Teachers’ Standard 1 – establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect
When I begin placement, the very first thing I do is download and thoroughly read their safeguarding policy. This is because the safety of all pupils is paramount and as a teacher, you are responsible for this. Consequently, I have already under gone two separate Safeguarding courses (as previously mentioned). It is fundamental that the children feel safe in your classroom in order to gain respect. I understand how every policy is different varying on the school setting but I understand that every school should ALWAYS have a designated safeguarding lead. This is something that truly interests me and I would like to take further with relevant training to hopefully gain the relevant qualifications in order to do this myself. In schools, it is also important that that school makes you aware of their policy and of what to do if there are any allegations, etc. However, it is also so important to keep yourself safe as well as the children and there are many ways to do so – never be one-to-one with a child and always keep your door open. These are two things that a consider paramount and aim to always do within my teaching career. I have attached a variety of safeguarding documents that have been provided to me by two differing placement schools. It is interesting to see how they vary, but they still have the same beliefs and outcomes.
Due to a critical incident that occurred anonymously, Edge Hill University planned a seminal seminar based on internet safety. Looking at social media, we discussed what we should do if a parent contacted you on Facebook. What would the correct approach be to deal with this? Would you reply? It is a really tricky situation. BUT, you MUST NOT respond via social media. You should go into the school and discuss this with senior leadership and ask for advice, you could contact university (if you were a trainee) or you could seek advice from a union. As a result of this, the school should contact the parent and arrange a meeting to discuss the matter. As a teacher, you cannot be friends with a parent on Facebook despite whether you knew them prior to becoming a teacher. It is so important to think about your social media interactions and privacy settings.
‘PECS was developed in 1985 as a unique augmentative/alternative communication intervention package for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities.’
Where can I start? ASD has always been a passion of mine. It is something that I truly love to research further and gain experience within. As a result of this, I currently work part time as a ‘Play Leader’ with children whom have ASD and I also volunteer in a specialist school. Additionally, I am passionate about inclusive education and that every single child, despite their differing needs, should be involved in ALL aspects of education. I also believe that children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) should have the same opportunities as those who do not. As ASD often affects communication skills, I consider PECS as a vital resource to promote pupil voice and inclusion. I am lucky enough to work with PECS on a weekly basis and also have my own set to use (in the image below). Although I have not been trained on how to use this, I use this effectively with the children to communicate their basic needs. The most used visual images tend to be: toilet, I like, I do not like, snack, play and wash hands. Without PECS, I believe that this will have a damaging impact on those children who are non-verbal and fully rely on PECS to communicate with others. Due to my experience using this, I would feel confident if I ever had to implement this resource into my classroom. Who knows… I may end up working in a specialist school somewhere in the future.
In the near future, I would love to attend developmental training sessions on PECS to develop my knowledge and understanding. As I only use this to communicate basic needs, I would like to use it more in depth to form sentences, etc. I also aim to continue my research into ASD and how to cater for these needs. I am currently writing a 1500 word assignment based on how PECS can support teaching and learning, and this has already enabled me to develop my theoretical knowledge and understanding further!
Here is a picture of the PECS I currently use:
Teachers’ Standards links –
- TS1 – establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect.
- TS2 – demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how pupils learn and how this impacts on teaching
- Part 2 -treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position
Thursday 22nd December 2016
As additional training, I took part in a 6 hour food safety course. This course was level 2 and the following subjects were covered:
- Microbiological hazards
- Food poisoning and its controls
- Contamination hazards
- Spoilage and preservation
- Food handlers and personal hygiene
- Food premises and equipment
- Food pests and controls
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Food safety law and enforcement
I think that this course was very beneficial as it aloud me to understand the risks of contamination. Consequently, it is fundamental that personal hygiene is of a good standard when working with any forms of food. This course was specifically aimed for when teaching children with SEN/D within mainstream or special school environments. This is because children whom have additional needs may be unable to feed themselves and may rely on assistance. However, it is also important to note that you may be required to make food within mainstream settings. For example, during my professional practice, teachers were in control of the food at break time and at events such as school discos. The course raised the issue of not washing your hands correctly and provided me with effective methods to do so. As an adult, I already understand the importance of washing my hands but it was still interesting to see the consequences of not doing so. As this course is a level 2, it may be interesting to obtain the level 3 certificate in the imminent future. I think that this course may often be overlooked by teachers as they often handle food without thought. However, I found it to be very beneficial. Also, it was interesting to gain knowledge of the main types of allergens and how to control this within a classroom/play scheme setting. As trainee teachers/qualified teachers, it is OUR job to keep the children safe. In order to do this, it is important that I get to know each child individually and become aware of their allergies. In regards to practice, I have seen this in forms of posters or child profiles.
Teachers’ Standards links…
TS1a, TS5d, TS8d
I am showing my developing knowledge of Safeguarding and the understanding of the effect that this has on children’s overall learning. After scoring 96.8% on the final assessment, I feel confident with the process of dealing with disclosures. I also fully understand the process that I may need to take and the first port of call is the Designated Safeguarding Lead. However, if they are unavailable then it is important to take the report to the headteacher. You must never ask leading questions or promise to keep the child’s disclosure a secret. The child needs to know who their disclosure will be passed onto. However, always make sure that you reassure the child to avoid them feeling anxious. I also fully understand the importance of each member of staff having a clear DBS check but it is also important that every single person who enters the school to also have this. It is our responsibility to protect each child!
In the future, I aim to keep up to date with the DfE website for changes in policies. It is SO important that you are up to date with any changes.
On Wednesday 30th November 2016, I took part in additional safeguarding training outside of university. This is because I believe that it is so important for teachers to be aware of how to safeguard all children as we all hold a duty of care! I already had a prior knowledge of safeguarding policies and how to support children if needed, but I wanted to keep my knowledge of this up to date. The training lasted two and a half hours and was very emotional yet informative.
We looked at a variety of real life case studies and discussed how these could have been prevented and how we would deal with them. It overwhelmed me to know that most case studies could have easily have been prevented as teachers often dismissed calls for help. As a teacher, I will NEVER dismiss a child’s disclosure and will ensure that it will be reported if needed. It is also important to make sure that the child knows that you cannot keep anything a secret, especially if people are put at harm. So, you should not make the child promises or ask any leading questions. Prior to starting placement, it is important that I familiarise myself with their safeguarding policies and officers so that I am aware of this incase any problems did occur. During the training, it was mentioned to never be one-to-one with a child. However, as a teacher it is important to consider that sometimes this may be unavoidable. If this does happen, it is important to protect yourself and the child by leaving any doors open and try to make sure that you are in public area.