What do meerkats have to do with Safeguarding Training?
We have been using a meerkat metaphor in our Safeguarding Training for some time now. Let me explain our thinking.
Meerkats live in sophisticated social groups. There are always those who take up sentry duty, watching over the entire group of meerkats. In this role, they focus sharp attention on the safety and well-being of all, particularly the young and the vulnerable.
Those on sentry duty stand on higher ground, looking over the entire group. They have the most extraordinarily well-tuned sense of sight, smell and hearing. They use their senses to monitor the environment, alerting the group to any impending danger.
We encourage Practitioners, Managers, and Designated Safeguarding Leads alike to consider themselves as one of the meerkats on sentry duty, protective of their vulnerable adults and children.
We want delegates to take this vivid image away from our training experience.
We have recently become aware of a federation of independent free schools that have introduced a Meerkat Award in their setting. The Executive Head of this federation, a highly experienced and professionally dedicated and principled woman, introduced this practice.
The award is given for meerkat-like levels of professional alertness and observation and informed action, in the course of fulfilling their safeguarding role. It is often someone who has responded with great empathy towards a child or parent while working collaboratively with colleagues.
As we understand, the Meerkat Award in this setting is passed between Practitioners, Managers and Designated Safeguarding Leads. The most recent recipient decides on who should receive the award next, based on demonstrated high standards in safeguarding practice.
Do you feel confident enough in your role as Designated Lead Person for Safeguarding to be the meerkat sentry?
Maybe you could be the next to hold the award.
If you’re looking for advanced Designated Lead Person training, our next event is soon.
Thanks to Dušan Smetana on Unsplash for the photo of the meerkats.