While academic excellence, support for students and rich learning opportunities all represent commonly cited features by parents seeking a school, an even more important factor underlies them: the safety of children. With parent concerns rising in both public and private education around the globe, it has become essential that schools take the extra step in ensuring that their students can learn in a secure environment. Over the past several years, NIST worked on an ambitious project to ensure that it is providing this critical support, and in May 2017 received Level 1 Certification from Keeping Children Safe, a global network dedicated to the wellbeing of all children.
Based in the UK, Keeping Children Safe was founded by humanitarian and development experts who identified abuse in their communities. Their work aims to establish global standards that can cross fields and professions in order to build safer communities for children. To receive Level 1 Certification, the organization requires “that the school has developed a child safeguarding framework that, when implemented, protects children from harm and, if a child safeguarding incident should occur, the school has the appropriate response mechanism in place”. This includes not only clear policies, procedures and measures designed to safeguard students, but also a school community that clearly understands and supports them.
At NIST, a diverse range of safeguards exist to protect children at the campus, including rigorous screening and background checks during the hiring process, a secure single entry point with required ID exchanges and bag checks, CCTV, security patrols, 24-hour Royal Thai Police presence, direct radio contact with the US embassy and marines, and several other systems which are undisclosed to ensure their integrity. More importantly, we have strived to integrate child safeguarding into our culture, stemming directly from our mission and values, to empower all members of the school to be vigilant and aware of how we all play a part in building a safer community.
The wellbeing of all children should never be a secondary concern. By committing to the Keeping Children Safe standards, NIST aims to inspire students and enrich their learning in a caring, secure environment.