Child protection and safeguarding policy
Date of publication: 16/11/2018 Review date: 16/11/19
Table of Contents
Child protection and safeguarding policy
Policy statement and principles……………………………………………………………………………. 3
Child protection statement……………………………………………………………………………………………..3
Policy principles ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
Policy aims ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Safeguarding legislation and guidance………………………………………………………………….. 5
Roles and responsibilities…………………………………………………………………………………….. 7
The Designated Safeguarding Lead ……………………………………………………………………….. 7
The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead …………………………………………………………….. 8
The governing body …………………………………………………………………………………………… 9
The manager ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Good practice guidelines and staff code of conduct……………………………………………… 10
Abuse of position of trust………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
Children who may be particularly vulnerable……………………………………………………….. 11
Early Help and use of the Early Help Assessment process……………………………………… 12
Attendance ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 13
Children Missing from Education ……………………………………………………………………….. 14
Children who run away or go missing from home or care …………………………………….. 15
Helping children to keep themselves safe……………………………………………………………. 16
Support for pupils, families and staff involved in a child protection issue………………… 17
Complaints procedure……………………………………………………………………………………….. 18
Staff reporting concerns about a colleague or other adult who works with children (Whistleblowing)………………………………………………………………………………………………..18
Managing allegations against staff……………………………………………………………………… 19
Staff training…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20
Safer recruitment……………………………………………………………………………………………… 21
Site security……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 23
Behaviour management…………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
Record keeping ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 23
Confidentiality and information sharing ……………………………………………………………… 24
Extended nursery and off-site arrangements ………………………………………………………. 25
Photography and images…………………………………………………………………………………… 25
Online safety …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
Online communication between staff and pupils ……………………………………………………. 27
Child protection procedures………………………………………………………………………………. 27
Recognising abuse……………………………………………………………………………………………. 27
Physical abuse ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 27
Emotional abuse ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 27
Sexual abuse ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
Neglect …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 28
Indicators of abuse…………………………………………………………………………………………… 28
Impact of abuse……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 29
Taking action…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 29
If a member of staff or volunteer is concerned about a pupil’s welfare ……………………….. 29
If a pupil discloses to a member of staff or volunteer ………………………………………………. 30
Notifying parents …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 31
Making a referral to Children’s Social Care…………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………….31
Submitting child protection referrals…………………………………………………………………….32
Staff reporting directly to child protection agencies………………………………………………32
What will Children’s Social Care do? …………………….…………………………………………….33
Bullying, peer on peer abuse and harmful sexual behaviour………………………………… ..33
Contextual safeguarding…………………………………………………………………………..……….. 34
Peer on peer sexual violence and harassment……………………………………………………………….34
Youth produced sexual imagery (‘sexting’) …………………………………………………………… 41
Child sexual exploitation (CSE)……………………………………………………………………………. 43
So-called Honour based violence ……………………………………………………………………….. 45
Female Genital Mutilation………………………………………………………………………………….. 45
Forced Marriage ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….45
Protecting children from radicalisation and extremism…………………………………………. 46
Children who are looked after or were previously looked after……………………..……….47
Care leavers……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 48
Private fostering arrangements………………………………………………………………………….. 48
Related safeguarding portfolio policies……………………………………………………………….. 48
Special Circumstances……………………………………………………………………………………….. 49
Work Experience……………………………………………………………………………………………… 49
Children staying with host families………………………………………………………………………. 50
Boarding Schools and Children’s Homes………………………………………………………………… 50
Children and the court system………………………………….………………………………………………….50
Children with family members in prison………………………………………………………………………50
Local issues…………………………………………………………………………………………………… ..50
Designated Safeguarding Lead …………….Georgia Skinner …………………………………………………..
Date: ……….16th November 2018…………………………………..
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead …………..Sophie Waters……………………………………………
Date: ………….16th November 2018………………………………..
- Policy statement and principles
Our setting will work with children, parents and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children, young people* and vulnerable adults. Our Safeguarding Policy is based on the three key commitments of the Pre-nursery Learning Alliance Safeguarding Children Policy.
We promote safeguarding through our values, which are:
- Positive regard for all
- Actively caring
The nursery’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 the nursery website and all staff and volunteers are required to read it and confirm they have done so in writing before commencing work in school.
Child protection statement
We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all pupils. 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 nursery’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. All adults at the nursery are required to take all welfare concerns seriously and to encourage children and young people to talk to them about anything that worries them. Staff will always act in the best interest of children.
- Representatives of the whole nursery community of pupils, parents, staff, volunteers and trustees will therefore be involved in reviewing, shaping and developing the nursery’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, school or the nursery.
- 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 manager, another DSL or contact MASH for additional advice as necessary (contact details in Appendix 2).
- Pupils 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 nursery’s commitment with regard to safeguarding and child protection to pupils, parents and other partners.
- To contribute to the school’s safeguarding portfolio.
- Safeguarding legislation and guidance
Section 157 of the Education Act 2002 and the Education (Independent Nursery 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 pupils at the school.
- The statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2018) covers the legislative requirements and expectations on individual services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It also provides the framework for the three local safeguarding partners (the local authority; a clinical commissioning group for an area, any part of which falls within the local authority; and the chief officer of Police for a Police area, any part of which falls within the local authority area) to make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children including identifying and responding to their needs. The guidance confirms that it applies, in its entirety, to all
- The statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2018) is issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, the Education (Independent Nursery 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 pupil 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 2018. Staff can find a copy in nursery, in the office and the staff room etc. In addition, all staff who work directly with children must read Part Five and Annex A.
- 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. Staff can find a copy in the office.
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. 23-40% of all alleged sexual abuse of children and young people is perpetrated by other young people, mainly adolescents. 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.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
37% of female students and 6% of male students at mixed-sex schools have personally experienced some form of sexual harassment at school. 24% of female students and 4% of male students at mixed-sex schools have been subjected to unwanted physical touching of a sexual nature while at school. 14% of girls and 7% of boys report that their partner has pressured them to share nude images of themselves. Girls are significantly more likely to be victimised with unwanted sexual messages and images from their peers online.
Due to their day-to-day contact with pupils, staff in nursery 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 nursery when they are in distress or at risk. It is vital that all nursery staff are alert to the signs of abuse, are approachable and trusted by pupils/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 school/college, which will not be delegated although the activities of the DSL may be delegated to appropriately trained deputies. The role and responsibility is explicit in the role holder’s job description.
- 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 local safeguarding partnership (currently Warwickshire Safeguarding Children Board [WSCB]) procedures
- has an understanding of the early help 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 pupil’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 pupil leaves the school, all child protection records are passed to the new nursery (separately from the main pupil 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 pupil’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 local safeguarding partnership
- ensures that all staff sign to indicate that they have read and understood the child protection and safeguarding policy; the Staff Behaviour Policy (Code of Conduct); the behaviour policy; the school’s safeguarding response to children who go missing from education; and the role of the designated safeguarding lead (including the identity of the designated safeguarding lead and any deputies).
- has a working knowledge of relevant national guidance in respect of all specific safeguarding issues highlighted in paragraphs 49-52 (page 15) and Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 (pages 75-87), ensuring that all staff receive necessary training, information and guidance
- ensures that the child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures are reviewed and updated at least annually, working with the whole nursery community of pupils, parents, staff, volunteers and governors and/or proprietors regarding this
- liaises with the nominated governor and manager (where the DSL role is not carried out by the manager) 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 nursery holds more than one emergency contact number for every pupil/student
- ensures that the manager is aware of the responsibility under Working Together 2018 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)
Is/are appropriately trained to the same standard as the DSL and, in the absence of the DSL, carries out those functions necessary to ensure the ongoing safety and protection of pupils. The role and responsibility is explicit in the role holder’s job description. In the event of the long-term absence of the DSL, the deputy will assume all of the functions of the DSL as 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 also the job description of any Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads) and that safeguarding responsibilities are identified explicitly in the job/role descriptions of every member of staff and volunteer.
- ensures that the DSL or a Deputy DSL is always available during nursery or college hours for staff to discuss any safeguarding concerns. The DSL or a Deputy DSL will generally be expected to be available in person but in exceptional circumstances availability will be via telephone and/or Skype or other such media.
- ensures that the DSL or a Deputy DSL is always available at least via telephone or other media as above during any out of hours/out of term nursery activities.
- has a child protection policy and procedures, including a staff code of conduct, that are consistent with local safeguarding partnership 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 manager 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 manager, 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 manager, 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 who have left care through adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement orders or who were adopted from state care outside England and Wales; and ensures that the designated teacher has appropriate training
- contributes to inter-agency working and plans
- participates in the early help process and offers to initiate Early Help Single Assessments for pupils/students with additional needs in order to provide a co-ordinated offer of early help
- teaches pupils about safeguarding and how to keep themselves safe at all times, including when online, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.
The governing body nominates 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 manager.
The governing body also identifies a named governor to take leadership responsibility for the school/college’s safeguarding arrangements. That governor will maintain regular contact with the DSL and will ensure that the governing body receives regular reports about safeguarding activity at the school/college.
It is the responsibility of the governing body to ensure that the school’s safeguarding, recruitment and managing allegations procedures take into account the procedures and practice of the Local Authority, local safeguarding partnership and national guidance.
An annual report, using a pro forma provided by the Local Authority, will be submitted to the local safeguarding partnership 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 pupils and attendance at strategy discussions and other necessary meetings
- supports the designated teacher for looked after children to promote the educational achievement of any pupils who are looked after by the Local Authority and who have left care through adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement orders or who were adopted from state care outside England and Wales
- ensures that all staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep looked after and previously 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 whistleblowing procedures
- ensures that pupils 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.
- Good practice guidelines and staff code of conduct
To meet and maintain our responsibilities towards pupils, 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 pupils with respect
- setting a good example by conducting ourselves appropriately
- involving pupils in decisions that affect them
- encouraging positive, respectful and safe behaviour among pupils
- being a good listener
- being alert to changes in pupils’ 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 pupil’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 pupils and avoiding the use of sexualised or derogatory language
- not participating in, tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”;
- making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up; and
- challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature) which constitute sexual harassment, such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, flicking bras and lifting up skirts.
- being aware that the personal and family circumstances and lifestyles of some pupils 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 nursery procedures and WSCB guidance
- referring all concerns about a pupil’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 pupils, 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 manager; and any similar allegations against or concerns about the manager directly to the chair of governors.
- Abuse of position of trust
All nursery staff are aware that inappropriate behaviour towards pupils is unacceptable and that their conduct towards pupils 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 nursery staff and a pupil under 18 may be a criminal offence, even if that pupil is over the age of consent.
- 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 of our pupils 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, otherwise living away from home or were previously looked after
- 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 nursery 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. Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 emphasises that all staff should be aware of the early help process and understand their role in it. All nursery staff are therefore trained and required to notice any concerns about children which may help to identify that they would benefit from early help; to record those concerns using Green forms (see section 20 below); and to share their concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or a Deputy DSL), who is most likely to have a complete picture and be the most appropriate person to decide how best to respond to any concerns.
Early help might be simple and something the nursery is able to address with parents so that the child’s needs are met quickly and easily. The nursery will keep a record of any such help using the ‘Pre Early Help Assessment Action Plan’ to record clear targets and progress.
It may become necessary to take some time with parents to understand a child’s needs and circumstances in a more structured way. Children and families may also need support from a range of local agencies beyond the school. Where the nursery has identified that a structured assessment would benefit a child in order to determine how best to meet their needs and support their family; or 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 nursery 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.
If early help is appropriate, the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or Deputy DSL) will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an Early Help Assessment as appropriate. Other staff may be required to work directly with pupils and their families and to support other agencies and professionals in an Early Help Assessment, in some cases acting as the lead professional.
The nursery 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 when that is appropriate, 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 nursery 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 (whether or not they have a statutory education, health and
- is a young carer;
- is showing signs of engaging in anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement
and association with organised crime groups;
- is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home;
- is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves;
- is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation;
- is in a family whose circumstances present challenges for the child, such as substance
abuse, adult mental health issues or domestic abuse;
- has returned home to their family from care;
- is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
- is a privately fostered child.
- 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 nursery 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 nursery 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 nursery will make a judgement about whether, without help, the needs of the child will escalate. If so, the nursery 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 pupils 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 nursery 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 repeatedly and/or are missing for periods during the nursery day.
We follow the DfE legal requirements for schools in respect of recording and reporting of children who leave nursery without any known destination.
Where a pupil has 10 consecutive nursery 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. Parents will be asked to provide a minimum of two emergency contacts in the event of children not arriving at nursery without prior notification and also for other emergency purposes.
- 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
- All contacts and outcomes to be recorded on the pupil’s file
The nursery is required by law to have an admission register and, with the exception of schools where all pupils are boarders, an attendance register. All pupils must be placed on both registers.
The nursery (including academies and independent schools) is required to inform the Local Authority when they are about to remove a pupil’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 pupils 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 pupil’s name to the admission register at a non-standard transition point. The Local Authority may also require the nursery to provide information about pupils 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 nursery 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 nursery days, using access to additional contacts/services, e.g. the MASH, Health services, Housing services. If this also fails to establish the pupil’s whereabouts, the nursery will be informed by email and may then, but not before, remove the pupil from roll and place the child’s name on the Nursery to Nursery database, entering XXXXXXX in the box for destination. This will place the pupil 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 pupil 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 pupil 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 nursery and a receipt secured.
Pupils leaving the nursery for known destinations outside the maintained sector in England and Wales will be updated to the Nursery to Nursery database using MMMMMMM in the destination box. This includes private/independent schools, schools in other countries (including Scotland and Northern Ireland) and pupils moving into Home Education. The latter will be formally notified to the Elective Home Education Service by the nursery 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 nursery recognises that children who run away or go missing (particularly repeatedly) and are thus absent from their normal residence are potentially vulnerable to abuse and neglect, which may include sexual abuse or exploitation and child criminal exploitation. It could also indicate mental health problems, risk of substance abuse, risk of travelling to conflict zones, risk of female genital mutilation or risk of forced marriage.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 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 setting day are utilised.
When necessary and in conjunction with the Local Authority, the setting 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 setting site for the interview to take place.
The setting 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 setting 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 setting will facilitate that as appropriate.
- Helping children to keep themselves safeKeeping Children Safe in Education 2018 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 nursery continually promotes an ethos of respect for children and pupils 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’.
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 involving 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.
We have adopted (insert as appropriate – e.g. Spring Fever/Doing It/Real Love Rocks – add explanation about how this is taught and what it is intended to address).
Children are also taught about … (insert as appropriate – e.g. online safety, issues of consent and healthy relationships, fundamental British values, how children can keep themselves safe from all forms of bullying including online bullying, child sexual exploitation including issues of informed consent, sexting, drugs and alcohol).
- Support for pupils, 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 pupils, 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 pupil, separate link people will be nominated to avoid any conflict of interest
- responding sympathetically to any request from pupils 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 pupil or parent raises a concern about poor practice towards a pupil that initially does not reach the threshold for child protection action. Poor practice examples include unfairly singling out a pupil or attempting to humiliate them, bullying or belittling a pupil or discriminating against them in some way. Complaints are managed by the manager, other members of the senior leadership team and governors. An explanation of the complaints procedure is included in the safeguarding information for parents and pupils.
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 pupil 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 manager; 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 governors, 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 (see contact and referral details in section 15 below). The Designated Officer’s contact details are displayed on the safeguarding noticeboard in the staff room.
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 pupils 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 nursery 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 governors.
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 2018 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 2018, the nursery will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered.
As required by Working Together to Safeguard Children, all allegations in respect of an individual who works at the nursery that fulfil any of the following criteria will be reported to the Designated Officer in the Local Authority (LADO) within one working day:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.
The Designated Officer’s contact number is 01926 743433. Referrals to the Designated Officer should be submitted on a PoT MARF form and sent to [email protected].
NB it is the Manager/Principal’s responsibility to contact and refer to the Designated Officer when necessary. The only exception is when the allegation is against the Manager/Principal, in which instance the nominated governor will undertake that responsibility.
In proprietor-led independent schools, concerns about the proprietor(s) should be referred directly to the Designated Officer using the contact details as above.
- 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, governors 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)
- the identity and role of the DSL and all Deputy DSLs
- the school’s behaviour policy
- the school’s safeguarding response to children who go missing from education.
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 manager (unless the manager 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 the local safeguarding partnership.
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 local safeguarding partnership 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 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, previously looked after children, young carers and risks associated with specific safeguarding issues including child sexual exploitation, peer on peer abuse, sexual harassment and sexual violence in school, extremism, female genital mutilation and forced marriage; and will receive training in relation to keeping children safe online.
In addition, the manager (and/or other nursery leaders as appropriate) and at least one governor (usually the chair) will attend safer recruitment training and the nursery will ensure that there are at least two nursery leaders and/or governors that have attended safer recruitment training within the past three years.
- Safer recruitment
Our nursery 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 2018 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 nursery leaders/governors, if shortlisted.
The nursery will also
- ensure that every job description and person specification for roles in nursery includes a description of the role holder’s responsibility for safeguarding
- ask at least one question at interview for every role in nursery 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 nursery 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 nursery 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 nursery that the nursery would have undertaken if they were employing the individual directly.
Trainee teachers will be checked either by the nursery or by the training provider, from whom written confirmation will be obtained.
The nursery 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 2018.
All governors will be the subject of Enhanced DBS checks as defined in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018.
Volunteers will undergo checks commensurate with their work in the nursery and contact with pupils. 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 nursery 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. The nursery will always check the identity of contractors and their staff on arrival at the school.
- 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 nursery are kept safe. The manager 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. It is shared with all staff before they start working with children as part of their induction. The policy is transparent to staff, parents and pupils.
[it is important to ensure that the school’s behaviour policy appropriately addresses the use of reasonable force with reference to statutory guidance and the document ‘Guidance on the Use of Force and Physical Intervention’, which can be accessed in Warwickshire’s inter-agency safeguarding procedures at https://www.safeguardingwarwickshire.co.uk/safeguarding-children/i-work-with-children-and-young-people/interagency-safeguarding-procedures
- Record Keeping
The nursery 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 nursery 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
- keep records in a folder in a meticulous chronological order;
- ensure all records are kept secure and in locked locations;
- ensure all safeguarding records are transferred – separately from the child’s main pupil file –
to the receiving school, college or other education establishment when a pupil moves. The DSL will do this as soon as possible, ensuring secure transit, and will ensure that confirmation of receipt of the records is obtained.
- the DSL will also consider whether it is appropriate to share any information with a child’s receiving nursery in advance of the child leaving so that the receiving nursery is able to support the child as effectively as possible and plan for her/his arrival.
- ensure that incoming safeguarding records are brought to the attention of the DSL, Deputy DSLs and other key staff such as the SENCO when a child transfers in from another school.
Safeguarding and child protection records will be maintained independently from the pupil’s nursery file and the nursery file will be ‘tagged’ to indicate that separate information is held. Such records will only be accessible to the Designated Safeguarding Lead and nursery 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’. The same format will be used by staff to record and report and observations or concerns that suggest a child might benefit from early help.
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 pupil 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 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016 do not prevent nursery staff from sharing information with relevant agencies without the consent of parents, 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 pupil, 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 pupils 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 manager or – in the case of concerns about the manager – 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 2018 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 pupils on request.
- Extended nursery 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 pupils 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 nursery 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 nursery site, the nursery 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 pupils, we will:
- seek their consent for photographs or video images to be taken;
- seek parental consent;
- ensure pupils are appropriately dressed; and
- encourage pupils 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 pupils and staff, only nursery owned equipment will be used to record and store images taken by staff or volunteers on the nursery site or during offsite nursery activities including residential visits.
Parents are welcome to take still photographs of their own children only during nursery 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 nursery events without the express permission of the parents of those children.
Parents are welcome to video record their own children only during nursery 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 nursery 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 and the use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Child sexual exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation: technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm.
The breadth of issues within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:
- content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material; for example pornography, fake news, racist or radical and extremist views;
- contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example commercial advertising as well as adults posing as children or young adults; and
- conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example making, sending and receiving explicit images, or online bullying.
The setting’s online safety policy explains how we try to keep pupils safe in nursery and protect and educate pupils in the safe use of technology. The nursery has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place to protect children from potentially harmful online material.
Cyberbullying and sexting by pupils 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 pupils
Staff also receive advice regarding personal online activity, use of social networking and electronic communication with pupils, about which there are strict rules please refer to WCC guidance ‘Policy on Staff/Governor Use of Social Networking and Internet Sites’ and add your school’s advice/rules. 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 pupils are protected from harm, we need to understand what types of behaviour constitute abuse and neglect.
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of children. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by adult men or women or by other children or young people. Staff are trained to understand and recognise indicators of all four categories of abuse as defined below.
There are four categories of abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect
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).
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and 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.
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. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education (see section 31).
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, for example, 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 Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2018).
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 nursery 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 nursery work;
- be constantly tired or preoccupied;
- be wary of physical contact;
- be involved in, or particularly knowledgeable about drugs or alcohol;
- display sexual knowledge or behaviour beyond that normally expected for their age and/or stage of development; and/or
- 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 nursery 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)
- seek support for yourself if you are distressed or need to debrief.
If a member of staff or volunteer is concerned about a pupil’s welfare
There will be occasions when staff may suspect that a pupil may be at risk but have no ‘real’ evidence. The pupil’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 pupil 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. Staff are encouraged and supported to ask pupils if they are OK, if there is anything the child would like to talk to them about and if they can help in any way. Staff are trained to do this by asking appropriate open questions which do not lead the child in any particular direction but invite the child to talk about anything if they wish to.
Staff should use the same record of concern form Form C (Green form) to record these early concerns. If the pupil does begin to reveal that they are being harmed, staff should follow the advice below. Following an initial conversation with the pupil, 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 pupil 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 pupil talks to a member of staff about any risks to their safety or wellbeing, the staff member will need to let the pupil know that they must pass the information on – staff are not allowed to keep secrets. The point at which they tell the pupil this is a matter for professional judgement. If they jump in immediately the pupil may think that they do not want to listen but if left until the very end of the conversation, the pupil may feel that they have been misled into revealing more than they would have otherwise.
If pupils 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 pupils staff will:
- allow them to speak freely;
- remain calm and not overreact – the pupil may stop talking if they feel they are upsetting their listener;
- give reassuring nods or words of comfort – ‘I’m glad you told me’; ‘I believe you’; ‘It’s not your fault’; ‘We are going to do something about it’.
- not be afraid of silences – staff must remember how hard this must be for the pupil;
- under no circumstances ask investigative questions – such as how many times this has happened, whether it happens to siblings too, or what does the pupil’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 pupil 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 pupil what will happen next;
- let the pupil know that someone (either the member of staff 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 nursery will normally seek to discuss any concerns about a pupil 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 nursery 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.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 emphasises that the DSL (and any deputies) are most likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate person to advise on the response to safeguarding concerns. The DSL will make a referral to Children’s Social Care (and if appropriate the Police) if it is believed that a pupil is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
The pupil (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.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 also emphasises that all staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to Children’s Social Care and for statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989, especially section 17 (children in need) and section 47 (a child suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm) that may follow a referral, along with the role they might be expected to play in such assessments.
Children in need
A child in need is defined under the Children Act 1989 as a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of services; or a child who is disabled. Local authorities are required to provide services for children in need for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting their welfare. Children in need may be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Children suffering or likely to suffer significant harm
Local authorities, with the help of other organisations as appropriate, have a duty to make enquires under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. Such enquiries enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare and must be initiated where there are concerns about maltreatment, including all forms of abuse and neglect, female genital mutilation or other so-called honour based violence, and extra-familial threats like radicalisation and sexual exploitation.
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.
NB If a child is already the subject of an open case to Children’s Social Care, the DSL will have the name and contact details of the allocated social worker. Further child protection concerns about any child in those circumstances must be referred directly to the allocated social worker, not to the MASH. Again, where there is an immediate concern about a child’s safety, the DSL should contact the social worker by telephone in the first instance. Any difficulties in contacting the social worker must be escalated to their line manager, not to the MASH.
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 reporting directly to child protection agencies
Staff should ordinarily follow the reporting procedures outlined in this policy.
However, as highlighted above, all staff should be aware of the early help process and understand their role in it; and all staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to Children’s Social Care and for statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989. Any member of staff may therefore 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 manager and/or the chair of governors are all unavailable;
- they are convinced that a direct report is the only way to ensure the pupil’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 manager 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 above) or seek support from the Education Safeguarding Manager via 01926 742525.
- What will Children’s Social Care do?
Children’s Social Care should make a decision about the type of response that is required within one working day of a referral being made; and should let the referrer know the outcome. This will include determining whether:
- the child requires immediate protection and urgent action is required;
- whether the child is in need, and should be assessed under section 17;
- there is reasonable cause to suspect the child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm, and whether enquiries must be made and the child assessed under section 47;
- any services are required by the child and family and what type of services; and
- further specialist assessments are required in order to help the local authority to decide what further action to take.
The nursery will follow up if this information is not forthcoming and if, after a referral, the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, the nursery will consider following Warwickshire’s escalation procedure to ensure the referred concerns have been addressed and, most importantly, that the child’s situation improves.
If Children’s Social Care decide to carry out a statutory assessment, nursery staff will do everything they can to support that assessment, led and supported by the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) as required.
- Bullying, peer on peer abuse and harmful sexual behaviour
Children can abuse other children. This is generally referred to as peer on peer abuse and can take many forms. It is most likely to include, but not limited to:
- bullying (including cyberbullying);
- physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;
- sexual violence and sexual harassment;
- gender-based violence
- sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); and
- initiation-type violence and rituals.
Bullying is a very serious issue that can cause children 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 the school/college’s anti-bullying procedures. All pupils and parents receive a copy of the procedures on joining the nursery and the subject of bullying is addressed at regular intervals in PSHE education. All members of staff receive a copy of the school’s behaviour policy, which contains the anti-bullying procedures, as part of their induction and are trained to be aware of the harm caused by bullying and to respond to all incidents of bullying and peer on peer abuse proactively.
This setting believes that all children have a right to attend nursery and learn in a safe environment. Children should be free from harm, both from adults and other students in the school.
Abuse is abuse and will not be tolerated, minimised or dismissed as ‘banter’; ‘just having a laugh’; ‘part of growing up’; ‘boys being boys’; or ‘girls being girls’. When dealing with abuse of pupils by other pupils, 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.
We recognise that some students will sometimes negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of others and their behaviour will be dealt with under the school’s behaviour policy. However, there will be occasions when a pupil’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.
Occasionally, allegations may be made against students by others in the school, which are of a safeguarding nature. Safeguarding issues raised in this way may include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Members of staff to whom such allegations are made and/or who become concerned about a pupil’s sexualised behaviour, including any known online sexualised behaviour, should record their concerns in the usual way on a Green form and report them to the DSL as soon as possible, as with any other safeguarding concern.
It is likely that for an allegation or concern to be addressed under child protection procedures, some of the following features will be found. The allegation or concern:
- is made against an older pupil and refers to their behaviour towards a younger pupil or a more vulnerable pupil;
- is of a serious nature, possibly including a criminal offence;
- raises risk factors for other pupils in the school;
- indicates that other pupils may have been affected by this student;
- indicates that young people outside the nursery may be affected by this student.
It is important for the settingto consider the context within which peer on peer abuse occurs. This is known as contextual safeguarding, which is simply considering whether wider
environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare.
These include the potential for bullying and peer on peer abuse to take place across a number of social media platforms and services; and for things to move from platform to platform online. It also includes the potential for the impact of the incident to extend further than a nursery or college’s local community (e.g. for images or content to be shared around neighbouring schools/colleges) and for a victim (or alleged perpetrator) to become marginalised and excluded by both online and offline communities. There is also the strong potential for repeat victimisation in the future if abusive content continues to exist somewhere online. Online concerns can be especially complicated. Support is available from The UK Safer Internet Centre at 0344 381 4772 and [email protected] and the Internet Watch Foundation at https://www.iwf.org.uk/.
Peer on peer sexual violence and sexual harassment
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and gender and between children of the opposite or the same gender. They can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physically and verbally) and are never acceptable. While it is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support, staff are trained to be aware that it is more likely that girls will be the victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment and more likely it will be perpetrated by boys.
This policy largely refers to sexual violence and sexual harassment between pupils/students at the school/college. However, there may be occasions when pupils/students report sexual violence and/or harassment perpetrated by other young people who attend a different educational provision. In that situation, the DSL will liaise with the DSL at the alleged perpetrator’s setting as well as the victim’s parents, the Police and Children’s Social Care. Support for the victim will be provided as described below, irrespective of which educational provision the alleged perpetrator attends.
What is sexual violence and sexual harassment?
When referring to sexual violence, this policy uses the definitions of sexual offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as follows:
Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
What is consent? Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
- a child under the age of 13 can never consent to any sexual activity;
- the age of consent is 16;
- sexual intercourse without consent is rape.
Sexual harassment in the context of peer on peer behaviour is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that can occur online and offline. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Online sexual harassment may happen on its own or as part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.
Sexual harassment creates an atmosphere that, if not challenged, can normalise inappropriate behaviours and provide an environment that may lead to sexual violence. The setting therefore recognises the importance of recognising the nature of, identifying and challenging sexual violence and sexual harassment in its wider approach to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children; through policies; and through the curriculum.
Minimising the risk of sexual violence and sexual harassment at the setting though a planned curriculum
- the school/college’s ethos and its inherent values and standards are demonstrated, promoted and upheld throughout all aspects of nursery life;
- healthy and respectful relationships;
- what respectful behaviour looks like;
- gender roles, stereotyping, equality;
- body confidence and self-esteem;
- prejudiced behaviour;
- making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up;
- not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”;
- challenging cultures of sexual harassment including behaviour (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia and flicking bras and lifting up skirts – dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them;
- how additional barriers to minimising the risk of sexual violence and harassment are addressed, including assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to a child’s disability or special needs without further exploration;
- recognition that, in some cases, a child who is perceived by their peers to be LGBT (whether they are or not) can be just as vulnerable as children who identify as LGBT.
- How pupils/students are made aware of the process for them to raise their concerns or make a report and how any report will be handled. This should include processes when they have a concern about a friend or peer.
How the setting will respond to reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment
The setting will respond to reports in accordance with Part 5 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018.
It is not possible to anticipate every particular set of circumstances and therefore what the
school/college’s response will be to every case. This policy sets out a set of principles which
the setting will consider in responding on a case by case basis.
All responses to reports of sexual violence will be subject to an immediate risk and needs assessment undertaken by the DSL (or a deputy), using her/his professional judgement and supported by other agencies, such as children’s social care and the Police. The need for a risk and needs assessment in relation to reports of sexual harassment will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Advice may also be sought from the Education Safeguarding Manager.
The risk and needs assessment will consider:
- the victim, especially their protection and support;
- the alleged perpetrator/s (if she/he/they attend the same school/college); and
- all the other children (and, if appropriate, adult students and staff) at the nursery or college, especially any actions that are appropriate to protect them.
The designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should ensure they are engaging with children’s social care and specialist services as required. Where there has been a report of sexual violence, it is likely that professional risk assessments by social workers and or sexual violence specialists will be required. The school/college’s risk assessment should not replace the detailed assessments of expert professionals. Any such professional assessments should be used to inform the school/college’s approach to supporting and protecting pupils and students and updating our own risk assessment.
Action following a report of sexual violence and/or sexual harassment – what to consider
The designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) is likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and will therefore be the most appropriate person to lead the school/college’s initial response. Important considerations will include:
- the wishes of the victim in terms of how they want to proceed. This is especially important in the context of sexual violence and sexual harassment. Victims will be given as much control as is reasonably possible over decisions regarding how any investigation will be progressed and any support that they will be offered. However, if the victim asks the setting not to tell anyone about the sexual violence or sexual harassment, the DSL (or a deputy) will have to balance the victim’s wishes against their duty to protect the victim and other children. It is likely to be justified and lawful to share the information if doing so is in the public interest, e.g. to protect the victim and other young people from harm and to promote the welfare of children;
- the nature of the alleged incident(s), including: whether a crime may have been committed and consideration of harmful sexual behaviour;
- the ages of the children involved;
- the developmental stages of the children involved;
- any power imbalance between the children. For example, is the alleged perpetrator significantly older, more mature or more confident? Does the victim have a disability or learning difficulty?
- if the alleged incident is a one-off or a sustained pattern of abuse;
- whether there are ongoing risks to the victim, other children, adult students or setting staff;
- informing parents/carers unless this would put the victim at greater risk);
- only sharing information with those staff who need to know in order to support the children involved and/or be involved in any investigation. For instance, vocational staff may be asked to monitor the victim’s welfare without needing to know that they are a victim of sexual violence or harassment.
Children sharing a classroom – initial considerations following a report of sexual violence
Any report of sexual violence is likely to be traumatic for the victim. However, reports of rape and assault by penetration are likely to be especially difficult with regard to the victim and close proximity with the alleged perpetrator is likely to be especially distressing. Whilst the setting establishes the facts of the case and starts the process of liaising with Children’s Social Care and the Police, the alleged perpetrator will usually be removed from any classes they share with the victim. Consideration will also be given to how best to keep the victim and alleged perpetrator a reasonable distance apart on setting premises and on transport to and from the school/college, where appropriate. These actions are in the best interests of both children and should not be perceived to be a judgment on the guilt of the alleged perpetrator.
For other reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment, the proximity of the victim and alleged perpetrator and considerations regarding shared classes, sharing setting premises and transport, will be considered immediately.
In all cases, the wishes of the victim, the nature of the allegations and the protection of all children in the nursery or college will be especially important when considering any immediate actions.
Responding to the report
If an offence has been committed, the Police will be informed. It is the prerogative of parents and victims to make complaints to the Police directly but the setting will also speak to the Police in order to ensure effective action is taken to safeguard other young people as well as the victim.
If a child has suffered significant harm, a referral will be made to Children’s Social Care via the MASH in order to ensure that the needs of both the victim and perpetrator are the subject of professional risk assessments by social workers. Similarly, any instance of sexual activity between pupils on the nursery site will always be referred to Children’s Social Care.
Responses to all incidents of both sexual violence and sexual harassment will be underpinned by the principles of:
- zero tolerance of sexual violence and sexual harassment;
- support for both the victim and alleged perpetrator/s, particularly pending the outcome of investigations
- all parties have an ongoing right to an education and are safest if they remain in setting subject to appropriate risk assessments and risk management.
- exclusion will be avoided unless that is the only realistic option to keep one or more parties safe.
In principle, there are four possible responses to an allegation or concern about sexual violence or harassment on the part of a pupil/student:
1. Manage internally
In some cases of sexual harassment, for example, one-off incidents, the nursery or college may take the view that the children concerned are not in need of early help or statutory intervention and that it would be appropriate to handle the incident internally, perhaps through utilising the behaviour policy and anti-bullying procedures, speaking to the child and her/his parents, making expectations of future behaviour clear (in writing where appropriate) and by providing pastoral support.
Careful consideration will be given to the need to separate the victim and alleged perpetrator/s in lessons (as with sexual assaults) pending investigation would also be undertaken.
- Early help
The nursery or college may decide that the child/ren involved do not require statutory interventions but may benefit from early help, which can be particularly useful to address non-violent harmful sexual behaviour and may prevent escalation of sexual violence.
A safeguarding record will be maintained of all concerns, discussions, decisions and reasons for decisions for all responses as in 1. and 2.
3. Referrals to Children’s Social Care
Where a child has been harmed, is at risk of harm, or is in immediate danger, the setting will make a referral Children’s Social Care via the MASH. All instances of sexual activity between pupils/students on the nursery premises will be referred to Children’s Social Care. All instances of sexual violence perpetrated by a child under ten years of age will be referred to Children’s Social Care via the MASH. This will facilitate a consultation about the role of the Police. Whilst the age of criminal responsibility is ten, the starting principle of reporting to the Police via the MASH remains. The Police will take a welfare, rather than a criminal justice, approach.
Schools and colleges will generally inform parents or carers, unless there are compelling reasons
not to (i.e. if informing a parent or carer is going to put the child at additional risk or create undue delay). Any such decision should be made with the support of Children’s Social Care.
Collaborative working will help ensure the best possible package of co-ordinated support is implemented for the victim and, where appropriate, the alleged perpetrator and any other children that require support.
However, the setting will not wait for the outcome (or even the start) of a children’s social care investigation before protecting the victim and other children in the school/college. The DSL (or a deputy) will work closely with Children’s Social Care (and other agencies as required) to ensure any actions the setting takes do not jeopardise a statutory investigation. The risk assessment as above will help inform any decision. Consideration of safeguarding the victim, alleged perpetrator, any other children directly involved in the safeguarding report and all children at the nursery or college should be immediate.
In some cases, Children’s Social Care will review the evidence and decide a statutory intervention is not appropriate. The setting (generally led by the DSL or a deputy) will refer again if we believe the child remains in immediate danger or at risk of harm. If a statutory assessment is not appropriate, the DSL (or a deputy) should consider other support mechanisms such as early help, specialist support and pastoral support.
4. Reporting to the Police
Any report to the Police will generally be in parallel with a referral to Children’s Social Care (as above).
Where the setting receives a report of rape, assault by penetration or sexual assault, the starting point is this should be passed on to the Police. It is the prerogative of victims and their parents/carers to make direct complaints to the Police. However, the nursery should also be very clear with victims and parents/carers that the nursery has a duty to ensure the Police are informed when an alleged crime has been committed in order to safeguard other young people.
Where a serious crime is reported, the setting can report directly to the local Police station. However, in most circumstances, the setting will consult with the MASH in the first instance in order to ensure that both the Police and Children’s Social Care are informed.
Where a report has been made to the Police, the setting should consult the Police and agree what information can be disclosed to staff and others, in particular, the alleged perpetrator and their parents or carers. They should also discuss the best way to protect the victim and their anonymity.
In some cases, it may become clear very quickly, that the Police (for whatever reason) will not take further action. In such circumstances, it is important that the nursery or college continue to engage with specialist support for the victim as required.
The nursery 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 sexual offences or harmful sexual behaviours displayed by pupils/students inside and/or outside school.
In all such circumstances, the nursery 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.
The nursery is committed to participating in plans both to provide pupils who are at risk from other children and those pupils 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 nursery for all children concerned, subject to appropriate risk assessments and risk management plans.
The needs and wishes of the victim should continue to be paramount (along with protecting the child) as the case progresses. Wherever possible, the victim, if they wish, should be able to continue in their normal routine. Overall, the priority should be to make the victim’s daily experience as normal as possible, so that the nursery or college is a safe space for them.
Similarly, the alleged perpetrator/s has an ongoing right to an education and should be able to continue in their normal routine subject to the ongoing risk assessment and the needs of the victim.
Where a student is subject of bail conditions, the setting will work with Children’s Social Care and the Police to manage any implications and safeguard all pupils/students concerned without jeopardising the Police investigation.
If a student is convicted or receives a caution for a sexual offence, the setting will update its risk assessment, ensure relevant protections are in place for all students and consider any suitable action considering the behaviour policy. If the perpetrator remains at the setting along with the victim, the setting will meet with the student and her/his parents/carers to revisit and reiterate in writing expectations of the perpetrator in terms of future behaviour and complying with any restrictions and arrangements put in place to safeguard the victim and other students.
In the light of possible publicity, speculation and interest within the student and parent body, the nursery will consider any other measures necessary to safeguard both the victim and perpetrator, especially from any bullying or harassment (including online).
In respect of a not guilty verdict or a decision not to progress with a criminal prosecution, the setting recognises that this will likely be traumatic for the victim and will continue to offer support. The alleged perpetrator is also likely to require ongoing support for what will have likely been a difficult experience.
Support will be tailored on a case-by-case basis. Support can include emotional and practical support
for victims from Children and Young People’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisors in the specialist
sexual violence sector; provision of a designated trusted adult in the setting of the student’s
choice to talk to about their needs. Every effort will be made to avoid isolating the victim, from supportive peer groups, but it is recognised that there may be times when a victim finds it difficult to maintain a full-time timetable and may express a wish to withdraw from lessons and activities. The school/colleges will provide a physical space for the victim to withdraw.
Where a criminal investigation into a rape or assault by penetration leads to a conviction or caution,
the setting will consider any suitable sanctions considering the behaviour policy, including
consideration of permanent exclusion. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances, the rape or
assault will constitute a serious breach of discipline and lead to the view that allowing the
perpetrator to remain in the setting would seriously harm the education or welfare of the
victim (and potentially other pupils or students).
Where the perpetrator is going to remain at the school/college, the principle would be to continue keeping the victim and perpetrator in separate classes and continue to consider the most appropriate way to manage potential contact on nursery and college premises and transport. The nature of the conviction or caution and wishes of the victim will be especially important in determining how to proceed in such cases.
The setting will have a difficult balancing act to consider. On one hand it needs to
safeguard the victim (and the wider pupil/student body) and on the other hand provide the alleged
perpetrator with an education, safeguarding support as appropriate and implement any disciplinary
sanctions. Support (and sanctions) will be considered on a case-by-case basis. An alleged perpetrator may potentially have unmet needs (in some cases these may be considerable) as well as potentially posing a risk of harm to other children. Harmful sexual behaviours in young children may be (and often are) a symptom of either their own abuse or exposure to abusive practices and or materials. Advice will be taken, as appropriate, from Children’s Social Care, specialist sexual violence services and the Police.
If a perpetrator (alleged or convicted) does move to another educational institution (for any reason), the setting will make the new educational institution aware of any ongoing support needs and where appropriate, potential risks to other children and staff. The DSL will take responsibility to ensure this happens as well as transferring the child protection file.
Youth produced sexual imagery (‘sexting’)
The nursery 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 2017) –
All incidents of youth produced sexual imagery (YPSI) will be dealt with as safeguarding concerns. The primary concern always 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 nursery 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 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 managers, nursery 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 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 several 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 nursery 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 pupil.
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 nursery 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 manager, Children’s Social Care or the Education Safeguarding Manager
– ensure viewing is undertaken by the DSL or Deputy DSL with delegated authority from the manager
– ensure viewing takes place with another member of staff present in the room, ideally the manager, 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 nursery or college premises, ideally in the manager 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 pupil’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 nursery 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 is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity
(a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or
(b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.
The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Victims of CSE 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 other criminal activity including trafficking and illegal drugs. Drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns.
This form of criminal activity and exploitation is referred to as County Lines.
Indicators of child sexual exploitation and other associated criminal exploitation may include:
- Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phones, etc. without plausible explanation;
- Gang-association and/or isolation from peers/social networks;
- Exclusion or unexplained absences from school, college or work;
- Leaving home/care without explanation and persistently going missing or returning late;
- Excessive receipt of texts/phone calls;
- Returning home under the influence of drugs/alcohol;
- Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age/sexually transmitted infections;
- Evidence of/suspicions of physical or sexual assault;
- Relationships with controlling or significantly older individuals or groups;
- Multiple callers (unknown adults or peers);
- Frequenting areas known for sex work;
- Concerning use of internet or other social media;
- Increasing secretiveness around behaviours; and
- Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being.
Although the following vulnerabilities increase the risk of child sexual exploitation, not all children with these indicators will be exploited and child sexual exploitation can occur without any of these issues:
- Having a prior experience of neglect, physical and/or sexual abuse;
- Lack of a safe/stable home environment, now or in the past (domestic violence or parental substance misuse, mental health issues or criminality, for example);
- Recent bereavement or loss;
- Social isolation or social difficulties;
- Absence of a safe environment to explore sexuality;
- Economic vulnerability;
- Homelessness or insecure accommodation status;
- Connections with other children and young people who are being sexually exploited;
- Family members or other connections involved in adult sex work;
- Having a physical or learning disability; and
- Being looked after (particularly those in residential care and those with interrupted care histories).
The nursery 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 and criminal – including county lines – 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 sections 26 and 27 above) as with any other child protection concern and with reference to local safeguarding partnership 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 nursery 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. Abuse committed in the context of preserving ‘honour’ often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. It is important to be aware of this dynamic and additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take.
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 nursery 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 pupils 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.
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 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. Nursery staff should be particularly alert to suspicions or concerns raised by a pupil 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
All schools and colleges are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CTSA 2015), in the exercise of their functions, to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.
Some children are vulnerable to extremist ideology and radicalisation. 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 extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups. Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to fundamental values, including the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces. 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 nursery 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 nursery is committed to preventing pupils from being radicalised and drawn into any form of extremism or terrorism. The nursery promotes the values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs by providing pupils 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 pupils are valued and listened to within school.
Nursery 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 nursery 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 DSL (or deputy) will make appropriate referrals to the Police PREVENT team and Channel programme in respect of any pupil 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.
Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for schools to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation. An individual’s engagement with the programme is entirely voluntary at all stages.
As a Channel partner, the nursery or college may be asked to attend a Channel panel to discuss the individual referred to determine whether they are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and consider the appropriate support.
The nursery will discuss any concerns about possible radicalisation identified in nursery 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 nursery may offer support to children and their families through the provision of early help as appropriate.
The nursery expects all staff, volunteers, governors, visiting professionals, contractors and individuals or agencies that hire nursery 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 nursery premises or at nursery 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 nursery 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 nursery and college leaders.
The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse or neglect. The nursery 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.
Local authorities have ongoing responsibilities to young people who cease to be looked after and become care leavers. That includes keeping in touch with them, preparing an assessment of their needs and appointing a Personal Advisor who develops a pathway plan with the young person. This plan describes how the local authority will support the care leaver to participate in education or training. The DSL will have details of the local authority Personal Advisor appointed to guide and support all care leavers; and should liaise with them as necessary regarding any issues of concern affecting a care leaver.
Private fostering arrangements
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 nursery becomes aware of a private fostering arrangement for a pupil that has not been notified to Children’s Social Care, the nursery 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 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
- Domestic abuse
Domestic abuse is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
- financial; and
- emotional abuse.
Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result. Domestic abuse affecting young people can also occur within their personal relationships, as well as in the context of their home life.
All concerns about children being affected by domestic abuse will be reported to the DSL as with any other safeguarding concern. The DSL will respond to the report by consulting Children’s Social Care in order to establish whether a referral is required, or the situation should be managed by discussion with parents/carers and possibly the offer of early help.
Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The DSL (and any deputies) refer any concerns to the Local Housing Authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity. Indicators that a family may be at risk of homelessness include household debt, rent arrears, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour, as well as the family being asked to leave a property. Whilst referrals and or discussion with the Local Housing Authority should be progressed as appropriate, this does not, and should not, replace a referral into Children’s Social Care where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm.
In most cases nursery and college staff will be considering homelessness in the context of children who live with their families, and intervention will be on that basis. However, it should also be recognised that in some cases 16- and 17-year olds could be living independently from their parents or guardians, for example through their exclusion from the family home, and will require a different level of intervention and support. Children’s services will be the lead agency for these young people and the DSL (or a deputy) will ensure appropriate referrals are made based on the child’s circumstances.
37. Special Circumstances
The nursery has detailed procedures to safeguard pupils undertaking work experience, including arrangements for checking people who provide placements and supervising pupils on work experience which are in accordance with the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018.
Children staying with host families
The nursery may make arrangements for pupils to stay with a host family during a foreign exchange trip or sports tour. In such circumstances the nursery follows the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018, Annex E to ensure that hosting arrangements are as safe as possible.
Some overseas pupils may reside with host families during nursery terms and we will work with the Local Authority to check that such arrangements are safe and suitable.
Children and the court system
Children are sometimes required to give evidence in criminal courts, either for crimes committed against them or for crimes they have witnessed. The setting will access guidance highlighted in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018, which explain each step of the process and support and special measures that are available. There are diagrams illustrating the courtroom structure and the use of video links is explained.
Making child arrangements via the family courts following separation can be stressful and entrench conflict in families. This can be stressful for children. The Ministry of Justice has launched an online child arrangements information tool with clear and concise information on the dispute resolution service. This may be useful for some parents and carers.
Children with family members in prison
Approximately 200,000 children have a parent sent to prison each year. These children are at risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health. The setting will seek to support pupils/students in this position through pastoral care, early help and discussions with parents/carers and other family members as appropriate.
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 2018 requires the Designated Safeguarding Lead to ensure that the school’s safeguarding and child protection policy is available publicly (e.g. via the nursery website) and that parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the nursery 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 nursery 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 nursery 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 nursery 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 pupils 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 can 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 pupils’ 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 nursery 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 pupils 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 and peer on peer abuse – face to face, online, physical, verbal, sexual, prejudice based and indirect – and act promptly and firmly to combat it, making sure that pupils 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 pupils with SEN in mainstream and special schools, who may be especially vulnerable to abuse, are supported effectively with 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 always followed correctly, using the guidance set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 and WSCB inter-agency child protection procedures;
- Have a written whole nursery policy, which is produced, owned and regularly reviewed by all nursery staff, considering the views of children, parents/carers and governors, and which clearly outlines the school’s position and positive action in respect of the 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 2018.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2018)
Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2018)
WSCB Inter-agency Safeguarding Procedures –
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 2017)
For advice and support about any safeguarding matter in nursery 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]