by Joanna Feast, 29 June, 2017

Jigsaw and the Ofsted guidance (2016) on safeguarding

Ofsted published an updated briefing (August 2016) that captures overarching points relating to the inspection of safeguarding. It states that schools and colleges should be safe environments where children1 and young people can learn. Within inspections, inspectors should consider how well leaders and managers in schools or colleges have created a culture of vigilance and where children’s welfare is promoted and timely, and appropriate safeguarding action is taken for children who need extra help or who may be suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

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 replaced with a new document of the same name, in March 2015. It has been updated again in September 2016, under the new title ‘Keeping children safe in education’.

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.

Safeguarding can involve a range of potential issues such as:

  • bullying, including cyberbullying (by text message, on social networking sites, and so on) and prejudice-based bullying
  • racist, disability, and homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • radicalisation and extremist behaviour
  • child sexual exploitation
  • sexting
  • substance misuse
  • issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example, gang activity and youth violence
  • particular issues affecting children including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

For many of these concepts linked to safeguarding, the latest Programme of Study from the PSHE Association (2017) does not expect them to be taught explicitly until secondary school – and in many cases until KS4. Notwithstanding that, Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, builds the foundations of self-esteem, self-respect, assertiveness skills and knowing how to ask for help, and age-/stage-appropriately covers the ideas behind many of the concepts. So, in more detail, here is some information about what you can expect to nd in Jigsaw that supports safeguarding:

Homophobic or transphobic abuse

The concept of ‘difference’ is covered throughout Jigsaw in all of the Puzzles, consistently encouraging children to examine how they are similar and how they are different from those around them – and how to accept everyone’s right to ‘difference’, regardless of their circumstances or choices. In Celebrating Difference, the second Puzzle that is taught from November to December in a school year, differences in families are covered throughout and this looks subtly at all types of families including same-sex parents, which will be a reality for some children in all schools, irrespective of whether other parents/carers know about this.

In many teachers’ experiences, children will very often have heard of concepts such as homosexuality but they might not be aware of what each of these concepts means. It is the responsibility of the teacher and the school to ensure that these concepts are explained in a way that is appropriate to the age and stage of development of each child. And, of course, it is not just within the realms of PSHE Education that this might occur. It is vital that an explanation is approached in a sensitive way – to ensure children have sufficient information for their age and stage of development. It does not mean that adults need to share all their knowledge of a subject with a child, as that would, no doubt, be inappropriate. Jigsaw PSHE has included a glossary of terms on its website to support teachers.

Radicalisation and extremist behaviour

Across all year groups, children are taught how to be tolerant and respectful – not just what tolerance is. The unit on Celebrating Difference focuses on similarities and differences and teaches about diversity, such as disability, racism, power, friendships, culture, and conflict; children learn to accept everyone’s right to ‘difference’, regardless of their circumstances or choices; and most year groups explore the concept of ‘normal’; bullying – what it is and what it isn’t, including cyber and homophobic bullying – is an important aspect of this Puzzle. Jigsaw does not cover radicalisation and extremist behaviour explicitly, as the concepts themselves are perhaps not appropriate for teaching about in primary schools: whilst we want to prepare children for life, at the same time we do not want to alarm them. However, Jigsaw lessons concentrate on teaching children about difference and how this is something to value and to celebrate, what is healthy behaviour, how to be emotionally and socially literate (covered in every single Jigsaw lesson) rather than teaching children about the concepts themselves. Each of the six Puzzles covers something about this for every year group and it is woven throughout the whole programme. And our aim in Jigsaw is to equip children for life – and whatever that may hold for them.

Most significantly too, Jigsaw is eager to help children develop accurate perceptions of their own self-identity and a real experience of belonging, experiences missing in many of the young people most susceptible to radicalisation. Jigsaw does this not only through taught lessons but also through bringing the whole school together to work on ‘end of Puzzle outcomes’ e.g. a whole school Garden of Dreams and Goals. Relationships are enhanced through sharing lessons, activities and particularly Connect Us and Calm Me times.

(This is evidenced by the ‘Does Jigsaw work?’ impact study by Sheffield Hallam University in 2016. Download from

Child sexual exploitation

The concept itself isn’t explored explicitly; rather, children are taught in the Relationships and Changing Me Puzzles about what constitutes a healthier relationship, what to do if someone does something they don’t like (taught from FS1 in all Puzzles), who to go to for help, which parts of their bodies are private (and therefore what to do if they feel uncomfortable about someone else’s interest in them), secrets to keep or not, and so on. If a child asked a question or made a comment that alerted the teacher to a possible CSE case, we would urge them to speak to the school’s CPO, and this is highlighted in the teaching notes.

Sexting (appropriate to age)

Appropriate social networking is covered for Years 5 and 6 in the Relationships Puzzle, where healthier relationships online and on mobile phones is explored in detail. In the Healthy Me Puzzle, Year 4 looks at healthy relationships and what they look like, so rather than introducing specific online relationships, children look at all relationships and what to do if a relationship isn’t what you thought it was – in preparation for learning about online relationships in Year 5 and 6. There are lessons for Year 5 and 6 on how anything on the internet or on phones is permanent and how to think very carefully before posting anything too personal. Always, children are taught what to do if they need help with an uncomfortable, dif cult or inappropriate situation.

Domestic violence, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, FGM

Jigsaw does not cover the concepts discretely using these terms, in its main universal curriculum. That’s not to say that children won’t be experiencing them, but we focus instead on how to create healthier relationships, what to if you’re worried about something, your rights as a child, who can help, and so on. The PSHE Association’s Programme of Study states that domestic abuse should be taught in KS4, which for some people may feel too late; however, teaching children about healthier relationships, and keeping themselves safe physically and emotionally, is how we have chosen to cover these topics in Jigsaw. In Year 2, children are taught about privacy, and which parts of their bodies are private, which can help children to express more easily if someone else is taking an interest in their bodies that makes them feel uncomfortable. There are also numerous opportunities for children to talk about themselves safely in the classroom – during circle times – or to a trusted adult, about anything they might be worried about or have questions about. Children are reminded about this in all Jigsaw lessons as this can form part of the Jigsaw Charter. (Note: teachers understand their mandatory duty to report to police any case where an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, see Government Publication on Mandatory Reporting of FGM.)

Jigsaw, however, does its best to support teachers who do feel they need explicit lesson material on these issues, and we are aware that this is absolutely necessary in some schools. Instead of adding such lessons to the universal Jigsaw curriculum package, we add support material to the Jigsaw website for teachers to download for free if they need it. Sometimes we feel it more appropriate to signpost teachers to specialist organisations already working on these issues for schools.


In essence, teaching about safety and relationships as part of PSHE (and particularly SRE) contributes to how schools approach the safeguarding of pupils. It helps them 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.

The table below shows a range of different lessons within Jigsaw that cover safeguarding from a child’s perspective – teaching about keeping themselves (and others) safe while still enjoying the world and all it has to offer.

What are inspectors looking for when evaluating the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements?

Inspectors will want to know and see that children are safe and feel safe: that they know how to complain and understand the process for doing so. Children need to know and understand that there is a strong, robust and proactive response from adults working with children that reduces the risk of harm or actual harm to them. Adults working with them need to know and understand the indicators that may suggest that a child/young person is suffering or is at risk of suffering harm and they take the appropriate and necessary action in accordance with local procedures and statutory guidance.

They will also want to know that children can identify a trusted adult with whom they can talk about any concerns, and that they report that adults listen to them and take their concerns seriously.

It is vital that any risks associated with children offending, misusing drugs or alcohol, self- harming, going missing or being sexually exploited are known by the adults who care for them and shared with the local authority children’s social care service. There need to be plans and help in place, that reduce the risk of harm or actual harm and that there is evidence that the impact of these risks is being minimised. These risks must be kept under regular review and there should be regular and effective liaison with other agencies where appropriate.

Children need to be protected and helped to keep themselves safe from bullying, homophobic behaviour, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. Any discriminatory behaviours must be challenged and schools need to show how help and support is given to children about how to treat others with respect.

Adults in schools are required to understand the risks posed by adults or young people who use the internet to bully, groom or abuse children and have well-developed strategies in place to keep children safe and to support them in learning how to keep themselves safe. Leaders have to oversee the safe use of electronic and social media when the children are on site and take action immediately if they are concerned about bullying or risky behaviours.

Children need to feel secure and, where they may present risky behaviours, they experience positive support from all staff. Staff should respond with clear boundaries about what is safe and acceptable and they seek to understand the triggers for children’s behaviour. This enables schools to develop effective responses as a team and they review those responses to assess their impact, taking into account the views and experiences of the child.

Specifically, in Behaviour and Safety:

School staff need to be particularly sensitive to signs that may indicate possible safeguarding concerns. This could include, for example, poor or irregular attendance, persistent lateness, children missing from education, forced marriage or female genital mutilation.

The designated safeguarding lead should be aware of the guidance that is available in respect of female genital mutilation (FGM) and should be vigilant to the risk of it being practised. Inspectors should be also alert to this when considering a school’s safeguarding arrangements and, where appropriate, ask questions of designated staff such as:

  • how alert are staff to the possible signs that a child has been subject to female genital mutilation or is at risk of being abused through it; what sort of training have they had?
  • has the school taken timely and appropriate action in respect of concerns about particular children?

The School inspection handbook sets out how Ofsted will report on the way that schools make pupils aware of how they can keep themselves safe and what behaviour towards them is not acceptable. Inspectors should include e-safety in their discussions with pupils (covering topics such as safe use of the internet and social networking sites, cyberbullying, including by text message) and what measures the school takes to promote safe use and combat unsafe use, both proactively (by preparing pupils to engage in e-systems) and reactively (by helping them to deal with a situation when something goes wrong).

When judging behaviour and safety, inspectors will consider many aspects of school life, including the extent to which pupils’ contribution and response to the culture of the school and how they conduct themselves (this consists of their respect, courtesy and good manners towards each other and adults, for example when moving around the school; and their understanding of how such behaviour contributes to school life, relationships, adult life and work). In Jigsaw, the Weekly Celebration is a vital tool to enable this to happen. Each Weekly Celebration is the same for each year group. These are designed to draw out a key theme from each week and reinforce its application; in turn, this ensures the Jigsaw learning is translated into behaviour and attitudes and is not confined to the lesson slot on the timetable. The idea is that the Weekly Celebration sheets are copied and displayed in each classroom and communal area. The focus for the following week is introduced in the Friday assembly, for example, ‘Next week, we are celebrating people who… Help others to feel welcome’, ‘Know how to help if someone is being bullied’, or ‘Understand that everyone is different’.

Through the week, children and adults nominate each other by adding names to the celebration sheets when they see each other using that behaviour. These are collected in and those nominated are recognised/rewarded in the Friday assembly (or class reward time). The Weekly Celebrations help to encourage pupils’ respect for the school’s learning environments (including by not dropping litter), facilities and equipment, as well as everyone who is part of school life.

Schools have a crucial role in ensuring children are kept safe – and most importantly, that children 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 can be assured that Jigsaw lessons go as far as possible to ensure children 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.

1 Children includes everyone under the age of 18

Joanna Feast
Senior Jigsaw Consultant April 2017

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