Woodcroft Primary School are saving time and money with effective recording and management of concerns using MyConcern.
Situated in Barnet, Woodcroft Primary is a successful, well-equipped, and inclusive school that proudly serves the needs of its pupils and local community. Their experienced and committed staff have the highest expectations for each individual pupil and the school has achieved a number of prestigious awards that include the Arts Council Artsmark Gold, The Basic Skills Agency Quality Mark, The British Council International School Award and Healthy Schools Status.
Safeguarding is a priority at Woodcroft and Link2ICT have provided the ideal solution to recording and managing concerns.
Like many schools, teachers at Woodcroft would record safeguarding issues using a manual paper based system. To ensure confidentiality, the concerns book was always kept in the office where staff would need to go and write out an initial concern. Sounds easy, however, the book was not always easy to access when required, and was not considered secure for such a sensitive document.
As with any manual system, especially in a busy school environment, details could be omitted, or recorded erroneously. Additional time could also be spent laboriously trawling through the entries to find the information required. Confidentiality was also an issue, everyone accessing the book could see every detail for concerns raised by others, which may not be appropriate.
An ongoing series of minor concerns about a particular pupil could build up over a period of time, but patterns of behaviour or trends could easily be overlooked, as it is difficult to track multiple entries from different staff with a paper based system.
Along with the concern book, serious issues at Woodcroft needed to be recorded in a child protection file. Senior leaders would also keep a phone log of contact with Social Services. In addition, the headteacher also kept a summary table of live child protection concerns, which meant there were four manual systems running simultaneously within the school. Understandably, management of this process was extremely difficult when having to prepare a chronology or when it came to a child protection conference.
An increase in CAFs (Common Assessment Framework) and the need for more vigilance required by Ofsted around safeguarding and the ability of the school to produce chronologies, headteacher, Craig Tallon, realised that the operation of these manual systems were not fit for purpose.
Link2ICT were able to provide the ideal solution to help Woodcroft record and manage their safeguarding concerns. MyConcern, part of the Link2ICT Safeguarding Suite, is a simple to use, safe and secure application for recording and managing all safeguarding concerns. The system enables all staff to record any safeguarding concern, safe in the knowledge that a proper record has been made and that their safeguarding lead has been automatically notified. It also equips the designated safeguarding lead to assess each concern and manage any ongoing action that needs to be taken.
When Craig had a trial with MyConcern, he could see how effective and efficient it was - the software did exactly what was required.
“MyConcern allows all members of the school community to have access to it at an initial level, so everybody can report a concern, but they don’t have access to the database or further information about concerns raised by other staff. Straight away, it resolves the problem around confidentiality.”
MyConcern synchronises with the school’s MIS, making all pupil and staff information seamlessly available within the software. This makes recording a concern, a quick and simple process.
Key staff at Woodcroft were trained by Link2ICT, who then rolled out the training in-house with the rest of the staff. As the system is intuitive and straightforward, it has been very quickly adopted across the school.
Now when a concern is recorded at Woodcroft, the system automatically notifies the relevant people immediately. The same applies to when a concern is updated, or a note is added to an existing record. Staff are always aware of the current situation on any concern and can act promptly, if required. This eradicates the uncertainty of a manual system, where information could be overlooked. With MyConcern, It is now very easy now to see when a pupil has a number of concerns, the system automatically builds a chronology and staff can easily identify trends which may help them take action accordingly. Every entry and update is date-stamped and timed.
“Initially we were running both systems simultaneously, but since introducing the software, we realised MyConcern was perfect. Staff could see the real value, so we stopped using the concerns book.”
Concerns can now be recorded without any delay, as staff can access MyConcern immediately from any device wherever they are, no longer needing to wait for the concerns book to be available. This minimises loss of important information, as teachers don’t have to remember facts until they have access to the book.
“MyConcern has changed the way we operate with regard to safeguarding, the software very easily allows you to add a file note, or an update, or a reference, or a call, so the chronology of action is automatically there.”
Woodcroft Primary is benefitting from the efficiency and the time saved with the new system, both in recording issues and with subsequent management and review of concerns.
“MyConcern has been implemented very successfully at Woodcroft. The duration of our first safeguarding review meeting was halved using the new system. If projected across the year, it would represent significant productivity savings. In addition to the improved safeguarding management and peace of mind that MyConcern brings, the software effectively pays for itself!”
Liaising with Social Services has been made much simpler, where the information is immediately accessible, and contact with different agencies can also be recorded in one place.
“Filling out a MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) form only gives you a 20 minute window to complete, so this task is made very easy, by quickly taking the information (copy and pasted) from MyConcern.”
In a school like Woodcroft, when last counted, they had upwards of 30 ongoing concerns, 21 pupils with a CAF (eleven families) and ten families under Social Care or subject to a Child Protection Plan. Therefore with 60+ child protection issues, having to collate them on a paper based system was challenging and time consuming. Key information could be missed from chronologies or patterns not spotted. However, MyConcern collates everything, and information is easily captured and updated.
“Everything to manage safeguarding in the school, from referral to tracking, to management of case review, is all contained within the MyConcern package. It is one of the best purchases I have ever made.”