The six week summer break can be a difficult time for some children. There are some things that you can do to support children and families who are likely to struggle:
- Make sure your school website is updated with national helpline numbers and support services e.g., local food banks, holiday activities and food schemes
- Show children where to find the information before the holidays
- Meet with vulnerable children that receive support and ask them how they are feeling about the holidays and if they need anything before the end of term.
- Consider children with additional needs – do you need to prepare them for changes? Are there any activities you can signpost them to?
- Consider young carers – liaise with their social worker and update them on any current concerns in plenty of time.
- Consider your looked after children – have a 1-1 conversation with carers, thinking through the impact of the long school break and ask if they need extra support.
- Consider sharing relevant safeguarding or pastoral information with parents before the holidays.
- Think about mental health and consider sharing strategies with children to help them with their emotional health and wellbeing before the school closes.
- Share well-being tips with staff and children – remind them about the importance of exercise, daylight, music, healthy eating – preparing them in many ways.
- Think about who needs to be contacted and what needs to happen to safeguard children during the holidays.
Thinking ahead to September 2022
Consider training and development – what do you need to cover and how can you ensure that staff understand? There are changes being introduced in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022.
Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews – do staff need a refresher on the four types of abuse and the signs and indicators? Think about the cases of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Star Hobson and Louis Mwangi and all the other children who have been murdered and abused. What were the lessons learned and what do we need to do to ensure all staff are aware? What key topics do you need to cover? Is it a refresher on child-on-child abuse or safer working practice? Should you revisit domestic violence and abuse, discrimination and equality and violence against women and girls? With the ever-increasing cost of living, many families are living under both financial and emotional pressures. Drug and alcohol abuse and parental mental health problems can also be exacerbated, particularly with the expected economic crisis.
Pupil Voice – what needs to be planned for the autumn term in relation to PSHE, RSHE and teaching children about safeguarding, being kind, respectful and healthy relationships and how we are encouraging children to tell us their wishes and feelings, offering them a safe space in school and a trusted adult? A greater emphasis on pastoral care!
Child-on-Child Abuse – is this part of your safeguarding policy truly reflected in practice or are there any discussions that need to take place with staff to obtain their views on its implementation? Do children feel supported, whether they are victims or perpetrators and how is your school addressing bullying, cyberbullying and child-on-child abuse?
My experience this term indicates these are growing issues in schools so what can we do to address these difficulties – can you nominate a group of staff and children that can be trained to champion these issues in your school?
Contact and Support during the Summer break
I will still be around to support you during school closures, you will find me on social media in various places:
If you haven’t already, why not join the discussion with like-minded people in my free group here Safeguarding in Education Community Group.
You will find me on Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/chalktalkeducation/
You will find me on Twitter here https://twitter.com/ChalktalkEduc
You will find me on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/ChalktalkEduc
You will find me on Linked in here https://www.linkedin.com/in/anastasiageorgiou1/
I have a new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to contact me for support and advice on any safeguarding in education matters.
Thank you for keeping children safe from harm and all your relentless hard work this academic year. Thank you also for reading this blog and sharing it with your staff and governors. It is almost time to relax, re-charge and re-set. I wish you all a restful, happy and healthy summer holiday.