Wellington College Hangzhou always places the safety and wellbeing of our pupils as a top priority. This includes robust child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures. Our staff understand the central importance of this commitment and undertake annual training in safeguarding our pupils.
This week, all Wellington College Hangzhou academic and non-academic staff completed a compulsory training session on child protection and safeguarding.
The training was conducted by Basia Lubaczewska, Director of Academics (ITE) for Wellington College China. Basia has over 25 years’ experience working in education, having held international and UK Headship positions since 2007. She has worked extensively in the Middle East and Europe and more recently opened schools in London, Prague, Amsterdam, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. She has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Education from the University of East Anglia and has been an ISI inspector for over five years.
Basia is also an Associate of Karen Ardley Associates and has travelled the world facilitating leadership programmes. She has worked closely with UK universities as a mentor of PGCE students and is excited to continue this work in China, being a strong believer in supporting teachers to be aspirational and brave in their approach to teaching.
In each of the six 90-minute sessions, Basia introduced the safeguarding agenda for schools, the different categories of child abuse, adults’ responsibilities in child protection and safeguarding, and most importantly, how our staff members should response to concerns that children are being abused or neglected.
Basia noted that staying safe is one of the key outcomes for children’s wellbeing. This is one of the main reasons why school staff need to enhance their ability to identify children exposed to different types of abuse, and then take the correct steps to address the situation. Being prepared and fully trained in this area is a core responsibility of all staff members working in an educational environment.
Basia outlined the four categories of abuse – neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse – and taught staff how to recognise the different signs of each.
Since our school staff spend a significant portion of their week in direct contact with pupils, they are often in a good position to identify unusual or out of character behaviour. Basia emphasised, however, that rather than investigating or trying to resolve a pupil’s issue themselves, the main responsibility for staff in safeguarding children lies in recognizing, responding to and reporting any signs of abuse.
To recognise whether a child is the victim of abuse, Basia said a staff member can ask themselves the following four questions. “Is the sign listed as an indicator of abuse? Is the child’s behaviour out of character for the child? Does the child’s behaviour exceed the ‘normal’ range of behaviours? Is the child at risk of being harmed?” If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then staff should report the concern as soon as possible to the school’s safeguarding team.
As for responding, Basia noted four golden rules: take the child seriously, tell the child they have done the right thing by telling an adult, make an accurate record as soon as possible, and inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) without delay. She also highlighted four things that staff should not do, including promising confidentiality to children, investigating a child’s case, asking leading questions or making a child repeat the details of their story.
Designated Safeguarding Leads
In keeping with our commitment to child safeguarding, and in order to promote a clear and structured approach to dealing with any safeguarding issues that may arise, Wellington College Hangzhou has assigned a Safeguarding Team. The Wellington College Hangzhou Safeguarding Team includes;
- Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), David MacKinnon; Head of Pastoral Care
- Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, Alison Armstrong; Boarding Mistress
- Huili School Hangzhou Safeguarding Officer, Lily Zhang; SEN teacher
- Huili Nursery Hangzhou Safeguarding Officer, Angela Zhou, Huili Nursery Hangzhou Chinese Co-ordinator
- Huili School Hangzhou Junior High Safeguarding Officer, Laura Perry; Deputy Head of Junior High
- Wellington College International Hangzhou Safeguarding Officer, JoAnn Dunbar (Wellington College International Hangzhou Cover Teacher, ESL and Intervention Teacher
Together with all parents, members of staff, the Senior Leadership Team and Designated Safeguarding Leads, we look forward to a continued commitment to protecting the safety and wellbeing of our pupils. At Wellington College Hangzhou, the safety of our children is always our top priority.