Our A-Star experts share safeguarding expertise during the VIS conference in China

China has a current total of 821 international schools. Each year, the number of international schools in China grows by 10 -12%. In 2018 alone, 87 new international schools opened across China. In spite of such rapid growth in the number of international schools in China, Safeguarding remains a relatively unfamiliar and largely overlooked concept in the domestic education space.

The Vision of International Schools (VIS) Conference is an annual conference organised by a group of individuals interested in developing the international schools and bilingual schools to meet global standards. Through feedback collected from Chinese heads of schools who are keen to better understand the concept of Safeguarding and how to implement Safeguarding best practices in Chinese international and bilingual schools, VIS invited A-Star to the conference to share its expertise. Sean O’Maonaigh, Head of School, European International School, Low Sock Yian, A-Star Group Human Resources Director and Dionna Tong, A-Star Legal and Compliance Counsel represented A-Star and shared their experience during the VIS Conference in Beijing. Wang Wen, a Suzhou bilingual school Headmistress with 15 years’ experience teaching in the US, formed part of the speakers’ panel representing A-Star.

The content of the sessions included:

  • Understanding what Safeguarding means, what it entails and why it is important to create a Safer School Culture.

  • Practical observations relating to the differences between schools in the US and China relating to Safeguarding.

  • What the resources available in the UK, US and Australia include: established safeguarding processes, procedures and training materials, robust legal frameworks and network of agencies that provide support to schools to safeguard children and young persons. Unfortunately, many of these resources are not directly applicable or available in China.

  • Some low hanging fruit for International and bilingual schools in China to implement best practices would be to first ensure that all staff members (teaching and non-teaching) are trained to understand the importance and relevance of Safeguarding. While there are numerous on-line training courses available, it was advocated that it is critical to provide the context of why and how Safeguarding is important and that in-person customised training would be far more effective. The concept of Safer Recruitment was also introduced with practical tips on how to enable quality recruitment without resulting in a shortage of candidates”

Wai San Ng