At Chailey School, we want all of our students to grow up as respectful young people and to be part of a positive, active culture. As such, we believe it is important to outline our approach to peer on peer abuse.
We have already updated our PSHE curriculum to cover all aspects of the Government requirements. This includes teaching about healthy relationships, consent, pornography and bullying (including cyber-bullying), racism, transphobia and homophobia.
We have updated our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy by adding an addendum, which has been recommended by ESCC, to include sexual harassment. This is going to Governors for approval next week and we will then place it on our website under Parents / Policies.
Everything we do begins with culture, ethos and our Chailey values of respect, independence, creativity, kindness, participation and community. As Senior Staff, we have reviewed what we already do and are preparing an assembly for all students to be shown in the next 3 weeks, as well as creating some teaching and learning resources that will be delivered annually to the whole school, through our ‘Community and Culture’ Tutor Sessions. These will draw on the latest resources and media articles to keep the conversation about the issues of peer on peer abuse alive. We are also reviewing our sanctions system in order to better track any issues as specifically as possible.
We have always used the most up to date advice and resources from the Safeguarding Team at East Sussex Councils’ Standards and Learning Effectiveness Service. They provide us with great information on how to support young people and how to safeguard them if they have encountered issues.
Safeguarding is our most important duty. We have already trained 8 staff to take on ‘Designated Safeguarding Lead’ responsibilities in school and keep everyone updated on new accountabilities, resources and issues. We have a safeguarding recording system which is secure and monitored effectively. We hold regular briefings and training and share information with all staff. We are also running training on ‘unconscious bias’, for our staff in September.
As Head Teacher, I am currently setting up a student groups so that I can hold regular meetings with them to listen to their views on issues of peer-on-peer abuse and school culture. We will meet each half term. We are also working with the University of Brighton and are hoping to welcome some of their students to Chailey, to conduct some student voice on attitudes towards race among our students.
Of course, we encourage our students to report any issues to a trusted adult in school and we very much hope that all students feel that they can do this. However, to ensure that students feel comfortable and safe doing so, there are alternative ways that they can report to us.
They can use the email address to report any issue discreetly and a specialist member of staff will get back to them quickly.
We also have an email address for students and families to use for mental health issues.
There are also new external supports available; Stop Abuse Altogether can be viewed at campaign.gov.uk and the NSPCC has a helpline and email address
We are creating a new noticeboard near our canteen and student toilets to display all of this information and also to let students know which adults in school they can go to with any sensitive information.
Sometimes it may be necessary to refer young people for specialist support if they have experienced harmful sexual abuse or displayed signs of being the culprit, which we are able to do via external services. We also regularly liaise with the police over legal aspects of issues raised.