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Introducing our new Trust Safeguarding Officer

James Down will be taking up his new role as Trust Safeguarding Officer in November 2021. This is a new position for BWT, created to further promote a caring, safe and positive environment for all in our Trust.

What experience do you bring to the role?

I started my career as a Police Community Support Officer on the Thames Valley Police Safer Schools Team, mentoring children at risk of exclusion and developing and delivering educational interventions within schools. As a former Mentor for Cheshire Probation Service, I have also worked with perpetrators of serious offences against children and young people.

As a Training Manager for the Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children Board, I developed and delivered a suite of safeguarding training packages, produced conferences and events for safeguarding leads and managed a large, multi-agency training programme. I developed model policies and procedures on behalf of the safeguarding partnership and led a large audit of safeguarding practice in schools.

I have previously worked for a large anti-bullying charity and published research on childhood bullying as a Research Associate for the University of Chester. I have also led a large study to explore the risks facing children and young people online.

I have experience as a Safeguarding Governor within two primary schools and am currently an Assistant Principal and Designated Safeguarding Lead for Creative Education Trust. I contribute to Trust-wide safeguarding improvement activity and provide coaching and support to fellow safeguarding leads. Alongside this role, I Chair the Milton Keynes Safeguarding Lead Forum and serve as an education representative within the Safeguarding Partnership, contributing to work around safeguarding assurance, serious violence, exploitation and the Prevent agenda.

What are you most looking forward to in your role?

I am really looking forward to meeting and working with students, families, and colleagues across the Trust. We are all working within an increasingly complex safeguarding landscape and the breadth of risks facing our children continues to expand. I believe that collaboration is key to successfully rising to the challenge, so I am excited by the opportunity to work alongside you all and build upon the solid safeguarding foundations already embedded across the Trust.

I am also looking forward to further strengthening relationships with partner agencies and ensuring that the voice of BWT is heard within local safeguarding partnerships. At a time when the wider safeguarding system is under considerable strain, I am keen to work creatively to ensure that our children, families, and staff continue to receive the right support at the right time.

Finally, growing up as a young carer, my own childhood was characterised by a range of adversity. I will be forever grateful to the teachers and support staff who provided me with the opportunities to overcome barriers and succeed. It is for this reason that I feel particularly privileged to have been appointed as Trust Safeguarding Officer, enabling me to share my knowledge, skills, and experiences with colleagues to safeguard and improve the outcomes of as many children as possible.

I look forward to meeting and working with you all.


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