This chapter examines the historical context in which schools have supported the welfare of children over the past 150 years. It examines the historical context to explore both the ways in which schools have supported the welfare of children and the development of policies designed to protect children’s welfare – from the Children Act 1889 through to the Children and Social Work Act 2017. It explains the structures that were established to support schools’ involvement in this activity, including the role of school-based Designated Leads for Safeguarding (DSLs), training and guidance, but also the consequences of the diminishing role of local authorities and the increasing autonomy of schools. The chapter concludes with an education historian’s reflection on the impact of a kaleidoscope of influences on the evolution of the school’s role in this area.
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