Have you ever had concerns over safeguarding & child protection issues? Been worried about the physical or mental well being of a student? Do you know what DSP stands for? Do you know who your DSP might be or how to contact them?
In this week’s blog post we are continuing to consider piano teaching studio policies in particularly safeguarding and child protection.
SO WHAT IS A DSP?
So do you know what DSP stands for? DSP stands for Designated Safeguarding Person. Every organisation, every school and every council in the UK and across the world has one. In the UK as a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians I know I could go to their Designated Safeguarding Person if I ever wanted advice about a pupil.
Safeguarding & child protection are not comfortable topics to discuss or to write about and yet, it is a subject of the utmost importance and urgency. Barely a day goes past without yet another incidence of child abuse in the news.
OUR PROFESSIONAL DUTY
Being a piano teacher comes with professional obligations. We have a duty of care to uphold. Individually we should be aware of how to provide students with a safe and secure environment promoting a climate that enables them to develop according to their needs and abilities. We should know about safeguarding and child protection. As the UK Children Act of 1989 states:
The welfare of every child (or young person) is paramount.
That includes in the piano studio.
THE UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE OF OUR JOB
Being a piano teacher, or instrumental teacher generally, is usually carried out 1-1. This gives us an almost unique perspective especially when our relationships with our young pupils can last for many years. If we are trained to know what we are looking for we are better able to pick up the small details and tell-tale signs that others might miss. In this way we are both in a position of trust and priviledge.
SAFEGUARDING & CHILD PROTECTION TRAINING COURSES
In the UK* there are a couple of online training courses that are specially tailored towards instrumental teachers. EduCare have developed one such course with the Musicians’ Union. The Curious Piano Teachers are delighted to be able to offer our readers a 10% discount on the course. It is a Level 2 course, with 5 CPD credits, delivered in 5 online modules for the cost of less than £26.00.
WHAT’S THE POINT IN DOING A COURSE? WILL I LEARN ANYTHING I DON’T ALREADY KNOW?
Here’s some questions to ask yourself to find out whether the course is worthwhile.
- Do I know what the difference is between safeguarding and child protection?
- Do I know the commonest reason for children to be put on the ‘at risk’ register?
- What would I do If I suspected that a child was being harmed either physically or mentally?
- What action should I take if a child says ‘I want to tell you something important but it’s a secret and you can’t tell anyone else’?
If you are hazy in any of your answers then yes, the course is for you.
DO YOU PUT YOURSELF AT RISK?
Another perspective to think about is whether you have taken all the necessary precautions to protect your students and yourself.
- Do you teach in a room without any windows?
- Do you use any kind of physical contact in your teaching?
- Do you have mobile numbers and email addresses for pupils and are in regular contact directly with them ?
If you answer YES to any of these questions then the course is for you so that you can take the necessary steps to address these matters.
Once you have completed the course you will be in a position to write a short Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy for your piano teaching studio. Not only will you feel better equipped to deal with potential situations you will also stand out as being truly professional.
*We would love to be able to offer readers in the US or Australia a similar deal. If you know of one please do drop us a note below and we will get and follow it up and share the info.
This blog post was written by Dr Sally Cathcart, co-founder and Director of The Curious Piano Teacheras