Bridge International key safeguarding practices and policies
1.Extensive vetting of candidates for all positions, including community reference checks. Academy managers, teachers, and groundskeepers, kitchen vendors have to submit a of good conduct from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
2.Every employee is given safeguarding training at the time of joining the organization. It is followed up with regular safeguarding capacity building sessions.
3. A commitment to safeguarding is included in every teacher and academy manager contract; its breach is grounds for summary dismissal.
4.All school staff, and non-teaching staff attend an annual (at a minimum) training session on safeguarding.
5.Safeguarding messaging regularly sent out to appear on all teacher tablets.
6.Safeguarding sessions are held at the beginning of every term as part of the timetable and supported by lesson plans on how students can keep themselves safe and how they can report safeguarding concerns.
7.Schools staff affirm their safeguarding commitment by re-signing “A Child champion promise.”
8.Safeguarding processes, policies and reporting lines are in the staff handbook to which academy managers and teachers have access. All staff must report any safeguarding concern directly to the support office.
9.Bridge has a toll-free customer care line, where all parents, teachers and students are instructed to report any safeguarding concerns. This can be done anonymously. Any issue reported to Bridge is recorded and tracked digitally in an issue tracking system that is managed by the Resolution Team. This toll-free number is posted on the wall of all schools, on the school gates and on the academy information poster located in the school manager’s office. It also appears on parents’ information fliers.
10. Bridge has an anonymous whistleblowing email address which is posted and can be used anonymously.
11. Bridge deploys additional on the ground monitoring for any issues including safeguarding incidents via a School Inspection field team, independent from the School Management team. The team receives training to identify signs of abuse among children during regularly scheduled classroom inspections/audits, as well as audits the safety of the school environment and looks for any signals of safeguarding risks.
12. All students in Bridge are taught ‘cheers’ or energizers in their classrooms to help motivate and engage students; one of these is the magic number song where students are taught the customer care number by heart so as they know how to report if they need to.
13. Bridge has a Gender and Child Empowerment Director who leads on safeguarding, coordinating across programs and design functions. The Director supervises the Critical Incident Advisory Unit.
Bridge’s Critical Incident Advisory Unit (CIAU) is an inter-departmental unit steered by the
Managing Director and charged with reviewing safeguarding concerns, and steering action.