Learning to stay safe
Learning to stay safe
In response to the needs of young people who are learning to navigate our increasingly complex world, safeguarding practices across educational institutions, including international schools, have continued to evolve. At UWCSEA, long-term members of our community will recognise some of the more visible measures we have introduced in the past several years in response to our ongoing commitment to ensure the wellbeing of our community. The list is extensive and includes such things as: security registration of all campus visitors, spot checks of ID while on campus, running all local and overseas trips through our CIMS database, revised guidelines on taking and sharing photos of students, displaying designated safeguarding lead posters, the move to Google messaging for instant messaging communication with students, and even the introduction of a bus tracking app by transport provider Yeap.
While we do our best to ensure the campuses are safe environments for the children and young people in our care, part of our systemic response is the proactive empowerment of our students. This has been enhanced by the integration of Safe Behaviours learning as part of our Personal and Social Education (PSE) curriculum. As part of our PSE Strands Personal Safety, Digital Safety and Healthy Relationships, elements of the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum have been modified for our unique school and national context and added to our programme. This world-class, evidence-based child safety programme, developed by the South Australian Department of Education, is used by a number of international schools around the world. Adapted after careful review of available resources, it provides UWCSEA with a robust international benchmark for safeguarding learning.
Why do students need to learn about Safe Behaviours?
At UWCSEA, keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility. This extends to a responsibility to ensure our students are equipped to make sense of the world around them and to make decisions that maximize the safety of themselves and others. It is based on the foundation of developing respectful relationships, in keeping with our belief that all children and young people have a right to:
- be treated with respect and to be protected from harm
- be asked for their opinions about things that affect their lives and to be listened to
- feel and be safe in their interactions with adults and other children and young people
- understand as early as possible what is meant by ‘feeling and being safe’
What does this look like in the curriculum?
Safe Behaviours learning has been integrated from K–12, as part of our PSE curriculum. When introducing concepts around Safe Behaviours, teachers use age-appropriate language and accessible, relevant activities to explore the themes of having a right to be safe and making choices to keep ourselves safe.
Within these themes, there are four focus areas, which are examined in growing complexity in accordance with the age of the learners:
1. The right to be safe, e.g., understanding the rights of the child
2. Relationships, e.g., understanding what positive, healthy relationships look like
3. Recognising and reporting abuse, e.g., what constitutes unhealthy or dangerous situations that put young people at risk or in harm
4. Protective strategies, e.g., assertive communication and problem-solving strategies to navigate potentially risky and dangerous situations