DSL – need a new filing cabinet #safeguarding

Normally a job for this time of year is to go through the CP files and ( depending on your policy) dispose, forward on or archive students info for those that have left your establishment. This year however every LSCB has agreed that “all schools and colleges must now keep all Safeguarding or Child protection files for the duration of the Goddard enquiry, so until 2020”. This means that all safeguarding files should be kept until the child would be 25 years in age.

If I am honest with you its lovely having clarity as this has been one of those controversial sentences in the Safeguarding policy.  Data protection documents have suggested that you keep info until they are 21 and then shred it. LSCB have suggested that you keep info until 25. Ofsted previously seemed unclear but  suggested that as long as you followed your policy then this was fine. Our policy was that we keep info until they have left for 7 years and then after discussion with the Headmaster would review if the info should be shredded or not ( which means we are basically covering all angles).

What has always been time consuming is sending on the information to a pupils new school. Normally I wait until they request info.  Most schools ( DSL) will do this in the first week in September.  However I have been in situations when I am still holding onto info in November and then I have to chase around to find out what school the pupil has gone on to ( as an independent school we may not always be aware). This obviously works both ways, as I have to request any info for new students that have joined me. This year I received three requests in June, which seemed odd as the pupil was still with me.  I rang up the schools and explained that a lot can happen in 3 weeks and also I feel uncomfortable sending confidential material when the pupil could change their mind and decide to remain with us.  It hadn’t dawned on them, however I am impressed with how organised they are.  They are happy to wait until September. Which reminds me, I must bring this up with my Local Safeguarding manager and see what her thoughts are on this.

The other issue is Universities. If we are keeping info until the child is 25, why are we not sending it onto Universities? I realise that they are technically an adult, but what if the safeguarding issue is a mental health or self harming issue which the child / adult will still need support with.  At my recent Governors Safeguarding audit, one of our Governors is from Cambridge University and he asked a lot of information about how we document and store this info.  It sounds to me as this will be something that will happen soon.  Until then, I think I need a new filing cabinet, maybe it should be a fun colour? Ohh saw this on ebay. 71c39b2f337bb80c6458ed10d0148331Not sure pink is my colour.

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

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