It doesn’t matter how small or large your school is, record keeping is vital to ensuring that children and adults are protected.
Just because you are in a small school and you know your children well does not mean you negate the need for keeping records of incidents.
So, whether it is part of your safeguarding duties, a playground incident, racist comment or to ensure you have the correct evidence for a potential parental complaint, you must make sure you keep accurate and factual records.
In Keeping Children Safe in Education, it says no single practitioner can have the full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. If children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.
Therefore, the importance of good clear child protection record keeping is identified as essential practice within all settings. Whether that is paper based or digital, it is imperative that they are kept updated, followed up and shared with the right people.
Similarly with complaints, it is important to keep an accurate and true record of everything that has been said and done. As a leader you don’t know if the complaint will be easily resolved or not. But by having a clear record from the start will make it easier to follow everything up and prepare for any potential future investigation.
Here are 5 top tips for good record keeping:
Keep everything accurate and factual.
Record your notes as things happen.
Don’t wait until things escalate. 5 minutes now is better than trying to spend hours in the future recalling and rewriting things from memory.
Have a system in place and stick to it.
Use chronologies and headings for ease of reading and understanding.
Don’t use abbreviations or shorthand that is only known to you.
Be comprehensive with your notes in case you need to refer back to them.
Keep your records secure and confidential where necessary.
By doing so will save time in the future and ensure that everyone is protected.
Ruth McGlone – Principal Consultant