1. Introduction
1.1 This circular should be read in conjunction with Circulars 0099/2000 and 0031/2012 (Addendum A) but does not replace either circular.
1.2 The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and educator unions are concerned about the level of crime within our school communities. The Regulations for Safety Measures at Public Schools spells out the various roles, responsibilities and actions to be followed with regard to matters pertaining to safety and security at public schools. Attached please find the relevant legislative framework as Addendum B.
1.3 This circular aims to remind schools of the functions of Safe Schools and the roles and responsibilities of the various role players with regard to safety and security at schools. Attached please find a list of the various stakeholders as Addendum C.

2. Safe Schools objectives

Safe Schools has a three-pronged strategy which is linked to five programme areas.

2.1 The three-pronged strategy consists of:

  1. crime control through environmental modification, such as partial fencing (less than 30 metres), burglar bars, alarms and armed response;
  2. crime prevention by focusing on attitudinal or behavioural changes (developmental programmes for learners, educators and parents); and
  3. system programmes focusing on systemic development, community relationships and effective partnerships (partnerships with other departments and non-governmental institutions, community relations).
2.2 The five programme areas aim to:

  1. enhance safety and security mechanisms at school (lead department is the WCED - governing bodies, School Management Teams (SMTs), Representative Councils of Learners (RCLs) and School Safety Committees (SSCs));
  2. enhance school safety management systems (lead department is the WCED (Safe Schools));
  3. facilitate appropriate law enforcement (lead department is South African Police Service (SAPS));
  4. build a cohesive school-community culture located in a community-orientated problem-solving approach (lead department is the Department of Community Safety (DoCS)); and
  5. limit substance abuse (lead department is the Department of Social Development (DSD)).

Please note that the WCED plays a support role in the programme areas where other departments take the lead.

3. Safe Schools services

The following Safe Schools services are available:

3.1 Occupational health and safety (OHS) training

  • Capacitating educators in developing plans to reduce risks and action to follow in an event of an emergency.
  • Establishing a functional School Safety Committee (SSC).
  • Training an Occupational Health and Safety Committee.
  • Developing a Safety/Contingency Plan, a Disaster Management Preparedness Plan, a Business Continuity Plan and an Industrial Action Contingency Plan.
3.2 Substance abuse training

  1. Drug testing
    • Providing multi panel drug testing devices with training on how to use them and how to keep records.
    • Detecting users early and placing them in developmental programmes.
    • Improving the performance of identified schools through targeted assistance and support.
  2. Searches and seizures
    • Organising workshops on the guidelines for random searches and seizures.
    • Addressing all uncertainties and grey areas.
    • Ensuring a restorative approach through life skills and diversion programmes so that learners are empowered to take charge of their destiny.
3.3 Conflict management and peer mediation

  • Capacitating educators and learners with the necessary skills to deal with conflict in a constructive way.
  • Capacitating learners to have peer mediators in place.
  • Assisting schools in managing learner conflict.
  • Creating a positive change in behaviour at the school.
3.4 Youth development

  • Providing life skills for learners at risk, to prevent possible problems or to help them cope better with existing situations related to teenage pregnancy, sexuality, sexual abuse, drug abuse, gender inequality, gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, racism and other social problems.
  • Sharing information with learners.
  • Reaching out to school communities through integrated holiday and after-school programmes.
  • Being a positive influence on learners and communities.
  • Developing back-to-school programmes.
  • Establishing functional youth clubs. Youth clubs function as a substructure of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL).
  • Organising youth camps.
3.5 Trauma support - specialised support is provided in the event of trauma.
3.6 Educational institutions are encouraged to access the support offered by Safe Schools and to make use of the above services by applying for them (training, programmes and assistance) in writing via the District Safe Schools Coordinator. Said applications should include the safety needs of the relevant institution.

4. Trauma support pathway and communication protocol
4.1 In order to facilitate trauma support the following functions must be adhered to by the relevant role players:

  1. The Principal-

    • communicates with the Safe Schools Call Centre;
    • directs the school's Safety Committee to take charge of the situation (intervention);
    • contacts the family of the deceased or injured;
    • informs the circuit manager and governing body (information);
    • is visible and supportive;
    • provides accurate information to learners, staff and parents;
    • dispels rumours by providing updated factual information; and
    • models an appropriate response.

  2. The School Safety Committee (governing body subcommittee) liaises with-

    • Safe Schools Call Centre
    • SAPS
    • Medical personnel
    • Parents
    • Principal

  3. The School-Based Support Team (SBST)/educator (trained to render first level of psychosocial support)-

    • relays ongoing information as provided by the principal;
    • responds to the affected class in an age-appropriate manner;
    • discusses the referral of learner(s) who may require counselling with the SBST;
    • provides activities to reduce trauma and express emotions through artwork, music, writing, etc.;
    • infuses the traumatic incident into the curriculum; and
    • encourages parents to provide support to their children throughout these proceedings.

  4. The Safe Schools Call Centre-

    • serves as a coordinating centre from which referrals are made to the appropriate agencies and from which vital information is disseminated to the relevant parties;
    • callers receive online debriefing during crisis calls and in non-crisis calls callers are directed, where necessary, to the counselling agencies of the WCED, non-governmental agencies and community-based organisations; and
    • can be contacted via the toll-free line 0800 45 46 47 or email safeschools.wced@westerncape.gov.za with regards to
      • emergencies/crises (e.g. gang violence, trauma)
      • school crime (e.g. burglary and vandalism, robberies, theft, physical assault, etc.)
      • abuse (e.g. physical, emotional, corporal punishment, substance, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, rape, child trafficking, child neglect)
      • general queries (e.g. teenage pregnancy/abortion; governing body issues suspensions, expulsions, behavioural problems, school uniform, registration of pupils, compulsory school attendance and school fees; HIV/Aids; etc.).

  5. The Safe Schools Coordinator (based at district office)-

    • avails him/herself and cancels all other activities;
    • liaises with the Manager: Learner Support (senior educational psychologist and/or social work supervisor) regarding the support plan;
    • assesses the situation and the nature of support required (in conjunction with Head: Learner Support);
    • liaises with the Safe Schools Call Centre;
    • supports school communities in their efforts to reclaim and regain control of the situation;
    • enlists the assistance of and facilitates coordination with law enforcement agencies;
    • provides updated information to all concerned;
    • introduces intervention programmes to identify root causes and preventative measures to contain any situation;
    • extends or adds any necessary physical security infrastructure;
    • reports to Manager: Strategic Information, Governance and People Management (SIGPM);
    • keeps circuit manager informed; and
    • keeps a record of the affected learners and staff and provides follow-up support.

  6. Manager: Learner Support (based at district office)-

    • assesses the situation and the nature of support/intervention required (in conjunction with the safe schools coordinator);
    • contacts the senior education psychologist and/or social work supervisor;
    • manages the psychosocial support plan in collaboration with the senior education psychologist and/or social work supervisor;
    • facilitates support from members of the special learner education support (SLES) team to provide cross-boundary support;
    • submits a written motivation to the Safe Schools Call Centre should additional support be required; and
    • reports to the circuit manager.

  7. Senior education psychologist and/or social work supervisor (based at district office)-

    • avail themselves as soon as possible and make contact with the school the same day;
    • assign a psychologist(s) and/or social worker(s) to provide support to learners and educators;
    • inform the school of proposed support plan;
    • locate debriefing/counselling therapy venue(s);
    • keep records of affected learners and staff, provide follow-up support and share information with relevant professional partners in the best interests of the learner; and
    • report to Head: SLES.

  8. Circuit manager (based at district office)-

    • monitors and offers managerial support to principal/school; and
    • keeps district director informed.

  9. District director-

    • oversees support to schools; and
    • keeps Chief Director: Districts informed.

  10. Safe Schools field workers - provide support to the safe schools coordinator.

  11. Manager: SIGPM (based at district office)-

    • tasks the safe schools coordinator with taking overall control and responsibility for coordination;
    • tasks circuit manager to liaise with principal; and
    • reports to district director.
5. Kindly bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all staff members.

6. I wish to appeal to all involved to assist in making our schools safe havens for all children so that good quality teaching and learning can take place as a priority at all times.

DATE: 2017:02:17

Addendum A: Circular 31 of 2012  (size: 68 KB)
Addendum B: Relevant Legislation, Policies, Documents, Manuals  (size: 46 KB)
Addendum C: Stakeholders  (size: 24 KB)