will have a higher chance of getting the job if you have several years of experience working in an organisation involving children or vulnerable individuals.
In many cases, the role requires someone with relevant safeguarding experience and several years of working with children, which is why teachers are the perfect fit. In addition, a safeguarding officer has to have the proper knowledge of the relevant legislation and any changes or additions made to the safeguarding policy. Therefore, it is a great help to have experience working in child protection before you take up this role.
Before you can work as a safeguarding officer and be allowed to work with children, you must pass relevant DBS checks. You must have no criminal background prohibiting you from getting into close contact with children, younger people, or any vulnerable individual.
Sometimes, your role can be stressful since it will require dealing with situations that could challenge you emotionally and mentally. Therefore, you must prepare yourself to work under these conditions and be resilient no matter the situation.
Do I Need Qualifications to Become a Safeguarding Officer?
Most organisations require safeguarding officers to have a higher level of training in the field of safeguarding. Taking up safeguarding courses may be necessary. These courses apply to anyone actively involved in the safeguarding process of the organisation they will be working for.
Several skills and qualities can help with the role of a safeguarding officer. Among these are good people skills. As a safeguarding officer, you will interact with parents, carers, and colleagues regarding safeguarding concerns. You must be able to discuss delicate topics calmly but confidently and appropriately handle difficult situations.
Excellent listening and communication skills are also essential to becoming a good safeguarding officer since the role requires actively listening and communicating with others. You must also have good verbal and written communication skills since you will provide training, prepare reports, and develop safeguarding policies.
What are the Main Roles of a Safeguarding Officer in Schools?
A safeguarding officer can have various responsibilities to carry out alongside their other roles in the organisation. One of their duties is to implement a process for reporting issues concerning the welfare of a child. The process should be accessible for everyone in the organisation to ensure proper procedures are adhered to in dealing with safeguarding issues, such as filing paperwork and reporting the case to relevant authorities.
Safeguarding officers will also be responsible for advising issues concerning safeguarding. All other staff in the organisation should know who they will go to if they have concerns about safeguarding. The safeguarding officer is the first person they should contact, and the officer must be able to offer advice and take further actions if necessary.
Another role of a safeguarding officer is to ensure everyone in the organisation who works with children receives the appropriate training. The officer must make sure to update and deliver the training accordingly. It should cover topics like spotting signs of abuse and what to do if a child comes to them with a problem.
Sometimes, several staff members will take on the role of a safeguarding officer. In large organisations, there will be a team designated for safeguarding. Many safeguarding officers in children’s organisations and schools are also responsible for promoting the children’s health and wellbeing and ensuring that parents and guardians receive the information and assistance they need.
What are Safeguarding Policies and Procedures?
Safeguarding policies and procedures refer to detailed instructions and guidelines supporting an organisation’s safeguarding policy statement. It should explain the steps organisations must take to ensure the safety and well-being of children, young people, and vulnerable individuals.
For instance, the safeguarding procedures must cover procedures on how staff and volunteers respond to concerns of abused and neglected children and how to recruit people in your organisation who will be involved in working with children.
Organisations must also ensure that everyone knows what to do if they have confirmed that something is happening in a child’s life, whether or not it involves your organisation. In addition, the organisation should have a clear policy statement indicating what the organisation can do to ensure the safety of children under your care.