Child-centric approach to Contextual Safeguarding rolled out in UK academy school, empowering student voice and encouraging students to take responsibility for creating safer communities.
Children and young people face risks in a range of social contexts outside of their home, including local towns, within the community, with their peers, online and in school. Whilst school safeguarding systems focus on information sharing through adults, few schools offer an authentic opportunity for students to share concerns in a manner that is safe, secure and easily accessible.
The Student Voice is a pioneering new safeguarding tool using the principles behind contextual safeguarding to place the student at the centre of school communities and reduce risk to young people. It is made up of interactive maps where students are encouraged to share their experiences and report on areas of the school, their home learning environment and local community as ‘good’, ‘ok’, or ‘bad’ in terms of safety. It is designed to give students a safe space to report concerns, whilst enabling schools to prevent and intercept safeguarding issues and prioritise and respond effectively to student concerns.
Following a successful roll out at TASIS, The American School in England, an independent, international school based outside of London, in early 2019, Stowe Valley Multi Academy Trust’s Bilton High School are excited to be pioneering their approach to contextual safeguarding, through implementing The Student Voice within their urban, secondary academy environment. This will demonstrate the tools effectiveness and versatility in a Multi Academy school setting.
See TASIS Contextual Safeguarding in Action – Empowering our Student Voice to Create Safer School Communities article here.
“We are excited to be piloting this new, and exciting project at Bilton School. Safeguarding students, and capturing their voice is something we are passionate about.
The Student Voice is a genuine attempt to place the student at the centre of the Bilton school community, to provide them with opportunities for true advocacy through authentic voice and to challenge them to play their part in the development of their school life.”
Louis Donald, Director of Safeguarding at Stowe Valley Multi Academy Trust.
“Involving students in the safeguarding process is essential if we’re to overcome the communication barriers that currently exist in schools. An approachable, easy to access, technology-based tool to express concerns will increase the chances of students coming forward and give educators the opportunity to work with them to ensure their safety. Empowering students in this way will not just help them at school but build their confidence in managing conflict and concerns in the future.“
Stephen Willoughby, CEO, The Student Voice