“Pupils have a good understanding of how to stay safe. They appreciate the importance of the constant safeguarding reminders delivered from staff, and know what to do in an emergency situation both within School, or if away from the School. They understand the importance of e-safety and the dangers of social media, and to know to whom they can turn should they experience difficulties or have concerns.” – ISI Inspection 2020

“Arrangements are made to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils that pay due attention to current statutory guidance.” – ISI Inspection 2020

Safeguarding at Chetham’s

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility at Chetham’s. We want children to be free from harm, free from the risk of harm and feel safe and happy whilst at their School. We have a dedicated team of Safeguarding Champions who lead on safeguarding matters.

At our School we have a culture of Safeguarding which begins in the recruitment process by following safer recruitment practice, induction training, DBS checks , security measures, students advice and guidance, Safeguarding Governors, Independent Safeguarding Commission and ongoing staff, student and Governor updates throughout the year.

Meet the Team

Nicola Smith

Nicola Smith, Joint Principal

Nicola Smith, Joint Principal

Nicola, as Joint Principal, leads the pastoral, wellbeing and safeguarding staff within the School. She also acts as a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL). Nicola has worked at the forefront of safeguarding in her School Leadership roles over a number of years and brings her knowledge and experience to the role.

Barbara Owen

Barbara Owen

Barbara Owen

Barbara is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). It is her role to lead on training, student safeguarding, referrals, reporting to the Chair of the Safeguarding Governors Committee, disclosures and working with agencies and parents to achieve the best outcomes for the children at the School. Barbara is a highly experienced DSL and is our Counter Bullying Officer as well as our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCO).

Ian Mayer

Ian Mayer

Ian is one of our Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads and our Music Manager. His role is to look at our policies and procedures in relation to music provision and the unique setting that we have as the largest specialist music School in the country. He also advises our tutors and visiting artists on their roles and responsibilities with safeguarding.

Kate Scott

Kate Scott, Lead Nurse

Kate is our Lead Nurse. As a qualified nurse manager leading our Medical Team, Kate advises students, staff and parents in more complex safeguarding matters. Her clinical role liaising with services, as well as her wellbeing and mental health training enable the right support to be given to students.

Julia Harrison

Julia Harrison

Julia Harrison, Assistant Principal

Julia is one of our Assistant Principals. She is our Designated Mental Health Lead and is primarily responsible for wellbeing in School. Her input on complex matters and training for the pastoral team help ensure that the right care and support is put in place for our students.

Nominated Safeguarding Governor: Nigel Shepherd

Nigel Shepherd

Nigel Shepherd, Governor, Chetham’s School of Music

Nigel is Chetham’s Nominated Safeguarding Governor, as well as a solicitor of some 40 years’ experience, specialising in family law work. Throughout his long career Nigel has been committed to helping those experiencing family breakdown to find an agreed, constructive solution to the issues they face with a particular focus on how avoiding conflict benefits children. He is a Life Member and twice former national Chair of family justice organisation, Resolution, and was a leading voice in the 30-year campaign for no fault divorce which was finally introduced in 2022.

Concerned about a child?

If you have a concern about one or more of our students, you can report this in the following ways:

  • Contact School
  • Contact the local authority children’s safeguarding teams


Advice and Guidance

Our students’ safety and wellbeing is very important to us. Our students regularly receive guidance and support in school through the tutor programme, PRS teaching and through the Houses about how to keep themselves safe. We recognise that sometimes, you may also wish to seek advice or support regarding an issue which is affecting your child. You can contact any member of the Safeguarding Team for general advice and guidance. The parent portal (INSIGHT) also has a set of useful help links where you can find a range of resources and information that you may find helpful on issues that affect our young people. Chetham’s Independent Safeguarding Commission.

Independent Commission

In 2014, the Governing Body resolved to establish an Independent Safeguarding Commission, with the purpose of:

  • Advising the Feoffees and School Governing Body
  • Scrutinising, questioning, monitoring and challenging
  • Overseeing or assisting the School
  • Providing quality assurance to the School

in matters relating to child protection and the safeguarding of children in the care of the School.

The Commission is required to prepare a full report to the Feoffees and Governing Body of the School at least once during each academic year. This is in addition to external reports led by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

“The governors review the safeguarding policy and procedural implementation annually and make appropriate amendments to reflect any change in regulations or counter any perceived weaknesses. Minutes of the review demonstrate thorough processes, with governors involved in discussion of key elements.” – ISI, 2016


The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual abuse was set up in 2015 to look into the extent to which institutions failed to protect young people from harm and to make recommendations for improvements. In 2019 Chetham’s took part in the inquiry. It is a matter of deep and profound regret to Chetham’s that former teachers at our School betrayed the trust that had been placed in them in order to harm children, for which we are truly sorry. Chetham’s recognises its responsibility in safeguarding the rights of all children and will continue to be thoroughly committed to taking all appropriate steps to maintain a safe environment and to liaise with statutory agencies to ensure that any allegations of abuse are properly investigated.

If you would like to access help, there are a number of routes available. Please contact:

Alternatively, don’t hesitate to contact our Joint Principal and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead Nicola Smith if you’d like to speak to someone in School.

Safeguarding and Child Protection Association Logo

Logo of the Anti-Bullying Alliance