By our south education safeguarding officer

Published

By nacro

in Nacro education

“Nacro puts its safeguarding at the forefront of everything it does.” A look into delivering safeguarding from DSO Zoe Whitmore

The role of the Designated Safeguarding Officer is vital in ensuring we are continuing to create a safe and empowering culture for our staff and service users within Nacro, and the wider communities.

It is a responsibility that holds both strategic duties within our organisation’s frameworks and events, as well as having daily duties to undertake within local settings. Over the last year the DSO’s in the South Area Education Centres have been accessing regular zoom meetings to allow us to have a safe place to share best practice, ask advice from our colleagues for some of the trends we have raised as well as ensure we create an open space to offload. We also work together to create new ways of working, resources, and ideas to keep the role growing along with the ever-changing safeguarding trends. This has become a valued support network for us during some very challenging times.

Engagement of our learners is vital, not only for their success on the programmes but maintaining their wellbeing. Across the centres we all have a variety of tools to ensure we are giving our leaners every opportunity to access education and support.

It is important we listen to our learners and gain an understanding of their barriers to education – DSO’s can then network with relevant agencies to give additional support, liaising with other professionals.

We can use a trauma informed approach to perhaps adjust a learner’s timetable for a period to enable them to build their engagement, as an example. The most important tool for engaging learners is communication, as this is key to building the relationships with them and their parents or carers to overcome any potential barriers to learning. By working together and contributing our expertise, from safeguarding specific groups, to user engagement in developing practical guidance, we are continuing to build something that will make a difference in our delivery.

Safeguarding is not everyone’s cup of tea; however, I prefer coffee!

I am motivated to overcome the variety of issues and concerns we face within the education settings working with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. Nacro puts its Safeguarding at the forefront of everything it does, which is inspiring, much like the learners and service users that we are fortunate enough to work with.

The resilience and strength shown by the learners/service users, to want to progress into a positive lifestyle, is such a grounding experience and being able to support them to achieve this, as part of their journey, is a real privilege. Safeguarding will always be a challenge, while there are many who harm others, by continuing to adapt the way we work and listen to those who experience or at risk of harm we can keep building a safer culture for everyone.

The safeguarding element of my role over the years has always been something I am passionate about. I have worked with some incredible young people and colleagues who have shown strength in the face of adversity. I want continue to work hard as an Area Designated Safeguarding Officer and Education Centre Manager, to provide a safe and supportive service to those we work with, by learning from experience and developing through opportunities of growth.

How to have a wellbeing conversation: