Every early years setting has at least one designated safeguarding lead (DSL), who is the person appointed to take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection issues. At our nursery, it is a requirement that the whole team received safeguarding training, and in addition, we have four trained 'Designated Safeguarding Leads'. These are Iona, Rabab, Rebecca and Susie; Susie and Iona, as members of the senior management team can 'make that call', but having additional members of the team trained is essential for us to feel we are aware of any issues we might need to seek support with.
Our role, as Designated Safeguarding Leads, is to be responsible for any safeguarding and child protection issues and keep records up to date, ensuring we seek support should we need. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and part of the training is for us to constantly be on the lookout for signs of abuse, as well as areas perhaps less obvious such as radicalisation, sexual exploitation, grooming, allegations against staff, self-harm, and Female genital mutilation.
While we are the frontline at nursery for identifying concerns, we seek support for the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board for how to proceed with any cases. There is a separate Local Area Designated Officer (LADO) also available for where there are allegations against, or concerns for, adults.
This day and age, though, we do feel our role extends a little more to being aware of any of our families who may be struggling with life circumstances at this increasingly difficult time. The word 'protect' is part of the remit, and we do interpret this as looking out for each other in every way.
Please do let us know if you feel we can help you or signpost you in any way.