– Thousands of schools to receive new Safeguarding Handbook to mark alliance –
BeatBullying – the UK’s leading anti bullying charity – and Securus Software, whose child protection monitoring system is used in over 3,200 schools, have today announced a partnership which aims to help schools to tackle cyber bullying and other safeguarding issues more effectively.
The two organisations have initially collaborated to produce a Safeguarding Handbook which will be distributed to schools this week. The Handbook contains advice about how to respond to a range of child protection concerns which are frequently flagged up by Securus.
Securus, which is ten years old this month, is the UK’s longest-running provider of child protection software for schools and an Associate Member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCISS). It protects pupils from cyber bullying, online grooming, explicit images and harmful websites such as self-harm and pro-suicide sites.
Its Safeguarding Handbook contains advice for schools on these and other issues, including drugs and the use of inappropriate language in schools. The Handbook incorporates guidance from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, PAPYRUS Prevention of Suicide, Dr Richard Graham, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, as well as BeatBullying.
In his Foreword to the Safeguarding Handbook, Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), said:
“Providing a safe and secure environment has never been more challenging for schools. New technologies have provided multiple platforms through which a range of threats to children can be played out, often publicly and usually indelibly. Teachers and school staff are also more vulnerable to harassment and intimidation through increased accessibility.
“However, this is about behaviour, not technology. The threats themselves are not new – merely the channels through which they occur. Schools do not need reminding that bullying, sexual exploitation, racism, homophobia and other forms of abuse have the potential to destroy young lives and rob children of their right to a safe and enjoyable education: sadly, school leaders see this at first hand. What schools need is to be made aware of any issues before they become serious – and to know how to respond effectively to each situation.
“The NAHT is delighted to support this Handbook, which we are sure will prove a useful safeguarding tool for schools.”
Securus works by monitoring inappropriate activity across a network (including laptops and other devices) and alerts schools to anything that suggests that a child may be at risk. A screen capture is taken of every incident, showing what was displayed at the time, who was involved and when the incident took place. This enables staff to respond to potentially serious or disruptive situations with confidence and to decide on the most appropriate action to take. The system is fully customisable, which means that the names of particularly vulnerable children can be better protected, or schools alerted to any particular issues which may be unique to them.
BeatBullying, which coincidentally also reaches its ten-year milestone this month, works with children and young people across the UK to make bullying unacceptable. Through its highly-acclaimed training programmes, the charity delivers online and offline support to young people who have been affected by bullying and helps young people to help each other.
The new partnership will see the two organisations working closely together to raise awareness of both preventative and responsive approaches to tackling cyber bullying and other challenges commonly faced by schools.
Emma-Jane Cross, CEO and founder of BeatBullying, said:
“BeatBullying is pleased to be partnering with Securus, which has a decade of experience in helping schools adapt to new technologies. Protecting children has always been their clear focus and I’m sure that the Safeguarding Handbook, which is just the start of our collaboration, will be a very useful tool for schools. The Handbook supports the objectives of our popular BeatBullying training programmes which seek to create a culture in which bullying is unacceptable both on and offline.
“We look forward to working with Securus across a range of areas in order to raise awareness about what we do and to enable us to increase our support to the schools and young people we work with.”
Teresa Hughes, former police officer and child protection adviser to Securus said:
“The importance of the work that BeatBullying does with schools and their pupils cannot be overstated. Thanks to them and the critical services they provide, many thousands of children will have been spared the misery of bullying and supported through its consequences.
“The 3,200 schools that use Securus Software tell us that it helps create a culture in which children feel safe, that it supports their e-safety curriculum and, most importantly, that it protects their pupils from harm. These are clearly priorities for both Securus and BeatBullying and we look forward to working with BeatBullying and supporting their vital projects.”