Child protection and safeguarding policy
1.Policy statement and principles
Our aim to keep children safe for harm. This policy is one of a series in our integrated safeguarding portfolio.
Clopton Nursery Trust’s safeguarding arrangements are inspected by Ofsted under the judgements for leadership & management and also impact the judgement on the personal development, behaviour and welfare of children and learners.
This policy is available on our website and all staff and volunteers are required to read it and confirm they have done so in writing before commencing work in nursery.
Child protection statement
We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. We endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that children receive effective support, protection and justice.
The procedures contained in this policy apply to all staff, volunteers and governors and are consistent with those of Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB).
- The school’s responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is of paramount importance
- All children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection
- Children who are safe and feel safe are better equipped to learn
- This nursery is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Representatives of the whole nursery community of children, parents, staff, volunteers and governors will therefore be involved in reviewing, shaping and developing the school’s safeguarding arrangements and child protection policy.
- All staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of harm at home, in the community or in school.
- All staff members will maintain an attitude of ‘It could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the interests of the child.
- If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral will be made to Children’s Social Care immediately. Anybody can make a referral. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, any staff member with concerns should press the Designated Safeguarding Lead for re-consideration.
- If a member of staff remains concerned about a child, they can discuss their concerns with the Headteacher, another DSL or contact the Education Safeguarding Manager for additional advice as necessary (contact details in Appendix 2).
- Children and staff involved in child protection issues will receive appropriate support.
- This policy will be reviewed at least annually unless an incident, new legislation or guidance suggests the need for an interim review.
- To provide all staff with the necessary information to enable them to meet their safeguarding and child protection responsibilities.
- To ensure consistent good practice.
- To demonstrate the school’s commitment with regard to safeguarding and child protection to children, parents and other partners.
- To contribute to the school’s safeguarding portfolio.
2.Safeguarding legislation and guidance
Academies, free schools, independent schools, alternative providers of education – Section 157 of the Education Act 2002 and the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 require proprietors of independent schools (including academies and city technology colleges) to have arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are children at the school.
- The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2015) covers the legislative requirements and expectations on individual services (including schools and colleges) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It also provides the framework for Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) to monitor the effectiveness of local services, including safeguarding arrangements in schools. The guidance confirms that it applies, in its entirety, to all
- The statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2016) is issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 and the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015. Schools and colleges must have regard to this guidance when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Unless otherwise stated, ‘school’ in this guidance means all schools, whether maintained, non-maintained or independent, including academies and free schools, alternative provision academies, maintained nursery schools and child referral units. ‘College’ means further education colleges and sixth form colleges as established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and relates to their responsibilities to children under the age of 18 (but excludes 16-19 academies and free schools, which are required to comply with relevant safeguarding legislation by virtue of their funding agreement).
All staff must read Part One of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016. Staff can find a copy in nursery [INSERT as appropriate – in the office/staff room etc.]. In addition, all staff who work directly with children must read Annex A (schools to make a judgement about which staff this applies to – as a minimum, it is recommended that it includes all nursery leaders, all classroom based staff and all staff with defined pastoral responsibilities).
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2015 – Advice for practitioners is non statutory advice which helps practitioners (everyone who works with children) to identify abuse and neglect and take appropriate action. (specify where staff will find a copy of this advice)
In the UK, more than 50,000 children are annually subject to a child protection plan. Research suggests that one child a week dies from abuse, around 20 per cent of children will suffer some form of abuse, one child in six is exposed to violence in the home and disabled children are three times more likely to be abused and neglected. The prevalence of neglect continues to be a major concern and online abuse is increasing. The sexual exploitation of children is a growing problem.
Due to their day-to-day contact with children, staff in school are uniquely placed to observe changes in children’s behaviour and the outward signs of abuse, neglect, exploitation and radicalisation. Children may also turn to a trusted adult in school when they are in distress or at risk. It is vital that all staff are alert to the signs of abuse, are approachable and trusted by children/students, listen actively to children and understand the procedures for reporting their concerns. The nursery will act on identified concerns and will provide early help to prevent concerns from escalating.
- Roles and responsibilities
All settings are required to appoint a member of the senior leadership team to co-ordinate child protection arrangements and to ensure that there are appropriate cover arrangements.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL):
- is a senior member of staff from the setting’s leadership team and therefore has the status and authority within the nursery to carry out the duties of the post, including committing resources and supporting and directing other staff
- takes lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection in the setting, which will not be delegated although the activities of the DSL may be delegated to appropriately trained deputies
- is appropriately trained, receives refresher training at two-yearly intervals and regularly (at least annually) updates their knowledge and skills to keep up with any developments relevant to their role
- acts as a source of support and expertise to the nursery community
- encourages a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings
- is alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs, looked after children and young carers
- has a working knowledge of Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) procedures
- has an understanding of the CAF process to ensure effective assessment and understanding of children’s additional needs in order to inform appropriate provision of early help and intervention
- keeps detailed written records of all concerns, ensuring that such records are stored securely and flagged, but kept separate from, the child’s general file
- refers cases of suspected abuse to Children’s Social Care or the Police as appropriate
- notifies Children’s Social Care if a child with a child protection plan is absent for more than two days without explanation
- ensures that, when a child leaves the setting, all child protection records are passed to the new setting (separately from the main child file and ensuring secure transit) and confirmation of receipt is obtained. If the child is the subject of an open case to Children’s Social Care, the child’s social worker is also informed
- attends and/or contributes to child protection conferences, strategy meetings and multi-agency sexual exploitation (MASE) meetings
- co-ordinates the school’s contribution to child protection plans as part of core groups, attending and actively participating in core group meetings
- develops effective links with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies including the WSCB
- ensures that all staff sign to indicate that they have read and understood the child protection and safeguarding policy and Staff Behaviour Policy (Code of Conduct)
- has a working knowledge of relevant national guidance in respect of all specific safeguarding issues highlighted in paragraph 43 (pages 12/13) and Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016, ensuring that all staff receive necessary training, information and guidance
- ensures that the child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures are regularly reviewed and updated annually, working with the whole community of children, parents, staff, volunteers and governors and/or proprietors regarding this
- liaises with the nominated governor and headteacher (where the DSL role is not carried out by the headteacher) as appropriate
- keeps a record of staff attendance at child protection training
- makes the child protection and safeguarding policy available publicly, i.e. on the school’s website or by other means
- ensures parents are aware of the school’s role in safeguarding and that referrals about suspected abuse and neglect may be made
- ensures that the headteacher is aware of the responsibility under Working Together 2015 to refer all allegations that a child has been harmed by or that children may be at risk of harm from a member of staff or volunteer to the Designated Officer (DO) in the Local Authority within one working day prior to any internal investigation; and to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) as appropriate.
The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead(s)
Are appropriately trained to the same level as the DSL and, in the absence of the DSL, carries out those functions necessary to ensure the ongoing safety and protection of children. In the event of the long-term absence of the DSL, the deputy will assume all of the functions above.
The trustees ensure that the setting:
- appoints a Designated Safeguarding Lead who is a member of the senior leadership team and who has undertaken training in inter-agency working, in addition to basic child protection training
- ensures that the DSL role is explicit in the role holder’s job description and that safeguarding responsibilities are identified explicitly in the job/role descriptions of every member of staff and volunteer.
- has a child protection policy and procedures, including a staff code of conduct, that are consistent with WSCB and statutory requirements, reviewed annually and made available publicly on the school’s website or by other means
- has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse made against members of staff and volunteers including allegations made against the headteacher and allegations against other children
- follows safer recruitment procedures that include statutory checks on the suitability of staff to work with children and disqualification by association regulations
- develops an induction strategy that ensures all staff, including the headteacher, and volunteers receive information about the school’s safeguarding arrangements, Staff Behaviour Policy (Code Of Conduct) and the role of the DSL on induction
- develops a training strategy that ensures all staff, including the headteacher, and volunteers receive appropriate and regularly updated safeguarding and child protection training and updates as required (at least annually) to provide them with the relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively in line with any requirements of WSCB. The training strategy will also ensure that the DSL receives refresher training and regular updates as defined under the DSL’s duties above.
- ensures that all staff, including temporary staff and volunteers, are provided with copies of or access to the school’s child protection and safeguarding policy and Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct) before they start work at the school
- appoints a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of children who are looked after by the Local Authority and ensures that the designated teacher has appropriate training
- contributes to inter-agency working and plans
- participates in the CAF process and offers to initiate CAFs for children/students with additional needs in order to provide a co-ordinated offer of early help
- teaches children about safeguarding and how to keep themselves safe at all times, including when online, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.
The trustees nominate a member (normally the chair) to be responsible for liaising with the Local Authority and other agencies in the event of an allegation being made against the headteacher.
It is the responsibility of the governing body to ensure that the setting’s safeguarding, recruitment and managing allegations procedures consider the procedures and practice of the Local Authority, WSCB and national guidance.
An annual report, using a pro forma provided by the Local Authority, will be submitted to WSCB about how the governing body’s duties have been carried out. Any weaknesses will be rectified without delay.
- ensures that the child protection policy and procedures are understood and implemented by all staff
- allocates sufficient time, training, support and resources, including cover arrangements when necessary, to enable the DSL and deputy/s to carry out their roles effectively, including the assessment of children and attendance at strategy discussions and other necessary meetings
- supports the designated teacher for looked after children to promote the educational achievement of any children who are looked after by the Local Authority and to ensure that all staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep looked after children safe
- ensures that all staff feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and that such concerns are handled sensitively and in accordance with the whistle blowing procedures
- ensures that children are provided with opportunities throughout the curriculum to learn about safeguarding and how to keep themselves safe at all times, including when online, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.
- refers all allegations that a child has been harmed by or that children may be at risk of harm from a member of staff or volunteer to the Designated Officer in the Local Authority within one working day prior to any internal investigation
- ensures that anyone who has harmed or may pose a risk of harm to a child is referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service, as advised by the Designated Officer.
- appoints a case officer who will be a member of the senior leadership team to investigate allegations concerning members of staff and volunteers and/or act as a point of contact for the member of staff/volunteer against whom the allegation is made.
4.Good practice guidelines and staff code of conduct
To meet and maintain our responsibilities towards children, we identify standards of good practice and set out our expectations of staff in the Staff Behaviour Policy, which all members of staff and volunteers are required to read and sign before starting work in the school. In summary, our expectations include:
- treating all children with respect
- setting a good example by conducting ourselves appropriately
- involving children in decisions that affect them
- encouraging positive, respectful and safe behaviour among children
- being a good listener
- being alert to changes in children’ behaviour and to signs of abuse and neglect and exploitation
- recognising that challenging behaviour may be an indicator of abuse
- reading and understanding the school’s child protection policy, Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct) and guidance documents on wider safeguarding issues, for example bullying, behaviour, physical contact, sexual exploitation, extremism, e-safety and information-sharing
- asking the child’s permission before initiating physical contact, such as assisting with dressing, physical support during PE or administering first aid
- maintaining appropriate standards of conversation and interaction with and between children and avoiding the use of sexualised or derogatory language
- being aware that the personal and family circumstances and lifestyles of some children lead to an increased risk of abuse
- applying the use of reasonable force and physical intervention only as a last resort and in compliance with setting procedures and WSCB guidance
- referring all concerns about a child’s safety and welfare to the DSL or, if necessary, directly to the Police or Children’s Social Care
- following the school’s rules with regard to communication and relationships with children, including via social media
- referring all allegations against members of staff, volunteers or other adults that work with children and any concerns about breaches of the Staff Behaviour policy directly to the headteacher; and any similar allegations against or concerns about the headteacher directly to the chair of governors.
5.Abuse of position of trust
All staff are aware that inappropriate behaviour towards children is unacceptable and that their conduct towards children must be beyond reproach.
In addition, staff should understand that, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for a person over the age of 18 to have a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18, where that person is in a position of trust, even if the relationship is consensual. This means that any sexual activity between a member of the staff and a child under 18 may be a criminal offence, even if that child is over the age of consent.
6.Children who may be particularly vulnerable
Some children are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect than others. Several factors may contribute to that increased vulnerability, including prejudice and discrimination; isolation; social exclusion; communication issues; a reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse can occur; as well as an individual child’s personality, behaviour, disability, mental and physical health needs and family circumstances.
To ensure that all children receive equal protection, we will give special consideration to children who are:
- Disabled, have special educational needs or have mental health needs
- young carers
- affected by parental substance misuse, domestic abuse and violence or parental mental health needs
- asylum seekers
- looked after by the Local Authority or otherwise living away from home
- vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying behaviours
- living in temporary accommodation
- living transient lifestyles
- living in chaotic and unsupportive home situations
- vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexuality
- at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE)
- do not have English as a first language
- at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM)
- at risk of forced marriage
- at risk of being drawn into extremism.
This list provides examples of vulnerable groups and is not exhaustive. Special consideration includes the provision of safeguarding information and resources in community languages and accessible formats for children with communication needs.
- Early Help and use of the Early Help Assessment process
The setting recognises that providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life. All staff are trained to notice any concerns about children which may help to identify that they would benefit from early help.
Early help might be simple and something the setting is able to address with parents so that the child’s needs are met quickly and easily. The setting will keep a record of any such help using the ‘Pre Early Help Assessment Action Plan’ to record clear targets and progress.
Children and families may need support from a range of local agencies beyond the school. Where a child and family would benefit from co-ordinated support from more than one agency (e.g. education, health, housing, Police) and her/his parents consent, the setting will use the Early Help Assessment process to identify what help the child and family require to prevent the child’s needs escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989.
The setting is committed to working in partnership with children, parents and other agencies to:
- identify situations in which children and/or their families would benefit from early help;
- undertake an assessment of the need for early help, using the Early Help Assessment process; and
- provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family, developing an action plan that will focus on activity to improve the child’s outcomes.
The setting will be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for any child who:
- is disabled and has specific additional needs;
- has special educational needs;
- is a young carer;
- is showing signs of engaging in anti-social or criminal behaviour;
- is in a family whose circumstances present challenges for the child, such as adult substance abuse, adult mental ill health, domestic abuse;
- is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect; and/or
- is particularly vulnerable in any of the ways identified in paragraph 6 above.
The Early Help process can only be effective if it is undertaken with the agreement of the child’s parents/carers. Young people in secondary schools may consent to early help possibly including an Early Help assessment in their own right, subject to Information Sharing Guidance. The setting should seek advice from an Early Help Officer or the Education Safeguarding Manager in those circumstances. The Early Help process should involve the child and family as well as all the professionals who are working with them.
The setting will keep the needs and circumstances of children receiving early help under constant review. If the child’s situation does not improve and/or the child’s parents and/or the child do not consent to early help, the setting will make a judgement about whether, without help, the needs of the child will escalate. If so, the setting will seek the parents’ consent to a referral to a multi-agency Locality Panel in order to address child’s needs. Alternatively, a referral to Children’s Social Care may be necessary.
We recognise that full attendance at nursery is important to the well-being of all our children and enables them to access the opportunities made available to them at school. Attendance is monitored closely and we work in partnership with the Warwickshire County Council Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement (ACE) Service when patterns of absence give rise to concern. Our attendance policy is set out in a separate document and is reviewed regularly by the governing body.
- Children Missing from Education
The nursery operates in accordance with statutory guidance Children Missing Education (DfE 2016) – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/550416/Children_Missing_Education_-_statutory_guidance.pdf
All children, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to an efficient, full time education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have.
Children missing education are at significant risk of underachieving, being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation, and becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) later in life.
Effective information sharing between parents, schools and local authorities is critical to ensuring that all children of compulsory school age are safe and receiving suitable education.
Attendance, absence and exclusions are closely monitored. The DSL will monitor unauthorised absence and take appropriate action, particularly where children go missing on repeated occasions and/or are missing for periods during the school day.
We follow the DfE legal requirements for schools in respect of recording and reporting of children who leave school without any known destination.
Where a child has 10 consecutive school days of unexplained absence and all reasonable steps* have been taken by the nursery to establish their whereabouts without success, the nursery will make an immediate referral to Warwickshire County Council ’s Education and Learning Business Unit at 01926 742036 or via e mail to [email protected]
*Reasonable steps include:
- Telephone calls to all known contacts
- Letters home (including recorded delivery)
- Contact with other schools where siblings may be registered
- Possible home visits where safe to do so
- Enquiries to friends, neighbours etc. through nursery contacts
- Enquiries with any other Service known to be involved with the child/family
- All contacts and outcomes to be recorded on the child’s file
The nursery is required by law to have an admission register and, with the exception of schools where all children are boarders, an attendance register. All children must be placed on both registers.
The nursery is required to inform the Local Authority when they are about to remove a child’s name from the nursery admission register at non-standard transition points irrespective of the reason. The Local Authority may also require the nursery to provide information about children who are going to be removed from the register at standard transition points.
The nursery will also notify the local authority within five days of adding a child’s name to the admission register at a non-standard transition point. The Local Authority may also require the nursery to provide information about children added to the register at a standard transition point.
It is essential for the nursery to comply with this duty so that the Local Authority can, as part of its duty to identify children of compulsory school age who are missing education, follow up with any child who might be in danger of not receiving an education and who might be at risk of abuse or neglect.
Upon receipt of a referral from the school, the Local Authority will continue to attempt to track the child, for at least a further 10 school days, using access to additional contacts/services, e.g. the MASH, Health services, Housing services. If this also fails to establish the child’s whereabouts, the school will be informed by email and may then, but not before, remove the child from roll and place the child’s name on the School to School database, entering XXXXXXX in the box for destination. This will place the child on the list of Children Missing from Education.
Deletions from roll agreed with the Local Authority will normally be backdated to the first day of absence.
If the Local Authority is able to contact the child and her/his parents, arrangements will be made with the nursery and family for a return to education, including a re-integration programme where necessary. If the child has registered at another school, the nursery will delete the child’s name from our roll and transfer the child’s educational records to the new nursery in the normal way. Any child protection records will be transferred separately and securely for the attention of the DSL in the new school and a receipt secured.
Children leaving the nursery for known destinations outside the maintained sector in England and Wales will be updated to the School to School database using MMMMMMM in the destination box. This includes private/independent schools, schools in other countries (including Scotland and Northern Ireland) and children moving into Home Education. The latter will be formally notified to the Elective Home Education Service by the school as soon as written confirmation is received from the parent(s).
If no confirmation is received the above Missing Children procedures will apply.
- Children who run away or go missing from home or care
The school/college recognises that children who run away or go missing – and are thus absent from their normal residence – are potentially vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, offending and placing themselves in situations where they may suffer physical harm.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 highlights that ‘Statutory Guidance on Children who Run Away or go Missing from Home or Care’ (DfE 2014) requires that every child or young person who runs away or goes missing must be offered a Return Home Interview (RHI) within a period of 72 hours of their return.
RHI’s are intended to ascertain the factors that triggered the young person’s absence. Those factors may include difficulties at home, in nursery and in the community. The short timescale of 72 hours is imposed in order to ensure that the RHI remains relevant to the young person and enables any required action to be initiated at the earliest opportunity.
RHI’s are undertaken by professionals who are independent in order to facilitate a discussion with the young person that is as open as possible. As soon as the Local Authority receives notification that a young person has gone missing from home or care, a letter will be sent to parents/carers seeking their consent to a RHI with their son/daughter. Direct contact will then be made with parents/carers and the young person to make arrangements for the interview.
In order to fulfil the timescale of within 72 hours, it is essential that all opportunities to interview young people including times during the school/college day are utilised.
When necessary and in conjunction with the Local Authority, the school/college will facilitate Return Home Interviews, both in terms of releasing the young person from their normal timetable to participate in an interview and in providing an appropriate and safe space on the school/college site for the interview to take place.
The school/college will check with the Local Authority whether or not parents/carers have given their consent to the interview. However, young people aged 16 and 17 years old are generally considered to be able to consent and withhold consent to their own information being shared and therefore to participate in a RHI or not. With reference to the Fraser Guidelines, younger children may also be deemed able to consent.
If the Local Authority has not received consent from parents/carers and the young person is not assessed as being capable of giving or withholding informed consent, the school/college will contact the parent/carer and seek to secure their consent.
Parents/carers may also choose to accompany their son/daughter in interviews and the school/college will facilitate that as appropriate.
- Helping children to keep themselves safeKeeping Children Safe in Education 2016 requires governing bodies and proprietors to ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a ‘broad and balanced curriculum.’
Children are taught to understand and manage risk through our personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and sex and relationships lessons and through all aspects of nursery life. Our approach is designed to help children to think about risks they may encounter and with the support of staff work out how those risks might be reduced or managed. Discussions about risk are empowering and enabling for all children and promote sensible behaviour rather than fear or anxiety. Children are taught how to conduct themselves and how to behave in a responsible manner. Children are also reminded regularly about online safety, the risks of sharing content and images online and tackling bullying, including cyber bullying procedures. The school continually promotes an ethos of respect for children and children are encouraged to speak to a member of staff of their choosing about any worries they may have.
Discussions about risk will include talking to children about the risks and issues associated with young people sending, receiving and/or disseminating indecent images of themselves and other young people, which is widely referred to as ‘sexting’. (dependant on age of the children)
It is recognised that a young person may choose to share indecent images with another young person in the context of a romantic relationship and that she or he may do so without any intention to cause harm or distress to anybody. Although technically an offence, ‘sexting’ of that nature is referred to as ‘experimental sexting’ and it is usually not necessary or appropriate to criminalise young people in those circumstances.
However, there are clear risks associated with such behaviour. Staff are trained to be vigilant and to notice and record any concerns about young people sending and receiving indecent images, which includes listening to what young people say to each other and to staff, as they do with any other safeguarding concern.
When concerns are identified, staff will always speak to children and will inform parents about their concerns unless there is good reason to believe that doing so would place the child at increased risk of significant harm. The DSL will also need to consider the Fraser guidelines in making a judgement about whether or not to respect a young person’s request not to inform his/her parents/carers.
N.B. Children under the age of 13 are unable to consent to sexual activity. Any imagery containing sexual activity by under 13 year olds will therefore be referred to the Police.
(Please also refer to ‘Youth produced sexual imagery’ in section 27 below)
(for subscribing schools) We have adopted Taking Care, the WSCB’s personal safety programme (based on the Protective Behaviours Process) for Foundation/Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, which is designed to fit in with the requirements of the PSHE Curriculum. This programme reinforces essential skills for every child. Self-esteem and confidence building, thinking independently and making assessments of risk based on their own judgements are encouraged throughout the course.
Children are also taught about British values, bullying and keeping safe through circle times and activities.
- Support for children, families and staff involved in a child protection issue
Child abuse is devastating for the child and can also result in distress and anxiety for staff who become involved.
We will support children, their families, and staff by:
- taking all suspicions and disclosures seriously
- nominating a link person (usually the DSL) who will keep all parties informed and be the central point of contact
- Where a member of staff is the subject of an allegation made by a child, separate link people will be nominated to avoid any conflict of interest
- responding sympathetically to any request from children or staff for time out to deal with distress or anxiety
- maintaining confidentiality and sharing information on a need-to-know basis only with relevant individuals and agencies
- storing records securely
- offering details of helplines, counselling or other avenues of external support
- following the procedures laid down in our child protection, whistleblowing, complaints and disciplinary procedures
- co-operating fully with relevant statutory agencies.
- Complaints procedure
Our complaints procedure will be followed where a child or parent raises a concern about poor practice towards a child that initially does not reach the threshold for child protection action. Poor practice examples include unfairly singling out a child or attempting to humiliate them, bullying or belittling a child or discriminating against them in some way. Complaints are managed by the headteacher, other members of the senior leadership team and governors. An explanation of the complaints procedure is included in the safeguarding information for parents and children.
Complaints from staff are dealt with under the school’s complaints and disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Complaints which escalate into a child protection concern will automatically be managed under the school’s child protection procedures.
- Staff reporting concerns about a colleague or other adult who works with children (Whistleblowing)
Staff who are concerned about the conduct of a colleague – including visiting professionals and volunteers – towards a child are undoubtedly placed in a very difficult situation. They may worry that they have misunderstood a situation and they will wonder whether a report could jeopardise a colleague’s career. All staff must remember that the welfare of the child is paramount.
The school’s whistleblowing policy enables staff to raise concerns or allegations, initially in confidence, and for a sensitive enquiry to take place.
Staff are expected to report all concerns about poor practice or possible child abuse by colleagues – including what may seem minor contraventions of the school’s Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct) – to the headteacher; to facilitate proactive and early intervention in order to maintain appropriate boundaries and a safe culture that protect children and reduce the risk of serious abuse in school.
The recommended format for all staff in schools to record any such poor practice or possible child abuse by colleagues or other adults who work with children is the pro forma ‘Logging A Concern about the behaviour of an adult who works with children’, also known as the ‘Yellow form’. All such forms should be passed directly to the manager. Alternatively, staff are free to approach the manager directly to discuss their concerns.
Concerns or complaints about the manager should be reported to the chair of trustees, whose contact details are displayed in the staff room for any member of staff to use in such an instance. The ‘Yellow form’ should also be used for that purpose as above.
Staff may also report concerns about suspected abuse or neglect directly to Children’s Social Care or the Police if they believe direct reporting is necessary to secure action.
Staff can also contact the Designated Officer in the Local Authority, who is responsible for the co-ordination of responses to allegations against people who work with children, by submitting a ‘Warwickshire MASH – Position of Trust Referral’ form or via the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 01926 414144.
The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is also available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. Staff can call 0800 028 0285 between 8.00a.m. and 8.00p.m. Monday to Friday or e mail [email protected].
The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline and contact numbers for Children’s Social Care, the Police and the Designated Officer are all displayed in the staff room.
- Managing allegations against staff
When an allegation is made against a member of staff, set procedures must be followed. It is rare for a child to make an entirely false or malicious allegation, although misunderstandings and misinterpretations of events do happen.
A child may also make an allegation against an innocent party because they are too afraid to name the real perpetrator. Even so, we must accept that some professionals do pose a serious risk to children and we must act on every allegation.
Staff who are the subject of an allegation have the right to have their case dealt with fairly, quickly and consistently and to be kept informed of its progress.
Suspension is not the default option and alternatives to suspension will always be considered. However, in some cases staff may be suspended where this is deemed to be the best way to ensure that allegations are investigated fairly, quickly and consistently and that all parties are protected. In the event of suspension the setting will provide support and a named contact for the member of staff.
As stated above, all allegations against staff should be reported to the manager. Allegations against the manager should be reported to the chair of trustees.
Staff may also report their concerns directly to the Police or Children’s Social Care via the MASH if they believe direct reporting is necessary to secure action.
The full procedures for dealing with allegations against staff can be found in Part 4 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 and WSCB’s inter-agency safeguarding procedures, section 6 – Managing Allegations Against People Who Work With Children.
Staff, parents and governors are reminded that publication of material that may lead to the identification of a teacher who is the subject of an allegation is prohibited by law. Publication includes verbal conversations or writing, including content placed on social media sites.
Allegations concerning staff who no longer work at the nursery or historical allegations will be reported to the Police.
In accordance with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016, the nursery will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered.
- Staff training
It is important that all staff have training to enable them to recognise the possible signs of abuse, neglect, exploitation and radicalisation and to know what to do if they have a concern.
New staff and trustees who will have direct contact with children and volunteers will receive an explanation during their induction which will include:
- the school’s child protection and safeguarding policy
- signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect
- responding to disclosure of abuse or neglect by a child
- reporting and recording arrangements
- the Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct)
- details of the DSL.
NB all of the above will be explained before a new member of staff, governor or volunteer has direct contact with children in school. The school’s child protection policy and Staff Behaviour policy (code of conduct) will be sent with the letter confirming an appointment with a written requirement that the individual reads the two policies in advance of starting work at the school. The individual will be given an opportunity to clarify any issues on their first day at work and then asked to sign to confirm that they have read and understood both policies and undertake to comply with them.
All staff, including the headteacher (unless the headteacher is the DSL), volunteers and governors will receive appropriate and regularly updated safeguarding and child protection training and thematic updates as required (at least annually) during inset days and regular discussions at staff meetings, to provide them with the requisite skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively in line with statutory guidance and any requirements of WSCB.
The DSL will attend training for newly appointed DSLs and refresher training every two years delivered by Warwickshire County Council’s Education Safeguarding Service. That training will include up to date information about WSCB inter-agency procedures. In addition, the DSL will update their knowledge and skills at least annually to keep up with any developments relevant to their role and will be supported to access WSCB inter-agency training as part of their continuing professional development.
All staff will be made aware of the increased risk of abuse to certain groups, including children with special educational needs and disabilities, looked after children, young carers and risks associated with specific safeguarding issues including child sexual exploitation, extremism, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.
In addition, the headteacher (and/or other school leaders as appropriate) and at least one governor (usually the chair) will attend safer recruitment training and the school will ensure that there are at least two school leaders and/or governors that have attended safer recruitment training within the past three years.
- Safer recruitment
Our school endeavours to ensure that we do our utmost to employ ‘safe’ staff and allow ‘safe’ volunteers to work with children by following the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 together with WSCB and the school’s Safer Recruitment policies.
Safer recruitment means that all applicants will:
- complete an application form which includes their employment history and explains any gaps in that history
- provide two referees, including at least one who can comment on the applicant’s suitability to work with children
- provide evidence of identity and qualifications
- if offered employment, be checked in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) regulations as appropriate to their role. This will include an enhanced DBS check and a barred list check for those engaged in Regulated Activity
- if offered employment, provide evidence of their right to work in the UK
- be interviewed by a panel of at least two school leaders/governors, if shortlisted.
The school will also
- ensure that every job description and person specification for roles in school includes a description of the role holder’s responsibility for safeguarding
- ask at least one question at interview for every role in school about the candidate’s attitude to safeguarding and motivation for working with children
- verify the preferred candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities
- obtain references for all shortlisted candidates, including internal candidates
- carry out additional or alternative checks for applicants who have lived or worked outside the UK
- ensure that applicants for teaching posts are not subject to a prohibition order issued by the Secretary of State
- academies, independent schools and free schools – check that an applicant for a management position is not the subject of a section 128 direction made by the secretary of state prohibiting or restricting her/him from taking part in the management of an independent school, academy or free school.
At least one member of each recruitment panel will have attended safer recruitment training.
All new members of staff and volunteers will undergo an induction that includes familiarisation with the school’s child protection and safeguarding policy, Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct), other issues as in section 16 of this policy and identification of their child protection training needs.
All staff are required to sign to confirm they have received a copy of the child protection and safeguarding policy and Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct).
All relevant staff (teachers, teaching assistants, other classroom based staff, lunchtime supervisors and members of the senior leadership team) and all those who work in before or after school care for children under eight) are made aware of the disqualification and disqualification by association legislation (state how awareness is raised e.g. with a staff/volunteer briefing, a clause in employment contracts for new staff etc.).
The school obtains written confirmation from supply agencies and third party organisations that they have satisfactorily undertaken all appropriate checks in respect of individuals they provide to work in the school that the school would have undertaken if they were employing the individual directly.
Trainee teachers will be checked either by the school or by the training provider, from whom written confirmation will be obtained.
The school maintains a single central record of recruitment checks undertaken and ensures that the record is maintained in accordance with section 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education and guidance issued by Warwickshire County Council.
Schools are ‘specified places’ which means that the majority of staff and volunteers will be engaged in regulated activity. A fuller explanation of regulated activity can be found in Part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016.
All governors will be the subject of Enhanced DBS checks as defined in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016.
Volunteers will undergo checks commensurate with their work in the school and contact with children. Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been appropriately checked be left unsupervised or be allowed to engage in regulated activity.
Volunteers who work only in a supervised capacity and are not in regulated activity will undergo the safer recruitment checks appropriate to their role, in accordance with the school’s risk assessment process and statutory guidance.
The school checks the identity of all contractors working on site and requests DBS checks where appropriate. Contractors who have not undergone checks will not be allowed to work unsupervised or in regulated activity.
- Site security
Visitors to the school, including contractors, are asked to sign in and are given an identity badge, which confirms they have permission to be on site. Parents who are simply delivering or collecting their children do not need to sign in. All visitors are expected to observe the school’s safeguarding and health and safety regulations to ensure children in school are kept safe. The headteacher will exercise professional judgement in determining whether any visitor should be escorted or supervised while on site.
- Behaviour Management
Our behaviour policy is set out in a separate document and is reviewed regularly by the governing body. This policy is transparent to staff, parents and children.
- Record Keeping
The setting will maintain safeguarding (including early help) and child protection records in accordance with the guidance document provided by WCC Education Safeguarding Service Child Protection Record Keeping Guidance.
The school will:
- keep clear detailed written records of concerns about children (noting the date, event and action taken), even where there is no need to refer the matter to Children’s Social Care immediately;
- keep records in a folder in a meticulous chronological order;
- ensure all records are kept secure and in locked locations;
- ensure all relevant child protection records are sent to the receiving school, college or other education establishment when a child moves.
Safeguarding and child protection records will be maintained independently from the child’s school file and the school file will be ‘tagged’ to indicate that separate information is held. Such records will only be accessible to the Designated Safeguarding Lead and school leaders who need to be aware.
The recommended format for all staff in schools to record any safeguarding or child protection observations or concerns about a child is the WSCB pro forma Logging A Concern About A Child’s Safety And Welfare (Form C) also known as the ‘Green form’.
Such records will include, in addition to the name, address and age of the child, timed and dated observations describing the child’s behaviour, appearance, statements/remarks made to staff or other children and observations of interactions between the child, other children, members of staff and/or parents/carers that give rise to concern. Where possible and without interpretation, the exact words spoken by the child or parent/carer will be recorded. Records will be signed, dated and timed by the member of staff making the record.
Records of safeguarding/child protection observations or concerns can be completed electronically or as a paper version but it is most important that all staff use one consistent system for the recording of concerns and that all records are passed to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, who should complete the form to confirm what action has been taken.
Child protection records are normally exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act, which means that children and parents do not have an automatic right to see them. If any member of staff receives a request from a child or parent to see child protection records, they will refer the request to the manager or DSL, who will advise them to submit a Subject Access to Information request for consideration.
The Data Protection Act does not prevent school staff from sharing information with relevant agencies, where that information may help to protect a child.
- Confidentiality and Information Sharing
All staff will understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the child, family and staff involved but also to ensure that information being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence.
Staff will ensure confidentiality protocols are adhered to and information is shared appropriately. If in any doubt about confidentiality, staff will seek advice from the DSL, another SLT member or outside agency as required (e.g. Education Safeguarding Manager).
It is reasonable for staff to discuss day-to-day concerns about children with colleagues in order to ensure that children’s general needs are met in school. However, staff should report all child protection and safeguarding concerns to the DSL or headteacher or – in the case of concerns about the headteacher – to the chair of governors. The person receiving the referral will then decide who else needs to have the information and they will disseminate it on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
However, following a number of cases where senior leaders in schools failed to act upon concerns raised by staff, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 emphasises that any member of staff can contact and/or make a referral to Children’s Social Care if they are concerned about a child. All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
- All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child/parent to keep secrets.
Child protection information will be stored and handled in line with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998, which require that sensitive information is:
- processed for limited purposes
- adequate, relevant and not excessive
- kept no longer than necessary
- processed in accordance with the data subject’s rights
- Record of concern forms (Form C – Green forms) and other written information will be stored in a locked facility and any electronic information will be password protected and only made available to relevant individuals.
Every effort will be made to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information. Any sensitive information that needs to be stored on portable devices such as laptop computers or tablets or on portable media such as a CD or flash drive will be password protected or encrypted and kept in locked storage.
The school’s policy on confidentiality and information-sharing is available to parents and children on request.
- Extended school and off-site arrangements
All extended and off site activities are subject to a risk assessment to satisfy health and safety and safeguarding requirements. When our children attend off-site activities, including day and residential visits and work related activities, we will check that effective child protection and whistleblowing arrangements are in place.
Where extended school activities are provided by and managed by the school, the school’s child protection policy and procedures apply. If other organisations provide services or activities on the setting site, the settimg will check that those organisations have appropriate procedures in place, including safer recruitment procedures.
- Photography and images
The vast majority of people who take or view photographs or videos of children do so for entirely innocent, understandable and acceptable reasons. Sadly, some people abuse children through taking or using images, so we must ensure that we have some safeguards in place.
To protect children we will:
- seek their consent for photographs or video images to be taken;
- seek parental consent;
- ensure children are appropriately dressed; and
- encourage children to tell us if they are worried about any photographs/images that are taken of them.
Furthermore, when using images for publicity purposes (e.g. on our website or in newspapers or publications), we will:
- avoid naming children when possible
- if it is necessary to name children, use first names rather than surnames
- if children are named, avoid using their image
- establish whether the image will be retained for further use, where and for how long
- ensure that images are stored securely and used only by those authorised to do so.
For the protection of children and staff, only school owned equipment will be used to record and store images taken by staff or volunteers on the school site or during offsite school activities including residential visits.
Parents are welcome to take still photographs of their own children only during school activities, subject to other restrictions notified to parents in advance in writing or verbally (e.g. parents may be asked not to take photographs during concerts/performances in order not to distract children who are performing or other audience members). Parents must not publish (including on social media) photographs of other children inadvertently captured during school events without the express permission of the parents of those children.
Parents are welcome to video record their own children only during school activities, subject to the same terms and conditions as for photographs above.
Visiting professionals who work directly with children are subject to the same restrictions as school staff and volunteers in respect of recording and storing images of children. However, some visiting professionals are permitted to record images of the premises only specifically for professional purposes and in order to support the school, e.g. professionals providing advice or preparing quotations for work such as maintenance, health and safety and building.
- Online Safety
Children and young people commonly use electronic equipment including mobile phones, tablets and computers on a daily basis to access the internet and share content and images via social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MSN, Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram.
Those technologies and the internet are a source of fun, entertainment, communication and education. Unfortunately, however, some adults and young people will use those technologies to harm children. That harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails to grooming and enticing children to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-to-face meetings. Children may also be distressed or harmed by accessing inappropriate websites that promote unhealthy lifestyles, extremist behaviour and criminal activity.
Chatrooms and social networking sites are the more obvious sources of inappropriate and harmful behaviour and children are not allowed to access those sites in school. Many children own or have access to hand held devices and parents are encouraged to consider measures to keep their children safe when using the internet and social media at home and in the community.
The school’s online safety policy explains how we try to keep children safe in school and protect and educate children in the safe use of technology. The school has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place to protect children from potentially harmful online material.
Cyberbullying and sexting by children will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying and will be managed through our anti-bullying procedures (see ‘Sexting’ below). Serious incidents may be managed in line with our sexual exploitation policy or child protection procedures.
Online communication between staff and children
Staff also receive advice regarding personal online activity, use of social networking and electronic communication with children, about which there are strict rules. Staff are advised not to add parents or children of the setting as friends and under no circumstances are they to talk about the setting, staff or families that use the setting. Staff found to be in breach of these rules may the subject of a referral to the Designated Officer in the Local Authority and may be subject to disciplinary action.
- Child protection procedures
To ensure that our children are protected from harm, we need to understand what types of behaviour constitute abuse and neglect.
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, for example by hitting them, or by failing to act to prevent harm, for example by leaving a small child home alone, or leaving knives or matches within reach of an unattended toddler.
Abuse may be committed by adult men or women and by other children and young people.
There are four categories of abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect
Physical abuse is a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child (this used to be called Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, but is now more usually referred to as fabricated or induced illness).
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Definitions taken from Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2015).
Indicators of abuse
Physical signs define some types of abuse, for example bruising, bleeding or broken bones resulting from physical or sexual abuse, or injuries sustained while a child has been inadequately supervised. The identification of physical signs is complicated, as children may go to great lengths to hide injuries, often because they are ashamed or embarrassed, or their abuser has threatened further violence or trauma if they ‘tell’. It is also quite difficult for anyone without medical training to categorise injuries into accidental or deliberate with any degree of certainty. For those reasons it is vital that staff are also aware of the range of behavioural indicators of abuse and report any concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
It is the responsibility of staff to report their concerns. It is not their responsibility to investigate or decide whether a child has been abused.
A child who is being abused or neglected may:
- have bruises, bleeding, burns, fractures or other injuries;
- show signs of pain or discomfort;
- keep arms and legs covered, even in warm weather;
- be concerned about changing for PE or swimming;
- look unkempt and uncared for;
- change their eating habits;
- have difficulty in making or sustaining friendships;
- appear fearful;
- be reckless with regard to their own or other’s safety;
- frequently miss school or arrive late;
- show signs of not wanting to go home;
- display a change in behaviour – from quiet to aggressive, or happy-go-lucky to withdrawn;
- challenge authority;
- become disinterested in their school work;
- be constantly tired or preoccupied;
- be wary of physical contact;
- be involved in, or particularly knowledgeable about drugs or alcohol; and/or
- display sexual knowledge or behaviour beyond that normally expected for their age and/or stage of development.
- acquire gifts such as money or a mobile phone from new ‘friends’ or adults recently acquainted with the child’s family
Individual indicators will rarely, in isolation, provide conclusive evidence of abuse. They should be viewed as part of a jigsaw and each small piece of information will help the DSL to decide how to proceed.
It is very important that staff report all of their concerns, however minor or insignificant they may think they are – they do not need ‘absolute proof’ that the child is at risk.
Impact of abuse
The impact of child abuse, neglect and exploitation should not be underestimated. Many children do recover well and go on to lead healthy, happy and productive lives, although most adult survivors agree that the emotional scars remain, however well buried. For some children, full recovery is beyond their reach and the rest of their childhood and their adulthood may be characterised by anxiety or depression, self-harm, eating disorders, alcohol and substance misuse, unequal and destructive relationships and long-term medical or psychiatric difficulties.
Any child in any family in any school could become a victim of abuse. Staff should always maintain an attitude of “It could happen here”.
Key points for staff to remember when taking action are:
- in an emergency take the action necessary to help the child, for example, call 999;
- report your concern to the DSL as quickly as possible – immediately when there is evidence of physical or sexual abuse and certainly by the end of the day;
- do not start your own investigation;
- share information on a need-to-know basis only – do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family;
- complete a record of concern, using a Form C (Green form) (Delete and insert alternative recording systems if your school uses something other than Green forms); and
- seek support for yourself if you are distressed or need to debrief.
If a member of staff or volunteer is concerned about a child’s welfare
There will be occasions when staff may suspect that a child may be at risk but have no ‘real’ evidence. The child’s behaviour may have changed, their artwork could be bizarre, they may write stories or poetry that reveal confusion or distress or physical but inconclusive signs may have been noticed. In these circumstances, staff will try to give the child the opportunity to talk. The signs they have noticed may be due to a variety of factors, for example a parent has moved out, a pet has died, a grandparent is very ill or an accident has occurred. It is fine for staff to ask the child if they are OK or if they can help in any way.
Staff should use the same record of concern form Form C (Green form) (Delete and insert alternative recording system as appropriate) to record these early concerns. If the child does begin to reveal that they are being harmed, staff should follow the advice below. Following an initial conversation with the child, if the member of staff remains concerned, they should discuss their concerns with the DSL.
Concerns which do not meet the threshold for child protection intervention will be managed through the Early Help process as in section 7 of this policy.
If a child discloses to a member of staff or volunteer
It takes a lot of courage for a child to disclose that they are being abused. They may feel ashamed, particularly if the abuse is sexual. Their abuser may have threatened what will happen if they tell. They may have lost all trust in adults. Or they may believe, or have been told, that the abuse is their own fault. Sometimes they may not be aware that what is happening is abusive.
If a child talks to a member of staff about any risks to their safety or wellbeing, the staff member will need to let the child know that they must pass the information on – staff are not allowed to keep secrets. The point at which they tell the child this is a matter for professional judgement. If they jump in immediately the child may think that they do not want to listen but if left until the very end of the conversation, the child may feel that they have been misled into revealing more than they would have otherwise.
If children have been completing the Taking Care curriculum they will have been taught about confidentiality and will generally understand the concept of safe and unsafe secrets. They should have a good knowledge and understanding of why staff cannot keep some information confidential but also know that information is passed on to specific people on a ‘need to know’ basis only.
During their conversations with children staff will:
- allow them to speak freely;
- remain calm and not overreact – the child may stop talking if they feel they are upsetting their listener;
- give reassuring nods or words of comfort – ‘I’m so sorry this has happened’, ‘I want to help’, ‘This isn’t your fault’, ‘You are doing the right thing in talking to me’;
- not be afraid of silences – staff must remember how hard this must be for the child;
- under no circumstances ask investigative questions – such as how many times this has happened, whether it happens to siblings too, or what does the child’s mother think about all this;
(however, it is reasonable to ask questions to clarify understanding and to support a meaningful referral if that is required, e.g. when did this happen, where did this happen?)
- at an appropriate time tell the child that in order to help them, the member of staff must pass the information on;
- not automatically offer any physical touch as comfort. It may be anything but comforting to a child who has been abused;
- avoid admonishing the child for not disclosing earlier. Saying things such as ‘I do wish you had told me about this when it started’ or ‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing’ may be the staff member’s way of being supportive but may be interpreted by the child to mean that they have done something wrong;
- tell the child what will happen next;
- let them know that someone (either you or another named person, e.g. the DSL) will come to see them before the end of the day;
- report verbally to the DSL;
- write up their conversation as soon as possible on the record of concern form Form C (Green form) and hand it to the DSL; and
- seek support if they feel distressed or need to debrief.
The school will normally seek to discuss any concerns about a child with their parents. This must be handled sensitively and the DSL will make contact with the parent in the event of a concern, suspicion or disclosure.
However, if the school believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the child or exacerbate the problem, advice will be sought first from Children’s Social Care.
Making a referral to Children’s Social Care
The DSL will make a referral to Children’s Social Care if it is believed that a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm (see Section 33 ‘Submitting child protection referrals’).
However, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 emphasises that any member of staff may make a direct referral to Children’s Social Care if they genuinely believe independent action is necessary to protect a child.
The child (subject to their age and understanding) and the parents will be told that a referral is being made, unless to do so would increase the risk to the child or create undue delay.
While bullying between children is not a separate category of abuse and neglect, it is a very serious issue that can cause considerable anxiety and distress. At its most serious level, bullying can have a disastrous effect on a child’s well-being and in very rare cases has been a feature in the suicide of some young people.
All incidences of bullying, including cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying should be reported and will be managed through our anti-bullying procedures. All children and parents receive a copy of the procedures on joining the school and the subject of bullying is addressed at regular intervals in PSHE education.
If the bullying is particularly serious, or the anti-bullying procedures are deemed to be ineffective, the headteacher and the DSL will consider implementing early help or child protection procedures.
Please also refer to issues in relation to children who are sexually harmful or abusive towards other children below.
- Peer on peer abuse and children with sexually harmful or inappropriate behaviour
Children may be harmed by other children or young people. Staff will be aware of the harm caused by bullying and will use the school’s anti-bullying procedures as above where necessary. However, there will be occasions when a child’s behaviour warrants a response under child protection rather than anti-bullying procedures. In particular, research suggests that up to 30 per cent of child sexual abuse is committed by someone under the age of 18.
Abusive behaviour by one child towards another will not be tolerated, minimised or dismissed as ‘banter’ or ‘part of growing up’.
When dealing with abuse of children by other children, staff will be mindful of the potential for prejudice-based bullying; racist, disability, homophobic and transphobic abuse; gender-based violence and teenage relationship abuse. Whilst mindful of the particular vulnerability of women and girls to violence, it is also recognised that boys as well as girls can be abused by members of the opposite as well as the same gender group.
Members of staff who become concerned about a child’s sexualised behaviour, including any known online sexualised behaviour, should record their concerns and report them to the DSL as soon as possible, as with any other safeguarding concern.
The management of children and young people with sexually harmful behaviour is complex and the school will work with other relevant agencies to maintain the safety of the whole school community. Young people who display such behaviour may be victims of abuse themselves and the child protection procedures will be followed for both victim and perpetrator.
Any instances of sexual harm caused by one child to another and any situation where there are concerns about power imbalance, coercion or force will be discussed with Children’s Social Care.
The school will also be informed by the Police or Children’s Social Care about referrals made directly to those agencies from other sources (e.g. family members, family friends, parents of other children) in relation to alleged sexualised inappropriate or sexually abusive behaviour displayed by children inside and/or outside school.
In all such circumstances, the school may be required to attend a strategy meeting under WSCB inter-agency child protection procedures in order to facilitate risk management and planning with other agencies.
In responding to cases involving children or young people who have committed sexually abusive behaviours, Children’s Social Care will consult with the Sexualised Inappropriate Behaviours Service (SIBS), for advice, consultation or provision of a direct service. A wide range of practice guidance, knowledge and therapeutic materials has been developed by SIBS to inform the interventions relating to children and young people with sexual behaviour difficulties.
In circumstances where a child displays sexualised inappropriate behaviour but evidence of sexual harm towards other children is not clearcut, the school may seek consultation and advice from SIBS and/or the Education Safeguarding Manager.
In deciding the most appropriate response, relevant considerations will include:
- the nature and extent of the inappropriate/abusive behaviours. In respect of sexual abuse, it is necessary to distinguish between normal childhood sexual development and experimentation; and sexually harmful or aggressive behaviour;
- the context of the abusive behaviours;
- the child/young person’s development, family and social circumstances;
- the need for services, specifically focusing on the child/young person’s harmful behaviour as well as other significant needs; and/or
- the risks to self and others, including other children in the school, household, extended family, peer group and wider social network.
The school is committed to participating in plans both to provide children who are at risk from other children and those children who may present a risk to other children with appropriate services to address any concerns and, wherever possible, to facilitate ongoing access to education in school for all children concerned, subject to appropriate risk assessments and risk management plans.
Youth produced sexual imagery (‘sexting’)
The school will act in accordance with advice endorsed by DfE ‘Sexting in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people’ (UK Council for Child Internet Safety 2016) – www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/551575/6.2439_KG_NCA_Sexting_in_Schools_WEB__1_.PDF
All incidents of youth produced sexual imagery (YPSI) will be dealt with as safeguarding concerns. The primary concern at all times will be the welfare and protection of the young people involved.
Young people who share sexual imagery of themselves or their peers are breaking the law. However, as highlighted in national guidance, it is important to avoid criminalising young people unnecessarily. The school will therefore work in partnership with external agencies with a view to responding proportionately to the circumstances of any incident.
All incidents of YPSI should be reported to the DSL as with all other safeguarding issues and concerns. Staff will not make their own judgements about whether an issue relating to YPSI is more or less serious enough to warrant a report to the DSL. What may seem like less serious concerns to individual members of staff may be more significant when considered in the light of other information known to the DSL, which the member of staff may not be aware of.
If staff become concerned about a YPSI issue in relation to a device in the possession of a student (e.g. mobile phone, tablet, digital camera), the member of staff will secure the device (i.e. it should be confiscated). This is consistent with DfE advice Searching, Screening and Confiscation – Advice for headteachers, school staff and governing bodies (DfE February 2014), page 11 ‘After the search’.
Staff will not look at or print any indecent images. The confiscated device will be passed immediately to the DSL (see ‘Viewing the imagery’ below).
The DSL will discuss the concerns with appropriate staff and speak to young people involved as appropriate. Parents/carers will be informed at an early stage and involved in the process unless there is good reason to believe that involving parents would put the young person at risk of harm.
If, at any point in the process, there is concern that a young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm a referral will be made to Children’s Social Care and/or the Police via the MASH immediately.
The Police will always be informed when there is reason to believe that indecent images involve sexual acts and any child in the imagery is under 13 years of age.
The DSL will make a judgement about whether a reported YPSI incident is experimental as in section 11 above or aggravated.
Aggravated incidents involve criminal or abusive elements beyond the creation, sending or possession of sexual images created by young people. These include possible adult involvement or criminal or abusive behaviour by young people such as sexual abuse, extortion, threats, malicious conduct arising from personal conflicts, or creation or sending or showing of images without the knowledge or against the will of a young person who is pictured.
Aggravated incidents of sexting will usually be referred to Warwickshire’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for advice about whether or not a response by the Police and/or Children’s Social Care is required. This will facilitate consideration of whether:
- there are any offences that warrant a Police investigation
- child protection procedures need to be invoked
- parents/carers require support in order to safeguard their children
- a multi-agency sexual exploitation (MASE) meeting is required
- any of the perpetrators and/or victims require additional support. This may require the initiation of a CAF and the offer of early help services
Examples of aggravated incidents include:
- evidence of adult involvement in acquiring, creating or disseminating indecent images of young people (possibly by an adult pretending to be a young person known to the victim)
- evidence of coercing, intimidating, bullying, threatening and/or extortion of students by one or more other students to create and share indecent images of themselves
- pressure applied to a number of students (e.g. all female students in a class or year group) to create and share indecent images of themselves
- pressurising a student who does not have the capacity to consent (e.g. due to their age, level of understanding or special educational needs) or with additional vulnerability to create and share indecent images of themselves
- dissemination of indecent images of young people to a significant number of others with an intention to cause harm or distress (possibly as an act of so-called ‘revenge porn’, bullying or exploitation)
- what is known about the imagery suggests the content depicts sexual acts which are unusual for the young person’s developmental stage or are violent
- sharing of indecent images places a young person is at immediate risk of harm, for example the young person is presenting as suicidal or self-harming
The DSL will make a judgement about whether or not a situation in which indecent images have been shared with a small number of others in a known friendship group with no previous concerns constitutes an aggravated incident; or whether the school is able to contain the situation in partnership with all parents of the students involved, arrange for the parents to ensure that all indecent images are deleted and that the young people involved learn from the incident in order to keep themselves safe in future.
In the latter instance, the DSL will usually consult with the Police and/or Children’s Social Care through the MASH to check that no other relevant information is held by those agencies and to ensure an agreed response is documented before proceeding.
Viewing the imagery – adults should not view youth produced sexual imagery unless there is good and clear reason to do so. Wherever possible, the DSL’s responses to incidents will be based on what they have been told about the content of the imagery.
Any decision to view imagery will be based on the DSL’s professional judgement. Imagery will never be viewed if the act of viewing will cause significant distress or harm to a child.
If a decision is made to view imagery, the DSL will be satisfied that viewing:
– is the only way to make a decision about whether to involve other agencies (i.e. it is not possible to establish the facts from the young people involved)
– is necessary to report the image to a website, app or suitable reporting agency to have it taken down, or to support the young person or parent in making a report
– is unavoidable because a young person has presented an image directly to a staff member or the imagery has been found on a school device or network
If it is necessary to view the imagery then the DSL will:
– never copy, print or share the imagery; this is illegal
– discuss the decision with the headteacher, Children’s Social Care or the Education Safeguarding Manager
– ensure viewing is undertaken by the DSL or Deputy DSL with delegated authority from the headteacher
– ensure viewing takes place with another member of staff present in the room, ideally the headteacher, another DSL or a member of the senior leadership team. The other staff member does not need to view the images
– wherever possible ensure viewing takes place on school or college premises, ideally in the headteacher or DSL’s office
– ensure wherever possible that images are viewed by a staff member of the same sex as the young person in the imagery
– record the viewing of the imagery in the child’s safeguarding record, including who was present, why the image was viewed and any subsequent actions; and ensure this is signed and dated and meets the wider standards set out by Ofsted for recording safeguarding incidents
Deletion of images – if the school has decided that other agencies do not need to be involved, then consideration will be given to deleting imagery from devices and online services to limit any further sharing of the imagery.
- Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
Sexual exploitation involves an individual or group of adults taking advantage of the vulnerability of an individual or groups of children or young people. Victims can be boys or girls. Children and young people are often unwittingly drawn into sexual exploitation through the offer of friendship and care, gifts, drugs, alcohol and sometimes accommodation. Sexual exploitation is a serious crime and can have a long-lasting adverse impact on a child’s physical and emotional health. It may also be linked to the trafficking of children.The school teaches children about consent and the risks of sexual exploitation in the PSHE and SRE curriculum. A common feature of sexual exploitation is that the child often does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and does not see her/himself as a victim. The child may initially resent what she/he perceives as interference by staff but staff must act on their concerns, as they would for any other type of abuse.
All staff are made aware of the indicators of sexual exploitation of children and all concerns are reported immediately to the DSL. The DSL will consider the need to make a referral to Children’s Social Care via the MASH (see section 33 below) as with any other child protection concern and with particular reference to WSCB Child Sexual Exploitation procedures. Parents will be consulted and notified as above.
Following a referral to Children’s Social Care, a Multi-Agency Sexual Exploitation (MASE) meeting may be convened under WSCB inter-agency safeguarding procedures. The school will attend and share information at MASE meetings as required. Parents and young people will be invited to attend MASE meetings by Children’s Social Care as appropriate.
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of a family and/or community. Such crimes include Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. Staff will be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBV or already having suffered HBV.
All forms of so called HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and staff will record and report any concerns about a child who might be at risk of HBV to the Designated Safeguarding Lead as with any other safeguarding concern. The DSL will consider the need to make a referral to the Police, and/or Children’s Social Care as with any other child protection concern; and may also contact the Forced Marriage Unit for advice as necessary.
Female genital mutilation
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse. It is the collective name given to a range of procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons or other injury to the female genital organs. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. The practice, which is most commonly carried out without anaesthetic, can cause intense pain and distress and long-term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth.
FGM is carried out on girls of any age, from young babies to older teenagers and adult women, so school staff are trained to be aware of risk indicators. Many such procedures are carried out abroad and staff should be particularly alert to suspicions or concerns expressed by female children about going on a long holiday during the summer vacation period.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the practice is illegal under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. Any person found guilty of an offence under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 is liable to a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment or a fine, or both.
(See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/female-genital-mutilation-guidelines for further information).
If staff have a concern that a girl may be at risk of FGM, they will record their concern and inform the DSL as they would any other safeguarding concern.
Teachers are subject to a statutory duty defined by Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) to report to the Police personally where they discover (e.g. by means of a disclosure) that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl who is aged under 18. This is known as mandatory reporting.
Teachers in that situation will record their concerns and inform the DSL, who will support the teacher in making a direct report to the Police.
A forced marriage is a marriage in which a female (and sometimes a male) does not consent to the marriage but is coerced into it. Coercion may include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. It may also involve physical or sexual violence and abuse.
A forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage. In an arranged marriage, which is common in several cultures, the families of both spouses take a leading role in arranging the marriage but the choice of whether or not to accept the arrangement remains with the prospective spouses.
Children may be married at a very young age, and well below the age of consent in England. School staff should be particularly alert to suspicions or concerns raised by a child about being taken abroad and not being allowed to return to England.
Since June 2014 forcing someone to marry has become a criminal offence in England and Wales under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
(See https://www.gov.uk/forced-marriage for further information).
- Protecting Children from Radicalisation and Extremism
Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of the school’s wider safeguarding duties and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. As such, the Designated Safeguarding Lead is responsible for the school’s strategy for protecting children from those risks.Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism. The government defines extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values.
Even very young children have been exposed, in rare circumstances, to extremism at home and elsewhere including online.
As children get older, they look for adventure and excitement and they may start to ask questions about their identity and belonging. During that stage of their development they are vulnerable to extremist groups that may claim to offer answers, identity and a social network apparently providing a sense of belonging. Many of those extremist groups make sophisticated use of the internet and social media to target young people and spread their ideology, making young people more vulnerable to being influenced by extremist ideas. Young people who feel isolated or disaffected in some way are particularly vulnerable to radicalisation as they are other forms of abuse and exploitation.
The school has defined responsibilities to ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school.
During the process of radicalisation it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being radicalised. The school is committed to preventing children from being radicalised and drawn into any form of extremism or terrorism. The school promotes the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs by providing children with opportunities through the curriculum to discuss issues of religion, ethnicity and culture and learn how to discuss and debate points of view; and by ensuring that all children are valued and listened to within school.
School staff receive training that provides them with both the information they need to understand the risks affecting children and young people in this area; and a specific understanding of how to identify individual children who may be at risk of radicalisation and how to support them. Staff are trained to report all concerns about possible radicalisation and extremism to the DSL immediately as they would any other safeguarding concern, identifying early indicators of possible radicalisation including changes in behaviour and attitudes to learning; and expressions of interest in extremist ideas along with a tolerance towards potential violence to certain members of society.
The school recognises the importance of providing a safe space for children to discuss controversial issues; and building their resilience and the critical thinking skills they need in order to challenge extremist perspectives. However, the school will make appropriate referrals to the Police PREVENT team and Channel programme in respect of any child whose behaviour or comments suggest that they are vulnerable to being radicalised and drawn into extremism and terrorism in order to ensure that children receive appropriate support.
The school will discuss any concerns about possible radicalisation identified in school with a child’s parents/carers as with any other safeguarding or child protection issue unless there is reason to believe that doing so would place the child at risk; and will also support parents/carers who raise concerns about their children being vulnerable to radicalisation. Subject to consultation with the Police PREVENT team and in the interests of making proportionate responses, the school may offer support to children and their families through the provision of early help as appropriate.
The school expects all staff, volunteers, governors, visiting professionals, contractors and individuals or agencies that hire school premises to behave in accordance with the school’s Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct), will challenge the expression and/or promotion of extremist views and ideas by any adult on school premises or at school events and, when necessary, will make appropriate referrals in respect of any such adult.
Parents and staff may find the website www.educateagainsthate.com informative and useful. The website is designed to equip school and college leaders, teachers and parents with the information, tools and resources they need to recognise and address extremism and radicalisation in young people and how best to support them. The website provides information on training resources for teachers, staff and school and college leaders.
A private fostering arrangement occurs when someone other than a parent or a close relative cares for a child for a period of 28 days or more, with the agreement of the child’s parents. It applies to children under the age of 16, or under 18 if the child is disabled. Children looked after by the local authority or who are placed in a residential school, children’s home or hospital are not considered to be privately fostered.
Private fostering occurs in all cultures, including British culture and children may be privately fostered at any age.
Most privately fostered children remain safe and well but safeguarding concerns have been raised in some cases so it is important that schools are alert to possible safeguarding issues, including the possibility that a child has been trafficked into the country
By law, a parent, private foster carer or other persons involved in making a private fostering arrangement must notify Children’s Social Care as soon as possible. When the school becomes aware of a private fostering arrangement for a child that has not been notified to Children’s Social Care, the school will encourage parents and private foster carers to notify Children’s Social Care and will share information with Children’s Social Care as appropriate.
- Staff reporting directly to child protection agencies
Staff should ordinarily follow the reporting procedures outlined in this policy. However, as emphasised in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016, any staff member can refer their concerns directly to Children’s Social Care and/or the Police if:
- the situation is an emergency and the DSL, the deputy DSL, the headteacher and/or the chair of governors are all unavailable;
- they are convinced that a direct report is the only way to ensure the child’s safety; or
- for any other reason they make a judgement that a direct referral is in the best interests of the child.
In any of those circumstances, staff may make direct child protection referrals and share information without being subject of censure or disciplinary action. However, staff should inform the DSL and/or headteacher at the earliest opportunity that they have done so unless in their judgement doing so would increase the risk of harm to the child.
If in any doubt, members of staff may consult the MASH (details below) or seek support from the Education Safeguarding Manager via 01926 742525.
- Submitting child protection referrals
All child protection referrals should be made to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) by completing a Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) and submitting it to the MASH at [email protected]. The form can also be completed online.
All urgent child protection referrals, i.e. where there is an immediate concern about a child’s safety, should be made in the first instance by telephoning the MASH on 01926 414144. This should be followed by submission of a MARF as above.
Outside of office hours, immediate concerns about a child should be referred to the Emergency Duty Team on telephone number 01926 886922.
If staff are ever concerned that a child is in immediate danger, they will contact the Police by dialling 999.
Staff may seek support directly from the Education Safeguarding Manager should they consider that necessary.
- Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct)
- Physical intervention and the use of reasonable force
- Personal and intimate care
- Complaints procedure
- Tackling bullying including prejudice-based bullying
- Physical contact
- Missing children
- Safer recruitment
- Managing allegations
- Grievance and disciplinary
Children who are looked after
The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse or neglect. The school ensures that staff have the necessary skills and understanding to keep looked after children safe and ensures that appropriate staff have information about a child’s looked after status and care arrangements, including the level of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after the child. The designated teacher for looked after children and the DSL hold details of the child’s social worker and the name and contact details of the Local Authority’s virtual head for children who are looked after.
The school has detailed procedures to safeguard children undertaking work experience, including arrangements for checking people who provide placements and supervising children on work experience which are in accordance with the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016. [specify where the procedures are kept and who holds responsibility for them]
Children staying with host families
The school may make arrangements for children to stay with a host family during a foreign exchange trip or sports tour. In such circumstances the school follows the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016, Annex E to ensure that hosting arrangements are as safe as possible.
Some overseas children may reside with host families during school terms and we will work with the Local Authority to check that such arrangements are safe and suitable.
Boarding Schools and Children’s Homes
Research has shown that children can be particularly vulnerable in residential settings. All boarding schools and residential special schools comply with the National Minimum Standards for their particular setting and are appropriately inspected [Expand on this paragraph with further relevant information if you provide accommodation to children]
Insert information about any issues that may be specific to the school’s local area or population, for example gang activity, youth violence or any active extremist groups from which children may need to be safeguarded.
Suggested wording for information about Child Protection and Safeguarding to be included in School* Prospectus
Schools are strongly advised to inform parents/carers of their safeguarding and child protection procedures, their statutory responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and the requirements to report child protection concerns to Children’s Social Care. Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 requires the Designated Safeguarding Lead to ensure that the school’s safeguarding and child protection policy is available publicly (e.g. via the school website) and that parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school in that process.
The following information can be used in the school’s brochure:
‘Under the Education Act 2002 (Section 175 for maintained schools/Section 157 for academies/free/independent schools), schools must make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Parents/carers should know that the law (Children Act 1989) requires all school staff to pass on information which gives rise to a concern about a child’s welfare, including risk from neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Staff will seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the parent/carer and discuss the need to make a referral to Children’s Social Care if that is considered necessary. This will only be done where such discussion will not place the child at increased risk of significant harm or cause undue delay. The school will seek advice from Children’s Social Care when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child may be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Occasionally, concerns are passed on which are later found to be unfounded. Parents/carers will appreciate that the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead carries out their responsibilities in accordance with the law and acts in the best interests of all children.’
Standards for Effective Child Protection Practice in Schools
The school’s child protection and safeguarding responsibilities are inspected under the ‘Quality of Leadership and Management’ and ‘Behaviour and Safety’ judgements in Ofsted inspections. The following standards may assist schools in evaluating their practice. They should be used jointly by the Designated Safeguarding Lead and the Designated Governor for Safeguarding to ensure the school is effective in safeguarding and child protection matters.
In best practice, schools:
- Have an ethos in which children feel secure, their viewpoints are valued and they are encouraged to talk and are listened to;
- Provide suitable support and guidance so that children have a range of appropriate adults to whom they can turn if they are worried or in difficulties;
- Work with parents to build an understanding of the school’s responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and a recognition that this may occasionally require children to be referred to investigative agencies as a constructive and helpful measure;
- Ensure all staff are able to identify children who may benefit from early help; provide co-ordinated offers of early help; and ensure that children receive the right help at the right time to address concerns and risks and prevent issues escalating;
- Are vigilant in cases of suspected child abuse, recognising the signs and symptoms, have clear procedures whereby all members of staff report such cases to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or – in her/his absence – the deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, and are aware of Local Authority and Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures so that information is passed on effectively to the relevant professionals;
- Monitor children who have been identified as in need of early help or at risk; maintain clear records of children’ progress and welfare in a secure place; maintain sound policies on confidentiality; provide appropriate information to other professionals; and submit reports to and attend child protection conferences;
- Provide and support regular child protection training and updates for all school staff and ensure that Designated Safeguarding Leads attend refresher training every two years to ensure their skills and expertise are up to date; and ensure that targeted funding for this work is used solely for this purpose;
- Contribute to an inter-agency approach to safeguarding and child protection by developing effective and supportive liaison with other agencies;
- Use the curriculum to teach children about safeguarding and raise their awareness and build confidence so that children have a range of contacts and strategies to ensure their own protection and understand the importance of protecting others;
- Provide clear policy statements for parents, staff and children and young people on this and on both positive behaviour policies and the school’s approach to bullying;
- Have a clear understanding of the various types of bullying – face to face, online, physical, verbal, prejudice based and indirect – and act promptly and firmly to combat it, making sure that children are aware of the school’s position on this issue and who they can contact for support;
- Have a clear understanding of the signs and impact of racist, disability, homophobic, transphobic and teenage relationship abuse; and a clear commitment to identifying and challenging those forms of abuse in order to safeguard children and maintain the safeguarding culture of the school.
- Take particular care that children with SEN in mainstream and special schools, who may be especially vulnerable to abuse, are supported effectively with particular attention paid to ensuring that those with communication difficulties are enabled to express themselves to a member of staff with appropriate communication skills;
- Have a clear policy about the handling of allegations of abuse by members of staff, ensuring that all staff are fully aware of the procedures and that they are followed correctly at all times, using the guidance set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 and WSCB inter-agency child protection procedures;
- Have a written whole school policy, which is produced, owned and regularly reviewed by all school staff, taking into account the views of children, parents/carers and governors, and which clearly outlines the school’s position and positive action in respect of the aforementioned standards;
- Ensure that specified information is passed on in a timely manner to the Local Authority and WSCB for monitoring purposes;
- Have a Single Central Record in place that fully complies with the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2016)
Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2015)
WSCB Inter-agency Safeguarding Procedures – http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/wscbresources
Child Protection Record Keeping Guidance (WCC Education Safeguarding Service)
What to do if You’re Worried a Child is being Abused 2015 – Advice For Practitioners (HMG 2015)
Children missing education – Statutory guidance for local authorities (DfE 2016)
Sexting in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people (UK Council for Child Internet Safety 2016)
For advice and support about any safeguarding matter in school or for information about a range of safeguarding training courses, please contact:
Education Safeguarding Manager
01926 742525 (or via e mail)
Taking Care Manager
Education Safeguarding Service
Linda Fenn (Team Administrator) – 01926 742525; [email protected]
Sophie Morley (Training Administrator) – 01926 74 2601; [email protected]