Child Protection Policy
Download the Child Protection Policy here
For the purposes of this Policy and procedures a child, young person, pupil or student is referred to as a ‘child’ or a ‘pupil’ and they are normally under 18 years of age.
Wherever the term ‘parent’ is used this includes any person with parental authority over the child concerned e.g. carers, legal guardians etc.
Wherever the term ‘Head teacher’ is used this also refers to any Manager with the equivalent responsibility for children.
All those working in education can contribute to the safeguarding and protection of the welfare of a child in need. According to the DfE, safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
• protecting children from maltreatment;
• preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
• ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
• taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. To fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is child centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.
Effective child protection is essential as part of wider work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. However, all agencies and individuals should aim to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect children from harm is reduced. This Child Protection Policy and procedures must be read in conjunction with the school Overarching Safeguarding Statement (where this is in place) and other school Policies and procedures (See Section 6 below).
At Storth CE Primary School (hereinafter referred to as ‘the school’) the health, safety and wellbeing of all our children is of paramount importance to all the adults who work or volunteer here. All our children have the right to protection, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief, ethnicity or sexual orientation/identity. They have a right to be safe in our school; this is enhanced by the adoption of the Whole School Behaviour Policy which includes our procedures for preventing and dealing with cases of bullying and a robust Code of Conduct for staff and other adults who work in school.
We are also committed to establishing a safe physical environment in which children can learn and develop both personally and academically and achieve success in the following as stated in the Children Act 2004:
• Be healthy (physically, mentally and emotionally);
• Stay Safe (protection from harm and neglect);
• Enjoy and Achieve (via education, training and recreation);
• Make a positive contribution to the school community and general society;
• Achieve social and economic well-being.
The School regards Child Protection as an essential task of all its staff, governors and visitors/volunteers who come into school. We are committed to protecting and safeguarding pupils in school.
There is no place for extremist views of any kind in our school, whether from internal sources – pupils, staff, visiting adults, governors etc. or external sources – school community, external agencies or individuals.
Any prejudice, discrimination or extremist views, including derogatory language, displayed by pupils, staff, visitors or parents will always be challenged and, where appropriate, dealt with. Where misconduct by a teacher is proven, the matter will be referred to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) (formerly NCTL) for their consideration. Misconduct by other staff will be dealt with under normal school disciplinary procedures.
We encourage pupils to respect the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We ensure that partisan political views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject in the school and, where political issues are brought to the attention of the pupils, reasonably practicable steps are taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to pupils.
The use of circle time and assembly time help to develop appropriate attitudes in our children and makes them aware of the impact of their decisions on others.
We will ensure the content of the curriculum includes social and emotional aspects of learning and that child protection is included in the curriculum (including online) to help children stay safe, recognise when they don’t feel safe and identify who they might/can talk to. We provide a curriculum that will help to equip our children with the skills they need including materials and learning experiences that will encourage them to develop essential life skills and protective behaviours. The PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) curriculum and, where relevant, Relationships and Sex Education will include elements of how children can recognise different risks in different situations and how to behave in response. It will equip children with the skills needed to keep themselves safe and empower them to feel safe.
The School recognises the importance of creating and promoting a positive, supportive, neutral and secure environment where pupils can develop a sense of being valued and heard and where they feel safe, secure and respected.
We are aware that young people can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views from an early age which originate from a variety of sources and media, including via the internet, and at times pupils may themselves reflect or display views that may be discriminatory, prejudiced or extremist, including using derogatory language. It is imperative that our pupils and parents see our school as a safe place where they can discuss and explore controversial issues safely and in an unbiased way and where our teachers and other adults encourage and facilitate this.
Where a pupil is placed with an alternative provision provider, we recognise that as the host school, we remain responsible for the safeguarding of that pupil and will work closely with the alternative provision provider to ensure the needs of the pupil are appropriately met. See Section 13 of procedures below.
Every effort will be made to work in partnership with other agencies and seek to establish effective working relationships with parents and other colleagues so enabling the Governing Body to fulfil their duty to have arrangements about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children introduced by Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 (Maintained Schools) and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) in place.
There are three main aims to our Child Protection Policy:
Prevention: by creating a positive school atmosphere and providing high quality teaching and pastoral support to pupils;
Protection: by following agreed procedures and ensuring staff are appropriately recruited, trained and supported to respond appropriately and sensitively to Child Protection concerns;
Support: by providing support for pupils and school staff and for children who may have been or are being abused.
We will do these things by:
• ensuring we practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of adults who have unsupervised contact with children and appropriately supervising others who are temporarily in school but not undertaking ‘regulated activity’;
• ensuring all staff and volunteers are aware of, understand and follow the DfE statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (September 2019);
• promoting good health and preventing the spread of infection;
• managing behaviour and adopting safe and acceptable physical intervention techniques (refer to Whole School Behaviour Policy and procedures for details);
• raising awareness of child protection issues, equipping children with the skills needed to keep them safe and empowering children to feel safe;
• being alert to any issues of concern in children’s lives at home or elsewhere;
• ensuring all staff are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse and are aware of the school’s procedures and lines of communication for reporting concerns/suspected or actual cases of abuse;
• ensuring extra care is taken to ensure that signs of abuse and neglect are identified and interpreted correctly, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children with communication/language difficulties or who use alternative/augmented communication systems;
• ensuring that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to support ‘looked-after and previously looked-after children’ and to keep them safe;
• monitoring and supporting children and young people who have been identified as having welfare or protection concerns in accordance with his/her agreed Child Protection Plan;
• keeping confidential records, which are stored securely and shared appropriately with other professionals;
• ensuring all steps are taken to maintain site security and pupils’ physical safety by establishing a safe environment in which children can learn and develop;
• ensuring staffing arrangements meet the needs of all children and ensure their safety. We will ensure that children are adequately supervised and decide how to deploy staff to ensure children’s needs are met; (EYFS ONLY – in relation to ratios for the Early Years and Foundation Stage, we follow the statutory guidance in the DfE revised Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017);
• maintaining robust records, Policies and procedures.
We accept and embrace our legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 (for example, the provisions on reasonable adjustments). Each child in our school, regardless of their background or home circumstances could be the victim of child abuse, whether it is by a parent, other adult known to them or a complete stranger. They are therefore all entitled to the same degree of protection and support. Each child in our school will also develop the skills appropriate to their age and understanding which could enable prevention of abuse by learning about keeping safe and who to ask for help if their safety is threatened.
We have and implement a Single Equality Scheme (SES) with objectives to promote equality of opportunity for children in our care, including support for children with special educational needs or disabilities, those identified as ‘carers’ and looked-after children. Our SES takes account of the whole school community but specifically for children, how the individual needs of all children will be met (including how those children who are disabled or have special educational needs will be included, valued and supported, and how reasonable adjustments will be made for them); the name of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator; arrangements for reviewing, monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of inclusive practices that promote and value diversity and difference; how inappropriate attitudes and practices will be challenged; and how the provision will encourage children to value and respect others.
This Policy and supporting procedures apply to all who come into contact with children in the School, including: teachers, supply teachers, learning support staff, teaching assistants, mid-day supervisors, admin staff, meals supervisors, caretaker, cleaners, visiting students, parent helpers/volunteers, governors and other visitors including contractors.
This Policy should be read in conjunction with other related school Policies and procedures including:
• Overarching Safeguarding Statement
• Health and Safety Policy and procedures
• Online Safety Policy and procedures
• Whole School Behaviour Policy and procedures for preventing and dealing with bullying (including cyber-bullying and the potential for radicalisation) and racism, drug misuse, positive handling, support and physical intervention etc.
• Code of Conduct for Staff and Other Adults
• Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Policy
• Safer Recruitment, Selection and Pre-Employment Vetting Policy and procedures
• School Single Central Record (restricted access)
• Single Equality Scheme/Objectives
• Accessibility Plan
• Data Protection Policy
• Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions Policy and procedures
• Special Educational Needs Policy/Information Report
• Whistleblowing procedures
• Intimate Care procedures
• Educational Visits procedures (including procedures for assessing risks)
• First Aid and Accident procedures
• Attendance procedures
• Missing Child procedures
• Emergency Plan(s) (including Lockdown procedures)
• Guidance on the Use of Photographic Images
• Procedures for protecting children when contractors are working in educational settings
• Code of Conduct for adults visiting or working on a school site (leaflet)
• Risk Assessments (incl. Fire Safety)
• Premises Management including security measures (formal inspections and Buildings Register)
• Lettings arrangements
and DfE, Ofsted and Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership (SCP) guidance as outlined in Appendix A.
This Policy will be reviewed annually (as a minimum) and more often should legislation or statutory guidance change.
1. Roles and Responsibilities
All governors and staff have a shared responsibility to safeguard children. The Governing body and the School Leadership Team, especially the Designated Safeguarding Lead and deputies, will make themselves aware of and follow the new local partnership arrangements. Locally, the three safeguarding partners (Cumbria County Council; Cumbria Constabulary; North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group/Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group) will make arrangements to work together with appropriate relevant agencies (including schools) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including identifying and responding to their needs.
1.1 The Role of the Governing Body
The Chair of Governors will liaise with the Designated Officer (DO) appointed by the Local Authority and partner agencies in the event of allegations of abuse made against the Head teacher. In the event of allegations of abuse being made against the Head teacher and/or where the Head teacher is also the sole proprietor of an independent school, the allegation will be reported directly to the DO.
The Governing Body is accountable for ensuring their establishment:
• has a senior board level (or equivalent) lead to take leadership responsibility for the setting’s safeguarding arrangements with the appropriate authority and be given the time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to other staff, liaising with the LA and working with local multi-agency safeguarding partners and other agencies;
• has appointed an appropriate senior member of staff, from the School Leadership Team to the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) with a named deputy. The DSL will take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. This responsibility is explicit in the role-holders’ job descriptions;
• contributes to inter-agency working in line with statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, July 2018 and HM Government ‘Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers’ – July 2018;
• provides a co-ordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified and contribute to inter-agency plans to provide additional support to children subject to child protection plans;
• has effective Policies and procedures in place for child protection and staff behaviour (part of the Whole School Behaviour Policy and procedures and the Staff Code of Conduct) and Online Safety which are provided to staff and volunteers on induction;
• has safeguarding arrangements which take account of the procedures and practice of the LA as part of the inter-agency safeguarding procedures set up by the Cumbria SCP;
• actively promotes fundamental British values as part of the school’s broad and balanced curriculum to ensure pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development;
• assesses the risk, taking local context into account, of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology;
• has a culture of listening to children, taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of services;
• has arrangements in place for supporting pupils with medical conditions;
• has a written Recruitment and Selection Policy and procedures in place;
• prevents people who pose a risk of harm from working with children (either paid or unpaid) by adhering to statutory responsibilities to check staff and other adults who work with children, taking proportionate decisions on whether to ask for any checks beyond what is required; and ensuring volunteers not in ‘regulated activity’ are appropriately supervised;
• has at least one person on any appointment panel who has undertaken safer recruitment training;
• has procedures for dealing with allegations against members of staff and volunteers that comply with DfE statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, Cumbria SCP, LA and locally agreed inter-agency procedures;
• has procedures for dealing with allegations against other children (peer on peer abuse). This will generally be in accordance with the school Behaviour Policy and procedures in the first instance;
• has appointed a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of looked-after or previously looked-after children ensuring that this person has appropriate training;
• ensures that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep looked-after or previously looked-after children safe and have the information they need in relation to a child’s ‘looked-after’ legal status (whether they are looked-after under voluntary arrangements with consent of parents or on an interim or full care order) and contact arrangements with birth parents or those with parental responsibility;
• operates a Whistleblowing procedure and will remedy any deficiencies or weaknesses in relation to child protection arrangements that is brought to its attention without delay;
• has appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from school, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify any risk of abuse and neglect including sexual abuse or exploitation and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in the future;
• ensures the child’s wishes or feelings are considered when determining what action to take and what services to provide to protect individual children through ensuring there are systems in place for children to express their views and give feedback;
• ensures staff members are aware that they must not promise confidentiality to a child and must always act in the best interests of the child;
• has an annual child protection item on the Governing Body agenda;
• undertakes a full audit of the Safeguarding systems and procedures in place on an annual basis.
1.2 The Role of the Head teacher
It is the responsibility of the Head teacher to:
• ensure that the Policies and procedures adopted by the Governing Body/Proprietor are fully implemented and followed by all staff and, where appropriate, by other adults;
• ensure that all staff receive an appropriate induction to the work (paid or unpaid) they are to undertake in the school and that this induction includes a section on the procedures to follow if they are worried about a child or the management of child protection generally in the setting;
• ensure all staff and, where appropriate, volunteers attend or are given access to training in child protection procedures and strategies to enable them to identify children who may be at risk from all forms of abuse or harm;
• ensure sufficient resources and time is allocated to enable the Designated Safeguarding Lead (where this is not one and the same person) and other staff to discharge their responsibilities, including attending training at regular intervals, taking part in strategy discussions and other inter-agency meetings, and contributing to the assessment of children;
• ensure all staff and volunteers feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice in relation to children, and such concerns are addressed sensitively and effectively in a timely manner by supporting the Whistleblowing procedures.
1.3 The Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
The School has a member of the School Leadership Team designated by the Governing Body as the Safeguarding Lead (DSL) who will provide support to staff members and other adults to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely with other services such as children’s social care. The DSL (and any deputy/ies) is most likely to have a complete safeguarding picture of an individual child or family background. The role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead is explicit in the role-holder’s job description.
During term-time the DSL and/or a deputy will always be available (during school hours) for staff in the school to discuss any safeguarding concerns. Arrangements will be made to ensure that access to the DSL or deputy will be available to staff during off-site visits or other extra-curricular activities taking place outside normal school hours.
There will always be cover for this role and the deputy DSL’s will be trained to the same standard as the DSL. The role of the deputy DSL is explicit in the role-holder’s job description.
Whilst the activities of the DSL can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for child protection, as set out above, remains with the Designated Safeguarding Lead, this lead responsibility should not be delegated.
The DSL will have knowledge and skills for recognising and acting upon Child Protection concerns, having received appropriate training. The DSL is also the ‘Prevent Single Point of Contact’ (SPOC).
Liaison and Referrals: The Designated Safeguarding Lead will:
• liaise with local statutory children’s services agencies and the Cumbria SCP;
• refer all cases of suspected abuse or allegations to Cumbria Safeguarding Hub (see Section 5 for contact and referral details) in accordance with the multi-agency thresholds guidance;
• make a referral to Cumbria Safeguarding Hub immediately if, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child – anybody can make a referral;
• support staff who make referrals to the Local Authority Safeguarding Hub;
• where required to do so, liaise with the “Case Manager” and the Designated Officer (DO) appointed by the Local Authority in the case of an allegation made against a member of staff or other adult;
• refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed, or poses a risk of harm, to a child and who has been removed from working (paid or unpaid) in regulated activity or would have been removed had they not voluntarily left the school/setting. See also section 23 below;
• refer to the Police cases where a crime may have been committed;
• refer concerns about pupils who may have disappeared or whose transfer has raised concerns to Children’s Services Children Missing Education (CME) Officer;
• ensure that an indication of further record-keeping is marked on the pupil records;
• ensure that the most relevant trained person attends case conferences, core groups, or other multi-agency planning meetings, contributes to assessments, and provides a report which has been shared with the parents where necessary;
• ensure that any child currently on a Child protection Plan who is absent without explanation for two days is referred to their key worker’s Social Care Team;
• understand and support the school in relation to the requirements of the Prevent duty and provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation;
• refer cases, as required, to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern and support staff who make referrals to the Channel programme;
• liaise with staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and act as a source of support, advice and expertise within school when deciding to make a referral using the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub Single Contact on-line form;
• liaise with the Head teacher (where this is not one and the same person) to inform him or her of issues especially ongoing enquiries under section 17 (child in need) and section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and Police investigations.
Training: The Designated Safeguarding Lead will:
receive appropriate training, updated every two years (see Section 6 below) in order to:
• understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention, for example through locally agreed common and shared assessment processes such as Early Help Assessments (EHA);
• have a working knowledge of how the Local Authority conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so;
• ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s Child Protection Policy and procedures, especially new and part-time staff and volunteers/students;
• be alert to the specific needs of children in need, including those with special educational needs, young carers and those at risk of radicalisation or child sexual exploitation;
• understand relevant data protection legislation and regulations, especially the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation;
• understand the importance of information sharing, both within the school, and with the three safeguarding partners, other agencies, organisations and practitioners;
• understand the unique risks associated with online safety and be confident that they have the relevant knowledge and up to date capability required to keep children safe whilst they are online at school;
• recognise the additional risks that children with SEN and disabilities (SEND) face online, for example, from online bullying, grooming and radicalisation and are confident they have the capability to support SEND children to stay safe online;
• be able to keep detailed, accurate and secure written records of concerns and referrals;
• obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses and, where required, disseminate information learned from training to others in the setting;
• encourage a culture among all staff and other adults of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, in any measures the school may put in place to protect them.
Raising Awareness: The Designated Safeguarding Lead will:
• ensure that, during the induction process, all staff and volunteers are made aware of, and understand, the setting’s Child Protection Policy and procedures, the school Code of Conduct for staff and other adults and are provided with a copy of Part one of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education – Safeguarding information for all staff – September 2019, DfE guidance ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’, March 2015 and the Cumbria SCP ‘Summary of Allegations Management Procedures Flow Chart’;
• ensure that all staff are made aware of and understand the school’s safeguarding response to children who go missing from education;
• ensure the school’s procedures are known and followed by staff, particularly concerning referrals of cases of suspected abuse and neglect;
• ensure the school’s Child Protection Policy is reviewed annually and the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly, and work with the Governing Body or proprietor(s) regarding this;
• ensure the Child Protection Policy and procedures is available publicly and parents are aware that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school in this process;
• link with the Cumbria safeguarding partner arrangements to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local procedures on safeguarding;
• where children leave the school, the DSL should ensure their Child Protection file is forwarded to any new school as soon as possible but transferred separately from the main pupil file. A copy of the chronology will be retained in school. Consideration will also be given to whether information should be shared with the new school in advance of a child leaving the school to provide continuous support.
1.4 The Designated Teacher for Looked-After and previously Looked-After children
A previously looked-after child potentially remains vulnerable and all staff are equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep both looked-after and previously looked-after children safe.
The Designated Teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children has lead responsibility for helping school staff understand the things which affect how looked-after children learn and achieve in line with the DfE guidance ‘The designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children – Statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities’ (Feb 2018).
The Designated Teacher will:
• have received appropriate training and have the relevant qualifications and experience to take the lead in promoting the educational achievement of registered pupils who are looked-after;
• liaise and work together with other agencies providing prompt action to safeguard any looked-after or previously looked-after child;
• promote a culture of high expectations, educational achievement and aspirations for children who have left care through adoption, special guardianship or child arrangement orders or who were adopted from state care outside England and Wales;
• work with the virtual school head to promote the educational achievement of looked-after and previously looked-after children;
• make sure the young person has a voice in setting learning targets;
• be a source of advice for staff about differentiated teaching strategies appropriate for individual children making full use of Assessment for Learning;
• make sure that looked-after or previously looked-after children are prioritised in one-to-one tuition arrangements and that carers understand the importance of supporting learning at home;
• have lead responsibility for the development and implementation of the child’s personal education plan (PEP) within the school.
1.5 The Role of Teachers
Teachers, including the Head teacher, will safeguard children’s wellbeing and maintain public trust in the teaching profession as part of their professional duties in line with the Teacher Standards 2011 (updated 2013).
1.6 The Role of the School Counsellor
Ensuring confidentiality between the child or young person and counsellor is crucial to the success of the relationship and the outcomes of counselling. A frequent concern raised by children and young people who have not experienced counselling services is that others will be informed about what has been discussed in sessions. While counsellors are used to working within confidentiality codes, they will be aware that there is no such thing as absolute confidentiality when working with children and young people. Child protection concerns and the welfare of children and young people will, at times, need to take precedence over confidentiality.
Counsellors should discuss difficult decisions about disclosures with their clinical supervisor and line manager and, if appropriate, the DSL within the school. Where they think anyone is at risk of significant harm they should report this to the DSL immediately.
1.7 The Role of ALL Staff
• All school staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.
• All staff should know what to do if a child tells them he/she is being abused, neglected or otherwise at risk of harm. Always speak to the DSL (or deputy). If in exceptional circumstances, the DSL or deputy is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. Staff should consider speaking to a member of the School Leadership Team and/or take advice from children’s social care. In these circumstances, any action taken should be shared with the DSL (or deputy) as soon as practically possible.
• All staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help. (See also section 2.1 below). Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. In the first instance, staff should discuss early help requirements with the DSL. Staff may be required to support other agencies and professionals in an early help assessment.
• All staff should be aware of the early help process and understand their role in it. This includes identifying emerging problems, liaising with the DSL, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and, in some cases, acting as the lead professional in undertaking an early help assessment.
• 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.
• All staff have a responsibility to read and properly understand ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education Information for All School and College staff’ (Part one), DfE guidance ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’, the School Code of Conduct for staff and other adults who work with children, the School’s Child Protection Policy and the procedures to follow if they have concerns about a child regardless of the presumed seriousness of the case.
• All staff should be aware of and understand the school’s safeguarding response to children who go missing from education.
• All staff should understand how to handle reports of sexual violence and harassment between children, both on and outside school premises, in line with the DfE guidance ‘Sexual Violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges’ (May 2018).
• If a staff member has any concerns about a child there should be a conversation with the DSL to agree a course of action, although any staff member can make a referral to Children’s Social Care. If a referral is made by a member of staff, they should inform the DSL as soon as possible.
• If at any point there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral will be made Cumbria Safeguarding Hub immediately – anybody can make a referral.
2. Supporting Pupils at Risk
Our school recognises that children who are abused or who witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth and to view the world in a positive way. School may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of the children at risk.
We will endeavour to support pupils through:
• a curriculum which encourages self-esteem and self-motivation;
• the school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment where everyone is valued;
• listening to the child’s views and concerns with an open mind;
• the implementation of a shared Behaviour Policy and procedures;
• a consistent approach which supports all children;
• regular liaison with other professionals and agencies who support the pupils and their families;
• the development and support of a responsive and knowledgeable staff group trained to respond appropriately in child protection situations.
In addition to the above, as part of wider safeguarding responsibilities, school staff will be alert to:
• disclosures by pupils of their exposure to the extremist actions, views or materials of others outside of school, such as in their homes or community groups, especially where pupils have not actively sought these out;
• graffiti symbols, writing or artwork promoting extremist messages or images;
• pupils accessing extremist material on-line, including through social networking sites;
• parental reports of changes in behaviour, friendship or actions and requests for assistance;
• local schools, LA services and Police reports of issues affecting pupils in other schools or settings;
• pupils voicing opinions drawn from extremist ideologies and narratives;
• use of extremist or ‘hate’ terms to exclude others or incite violence;
• intolerance of difference, whether secular or religious or, in line with our Single Equality Scheme, views based on, but not exclusive to, gender, disability, homophobia, race, colour or culture;
• attempts to impose extremist views or practices on others;
• anti-western or anti-British views.
2.1 Children who may be particularly vulnerable and early help
All children are vulnerable, but some may be at increased risk of neglect and/or abuse and would especially benefit from early help. Many factors can contribute to an increase in risk, including prejudice and discrimination, isolation, social exclusion, communication issues and reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse happens, or who have a high level of tolerance in respect of neglect.
Any child may benefit from early help, but we are particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
• is disabled and has specific additional needs or has special educational needs (see 2.3 below);
• is living in a known domestic abuse situation;
• is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups;
• is affected by known parental substance misuse or adult mental health problems;
• is at risk of fabricated or induced illness;
• is a young carer;
• is an asylum seeker;
• has returned home to their family from care;
• is frequently missing/goes missing from care or home;
• is misusing drugs or alcohol;
• is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation;
• is vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying;
• is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect;
• is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
• is a privately fostered child (see 2.5 below);
• is living a transient lifestyle;
• is living in a chaotic, neglectful and unsupportive home situation;
• is vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion or sexuality;
• does not have English as a first language.
The Cumbria Early Help Team can be contacted on:
Telephone No: 03003 033896; or
In addition to the above, we will refer to guidance issued by the Cumbria SCP in relation to Early help.
Special consideration includes the provision of safeguarding information, resources and support services in community languages and accessible formats.
Any cases resulting in early help will be kept under constant review and consideration given to a referral to children’s social care for assessment for statutory services if the child’s situation does not appear to be improving or is getting worse.
2.2 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. Children in need may be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
2.3 Pupils with SEN/Disabilities
We recognise that children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities (whether or not they have a statutory education, health and care plan) can face additional safeguarding challenges and additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. This can include:
• assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
• children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying and peer group isolation – without outwardly showing any signs; and
• communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
The potential need for early help and extra pastoral support in this group of children is considered as a priority.
2.4 Contextual Safeguarding
Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school and/or can occur between children outside the school. All staff, but especially the DSL (and deputies) should be considering the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. This is known as contextual safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare. Additional information on contextual safeguarding is available from the Contextual Safeguarding Network.
2.5 Private Fostering
Private fostering occurs when a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) is provided with care and accommodation for 28 days or more by a person who is not a parent, person with parental responsibility for them or a relative in their own home. Staff will remain alert to, and, when it comes to their attention, report to the DSL, information which suggest a child is being privately fostered. The DSL will then notify the LA to allow the LA to check the arrangement is suitable and safe for the child.
3. Recognising types of abuse and neglect and significant harm
The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children and gives local authorities a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. This includes where there are concerns about maltreatment, including all forms of abuse and neglect, or other so-called honour-based violence (including Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage), and extra-familial threats like radicalisation and sexual exploitation.
All school staff are made aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another.
A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse.
3.2 Physical Abuse
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 fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
3.3 Emotional Abuse
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 – for example where there is fighting or violence in the home. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children to frequently 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.
For more information, see our procedures for preventing and dealing with bullying within the Whole School Behaviour Policy and procedures.
3.4 Sexual abuse
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent 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 being unresponsive to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
3.6 Specific Safeguarding Issues
Expert and professional organisations are best placed to provide up-to-date guidance and practical support on specific safeguarding issues. For example, NSPCC offers information for schools on its website https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/.
All staff have an awareness of specific safeguarding issues – some of which are listed below. Staff are made aware that behaviours linked to the likes of drug taking, alcohol abuse, truanting and sexting put children in danger.
The Cumbria SCP Procedures Manual provides specific guidance on a range of safeguarding issues which settings may have to address.
The DfE statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ provides additional information at Annex A on the following:
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) – all suspected cases of CSE will be referred to the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub.
CSE is a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. CSE can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex. Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. CSE does not always involve physical contact and can happen online. A significant number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation go missing from home, care and education at some point.
Although inter-agency working and information sharing are vital in identifying and tackling all forms of abuse, it is clear they are especially important to identify and prevent CSE.
By being aware of the warning signs of CSE school staff and other adults can help stop abuse before it develops further. Like all forms of child sex abuse, child sexual exploitation:
• can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual;
• can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity;
• can take place in person or via technology, or a combination of both;
• can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
• may occur without the child’s immediate knowledge (e.g. through others copying videos or images they have created and posted on social media);
• can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse; and
• is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the abuse. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
When considering appropriate action regarding sexting, the DSL will take the age of the child involved and the context into account. Children under 13 are given extra protection from sexual abuse. The law makes it clear that sexual activity with a child under 13 is never acceptable and that children of this age can never legally give consent to engage in sexual activity. Any situations involving pupils in this school and sexting will be taken seriously as potentially being indicative of a wider child protection concern or as being problematic sexual behaviour. Further and more specific advice is contained within the document ‘Sexting in schools and colleges: Responding to incidents and safeguarding young people’ – UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) a copy of which is held in the School Office.
Any direct disclosure by a pupil (male or female) will be taken very seriously. A child who discloses they are the subject of sexual imagery is likely to be embarrassed and worried about the consequences. It is likely that disclosure in school is a last resort and they may have already tried to resolve the issue themselves. When an incident involving sexting comes to a school’s attention the school will follow the guidance as set out in the UKCIS publication outlined above.
Serious Violence – All staff should be aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs. Further advice on this issue is provided in the Home Office document ‘Preventing youth violence and gang involvement’.
Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) including county lines – Criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns. Key to identifying potential involvement in county lines are missing episodes when the victim may have been trafficked for the purpose of transporting drugs. Where this is found to be the case, the school will consider a referral to the National Referral Mechanism.
Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation:
• can affect any child (male or female) under the age of 18 years;
• can affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years;
• can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual;
• can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
• can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults; and
• is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
Further advice on this issue may be found in the Home Office document ‘Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines’.
Domestic abuse – 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:
• economic (access to basic resources like food and clothing)
Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. When identifying children who are or may be affected by domestic violence, we follow the advice provided by Cumbria SCP. (Click here to view).
Our school has signed up to Operation Encompass and will be informed by the Police if there has been a call out linked to domestic abuse/violence involving any of our pupils.
‘Honour based’ violence (HBV) – Honour based violence includes crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. This type of abuse in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. All forms of so-called HBV are abuse (regardless of motivation) and will be handled and escalated as such.
From October 2015, teachers (described in the legislation as those persons employed or engaged to carry out teaching work at schools and other institutions in England) have been under a mandatory duty to report to the Police cases where they discover than an act of FGM appears to have been carried out. Unless the teacher has a good reason not to, they should still consider and discuss any such case with the School’s DSL and involve the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub as appropriate. Reference should also be made to the HM Government Multi agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation, October 2018.
Preventing Radicalisation – Protecting children from the risks of radicalisation and extremism is seen as part of this school’s wider safeguarding duties and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. Since July 2015 schools have been under a statutory duty to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This is known as the Prevent duty. Statutory Prevent guidance summarises the requirements on schools in terms of four general themes:
• Risk Assessment – we will assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism and have clear procedures in place for protecting children at risk of radicalisation.
• Working in Partnership – we will ensure that our procedures take account of the policies and procedures of Cumbria SCP.
• Staff training – we will ensure that staff have access to Prevent awareness training to equip them with the skills and knowledge to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas. As a minimum, the DSL will receive Prevent awareness training the detail of which will be cascaded to other staff/volunteers as appropriate.
• Online Safety – we will ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school. Further information on this is set out in the Online Safety Policy.
We value freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs/ideology as fundamental rights underpinning our society’s values. Both pupils and teachers have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. However, freedom comes with responsibility and free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others goes against the moral principles in which freedom of speech is valued. Free speech is not an unqualified privilege; it is subject to laws and policies governing equality, human rights, community safety and community cohesion. We seek to protect children and young people against the messages of all violent extremism. This school uses resources taken from the Government sponsored website ‘educateagainsthate’. www.educateagainsthate.com
We are aware of and understand when it is appropriate to make a referral to the Channel programme and/or the Safeguarding Hub.
Children missing from home, care or education – A child going missing from home, care or education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect. The School has appropriate procedures and responses to children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect, including sexual exploitation and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in future. These procedures are shared with all staff and other relevant adults, and new starters on Induction. We follow and adhere to Cumbria SCP guidance and procedures on Children Missing from Home, Care or Education.
In line with current best practice, we will request from parents at least 2 emergency contacts for each pupil which will allow us to contact a responsible adult in the event of a child missing education.
It is our responsibility to inform the Local Authority of any pupil who fails to attend school regularly or has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 school days or more.
Homelessness – Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The DSL (and any deputies) are aware of contact details and referral routes in to the Local Housing Authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity. Cumbria County Council have a list of contacts for local district council housing support.
Other issues covered by Annex A – Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019 – in addition to issues outlined above, Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education also includes further detail on the following:
• Children and the court system
• Children with family members in prison
4. What School Staff should do if they have concerns about a Child
If staff members have concerns about a child they should raise these with the DSL or deputy. This also includes situations of abuse which may involve staff members (refer to Whistleblowing procedures at Section 11).
Wherever possible, there should be a conversation with the DSL (or deputy), who will help staff decide what to do next. Options will then include:
• managing any support for the child internally via the school’s own pastoral support processes;
• an early help assessment; or
• a referral for statutory services.
All staff are required to report any concerns in writing. On occasions, a referral is justified by a single incident such as an injury or disclosure of abuse. More often however, concerns accumulate over time and are evidenced by building up a picture of harm; it is crucial that staff record and pass on their concerns in accordance with these procedures to allow the DSL to build up a picture and access support for the child at the earliest opportunity. A reliance on memory without accurate and contemporaneous records of concern could lead to a failure to protect.
The DSL will decide whether to make a referral to Cumbria Safeguarding Hub, but it is important to note that where a staff member feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, they may refer their concerns to the Safeguarding Hub directly. Alternatively, the NSPCC have a whistleblowing advice line for professionals who have concerns over how child protection issues are being handled in either their or another organisation. Call 0800 028 0285 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where a child and family would benefit from co-ordinated support from more than one agency (for example education, health, housing, police) there will be an inter-agency assessment. These assessments should identify what help the child and family require to prevent needs escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989. The Early Help Assessment should be undertaken by a lead professional who could be a teacher, special educational needs co-ordinator, General Practitioner (GP), family support worker, and/or health visitor.
If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made to Cumbria Safeguarding Hub immediately. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.
It is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating. Research and Serious Case Reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action. Poor practice includes: failing to act on and refer the early signs of abuse and neglect, poor record keeping, failing to listen to the views of the child, failing to re-assess concerns when situations do not improve, sharing information too slowly and a lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action.
Refer to the ‘Action’ flowchart on page 16 of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, September 2019 which is replicated at Appendix C.
5. Dealing with Disclosures from Children
The way in which a member of staff talks to a child who discloses abuse could influence the evidence that is put forward if there are subsequent proceedings, and it is important that staff do not jump to conclusions, ask leading questions, or put words in a child’s mouth. If a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff or other adult working in school s/he should write a record of the conversation as soon as possible, stating exactly, in the child’s words, what has been said, noting any action taken in cases of possible abuse. This must be signed and include the day of the week, date, time and place of the disclosure. All records must be held securely and are kept in the office. A model Child Disclosure/ Concern Record can be found at Appendix B. A shorter, more concise format of an initial concern record may be used in the early stages with a decision being made by the DSL as to whether more detail is required by the staff member or other adult with concerns.
Inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), who will evaluate the assessment and concern record. Initial contact will be made with Cumbria Safeguarding Hub where necessary (see below).
The DSL can make a telephone referral to Cumbria Safeguarding Hub (see below) and confirm in writing via the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub Single Contact On-line Form. The initial referral may be made by telephone but must be followed up via the on-line reporting system within 48 hours.
If a referral needs to be made, or consultation with any other agency is deemed necessary, then we recognise that it is good practice to inform the parents and child of actions to be taken unless this puts the child at further risk of harm.
The LA should make a decision within one working day of a referral being made about what course of action they are taking and should let the referrer know the outcome. The DSL will follow up on a referral should that information not be forthcoming. If, after a referral, the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the DSL will press for re-consideration using the Cumbria SCP Escalation Policy and procedures to ensure their concerns have been addressed and, most importantly, that the child’s situation improves.
All adults in school have a shared responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children.
Cumbria Safeguarding Hub
Tel: 0333 240 1727
E mail: email@example.com (please ensure that e mails sent to this address are password protected and the password forwarded in a further e-mail).
The service enables callers to outline their concerns and the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub will give advice and, if necessary, undertake assessments of need. Appendix C provides a flow chart of actions to be taken by the school and other agencies where there are concerns about a child.
This service is available any time of day or night
Staff must be aware that:
• it is not the responsibility of teachers, other staff or volunteers to investigate suspected cases of abuse;
• they should not take any action beyond that agreed in the procedures established by the setting and the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership (SCP);
• they cannot promise a child complete confidentiality – instead they must explain that they may need to pass information to other professionals to help keep the child or other children safe.
Listening to Children
Experience and consultation with children show that a child will talk about their concerns and problems to people they feel they can trust and they feel comfortable with. This will not necessarily be a teacher. It is therefore essential that all staff and volunteers in a school or establishment know how to respond sensitively to a child’s concerns, who to approach for advice about them, and the importance of not guaranteeing complete confidentiality.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (July 2018) describes what children have said that they need:
• Vigilance: to have adults notice when things are troubling them
• Understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon
• Stability: to be able to develop an on-going stable relationship of trust with those helping them
• Respect: to be treated with the expectation that they are competent rather than not
• Information and engagement: to be informed about and involved in procedures, decisions, concerns and plans
• Explanation: to be informed of the outcome of assessments and decisions and reasons when their views have not met with a positive response
• Support: to be provided with support in their own right as well as a member of their family
• Advocacy: to be provided with advocacy to assist them in putting forward their views
• Protection: to be protected against all forms of abuse and discrimination and the right to special protection and help if a refugee
Children want to be respected, their views to be heard, to have stable relationships with professionals built on trust and to have consistent support provided for their individual needs. School will seek to demonstrate to children that it provides them with a safe environment where it is okay to talk.
Any member of staff or volunteer who is approached by a child wanting to talk will listen positively and reassure the child. School staff will work with the child and their families collaboratively when deciding how to support the child’s needs. Special provision will be put in place to support dialogue with children who have communication difficulties, unaccompanied children, refugees and those children who are victims of modern slavery and/or trafficking. Staff will record the discussion with the pupil as soon as possible and take action in accordance with the school’s child protection procedures.
If a child chooses to disclose, the member of staff or other adult in the school WILL:
• be accessible and receptive;
• listen carefully and uncritically at the child’s pace;
• take what is said seriously;
• reassure the child that they are right to tell;
• tell the child that this information must be passed on;
• make a careful record of what was said.
Staff or other adults will NEVER:
• take photographs or examine an injury;
• investigate or probe aiming to prove or disprove possible abuse – never ask leading questions;
• make promises to children about confidentiality or keeping ‘secrets’;
• assume that someone else will take the necessary action;
• jump to conclusions or react with shock, anger or horror;
• speculate or accuse anybody;
• confront another person (adult or child) allegedly involved;
• offer opinions about what is being said or about the person/s allegedly involved;
• forget to record what has been said;
• fail to pass the information on to the correct person;
• ask a child to sign a written copy of the disclosure.
Vulnerable Groups: For children with communication/language difficulties or who use alternative/ augmented communication systems, staff and other adults may need to take extra care to ensure that signs of abuse and neglect are identified and interpreted correctly, but concerns should be reported in exactly the same manner as for other children. In some cases, it may be appropriate to seek the services of a professional interpreter.
6. Induction and Training
All school-based staff including the Head teacher (where he/she is not the DSL) are required to undertake an appropriate level of safeguarding and child protection training at induction. This training will be updated regularly. We will train all staff and volunteers (where appropriate) to understand the Overarching Safeguarding Statement and this Child Protection Policy and procedures and ensure that all adults have up to date knowledge of safeguarding issues. In addition, all staff members will receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins, staff meetings/briefings etc.), as required, but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.
Appropriate training and regular updates will enable staff to identify signs of possible abuse and neglect at the earliest opportunity, and to respond in a timely and appropriate way including:
• significant changes in a child’s behaviour;
• deterioration in a child’s general wellbeing;
• unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect;
• a child’s comments which give cause for concern;
• any reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting, for example in the child’s home;
• recognising inappropriate behaviour displayed by other members of staff, or any other person working with the children, for example, inappropriate sexual comments; excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibilities; or inappropriate sharing of images;
• internal school procedures, roles and responsibilities;
• dealing with a disclosure from a child;
• Whistleblowing procedures as they refer specifically to Child Protection;
• the school Single Equality Information/Objectives; and
• general health, safety and welfare issues.
Training is organised by the DSL in line with Cumbria SCP guidance.
All staff have undertaken whole school Safeguarding training which will be refreshed every three years and updated on a regular basis by the DSL or other external source.
All staff and volunteers working in ‘Regulated Activity’ are provided with a copy of Part one of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education – Safeguarding information for all staff – September 2019, DfE guidance ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’, March 2015; the Cumbria SCP Summary of Allegations Management Procedures Flow Chart; the school’s Child Protection Policy and procedures, the School Code of Conduct for staff and other adults and the procedures to follow should a child go missing from school, home or care.
We will ensure that regular staff appraisals are carried out to identify any training needs, and secure opportunities for continued professional development for staff. We will support our staff to improve their qualification levels wherever possible.
The nominated Governor will receive safeguarding training from a strategic perspective which will be updated regularly, to be disseminated to the rest of the Governing Body.
The School Leadership Team will ensure the DSL and the Deputy DSL attend the required safeguarding training when they first take up the role which will provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role effectively. The training will be updated every two years. In addition to formal training, as set out above, their knowledge and skills will be updated, (for example via e-bulletins, meeting other DSL’s, or taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, but at least annually, to keep up with any developments relevant to their role.
Both the DSL and the Deputy have attended the required level of training as stated by the Cumbria SCP and this will be updated in line with recommended good practice.
The DSL will ensure that all new staff, volunteers and other adults are appropriately inducted as regards the school’s internal safeguarding procedures, including those for Child Protection, communication lines and whistleblowing. This will also be a regular agenda item at staff meetings.
The DSL and Head Teacher (if not one and the same) will provide an annual report to the Governing Body detailing safeguarding training undertaken by all staff and will maintain up to date registers of who has been trained and to what level. This, along with Induction Training and other safeguarding training including health and safety related training will be included in the school staff Training Plan.
We will ensure that staff have sufficient understanding and use of English to ensure the wellbeing of children in our care. We will ensure we are able to keep records in English, to liaise with other agencies in English, to summon emergency help, and to understand instructions such as those for the safety of medicines.
8. Record Keeping
Staff will record any welfare concern that they have about a child on a Child Disclosure/Concern Record, with a body map (where injuries have been observed) to be passed to the DSL. Records must be comp
leted as soon as possible after the incident/event and must be signed and dated. It is good practice to also note the day of the week. Staff must be aware that their records might have to be used as evidence in court and must therefore be mindful of the need to distinguish fact from opinion. However, staff must not attempt to investigate a situation themselves. Blank Child Disclosure/Concern Records are kept in the office.
A record will be made of all incidents where pupils have expressed racist, homophobic, extremist or radical views which will be monitored at a senior level.
Child protection records are kept centrally and securely by the DSL and are shared on a ‘need to know’ basis only. They will be held separate from the child’s curriculum file. A chronology must be recorded in the file with the final entry being the date the child left the school or the date the file was transferred to a receiving school.
When forwarding files to a receiving school, a chronology of the information, a record of the date of transfer and date of confirmation of receipt by the next school will be kept.
All child protection records will be forwarded to a child’s subsequent school under confidential and separate cover to the new DSL or Head teacher. Confidential files that must be posted (e.g. for out of County moves) are marked private and confidential and sent via the ‘Special Delivery’ postage route where its whereabouts at any time can be tracked.
9. Allegations against Members of Staff or Volunteers
Sometimes allegations of inappropriate treatment of children are made against members of staff employed by the school including volunteers rather than members of the child’s family. Allegations are those which relate to members of staff and volunteers who are currently working in any school or college regardless of whether the school or college is where the alleged abuse took place. Such allegations are dealt with according to specific procedures published on the Cumbria SCP website and Part four of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ – Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff.
Allegations against a teacher who is no longer teaching will be referred to the Police. Historical allegations of abuse will also be referred to the Police.
Cumbria SCP has produced a Summary of Allegations Management Procedures Flowchart which can be found at Appendix D. A copy of this flow chart is provided to all individuals working in school and to new starters as part of their Induction.
The member of staff to whom the allegation is reported will:
• treat the matter seriously;
• ensure that, where necessary, the child receives appropriate medical attention;
• make a written record of the information using the child’s/parent’s own words, including when the alleged incident took place; who was present; and what happened;
• sign and date the written record;
• report the matter immediately to the Head teacher or deputy in his/her absence. Where the Head teacher is the subject of an allegation, the allegation will be reported to the Chair of Governors. In all instances, the most senior person (Head teacher or Chair of Governors) will be the allocated the role of ‘Case Manager’. Confidentiality must be maintained at all times.
Initial Action by the Case Manager
The Case Manager will immediately discuss the allegation with the Local authority appointed Designated Officer (DO) and within 1 working day. The purpose of an initial discussion is for the DO and the Case Manager to consider the nature, content and context of the allegation and agree a course of action. To inform the initial course of action, the following may be required:
• written details of the allegation – signed and dated by the person receiving the allegation;
• any other information and names of any potential witnesses;
• a chronology of significant events;
• information already known about those involved, including previous history, other allegations made by the child or family and the individual’s current contact with children;
• checks on any historic incident(s) or logbooks.
There may be situations when the Case Manager will want to involve the Police immediately, for example if the person is deemed to be an immediate risk to children or there is evidence of a possible criminal offence. Where there is no such evidence, the Case Manager should discuss the allegations with the DO to help determine whether Police involvement is necessary.
To report a concern in writing to the DO, the notification form (available either from the Cumbria SCP website or from the KAHSC website) must be used. The form can also be accessed by the following link: DO – Allegation Notification Form (Doc).
Completed forms must be sent to the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub, using any of the following methods:
(Please note: if sending by e-mail the document must be password protected)
• Fax: 01768 812090
• EFax: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Post: DO, Cumbria Safeguarding Hub, Skirsgill Depot, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2BQ
• Please note if you are worried that a child is at risk of immediate harm please contact Cumbria Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727 or click here How to refer a child.
To speak to a DO for advice:
Phone: 03003 033892
Or you can email: email@example.com
Allegations are managed in accordance with Cumbria SCP Procedures Manual.
The Case Manager will contact the DO if the member of staff or another adult (including volunteers) has:
• 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 s/he may pose a risk of harm to children.
The advice of the DO can also be sought if there is uncertainty as to whether a referral should be made or for example there are concerns about the staff member’s conduct outside work which may raise concerns about their suitability to work with children.
The Case Manager will inform the accused person about the allegation as soon as possible after consulting with DO. It is extremely important that the Case Manager provides them with as much information as possible at that time. However, where a strategy discussion is needed, or Police or Children’s Social Care services need to be involved, the Case Manager will not do that until those agencies have been consulted and have agreed what information can be disclosed to the accused.
The Case Manager will appoint a named representative to keep the person who is the subject of the allegation informed of the progress of the case and consider what other support is appropriate for the individual.
Parents of a child or children involved will be told about the allegation as soon as possible if they do not already know of it. However, where a strategy discussion is required, or Police or Children’s Social Care services need to be involved, the Case Manager will not do so until those agencies have been consulted and have agreed what information can be disclosed to the parents. Parents will also be kept informed about the progress of the case and told the outcome where there is not a criminal prosecution, including the outcome (in confidence) of any disciplinary process.
Parents will also be made aware of the requirement to maintain confidentiality about any allegations made against teachers or other staff whilst investigations are ongoing. Where parents wish to apply to the court to have reporting restrictions removed, they will be advised to seek legal advice.
Initial Consideration by the Case Manager and LA appointed Designated Officer (DO)
The DO will establish, in discussion with the Case Manager that the allegation is within the scope of the Cumbria SCP procedures and may require further investigation. There may be up to 3 strands considered as part of this process and the discussion will centre upon whether there is a need for:
• a Police investigation because a crime has or may have been committed;
• enquiries and assessment by social care to determine if services or emergency actions are required;
• consideration by the employer of disciplinary action in respect of the individual.
If agreement is reached that the criteria for action by the Police or Children’s Services has been established, the DO will contact Children’s Social Care to ensure a formal ‘strategy meeting’ is set up involving Children’s Services Social Care and the Police. If only the last criterion is met the DO will provide advice to the Case Manager on the subsequent management of the case to a satisfactory conclusion within the framework of the school’s procedures for discipline and conduct.
The decision on suspension/transfer to alternative duties of the staff member subject to the allegation is the responsibility of the Case Manager having consulted with their HR adviser and the DO. Suspension will never be an automatic step for staff subject to allegations; each case will be dealt with on its merits taking into consideration factors such as the seriousness of the allegation, the potential risks to children and whether it is possible to investigate the allegation whilst the person is still at work. The strategy meeting will make a recommendation to the setting if one is required but the ultimate decision rests with the Case Manager.
If the Case Manager is concerned about the welfare of other children in the community or the individual’s family, those concerns will be reported to the DO, Children’s Social Care or the Police as required.
The detailed procedures that need to follow this initial consideration are available on the Cumbria SCP website. The Case Manager is expected to keep the DO advised of progress especially where it has been agreed that the matter should be dealt with within the framework of the school’s disciplinary process (see above).
A referral must also be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) when concerns are raised that a person has caused harm or poses a future risk of harm to children/vulnerable adults – See Section 23 for further details. If a member of staff or a volunteer is removed or dismissed because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or the school would have done so if the individual not left, the Disclosure and Barring Service must be informed Click here to find out how to refer to the DBS.
The school will also consider whether a referral to the Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) is appropriate.
All staff will be made aware that it is a disciplinary offence not to report concerns about the conduct of a colleague that could place a child at risk. When in doubt – consult.
Providers with EYFS Registered with Ofsted separately from the School ONLY
We will inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person working with the child (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere). Refer to Section 24 for details.
For more detailed guidance on how to respond to allegations against staff or volunteers, please refer to the Cumbria SCP guidance and Section 11 on Whistleblowing.
10. Managing Allegations against other Pupils (peer on peer abuse)
We believe that all children have a right to attend the School and learn in a safe environment. Children should be free from harm by adults in the school and other pupils. We recognise that some pupils will sometimes negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of others and their behaviour will generally be dealt with under the School’s Whole School Behaviour Policy. It is not enough to respond to incidents as they arise and we strive to create an environment that actively discourages abuse and challenges the attitudes which underlie it. The school has a Policy which includes bullying, and sexual and racial harassment.
All staff are made aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse (also referred to as child on child abuse) and will be trained in the procedures to follow if there are incidents of sexual violence or sexual harassment between pupils. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; gender-based violence/sexual violence (such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault), sexual harassment (such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be stand-alone or part of a broader pattern of abuse); upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm and sexting. Additional information on this issue is also available in Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education – September 2019 and in the DfE best practice advice ‘Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges’ (May 2018).
Decisions about what to do should a case of peer on peer abuse become evident will be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration:
• the wishes of the victim;
• the nature of the incident – might a crime have been committed?
• the ages of the children involved;
• any power imbalance between the children for example, if one child is much older;
• whether it was a one-off incident or a pattern of behaviour by the alleged perpetrator.
10.1 Safeguarding allegations
We recognise that children can abuse their peers. There are different forms of peer on peer abuse, but we recognise that abuse is abuse and will never be tolerated or passed off as “banter” or “part of growing up”. We will not dismiss abusive behaviour between children as ‘normal’ and our thresholds for investigating claims and allegations are the same as for any other type of abuse. Although it is generally considered more likely that girls will be victims and boys’ perpetrators, we consider all peer on peer abuse to be unacceptable and will take any allegations seriously.
Occasionally, allegations may be made against pupils by others in the school, which are of a child protection nature. Child protection issues raised in this way may include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. It is likely that to be considered a child protection allegation against a pupil, some of the following features will be found.
• 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 pupil;
• indicates that young people outside the school may be affected by this pupil.
Examples of peer on peer abuse could include:
• violence, particularly pre-planned
• forcing others to use drugs or alcohol
• teen dating violence
• blackmail or extortion
• threats, intimidation and defamation
• bullying including cyberbullying, racial or sexual harassment or other imbalance of power
• hazing – any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers participants regardless of a person’s willingness to participate
• indecent exposure, indecent touching or serious sexual assaults
• forcing others to watch pornography or take part in sexting
• encouraging other children to attend inappropriate parties
• photographing or videoing other children performing indecent acts
In some situations, older pupils may attempt to recruit younger pupils using any or all the above methods. Young people suffering from sexual exploitation themselves may be forced to recruit other young people under threat of violence.
10.2 Minimising the risk of safeguarding concerns towards pupils from other pupils
On occasion, some pupils may present a safeguarding risk to other pupils. The school may well be informed by the relevant agency (either Police or Social Care) that the young person raises safeguarding concerns. These pupils will need an individual Behaviour (or risk) Management Plan to ensure that other pupils are kept safe and they themselves are not laid open to malicious allegations.
Pupils are encouraged to report peer on peer abuse and the issue is discussed as part of PSHE curriculum.
10.3 Possible actions in response to an allegation against a pupil
• Staff who observe or suspect any form of peer abuse must inform the DSL as soon as possible so that further investigations can take place.
• When an allegation is made by a pupil against another pupil, members of staff should consider whether the complaint raises a child protection concern. If there is a child protection concern the DSL must be informed as soon as possible.
• A factual record will be made of the allegation, but no attempt at this stage should be made to investigate the circumstances.
• The DSL should contact Cumbria Safeguarding Hub (see details above) to discuss the case. It is possible that Safeguarding Hub is already aware of child protection concerns around this young person. The DSL will follow through the outcomes of the discussion and make a referral of either one or all of the pupils involved where appropriate.
• The DSL will make a record of the concern, the discussion and any outcome and keep a copy in the files of both/all pupils.
• If the allegation indicates a potential criminal offence has taken place, the police should be contacted at the earliest opportunity and parents informed (of both the pupil being complained about and the alleged victim).
• The school will consider how best to keep victims and alleged perpetrators of sexual violence a reasonable distance apart while on school premises and, where relevant, on transport to and from school. While the facts are being investigated, the alleged perpetrator should be removed from any classes that they share with the victim. This is in the best interests of both children and should not be perceived to be a judgement on the guilt of the alleged perpetrator.
• It may be appropriate to exclude the pupil being complained about for a period of time according to the school’s Behaviour Policy and procedures.
• Both the future needs of the victim, the alleged perpetrator and any other children involved/affected will be assessed and, where necessary appropriate plans and strategies put in place.
• Where neither the Safeguarding Hub nor the Police accept the complaint, a thorough school investigation should take place into the matter using the School’s usual disciplinary procedures.
• In situations where the school considers a child protection risk is present, a risk assessment should be prepared along with a preventative, supervision plan.
• The plan should be monitored, and a date set for a follow-up evaluation with everyone concerned.
Staff must acknowledge their individual responsibility to bring matters of concern to the attention of senior management and/or relevant agencies. Although this can be difficult this is particularly important where the welfare of children may be at risk.
Adults working in the school may be the first to recognise that something is wrong but may not feel able to express their concerns out of a feeling that this would be disloyal to colleagues or for fear of harassment or victimisation. These feelings, however natural, must never result in a child or young person continuing to be unnecessarily at risk. Staff must remember that it is often the most vulnerable child who is targeted. These children need adults they can trust to safeguard their welfare.
DON’T THINK WHAT IF I’M WRONG – THINK WHAT IF I’M RIGHT!
Reasons for whistleblowing:
• Everyone has a responsibility for raising concerns about unacceptable practice or behaviour.
• To prevent the problem worsening or widening.
• To protect or reduce risks to others.
• To prevent becoming implicated yourself.
What stops people from whistleblowing?
• Fear of starting a chain of events which spirals out of control.
• Disrupting the work or project.
• Fear of getting it wrong.
• Fear of repercussions or damaging careers.
• Fear of not being believed.
How to raise a concern:
• Voice concerns, suspicions or uneasiness as soon as possible. The earlier a concern is expressed the easier and sooner action can be taken.
• Try to pinpoint exactly what practice is causing concern and why.
• Approach the Head teacher or Senior Manager.
• If the concern is related to the Head teacher/Principal, the Chair of Governors should be contacted or, if it is felt that the issue needs to be reported to someone outside the school, contact Cumbria Safeguarding Hub.
• Staff should ensure they get a satisfactory response – don’t let matters rest. If a staff member feels their genuine concerns are not being addressed, the issue should be referred to the Cumbria Safeguarding Hub.
• Ideally, concerns should be put in writing, outlining the background and history, giving names, dates and places wherever possible.
• A member of staff is not expected to prove the truth of an allegation but will need to demonstrate sufficient grounds for the concern.
What happens next?
• The individual reporting the concerns will be given information on the nature and progress of any enquiries.
• The employer has a responsibility to protect individual members of staff from harassment or victimisation.
• No action will be taken against an individual if the concern proves to be unfounded and was raised in good faith.
• Malicious allegations may be considered as a disciplinary offence.
There may be occasions where a member of staff has a personal difficulty, perhaps a physical or mental health problem, which they know to be impinging on their professional competence. Staff have a responsibility to discuss such a situation with their line manager so professional and personal support can be offered. Whilst such reporting will remain confidential in most instances, this cannot be guaranteed where personal difficulties raise concerns about the welfare or safety of children.
Further advice and support:
It is recognised that whistleblowing can be difficult and stressful. Advice and support is available from senior managers, HR provider and/or your professional or trade union.
“Absolutely without fail – challenge poor practice or performance. If you ignore or collude with poor practice it makes it harder to sound the alarm when things go wrong” (reproduced with acknowledgement to “Sounding the Alarm” – Barnardos).
The school has Whistleblowing procedures, a copy of which can be found in the school office.
12.1 Staff Taking Medicines/Other Substances
Persons working with children must not be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may affect their ability to care for them. Medical advice will be sought if there are likely to be side effects which will impair the individual’s ability to work safely with children. Staff medicine on the premises will be securely stored, and kept out of reach of children, at all times.
12.2 Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions
We have, and implement, a Policy and procedures on Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions. This includes systems for obtaining information about a child’s medical needs and for keeping this information up-to-date. Training is provided for staff where the administration of medicine requires medical or technical knowledge. Medicines will not usually be administered unless they have been prescribed for a child by a GP, dentist, nurse or pharmacist (medicines containing aspirin will only be given if prescribed by a GP).
Medicine (both prescription and non-prescription) will only be administered to a child where written permission for that particular medicine has been obtained from the child’s parent. We keep a written record each time a medicine is administered to a child, and, in the case of general pain-relief, where prior consent has been obtained, inform the child’s parents on the same day, or as soon as reasonably practicable.
13. Alternative Provision
Where the school places a pupil with an alternative provision provider, we continue to be responsible for the safeguarding of that pupil and will seek to ensure that the provider meets the needs of the pupil. We will obtain written confirmation from the alternative provider that appropriate safeguarding checks have been carried out on individuals working at the establishment i.e. those checks that the school would otherwise perform in respect of its own staff.
14. Working with other Agencies
The School recognises and is committed to its responsibility to work with other professionals and agencies both to ensure children’s needs are met and to protect them from harm. We will endeavour to identify those children and families who may benefit from the intervention and support of external professionals and will seek to enable referrals (in discussion with parents) as appropriate. Information on the Early Help Assessment process is available via the Cumbria SCP website.
Schools are not the investigating agency when there are child protection concerns and thus, the school will pass all relevant cases to the statutory agencies, which we will support in undertaking their roles. Staff should understand that alongside this, the school may have a crucial role in supporting the child whilst investigations and assessments take place.
The School recognises the importance of multi-agency working and will ensure that staff are enabled to attend relevant safeguarding meetings, including Child Protection Conferences, Core Groups, Strategy Meetings, Child in Need meetings and Early Help/Team around the Family or Team around the Child meetings.
We will also work with local partners, families and communities in our efforts to ensure our school understands and embraces our local context and values in challenging extremist views and to assist in the broadening of our pupil’s experiences and horizons. We will help support pupils who may be vulnerable to such influences as part of our wider safeguarding responsibilities offering support and assistance from external agencies where required.
The School Leadership Team and DSL will work to establish strong and co-operative relationships with relevant professionals in other agencies.
15. Partnership with Parents
The school shares a purpose with parents to educate, keep children safe from harm and to have their welfare promoted. We are committed to working with parents positively, openly and honestly.
We ensure that all parents are treated with respect, dignity and courtesy. We respect parents’ rights to privacy and confidentiality and will not share sensitive information unless we have permission or it is necessary to do so to protect a child.
The school will, in most circumstances, endeavour to discuss all concerns about their children with parents. There may, however, be exceptional circumstances when the school will discuss concerns with Children’s Social Care and/or the Police without parental knowledge. The school will, of course, always aim to maintain a positive relationship with all parents. This Child Protection Policy and procedures is available on request.
16. Professional Confidentiality and Information Sharing
Safeguarding and child protection information is confidential and personal. Other than the agreed communication lines in school, it is for the DSL(s) to decide what information needs to be shared, with whom, how and when, and whether consent needs to be gained for this process. If in any doubt, the DSL can seek advice from Cumbria Safeguarding Hub (0333 240 1727). Further guidance on Information Sharing can be found in the DfE document Data protection: a toolkit for schools (Annex 10.1), the DfE document ‘Information Sharing – Guidance for Safeguarding Practitioners’ July 2018 and the ‘Flowchart of When and How to Share Information’ from the same document held at Appendix E.
Neither the Data Protection Act 2018 nor GDPR prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Information which is sensitive and personal will be treated as ‘special category personal data’ for the purposes of compliance with GDPR. Legal and secure information sharing between schools, Children’s Social Care and other local agencies is essential for keeping children safe and ensuring they get the support they need. Information can be shared without consent if to gain consent would place a child at risk. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of promoting the welfare and protecting the safety of children. As with all data sharing, appropriate organisational and technical safeguards will be in place.
If a member of staff needs to seek advice about a safeguarding situation for a child independently for the purposes of keeping a child safe (specifically with the Children’s Services Safeguarding Team), it is appropriate for the detail to be discussed, although the staff member may choose to maintain the anonymity of the child whilst initial consultation takes place.
All staff are made aware that they cannot keep ‘secrets’ and absolute confidentiality with children, and that if a child discloses abuse or gives information that suggests they may be at risk, this MUST be passed on to the DSL as soon as possible. The child should be told who their disclosure will be shared with and what will happen next.
17. Curriculum and Staying Safe
Schools play an essential role in helping children to understand and identify the parameters of what is appropriate child and adult behaviour; what is ‘safe’; what constitutes a healthy relationship both online and offline; to recognise when they and others close to them are not safe; and how to seek advice and support when they are concerned.
The School will use the curriculum to provide opportunities for increasing self-awareness, self-esteem, social and emotional understanding, assertiveness and decision making so that pupils have a range of contacts and strategies to ensure their own protection and understand the importance of protecting others. Systems have been established to support the empowerment of children to talk to a range of staff when they are in difficulty and to raise comments, complaints and feedback about their school experience and any other external issues which affect their wellbeing. Children will be listened to, heard and their concerns will be taken seriously and acted upon as appropriate. Records will be kept of reported incidents in line with guidance.
We encourage the safe use of external agencies or speakers to enrich the experiences of our pupils. We will, however, positively vet those external agencies, individuals or speakers who are invited by the school staff or by the pupils themselves to ensure that we do not unwittingly use people or organisations that contradict each other with their messages or that are inconsistent with, or are in complete opposition to, the school’s values and ethos.
Our school will assess the suitability and effectiveness of input from people or organisations to ensure that:
• any messages communicated to pupils support fundamental British Values;
• any messages communicated to pupils are consistent with the ethos of the school and do not marginalise any communities, groups or individuals;
• any messages communicated to pupils do not seek to glorify criminal activity or violent extremism or seek to radicalise pupils through extreme or narrow views of faith, religion or culture or other ideologies;
• activities are properly embedded in the curriculum and clearly mapped to schemes of work to avoid contradictory messages or duplication;
• activities are matched to the needs of pupils.
We recognise, however, that the ethos of our school is to encourage pupils to understand opposing views and ideologies, appropriate to their age, understanding and abilities, and to be able to actively engage with them in informed debate, and we may use external agencies or speakers to facilitate and support this.
18. Supervision and Support
Any member of staff affected by issues arising from concerns for a child’s welfare or safety can seek support from the DSL or deputy DSL.
All newly qualified teachers and classroom assistants have a mentor or co-ordinator with whom they can discuss concerns including the area of child protection, however, all concerns MUST be reported to the DSL without delay.
The DSL can put staff and parents in touch with outside agencies for professional support if they so wish.
We will put appropriate arrangements in place for the supervision of staff who have contact with children and families. Effective supervision provides support, coaching and training for the staff member/volunteer and promotes the interests of children. Our Supervision arrangements foster a culture of mutual support, teamwork and continuous improvement which encourages the confidential discussion of sensitive issues.
The key functions of supervision are:
• Ensure that performance and practice, including safeguarding, is competent, accountable and soundly based in research and practice knowledge.
• Ensure that safeguarding children practice is consistent with the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership procedures and organisational procedures.
• Ensure that practitioners fully understand their roles, and responsibilities and the scope of their professional discretion and authority.
• To provide reflective space to analyse ongoing work and specific incidents, to assess risk and need and to provide an important check and balance on decision making and planning.
• Ensure that professional development needs, including safeguarding practice are considered and supported.
• To provide reflective space for the supervisee to discuss and work through the personal impact of their role and responsibilities. This should include support to address the emotional impact of the work where required.
Good supervision involves a balance between all three elements, not always within one session, but certainly over the entire supervision process.
19. Safe Working Practice
Staff and other adults are required to work within clear Guidelines on Safe Working Practice, this Child Protection Policy and procedures, the Staff Behaviour Policy/Staff Code of Conduct and the school’s ICT Staff Acceptable Use Agreement. The latter includes amongst other things, staff/pupil relationships and communications, including the use of social media.
A child may make an allegation against a member of staff or other adult in situations where they feel vulnerable or where they perceive there to be a possible risk to their welfare. As such, all school staff and other adults must take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position regarding child protection or potential allegations. For example, it is always advisable for interviews or work with individual children or parents to be conducted in view of other adults.
It is not realistic to suggest that staff should never touch pupils and they, and other staff in schools, have the right to use reasonable force to control or restrain pupils in certain circumstances. Although there are circumstances when it is appropriate for staff in schools to use reasonable force, physical intervention will only be used when the child is endangering him/herself or others and such events will be recorded and signed by a witness. Staff and other adults in the school are aware of the Whole School Behaviour Policy, and any physical interventions must be in line with that agreed policy and procedure in which appropriate training will be provided. Full advice and guidance can be found in the DfE Use of Reasonable Force, July 2013 and the School Code of Conduct for staff and other adults.
20. Online Safety, Use of Mobile Phones and Cameras
It is recognised that the use of new technologies presents challenges and risks to children both inside and outside of school 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. An effective approach to online safety empowers a school to protect and educate the whole school community in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene and escalate any incident where appropriate. The School will ensure a comprehensive curriculum response to enable all pupils to learn about and manage the associated risks effectively and will support parents and the school community (including all members of staff) to become aware and alert to the needs of keeping children safe online. Detailed information can be found in the school’s Online Safety Policy which can be found in the office.
Children and young people can be exploited and suffer bullying through their use of modern technology such as the internet, mobile phones and social networking sites. To minimise the risks to our children we will ensure that we have appropriate and reasonable security filters and monitoring systems in place. These filters and systems will, in part, be informed by the risk assessment required by the ‘Prevent Duty’.
Where it is suspected that a child is at risk from internet abuse, exploitation or cyber bullying we will report our concerns to the appropriate agency.
Staff are particularly aware of the professional risks associated with the use of electronic communication (email; mobile phones; texting; social network sites) and must familiarise themselves with advice and professional expectations outlined in the school Code of Conduct for staff and other adults/Guidance for Safer Working Practice for those working with Children and Young People in Education Settings – May 2019 and the school’s Online Safety Acceptable Use Agreement.
When using digital images, staff will inform and educate pupils about the risks associated with the taking, use, sharing, publication and distribution of images. Pupils will be taught to recognise the risks attached to publishing their own images on the internet e.g. on social networking sites. Staff are permitted to take digital/video images to support educational aims but must follow the school Policy and procedures in relation to the production, sharing, distribution and publication of those images.
In relation to pupils and their use of mobile technology on the school site, reference should be made to the school Policy on Online Safety which is available on request.
The school has a Complaints Procedure available to parents, pupils and staff who wish to report concerns. This is published on the school website.
All reported complaints/concerns will be taken seriously and considered within the relevant and appropriate process. Anything that constitutes an allegation against a member of staff or volunteer will be dealt with under the specific Procedures for Managing Allegations against Staff or Volunteers- see Section 9.
22. Safer Recruitment, Selection and Pre-employment Vetting
The School aims to create a culture of safe recruitment and, as part of that, adopt recruitment procedures that help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse or be a risk to the safety or welfare of children. The Governing body / proprietor will act reasonably in making decisions about the suitability of prospective employees and volunteers based on checks and evidence including: criminal record checks (DBS checks), barred list checks, Childcare Disqualification declaration (where relevant) and, in the case of teaching staff, prohibition checks together with references and interview information.
The Governing Body/Proprietor and School Leadership Team are responsible for ensuring that the school follows safe recruitment processes outlined within the DfE document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’, September 2019 and in the school Safer Recruitment, Selection and Pre-Employment Vetting Policy and procedures, including accurate maintenance of the Single Central Record; and an application, vetting and recruitment process which places safeguarding at its centre, regardless of employee or voluntary role.
In line with the DfE statutory guidance the Governing Body/Proprietor will prevent people who pose a risk of harm from working with children by adhering to statutory responsibilities to check staff who work with children, taking proportionate decisions on whether to ask for any checks beyond what is required; and ensuring volunteers are appropriately supervised unless they are working in ‘regulated activity’. The School has a written Recruitment and Selection Policy and procedures in place. In line with the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 the Governing Body will ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel has undertaken safer recruitment training and that the training is updated as necessary.
22.1 Childcare Act 2006/Childcare (Disqualification) and Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendments) Regulations 2018
The above legislation applies mainly to primary schools and those settings with early years pupils. However, as a basic principle, Governors and senior leaders recognise that we must endeavour to ensure that we create a culture and environment where staff feel comfortable, where it is appropriate, to discuss matters outside of work, which may have implications for the safeguarding of children in the workplace.
The Governors and senior leaders would expect staff to discuss with them any situation where their relationships and associations both within and outside of the workplace (including online) may have implications for the safeguarding of children in school.
These discussions can assist Governors and senior leaders in safeguarding their employees’ welfare and contribute to their duty of care towards their staff. Where appropriate, it will help managers identify whether arrangements are needed to support these staff. These discussions can also help with the management of children’s safety, providing information that will help them consider whether there are measures that need to be put in place to safeguard children (e.g. by putting arrangements in place to stop or restrict a person known to or living with a member of staff coming into school where a potential risk to children has been identified).
The legislation places separate and additional requirements on schools. At the point that an individual is convicted of, or cautioned for, a criminal offence of a specified type or category, or where they meet other disqualification criteria set out in the Regulations, the Act and Regulations disqualify staff from:
• providing early years childcare or later years childcare to children who have not attained the age of eight; or
• being directly concerned in the management of that childcare.
To ensure that those working in our School are not disqualified from working with the relevant pupils, the Governing Body require that, prior to appointment, an individual completes a self-declaration form.
Further information can be found in the school Safer Recruitment, Selection and Pre-Employment Vetting Policy and procedures.
23. Referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
The role of the DBS is to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.
Schools have a legal duty to refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed, or poses a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult; where the harm test is satisfied in respect of that individual; where the individual has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence, or if there is reason to believe that individual has committed a listed relevant offence; and that individual has been removed from working (paid or unpaid) in regulated activity, or would have been removed had they not left. How to refer to the DBS.
The legal duty to refer applies equally in circumstances where an individual is deployed to another area of work that is not regulated activity, or they are suspended if they meet the ‘harm’ criteria.
The advice of the DO can also be sought if there is uncertainty as to whether a referral should be made or for example there are concerns about the staff member’s conduct outside work which may raise concerns about their suitability to work with children. Further guidance can be found on the Cumbria SCP website How to refer a child or Allegations against staff/DO.
24. Referral to Ofsted / Local Child Protection Agency
Our Early Years Provision is not registered with Ofsted separately from the school so is not on the Early Years Register and therefore there is no legal requirement for us to notify Ofsted of any serious accidents, injuries or deaths which occur in relation to the childcare we provide.
However, in line with the Statutory Framework for EYFS we will notify or our local Child Protection Agency of any serious accidents, injuries or deaths which occur in relation to the childcare we provide to EYFS children.
25. The use of School Premises by other Organisations
Where services or activities are provided separately by another body using the school premises, the Head teacher and Governing Body will seek assurance that the organisation concerned has appropriate Policies and procedures in place with regard to safeguarding children and child protection and that other organisations/bodies have ensured that relevant safeguarding checks have been made in respect of staff and volunteers.
The Governors/Head teacher will take appropriate action to ensure that the school is not hired out or otherwise let to external agencies that use the premises to deliver messages of, or support for, extremism or radicalisation.
If assurance is not achieved, an application to use premises may be refused. See School Lettings Arrangements for further information.
26. Safety and Suitability of Premises, Environment and Equipment
We will ensure that our premises, including overall floor space and outdoor spaces, are fit for purpose and suitable for the age of children cared for and the activities provided on the premises. Spaces, furniture, equipment and toys, must be safe for children to use and premises must be secure. We will keep premises and equipment clean, and be aware of, and comply with, requirements of health and safety legislation (including fire safety and hygiene requirements). We have, and implement, a Health and Safety Policy, and procedures, which include identifying, reporting and dealing with accidents, hazards and faulty equipment.
We will take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of children, staff and others on the premises in the case of fire or any other emergency and have emergency evacuation and lockdown procedures. We must have appropriate fire detection and control equipment (for example, fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers) which is in working order. Fire exits are clearly identifiable, and fire doors are kept free of obstruction and are easily opened from the inside.
We operate a strict no smoking policy – we will not allow smoking in or on the premises when children are present or about to be present – this includes the use of electronic cigarettes (E-Cigarettes).
All reasonable steps are taken to ensure staff, children in our care and others affected by what we do are not exposed to risks and are able to demonstrate how we are managing risks. Risk Assessments inform staff practice and demonstrate how we are managing risks. Risk assessments identify aspects of the environment that need to be checked on a regular basis, when and by whom those aspects will be checked, and how the risk will be removed or minimised.
Children will be kept safe while on outings, and we obtain written parental permission for children to take part in outings. We assess the risks or hazards which may arise for the children, and identify the steps to be taken to remove, minimise and manage those risks and hazards. The assessment includes consideration of adult to child ratios. We consider what additional measures are necessary when children stay overnight. Vehicles in which children are being transported, and the driver of those vehicles, are adequately insured. Refer to the school Educational Visits Procedures for further details.
All staff have a responsibility for maintaining awareness of buildings and grounds security and for reporting concerns that may come to light. We operate within a whole school community ethos and welcome comments from pupils, parents and others about areas that may need improvement as well as what we are doing well.
We will only release children into the care of individuals who have been notified to us by the parent and will ensure that children do not leave the premises unsupervised. We will take all reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised persons entering the premises and have an agreed procedure for checking the identity of visitors. Visitors are expected to sign in and out via the office visitor’s log and to display a visitor badge whilst on school site. Any individual who is not known or identifiable should be challenged for clarification and reassurance.
The school will not accept the behaviour of any individual (parent or other) that threatens school security or leads others (child or adult) to feel unsafe. Such behaviour will be treated as a serious concern and may result in a decision to refuse access for that individual to the school site. Please refer to the DfES (now DfE) document ‘A Legal Toolkit for Schools’ and DfE non-statutory guidance ‘Controlling access to school premises’ (November 2018).
All staff will follow the procedures set out by Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership (SCP) – Cumbria’s Multi-agency Thresholds Guidance and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education to promote the well-being and safeguarding of our pupils. These procedures and guidance have been revised to take account of the publication “Working Together to Safeguard Children” July 2018.
28. Monitoring and Review
Safeguarding including child protection is to be a regular agenda item at full Governors meetings; Sub-Committee Meetings and staff meetings giving the Designated Safeguarding Lead the opportunity to update on staff/governor training and any other relevant issues or changes.
REFERENCED STATUTORY AND NON-STATUTORY GUIDANCE
The following statutory and non-statutory guidance was referenced in formulating this Child Protection Policy and procedures:
• DfE Working Together to Safeguard Children, July 2018
• DfE Keeping Children Safe in Education, September 2019
• DfE What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused – Advice for Practitioners, March 2015
• DfE Statutory Framework for Early Years Foundation Stage – April 2017
• DfE Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment between Children in Schools & Colleges, May 2018
• DfE Ensuring Good Behaviour in Schools, 2012
• DfE Behaviour and Discipline in Schools – Guidance for Governing Bodies, July 2013
• DfE Behaviour and Discipline in Schools – Advice for Head teachers and School Staff, January 2016
• DfE Use of Reasonable Force – Advice for Head teachers, Staff and Governing Bodies, July 2013
• DfE The Prevent Duty – Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers, June 2015
• DfE Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools – Departmental advice for maintained schools, November 2014
• DfE Counselling in Schools: a Blueprint for the Future, February 2016
• DfE Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools, November 2018
• DfE Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions, December 2015
• DfE Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 – Statutory guidance for local authorities, maintained schools, academies and free schools, 2018
• Home Office ‘Preventing youth violence and gang involvement’ March 2015
• Home Office ‘Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines’ September 2018
• HM Government Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers, July 2018
• HM Government Revised Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales – Guidance for specified authorities in England and Wales on the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism, July 2015
• HM Government Multi agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation, October 2018
• Guidance for Safer Working Practice for those working with Children and Young People in Education Settings / Code of Conduct for Staff – May 2019
• Ofsted’s Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings, September 2019
• Ofsted’s Safeguarding in Schools: Best Practice 2011
• Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSCP) www.cumbriasafeguardingchildren.co.uk
• Cumbria Multi-agency Thresholds Guidance – September 2016
• Cumbria SCP Practice Guidance – Fabricated and Induced Illness
• Cumbria SCP Practice Guidance – Children Missing from Care, Home or Education
• Cumbria SCP Practice Guidance – Child with a Disability or Complex Health Needs
• Cumbria SCP Core Procedures – Allegations against Staff or Volunteers
• Cumbria SCP Core Procedures – Trafficked Children
• Cumbria SCP Core Procedures – Domestic Violence and Abuse
• UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) – Sexting in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people – August 2016
• National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline – Child abuse and neglect – October 2017