Advice to myself as a new DSL part 1 #safeguarding

Ok, I have done the two day course with my LSCB , now what? If I was to look back what advice would I give myself.

Read up on the documentation – there is a lot so don’t get over whelmed. Read the basic, write notes in the front to go back to and check that you know what they mean and if we need to implement. Ones to start with are KCSIE, Prevent Duty, NMS ( if you are a boarding school), safer working guidance, blueprint for counselling, data protection document, missing children policy and Disqualifaction by association. As you read through these you will pick up on documents they refer to. Highlight these and come back to them. Remember you are only a DSL not a counsellor or nurse or social worker.

Do a sheet of all the acronyms. There are far to many to remember and on the phone you will get lost.

VERY IMPORTANT – visit your Local social services. You may come away with more questions than you started with but they will remember you and when you have to make that important phone call it can make the world of difference. I really wish that I had done this sooner.

Admit you don’t know everything. Staff will think you do and will come and ask questions. Go away and read into what they have asked but also ask them to do some digging.  One example came from my ART teacher who asked about a safeguarding risk assessment for the photography dark room. I had no idea were to start, asked her to discuss it with other schools. Three weeks later she had done so and written her own risk assessment which was a lot more compensate that what QI would have written and the department took ownership for their own safeguarding.

Accept that staff will make a joke out of you. ( tease you really)  I know that safeguarding is important and can be all consuming, but most teachers don’t see it the same way as a DSL. And do we really want them to? Alright we want them to follow school safeguarding procedure but schools school be a happy and safe place. Staff an rely on me but they are aLSB aware that I can get a little OCD with my thinking.  In fact the Headmaster  sent me a Christmas card with pictures of snowmen in school grounds and inside wrote, ” oh no, they aren’t wearing lanyards”.  To me this means that I am approachable but that they are also aware of what I am thinking.

Plan and practice your inset. Get a good mix of facts and humour. People will only remember half of what you tell them at the start of term, and they will want to get on with planning lessons and notice boards.  Have handouts, emails, cards with the improtant facts. Get everyone to sign to sign to say that they have attended the inset and then send a reminder a month later with the key issues. Keep refreshing staff memory with points at weekly issues.

Lastly for part 1 – don’t worry and have a glass of bubbly every now and again.

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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