by Joanna Feast, 25 February, 2019

Jigsaw 11-16 and Safeguarding

The statutory guidance for schools and colleges, ‘Keeping children safe in education’, came into force on 3 April 2014. The guidance set out the responsibilities placed on schools and colleges to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It replaced ‘Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education’. It was then been replaced with a new document of the same name, in March 2015.  It has been updated in September 2016 and again in September 2018, under the new title Keeping children safe in education.

Statutory guidance from the Department for Education (the department) has been issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, and the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015. Schools and colleges in England must have regard to it when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. For the purposes of this guidance, ‘children’ includes everyone under the age of 18.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all practitioners should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of the guidance as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

Ofsted adopts the definition of safeguarding used in the Children Act 2004 and in ‘Working together to safeguard children’. This can be summarised as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

According to the definition, safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. It relates to aspects of school life including:

  • pupils’ health and safety
  • the use of reasonable force
  • meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions
  • providing first aid
  • educational visits
  • intimate care
  • internet or e-safety
  • appropriate arrangements to ensure school security, taking into account the local context.


How Jigsaw PSHE can help your school with safeguarding

The mapping grid below shows some of the ways the Jigsaw 11-16 programme helps to teach students about various aspects of safeguarding, where relevant to a PSHE programme of learning. It displays a range of different lessons within Jigsaw 11-16 that cover safeguarding from a student’s perspective – teaching about keeping themselves (and others) safe while still enjoying the world and all it has to offer.

Note that:

  • Not all lessons from all year groups are represented here, as the grid below offers a flavour of how Jigsaw 11-16 can support schools.
  • The ‘Big Bit’ of the lessons can be expanded to include some of the concepts listed in the grid below, in order to meet student needs.

Jigsaw’s whole-school approach also engenders positive, healthy relationships which helps young people recognise uncomfortable or inappropriate relationships and know how to get help.


Safeguarding action may be needed to protect children and learners from Age group Puzzle Piece number and name
neglect 14-15 Healthy Me 4 Extraordinary minds
physical, sexual or emotional abuse 13-14 Relationships 1 Power in relationships
bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying 13-14 Celebrating Difference 4 Bullying
racist, disability, homophobic or transphobic abuse 13-14 Celebrating Difference

5 Discrimination

6 Prejudice and stereotyping

gender-based violence, or violence against women and girls 14-15 Relationships 4 Coping with relationship breakdown
peer-on-peer abuse 14-15 Celebrating Difference 5 Equality in relationships part 2
radicalisation or extremist behaviour 12-13 Celebrating Difference 4 The power of persuasion
child sexual exploitation and trafficking 14-15 Relationships 3 Challenges to healthy relationships
child criminal exploitation and county lines 14-15 Dreams & Goals 5 Plan for success – playing the odds
the impact of new technology on sexual behaviour, for example ‘sexting’ and accessing pornography 15-16 Relationships 4 Media influences on relationships
teenage relationship abuse 14-15 Relationships 3 Challenges to healthy relationships
substance misuse 12-13 Healthy Me 3 Healthy choices on… substances
issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence 13-14 Changing Me 1 Changing perceptions
domestic violence 13-14 Relationships 1 Power in relationships
female genital mutilation 13-14 Celebrating Difference 1 Diversity across the world at my age
forced marriage 15-16 Healthy Me 5 Healthy attitudes to sexual relationships
fabricated or induced illness
poor parenting 14-15 Relationships 3 Challenges to healthy relationships
homelessness 15-16 Being Me In My World 5 Next steps
so-called honour-based violence
any other issues that pose a risk to children, learners and vulnerable adults 11-15 Changing Me Transition lessons (various)

Safeguarding is not just about protecting children, learners and vulnerable adults from deliberate harm, neglect and failure to act. It relates to broader aspects of care and education, including:

  • children’s and learners’ health and safety and well-being, including their mental health
  • meeting the needs of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • the use of reasonable force
  • meeting the needs of children and learners with medical conditions
  • providing first aid
  • educational visits
  • intimate care and emotional well-being
  • online safety and associated issues
  • appropriate arrangements to ensure children’s and learners’ security, taking into account the local context.

Whilst not all of these aspects of care and education can be taught in a PSHE programme or scheme of work, Jigsaw 11-16 can help contribute in the following ways.


How Jigsaw 11-16 can contribute to your setting’s work in safeguarding

There are myriad ways in which Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, helps students learn about, improve and sustain good mental health, and these lessons more than cover the requirements set out in the latest government guidance on teaching about mental health. For example, each lesson plan states clearly which of the five emotional literacy domains it contains so that it is clear of the purpose of that lesson in terms of student development, not just their ‘knowledge learning’. Confidence in oneself, awareness of self -identity and authentic self-esteem– the backbones of good mental health – are sometimes difficult for students to develop. However, a tried-and-tested method is used in Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, and is proving to be invaluable when helping students to become more successful in all aspects of their lives, not just as learners.

The philosophy and practice of mindfulness, through which students learn to be aware of their thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judgement, and to direct their minds to focus on whatever they choose to focus on, is taught in every Jigsaw lesson from ages 3-16 – through the mindfulness practice time, through visualisation and through breathing techniques. Mindfulness philosophy is woven through many lessons to enhance this understanding and how it impacts positively in real-life situations.

The latest guidance recommends that schools needs to teach social and emotional skills. These skills are too important to only be learnt by osmosis, which is why Jigsaw 3-16 develops them in a structured and developmental way throughout every age group. A programme like Jigsaw is so helpful to schools, because it sets out exactly how students learn best and how to teach skills that lead to better social, emotional and mental health, which in turn builds the capacity to learn.

Schools can be confident that a focus on well-being and mental health not only enables them to provide healthy and happy school environments for students and staff, and prepare the citizens of tomorrow with sound character and values, but also directly supports their more immediate mission, which is shared by Jigsaw: the promotion of effective learning.

Teachers need to be vigilant that sometimes disclosures may be made during these sessions; in which case, safeguarding procedures must be followed immediately. Sometimes, it is clear that certain students may need time to talk one-to-one after the lesson has ended. It is important to allow the time and appropriate staffing for this to happen. It goes without saying that teachers can at no time promise complete confidentiality, which is in line with safeguarding duties.

Jigsaw 11-16 is written as a universal, core curriculum provision for all students. Inclusivity is a key part of its philosophy. Teachers will need, as always, to tailor each Piece to meet the needs of the students in their classes. To support this differentiation, many Jigsaw Pieces suggest creative learning activities that allow students to choose the media with which they work and give them scope to work to their full potential. Inclusivity and respect for self and others is integral to Jigsaw.


Opportunities to teach safeguarding (from Keeping children safe in education, Sept 2018)

It is worth mentioning that the aligned guidance on keeping children safe in education (Sept 2018) suggests the following opportunities to teach safeguarding in school settings:

  1. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including online safety. Schools should consider this as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum.
  2. This may include covering relevant issues through Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education (formerly known as Sex and Relationship Education), tutorials (in colleges) and/or where delivered, through Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education.
  3. Whilst it is essential that governing bodies and proprietors ensure that appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place, they should be careful that “over blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regard to online teaching and safeguarding.


How Jigsaw 11-16 can contribute to your setting’s work in safeguarding

Ofsted has stated that schools and colleges should be safe environments where students can learn. Put simply, Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, helps to teach students about keeping themselves safe both physically and emotionally, including when using technology. Throughout the Jigsaw Programme, students are taught in age- and stage-appropriate ways, about what to say and do if they don’t feel safe in a situation, or if something feels uncomfortable or not right to them, from bullying and unwanted physical contact to racism and being safe with technology. The emphasis is on helping students realise their independence and be responsible for themselves whilst knowing how and where to access advice and support when they need it. 

The Jigsaw Sex Education Pieces (lessons) aim to give students their entitlement to information about puberty, human reproduction, sexual health, consent and all aspects in the DfE Guidance, statutory from 2020, and as appropriate to their age and stage of development. It is treated in a matter-of-fact manner to allay embarrassment and fear. We do not believe it is controversial. It is flexible enough for a school to ensure that the material fits their ethos and values. There is a strong safeguarding element to this work. The materials in Jigsaw are original so all schools are advised to check them carefully to ensure they fit appropriately with the philosophy and ethos of that setting. (Note that schools with religious character will obviously need to check their own diocesan/organisation’s advice during this process.)

In secondary schools, RSE will often address aspects of relationships and sex education in an integrated way within a single topic. Schools need to develop programmes of teaching which prioritise effective delivery of the content, and do not need artificially to separate sex education and Relationships Education. This has already been achieved in the Jigsaw 11-16 programme. The document Meeting Expectations explains clearly how Jigsaw 11-16 covers all relevant issues (and more) through a comprehensive and inclusive PSHE programme.



Schools have a crucial role in ensuring children and young people are kept safe – and most importantly, that pupils know how to keep themselves safe, now and in the future. Accurate, consistent information through high-quality PSHE is one of the best ways to ensure this happens; and any school using Jigsaw 11-16 can be assured that Jigsaw lessons go as far as possible to ensure students are given every chance to know why it is important to be safe, and that, where relevant, they can be responsible for their own safety, and also know where and how to ask for help.

In essence, teaching about safety and relationships as part of PSHE (and particularly RSE) contributes to how schools approach the safeguarding of pupils. It helps school setting staff to recognise when they and others are at risk and equips them with the skills, strategies and language they need to take appropriate action. This is crucial to fulfilling statutory duties in relation to safeguarding pupils as well as to meeting Ofsted expectations.


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