Employers should have in place clear guidance and protocols for keeping in contacting with pupils and parents whilst schools are closed, including vulnerable children/young people and their families.
ASCL advises that schools and colleges adopt the following as part of their procedure:
- Contact and conversations should be logged (including unsuccessful attempts) and undertaken with the full knowledge of the DSL.
- The school/college/key contact sets out clear expectations for families – a regular day and a time when calls will be made.
- Parents and pupils are aware who they should contact in a crisis and the remit of their key contact.
- Give staff a script for common questions or concerns (these will change as time goes on and should be regularly reviewed with staff).
The procedure will also need to make clear WHO is responsible for keeping in contact with pupils and parents.
Members of staff who know the young person well may be best placed to keep in regular touch (key worker, form tutor, LSA), rather than a member of the senior leadership team or DSL.
Consideration needs to be given as to how staff will be contacting pupils and parents in order to both ensure appropriate safeguarding measures are in place and to comply with relevant GDPR legislation.
ASCL’s advice is that staff should not contact children or their families using their own phone.
Ideally, staff should make contact via the school or college’s online systems. Where this is not possible, ASCL would advise the purchase of cheap pay-as-you-go mobiles on behalf of the school or college wherever possible. These costs should be included in the school/college's list of additional costs as a result if the COVID-19 health emergency. Where staff have to make the purchase themselves, they should be reimbursed as soon as possible.
In order to support safeguarding, calls should be recorded, as should one-to-one video calls.