2020 – Year in Review: Safeguarding During Remote Learning
18th December 2020
Years in the future, we’ll look back on 2020 as being full of adjustment and change, especially when we talk about education and remote learning during the pandemic. In March, schools across the UK shut down without yet knowing the long-term impact changes would have on their students’ learning, safeguarding and academic success.
At Impero, we quickly realised that this abrupt shift meant more than learning loss. It meant a sharp decline in student safety, mental health and wellbeing. Designated safeguarding leads and teachers would have to navigate and report issues based on student behaviour in the virtual classroom. In some areas, reported child protection concerns dropped significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, however, the NSPCC reported that the risks of child abuse might have actually intensified.
This year, Impero helped schools across the globe safeguard students both in a remote learning environment and inside the classrooms. In a sample of nearly 570 schools, we found that Impero was being used in a variety of meaningful ways, such as:
- 94,760 concerns were recorded about vulnerable children. Over 2,000 of these recorded concerns related to the most serious areas of child protection, like neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse.
- Nearly 1 in 10 of these concerns were related to a student’s mental health.
- Teachers have passed on more than 900 referrals to external agencies, such as child mental health services or the police.
Every school has the responsibility to keep their students safe. We’ve made it our mission to help them do so in any school environment. In April, we launched Impero back:drop, a free safeguarding software to record and manage safeguarding concerns. In summer, we released Impero web:check, and AI-powered web filter for schools to protect students from malicious online material. More recently, we launched Impero class:room and Impero well:being for schools to foster better and more timely collaboration, communication and recording of student concerns.
We also dedicated our time to publishing useful resources, blogs and guides that can help safeguard students during remote learning. Our team led a virtual roundtable with experts in the field regarding safeguarding during the pandemic and beyond. We also created blogs on supporting teachers to help students being bullied online to advice on new government guidelines.
In 2021, we anticipate an increase in the demand for services, resources and technologies to address student mental health and well-being and support for teachers in the classroom and during online learning. At Impero, we look forward to working with schools, educators and our community to continue to build tools that will keep students safe.