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The first two days of February were reserved in the school calendar for a safeguarding induction programme for both staff and pupils.
The programme on Thursday included a presentation to the boys by Mr Luke Lamprecht, a renowned expert in child development and safeguarding. The boys were warned about the dangers of social media including the latest trends in extortion, how the misuse and/or abuse of substances can lead to a life of dependency, and how to react to inappropriate behaviour from peers and adults. Luke reminded the boys of the importance of enjoying activities that are safe and which do not pose a threat to the wellbeing of themselves, other pupils and teachers.
In the afternoon, the safeguarding team hosted a seminar on child safety for the broader Makhanda school community at which twelve schools were represented. The speakers included representatives from the Department of Basic Education who addressed the National Framework on School Safety, SACE covering the Code of Conduct for educators, and the SAPS advising on the services offered by the Child Protection Unit and the processes to be followed in the case of suspected child abuse. Lastly, Luke addressed the legal obligations and statutes that govern child protection in schools.
On Friday morning Luke Lamprecht inspected various aspects of our boarding offering, for which we received a qualified report.
The staff development slot on Friday morning was well attended by teachers and administrative staff from both DSG and College. Luke advised the audience on how to identify, report and support pupils and teachers who are victims of abuse and harm. Included in the talk were measured strategies to help alleviate cases of grooming within the school system, how to create and maintain safe spaces, and methods for the continuous training of staff on safeguarding-related matters.
The two days were both informative and insightful, and provided a positive start to the year.