Paul Slater, Vice President of Health, Safety and Environment and Sara Hedger, Head of Safeguarding and Child Protection share their priorities
Our CEO recently identified a key priority for GEMS as keeping our students safe and ensuring that our staff and adults who use our sites return home safe and well to their families every night. A huge amount of effort and collaborative working goes into making sure this happens and creating a positive health, safety and safeguarding culture is the first step. GEMS has made exceptional strides in this in recent years with international accreditation and national recognition for the work we do.
Excellence is one of our GEMS core values and this is not only applicable to students. Our Safeguarding and Health and Safety teams are committed to ensuring that these areas are world class and we must continue to strive for excellence in every area in which we operate.
One of the improvement areas, which we have been focusing on is how we report, manage and monitor safeguarding concerns, incidents and accidents across the group. With hundreds of thousands of students and staff across the world, it is hugely important that we encourage transparency in reporting, as this allows us to make continuing improvements and ensure we have an accurate picture of the issues our schools are facing. That way we can plan support to areas of the greatest need, for example; training Mental Health First Aiders to support students and adults who may be experiencing challenges.
With this in mind, the Health and Safety, Safeguarding and IT teams have collaborated to develop an in-house system based on the award winning GEMS Phoenix platform. The system is completely bespoke and was created with School Support Centre staff and school staff working in partnership to create something that really works for schools.
We have the capability to report, investigate and manage actions all from one central system, which can save time and reduce stress for busy Designated Safeguarding Leads, MSOs and Principals, ensuring timely actions. Audits and inspections can now be completed in a user-friendly manner, saving time and allowing for more accurate recording and managing of risks.
Finally, the system provides a central library of key information, which allows schools access to health, safety and safeguarding policies, procedures and information, again making it easy for schools to use as a one-stop shop. Simple reporting, escalation routes and the ability to track actions over time all add up to a system that can really enhance our ability to keep our students and adults safe. We will be working on additional features over time and looking to make even further improvements and enhancements to the system.
Watch this space.