Safeguarding guidance in both England and in Wales emphasises that schools and other childcare settings must work in partnership with parents. All childcare experts and educators know that if we want to help children to thrive and learn, working with parents is the most effective way of achieving this. Most of the time this is easy, as parents usually want what is best for their children.
It is important for parents to understand the school’s role in the safeguarding process. Our job is not to investigate, however, we may need to clarify information that is confusing or unclear. Our job is to listen to children and be their first line of defence.
At Athelstan we want our safeguarding to be as effective as possible to that end we operate CPOMS in school, to ensure we have a full picture of what is going on for each of our children.
The major benefit to CPOMS is how it brings together all safeguarding and pastoral care concerns to one place, alongside the necessary tools to analyse each child’s situation simply and thoroughly.
A common challenge in safeguarding practice is information or communication “falling through the gaps” as staff often have a raft of information relating to a huge number of children, spread between a range of places.
Safeguarding staff typically have had to utilise different systems to get the information they need, and log information either by paper in a locked filing cabinet in school, or by email and spreadsheets online. This leads to difficulties when a specific paper log is required, or if a job requires you to check how the attendance of a child (found on one system), compares with the logged safeguarding incidents, leading to you need contact details from somewhere else; it is clear there is an unnecessary level of admin for a task as important as safeguarding.
CPOMS brings together all the tools needed for safeguarding to one place. An appropriate member of staff can see a pupil’s full Safeguarding chronology, alongside anything a school wishes to log that it feels is appropriate. This flexibility means Athelstan can choose what to monitor SEN, Behaviour, Medical issues, allowing the school to see how all of the above and more can affect each other and impact on the child.
Reports can then be produced from the gathered information to be shared, when needed, with the relevant agencies, such as social care, police, the child’s next school, or any specialist visiting school.
Importantly, ‘Actions’ taken in response to an incident can be recorded and monitored so schools can ensure all safeguarding concerns in school are currently being looked into or resolved.
Reporting is always drawn from live data in CPOMS, and incredibly tailored and detailed reports can be created very quickly. These are then used with Governors, Ofsted, Local Authorities and outside agencies to identify pupil needs and whole school interventions to improve outcomes for children.
The tailored access for different staff means the most sensitive information is kept incredibly secure and available only to those who legally have the right to see it. Alongside that, all staff in school have access to be able to add information, without seeing more sensitive incidents in a chronology. As a further step, some staff can have access to see only what is relevant to them – for example a SENCO seeing SEN information, or a behaviour team analysing behaviour incidents and trends. In this way we do our upmost to ensure our children's safety and well being are at the centre of the care we give to all children at Athelstan School.