Nearly 1 in 10 of pupils surveyed in The Pupils Safeguarding Review reported not feeling safe in school and there's a link between feeling safe and attendance.
It's published alongside a governor and trustee discussion guide so boards can explore the issues raised with leaders at their next meeting.
The report, a robust view of pupils across year groups, regions and other key demographics, found that whilst the majority of pupils reported feeling safe in school – 75% of all pupils surveyed – one quarter of pupils reported feeling not at all safe, not very safe, or only fairly safe.
As well as being an important issue to address in terms of young people’s safety and wellbeing, the report helps demonstrate the relationship between safety and attendance, with pupils who felt unsafe at school more likely to report they had missed school because they felt unsafe.
The review also provides a breakdown of the feelings of safety amongst different demographics including, sexuality and gender identity, sharing that those with a gender identity other than male or female have lower feelings of safety in school (just 48% felt safe at school in the last six months, compared to 75% of girls and 78% of boys) and that less than half of gay (43%) or bisexual (45%) pupils reported feeling safe at school compared to nearly three quarters of heterosexual pupils (71%).
In addition to feelings of safety at school, the review asked pupils how safe they felt online, to which 88% responded positively. This indicates that more children feel safe online than in school (88% online compared to 75% in school) however, the report also notes the hidden nature of online risks that could be granting young people a false sense of security as they are less aware of the online dangers they may encounter.
This research carried out by Edurio and The Key shines a light on an incredibly important issue: that for a school to provide a supportive environment, it needs to feel safe to the children attending. It is testament to the hard work of school staff who support their students and build caring school communities that 75% of children who took part in the research reported feeling safe in school. However, that leaves a quarter of children – that's eight in every class of 30 - who don’t feel safe.Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner
These findings are at once both reassuring and concerning, and should be reflected on by all school leaders to help them devise strategies to close the gaps between different pupil demographics to create safe, inclusive environments in which all pupils can learn and flourish. They also provide a valuable model for schools and trusts who wish to listen more systematically to pupil voice in their own settings, sitting alongside existing pastoral and parental engagement.Leora Cruddas - Chief executive, Confederation of School Trusts
Conducted by education specialists, Edurio and The Key, the report highlights insights gathered from children between Years 3 and 13 and provides teachers, school leaders, policy makers and parents with a better understanding of the scale of this issue and, importantly, the steps that can be taken to improve safeguarding practices and pupils’ feelings of safety.
The report is part of a wider Pupil Safeguarding review conducted by Edurio and The Key, based on a survey co-designed by the two organisations alongside safeguarding experts and school and trust practitioners. The report highlights data collected between 3rd October 2022 and 11th November 2022.
The Key is the leading provider of support for schools and trusts. The Key's whole-school approach gives leaders one trusted source to turn to for any challenge, equipping you with highly-accurate, expertly-synthesised and context-rich resources, guidance and CPD. Over 4,000 schools use The Key's safeguarding service to support designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) and every member of staff to get safeguarding right, every time.
Edurio is the UK’s leading stakeholder feedback platform for schools, helping school leaders make informed decisions that drive progress in school development. With Edurio’s stakeholder surveys and up-to-date benchmarks, you know where you are now – and where to go next – on the things that matter most.