Interview with Maxine Reilly of Lodge Park Academy in Corby
Maxine has worked at Lodge Park Academy for 11 years and has been the Academy’s Support and Wellbeing Officer for just over two years. Find out about her day-to-day work and experiences in Child Safeguarding.
Q. Maxine, what got you into safeguarding in the first place?
My previous pastoral role as a House Manager at Lodge Park gave me some insight into the wider safeguarding issues that occur within a secondary education environment. The role of ‘Transition Co-Ordinator’ then arose at the academy. A major part of this role involved safeguarding. I felt that I was in a position professionally where I had the skills and capability to step up to this post. I researched many aspects of what it would entail and applied for the role which I felt was a significant step for me both personally and professionally. I was successful and I’m now in my third year in this role which has evolved into ‘Support and Wellbeing Officer’.
Q. What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make?
The role requires many decisions to be made but they are informed decisions, based on clear knowledge and facts where possible. I have an inquisitive nature which helps in this role, as some more challenging and vulnerable families are very good at putting up barriers or creating other distractions to detract away from the real issues. The most difficult decisions always revolve around the immediate safety of vulnerable young people, in these situations there is a wider ‘safeguarding community’ who are there to work alongside me. I know that in these circumstances the decisions I make are well informed, logical, follow NSCB protocols and are always in the best interests of the young person.
Q. Who do you rely on when things get tough?
I lead a wider team of deputy safeguarding staff who are all long serving senior teachers within the Academy. I am there to supervise and support them and they are able to offer advice and support to me in some circumstances. When I, myself, need supervision or to offload certain aspects of what I have to deal with, I turn to the CAF Co-Ordinator and she is always available. She is there if I need advice or support. I meet formally with her once a term to ensure that I am up to date on any local issues and to discuss any concerns I have. Away from work I can always rely on my partner and family to help recondition my mind after a tough day!
Q. What are the different things you do in the role?
I am the Designated Safeguarding lead within Lodge Park Academy. I deliver the majority of safeguarding training to all members of staff; as a CEOP Ambassador I also deliver e-safety training within the Academy to staff, students and parents. I oversee any CAF process that is taking place within the Academy and offer advice and support to any staff that are trained in this area. I am the Troubled Families contact which requires liaison with a wide variety of external services. I assist the PSHE Co-Ordinator with the delivery of mental health issues in young people. I liaise with the school nurse team in supporting the young people within the Academy. I complete referrals to external agencies, I am the Young Carer Co-Ordinator, promoting this service and raising awareness and I offer support to parents and carers of young people.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the variety of the role and no two days are the same. It can be challenging work, but I enjoy working with other agencies and being an integral part of the positive changes we bring to young people’s lives. It is rewarding to know that I am part of a team that is making a positive difference to young people’s futures.
Last updated: 03 May 2015