A qualitative study of the perspectives of designated safeguarding leads responding to child protection concerns in fee‐paying schools

Claudia Bernard*, Tom Greenwood, Tom Henri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

This article explores the experiences and perspectives of designated safeguarding leads (DSL) in fee‐paying schools to better understand how they engage affluent parents when there are safeguarding and child protection concerns. The research employed a roundtable data gathering methodology, with 33 DSLs from a range of fee‐paying schools in southern England participating in the study. A primary objective of the research was to understand the factors that influence how DSLs in fee‐paying schools engage parents from affluent backgrounds. The findings showed that a major concern is that affluent parents are adept at using their power and privilege to avoid statutory interventions, which meant that the DSLs' safeguarding role was often fraught with difficulties. This article addresses factors that enable or hinder DSLs' conversations with affluent parents and offers some critical reflections on the challenges posed for their duty to safeguard the children in their care. For the purpose of this article, three key themes will be addressed: the interpretation of harm thresholds; communication issues; and mental health issues. Overall, the analysis contributes to a greater understanding of how DSLs in fee‐paying schools navigate their engagement with parents when familial risks are identified.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2830
JournalChild Abuse Review
Early online date11 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2023

Keywords

  • designated safeguarding leads
  • fee‐paying schools
  • safeguarding

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