As part of the PGCE course I did we had to do a course on Safeguarding which was a quick online thing at the very beginning of the course, it might even have been part of the first couple of day’s essentials such as getting signed up for a teacher’s account on university and placement’s systems. Whatever it was it was something easy to forget about in the mind assault that is often present in the first few days of any course or anything new.
I don’t remember revisiting Safeguarding as part of the course, I do recall writing about it out of choice in one of the assignments where it seemed to ‘fit’ and as a consequence I did much wider reading on the issues and legislation and I was glad of the prompt. Like most things teaching or socially related I became aware of the rapid and apparently constant developments and changes which take place in this area particularly with regard to guidance and policy. It’s another area of professionalism which I felt was going to be a nightmare to stay abreast of.
Ultimately I satisfied myself that it might just do to know about the basic processes and responsibilities and current relevant legislation and revisit this now and then. I also thought it would be useful to follow some useful sites on social media and subscribe to updates from relevant organisations. This way updates and relevant news would be pinged out to me along with other teaching or specialist subject related information. Praise be for social media, how anyone stayed on top of all this in the dark days before it I have no idea. It’s so much easier to have updates fed to you rather than having to go search for them.
I’d advise something here and that is when you see something really useful or interesting which you know you will need in the future or might need, blog about it. It’s one of the best ways of keeping a record of things you find interesting or useful and much easier to sift through than the endless lists of bookmarked favourites you will accumulate and far easier than trying to rummage through endless tweets for that one piece of information you really could use now. It also enables you to share with your network. You only need do a quick post and you can include a whole bunch of links to revisit in the future. You can save as a draft, there’s no need to publish immediately or ever but it’s there when you have time to devote or towards the end of your course when you realise you need to evidence upkeep of a blog. June is a crazy month for blogging when PGCE students realise it was something they should have been doing all along and which they are now going to have to evidence to pass the course. It’s a shame more don’t make use of it and see the value of it during the course but it will happen, younger people are really taking up blogging now so we’ll eventually be as hot on it as the Aussies and Americans.
I use Pinterest too, I tend to use it more for graphics and visuals which might be useful to refer to for essay writing or for lesson planning or which I might want to put into blog posts in the future. It just helps to sort and consolidate information in a world where there is tons of it to access and so much of relevance.
There is A LOT to keep up with and careful selection of who you are going to follow on Twitter or Facebook or register with for alerts is really crucial. It saves so much time searching too and believe me the further you get into your placement and course the more you will value saving time. Making sure of the quality of the sites you subscribe to or follow is important, go for government bodies where you can or their quangos. Ofsted is always a good one to go for and don’t forget your local authority too.
I’d say that unless you want to study safeguarding in more depth it would suffice to get to grips with the basics on your course but make yourself familiar with local policies and procedures on placement and again when you start your first job and do use social media for policy updates. If you do have space and time to fit in some more in depth study do so, it will be very useful to you. If there is anyone on your PGCE course who has greater knowledge and insight into this area than you have a chat with them to be pointed in the direction of some useful material. I was lucky that on my course we had an Early Year’s practitioner who shared lots of useful information with us.
This NSPCC website is full of useful information in easy to read formats with good reference links if you are interested in having some summaries of information and direction to further reference-able academic reading.