Bob Meier – The role of the Safeguarding Officer

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With a breadth of experience that easily spans 43 years, Bob Meier has dedicated his entire working life to Education. Whether through his position as Deputy Head in Bassaleg Comprehensive School; his 40 years as a senior youth worker; or through his role as Headteacher in both Ferndale Community School and Newport High School, Bob’s love of education shines through.

After retiring from teaching in August 2007, Bob joined New Directions the following month as Business Development Officer – a role he expected would see him ease into retirement after only one year. Seven years later and still going strong, Bob Meier is now a very permanent fixture in the New Directions Cardiff office, as the designated person for Child Protection and Safeguarding.

Through his role as Safeguarding Officer, Bob’s primary responsibility is to ensure that every child in education is safe, protected and comfortable in the classroom.

‘Waking up and knowing that I have helped in a child’s life – no matter how small – gives me a gratification that I believe would be hard to find elsewhere’. says Bob.

As Safeguarding Officer, Bob acts as a focal point for any staff concerns and will liaise with other agencies and professionals – particularly the Local Education Authorities (LEA’s), General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW), Teaching Agency, ISA/DBS – in both England and Wales regarding any child protection and safeguarding issues that may arise.

A major part in guaranteeing child safety is ensuring that each staff member through New Directions’ door is fully aware of the company’s child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures.

‘The welfare of a child is something that cannot, and will not be overlooked’.

‘We provide training to all of our candidates, both teachers and LSAs so pupils and their parents can rest assured that everything is being done to support and assist them. This, along with the basic child safeguarding training that every New Directions staff member undergoes at least every three years, helps position New Directions as an education recruitment agency that you can whole-heartedly trust’.

So much so, that in 2012, for the second consecutive year, New Directions was awarded 100% in the Quality Mark audit from the REC, informed by the Department for Education (DfE).

This year the New Directions team will be hoping to achieve the new quality mark issued by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Never one to shy away from work, Bob understands that for his team to grow and understand compliance, concerns and protection, so too does he.

‘For our business to continuously improve, so do the individuals within it. I am conscious of keeping abreast of all the current legislation and training relating to my role’.

It seems that any plans for Bob to retire have been firmly put on hold. Indeed, he looks set to even further cement himself into the New Directions framework.

‘There is not one aspect of my job that I do not love’ Bob says. ‘The New Directions team takes the safe-guarding of pupils extremely seriously and to re-enforce this, in the future I hope to oversee professional standards and examine the competency of all teachers and LSAs – every pupil has the right to be taught by the best, something which New Directions strives to achieve’.