Online safeguarding software will protect students both during lockdown and when schools reopen
Justin Reilly, CEO, safeguarding specialist, Impero
Working as a teacher and school advisor for most of my career, I have witnessed first-hand the essential safeguarding role teachers play. Teachers invest countless hours engaging with their students to form a bond of trust, and besides parents, teachers have the highest chance of identifying concerning patterns and warning signs early.
More than half of British schools log these concerns using paper-based filing systems. However, the national lockdown has laid bare the inadequacies of this system: teachers are unable to access their usual systems, meaning that new incidents are logged as isolated incidents (if at all) and kept offsite. Consequently, child protection referrals have dropped by more than 50 percent (as reported by The Guardian).
We must ensure that teachers are ‘safeguarding enabled’ as children’s wellbeing, and in some cases, lives, are at stake. To do so, we must turn from the filing cabinet to the cloud: we recently launched a free-forever online safeguarding solution for schools across the country, allowing them to report incidents, review records and easily collaborate with other professionals. The solution is called Back:drop, and it is available now. Crucially, it will provide staff with a continuous safeguarding record, so when schools reopen, teachers can start connecting the dots, spotting concerns and getting every child the help they may need.
What is Impero Back:drop?
At Impero, we were already in the late stages of developing the Back:drop software when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The associated lockdown made it clear that our technology needed to be made available to all schools as a matter of urgency.
Teachers and staff members, who are currently fulfilling most of their responsibilities from home using the internet, can connect to Back:drop from any web-connected device. Staff can easily log concerns, and they are then stored in the cloud where they can be reviewed by other staff, optionally shared with parents, and forwarded on to external agencies where necessary. Rather than leaning on emails or other unfit-for-purpose systems for safeguarding, this dedicated platform is secure, purpose-built, and accessible and staff can use it just as well while working from home as they can in the classroom.
Back:drop will remain free forever, providing a safe and robust alternative to paper slips, ensuring that no child is overlooked or neglected as a result of an administrative error.
Preventing self-harm and suicide
Safeguarding is more vital now than ever, but it cannot be conducted effectively if schools rely on inaccessible paper-based systems or scattered, decentralised stopgaps. Back:drop is free, secure and online, and we hope that schools adopt it to ensure that every child gets the help they need – both during the lockdown and once classrooms reopen.