Thanks to our collaboration with specialists in a wide range of fields related to child protection, we can share their expertise and knowledge with our global school community as they navigate child protection and safeguarding responsibilities.
These valuable collaborations help us continuously evolve the themes and content of our well-established child protection workshops to ensure they meet the needs of our changing world.
To gauge where we are right now, we asked Susie March and Emily Meadows—speakers at our Child Protection Foundation Workshop in Frankfurt in May 2023—about the challenges facing our community related to child protection and safeguarding and what our workshops can do to help.
What are the main challenges that the child protection and safeguarding community are facing?
Susie March, CIS Affiliated Consultant and specialist Comprehensive Sexuality Education consultant for international schools
I see the challenges in four key areas:
- The increasing influence of and ever-diversifying, online social media world in opinion-forming and decision-making for young people.
- Covid isolation has inhibited social skills development in a large proportion of young people, causing problematic behaviour as we start to emerge from lockdown scenarios.
- With increased exposure to adult material from a young age, schools are expected to navigate evolving problematic behaviours amongst the student body within this ever-changing landscape.
- Staff recruitment, training, and retention. In a transient international community, it can be difficult to ensure consistent messaging and that training and development does not simply leave when a person leaves an organisation. A whole school approach that uses policy, training and regular information sharing, induction and staff briefings can be useful.
Dr Emily Meadows, CIS Affiliated Consultant and LGBTQ+ consultant
Students experiencing harm related to their identities (i.e. race, religion, sexual and gender identity) are unsure of what rights and protections are in place to support them.
While students may receive the message from their school that "all students should be treated with respect", they are not always told what they can do if they are disrespected or targeted because of their identity.
Further, reporting identity-based harm may trigger backlashes, and potentially create an even more hostile environment, which can lead to silencing and, therefore, a reduced ability for the school to understand, prevent, and respond to identity-based harm.
What can participants expect to take away from your workshop sessions to help with these challenges?
- They’ll gain a better understanding of identity-based harm and how it relates to child safeguarding.
- I’ll invite participants to consider how identity-based harm may be operating within their own schools and be better positioned to interrupt it.
- They’ll take away a policy template they can use to strengthen their school's safeguarding measures.
- They’ll learn how to harness stakeholder power. We’ll be looking at tools and tactics to win support from culturally-diverse parents, faculty, and the broader school community.
- Frameworks, frameworks, frameworks! They’ll receive advice on how to select the right global frameworks to support comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in their context.
- Even if willing, not everyone is suitable to facilitate CSE so we’ll look at how to approach that discussion respectfully and effectively.
- We’ll also scope out the requirements for their school to meet CIS accreditation standards.
CIS I-DEA workshops & resources
Our members can log into the CIS Community portal> KnowledgeBase > Inclusion via diversity, equity, & anti-racism (I-DEA) to explore the workshops and resources to guide safeguarding and inclusion work in schools.
Available to everyone on the blog: Complex questions: LGBTQ+ inclusive approaches to overnight school trips | We need to talk about suicide and sudden death | Ten legal questions to help leaders address safeguarding in their schools | Tiny little thing | Restorative justice and practices in international teaching and learning | How international schools can safeguard LGBTQ+ students & faculty | Recognizing & addressing identity-based harm in schools
- Learn about child protection and well-being at CIS
- Members can join a CIS workshop, foundational or deep dive, to develop their knowledge, understanding and practices relating to child protection in internal schools
- Members can also find a wide range of child protection information and resources in the CIS Community portal
- And there are lots of related blogs with perspectives and guidance to explore here on the CIS Perspectives Blog