AISA’s Commitment to Child Protection, Wellbeing & Belonging

Adult and student safety and wellbeing are critical foundations for learning. AISA believes that all students and staff, regardless of age, special needs, gender, race, culture, religion or belief, sexual orientation or family circumstance have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse. We are committed to helping member schools embrace diversity and inclusion and create communities where all are safe, nurtured, respected, accepted and protected.

AISA’s Organisational Commitment

Put simply, AISA is committed to promoting Wellbeing for All. Wellbeing is a multidimensional construct that recognises that many elements impact how we feel and how we function. For instance, a person’s physical, mental and emotional health, and social relationships together impact our experience of wellbeing. Given the multidimensional nature of wellbeing, AISA has grouped three strategic programme areas, child protection, social and emotional learning (SEL) and diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) under our umbrella programme, Wellbeing for All. This is in recognition that though each has distinctive aims which require a unique set of skills and knowledge, together they work to promote human flourishing.  AISA is committed to supporting our community’s growth through a carefully designed professional learning programme and resource provision.

For students to learn, they must feel safe, connected and supported which is why AISA is committed to ensuring that all member schools are safe places of belonging for their community. Safe schools are schools where children are free from harm and abuse, and it is vital that schools play a proactive role in preventing students from harm and responding appropriately to those that need our protection and support. It is also vital that classrooms, playgrounds and staffrooms feel emotionally safe and socially supportive.

This is where child protection and SEL begin to overlap. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions (see CASEL). In other words, SEL promotes wellbeing.

If we are serious about promoting wellbeing for all, it is incumbent upon us to work toward eradicating inequality, injustice and exclusion in international schools in Africa. We are steadfast in our commitment to supporting the staff and students in member schools as they co-create new systems and structures that promote the belonging and thriving of all.

AISA, together with leading experts, supports member schools through the provision of a number of services including:

  • Various child protection, SEL and DEIJ professional development opportunities are offered both virtually and face to face
  • Child Protection Practice Groups for designated child protection leaders
  • Group Consultation for school counsellors offered with the Truman Group
  • Providing policy guidance and tools to promote leading practice
  • Targeted resources collated in the AISA Resource Library
  • Facilitating webinars that promote leading practice in the three programme areas
  • Participation in the International Taskforce for Child Protection

AISA recruitment processes for prospective roles will follow safer recruitment procedures and all AISA staff are required to undertake child protection training.

AISA will appoint a member of the Board who will oversee and review AISA’s Wellbeing for All programme annually.

AISA Membership

Schools have a moral and legal obligation to prevent and intervene in the harm and abuse of students. This takes leadership, commitment, and courage. It means prioritising the safety and wellbeing of children by putting their rights and needs at the center of your school’s mission. It means embracing diversity, being deliberately inclusive and wholehearted in a commitment to equity. This is why Wellbeing for All is a strategic priority for AISA and why we are committed to ensuring member schools meet the highest standards of child protection, SEL and DEIJ practice.

AISA’s expectation is that member schools have policies, procedures, and training in place so that if child abuse or neglect is suspected, observed, or disclosed to any member of the school community, that person will have the knowledge, information, and resources necessary to ensure that the child is safe and that the situation is managed appropriately.

To that end AISA:

  • Evidence in the school’s guiding statements of its commitment to promoting and valuing child protection, wellbeing and diversity, equity, inclusiveness and justice, as well as intercultural competence. 
  • Has policies and practices in admissions, hiring, curriculum development, and student support service, which support DEIJ, wellbeing, and child protection.
  • Provides evidence of a Code of Governance that aligns with AISA’s principles and standards.
  • Requires all prospective and current members to have a Child Protection Policy in place and to have a designated Child Protection or Safeguarding Lead, supported by a team, that develops and implements a school-wide child protection programme.
  • Expects all staff in member schools to undergo regular child protection training that includes, but is not limited to, training on child abuse prevention, recognition, victim behaviour (disclosure) and reporting.
  • Assumes that all newly appointed staff working in member schools are hired according to safer recruitment practices.
  • Requires Associate Members and facilitators to adhere to the AISA Code of Conduct.

If AISA is made aware that a member school, Associate Member or facilitator is not adhering to these child protection standards, their membership will be reviewed.

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