Ensuring our students' welfare
What is Child Safeguarding and Child Protection?
Part of the Education function at GEMS Education, the Child Safeguarding and Child Protection department’s purpose is to ensure that students in our care are safe from any form of abuse and that we promote the highest standards of student welfare so that our students thrive in their personal, social and emotional interactions.
Key Functions of the Child Safeguarding and Child Protection Department
- Develop and lead the safeguarding strategy for GEMS MENASA
- Advocate for and give a voice to vulnerable students who may be experiencing abuse or personal, social and emotional welfare challenges
- Develop training pathways for all adults in GEMS schools and School Support Centre relating to safeguarding and child protection
- Guide and advise school principals, Designated Safeguarding Leads and School Support Centre staff on matters regarding safeguarding of students and safe working practice for adults, including crisis management
- Develop, implement and monitor policies to ensure GEMS Education has the highest standards of student welfare and protection in our schools, including supporting the People & Organisation team on the implementation of safer recruitment practice
- Establish and maintain a consistent approach to child safeguarding and protection so that risks of harm to students are minimised in all schools irrespective of price point, curriculum or area of operation
- Develop and maintain relationships with external agencies so that GEMS students and families have access to high quality therapeutic support and advice
All of this helps ensure that GEMS provides a safe environment for students, employees and parents to operate within.
What does the department do for GEMS Education?
- In partnership with schools and subsidiaries of GEMS Education, alongside global inter-agencies and NGOs, the department develops practices to support and safeguard children, staff and volunteers within GEMS Education
- Enables children to live safe, healthy lives while receiving outstanding educational opportunities
- Seeks to embed a safeguarding culture where ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’, ultimately resulting in quality interventions and improved outcomes for children wherever they go to school in the GEMS network
- In 2016 and 2017, the Vice President of Health, Safety, and Environment and Chief Education Officer, in collaboration with KAMET Ltd., audited practices and implemented policies that have helped establish the trajectory for the GEMS Safeguarding strategy
- Creation of first GEMS-wide Regional Safeguarding Forums consisting of all Safeguarding Leads in all schools in the UAE and Qatar, with cross-phase work now initiated
- Engagement of external agencies to work with GEMS Education on effective referral routes for children at risk of significant harm
- Completion of Safer Recruitment Policy
- Level 1 Safeguarding training delivered to all staff, Level 3 training delivered to all Designated Safeguarding Leads
How do schools, staff, and parents benefit?
- Clear pathways to refer students at risk of significant harm
- Support for staff when making a referral to external agencies to protect a child as this process is often complex and can be challenging for staff to navigate alone
- Advice for staff on supporting individual students and families on mental health and student wellbeing, including self-harm, suicide ideation, neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse
- Reassurance that they have the full support of School Support Centre when dealing with challenging safeguarding issues
- Help for staff and parenting dealing with unhealthy thoughts and actions
- Support for families dealing with bereavement, divorce, separation, exam anxiety and peer relationships
- Signposting for families seeking quality therapy and medical support as well as help for them to come to terms with sometimes very challenging, upsetting situations
- Support for families and school staff at points of crisis