Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities in relation to their education functions, the governing bodies of maintained schools and the governing bodies of further education institutions (which include sixth-form colleges) to exercise their functions with a view of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are either pupils at a school or who are students under 18 years of age attending further education institutions.

The same duty applies to independent schools (which include academies and free schools) by virtue of regulations made under Section 157 of this Act.

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In order to fulfil their duty under Sections 157 and 175 of the Education Act 2002, all educational settings to whom the duty applies, should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children

All schools should give effect to their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils under the Education Act 2002 and, where appropriate, under the Children Act 1989 by:

  • Creating and maintaining a safe learning environment for children and young people
  • Identifying where there are child welfare concerns and taking action to address them, in partnership with other organisations where appropriate

In addition, schools should have regard to specific Department for Education (DfE) guidance namely:

Other documents particularly relevant to school safeguarding leads are: 

Plus the on-line South West Child Protection Procedures

How does Our Safeguarding Children Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly seek assurance from education establishments?

Our Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Partnership (OSCP) has a particular focus on ensuring that those key people and organisations that have a duty under Section 175 or 157 of the Education Act 2002 are fulfilling their statutory obligations about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.  In order to fulfil this requirement, education establishments are required to undertake a full self assessment and declare their compliance with Section 175/157 to the SCP on an annual basis, confirming that they have:

  • A clear, written statement of the establishment’s responsibilities towards children available for all staff
  • An understood structure and lines of accountability for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
  • Staff training on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
  • Safe recruitment procedures as defined in legislation and guidance
  • Effective inter-agency working arrangements that safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • Effective information sharing practice within the organisation and with other agencies involved in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children

Audits take place and issues are addressed with individual establishments which may involve a visit to the school.

The Department for Education (DfE) provides comprehensive information on safeguarding and child protection in education establishments.