Alt Bridge School Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy September 2017 (Version1)
This policy provides guidance to all adults working within the school whether paid or voluntary or directly employed by the school or by a third party.
- Child Protection Statement:
‘Our school is committed to safeguarding children and promoting children’s welfare and expects all staff, governors, volunteers and visitors to share this commitment and maintain a vigilant and safe environment. Everyone has a responsibility to act without delay to protect children by reporting anything that might suggest a child is being abused or neglected. It is our willingness to work safely and challenge inappropriate behaviours that underpins this commitment. The school seeks to work in partnership with families and other agencies to improve the outcomes for children who are vulnerable or in need.’
‘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. In order 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.’ (DFE 2016)
A child includes anyone under the age of 18.
Child protection: ‘Where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action should be taken to protect that child.’
Safeguarding Children: ‘Action should also be taken to promote the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or are at immediate risk.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.’
Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2016)
- Policy Aims:
- To ensure responsibilities and procedures are fully understood and that everyone can recognise signs and indicators of abuse or neglect and respond to them appropriately
- To ensure that the school’s practice meets local and national guidance
- Key Principles:
- The child’s needs and welfare are paramount. All children have a right to be protected from abuse and neglect and have their welfare safeguarded.
- Children should be listened to and their views and wishes should inform any assessment and provision for them. Staff should always act in the interests of the child in order to protect them.
- The school recognises that scrutiny, challenge and supervision are key to safeguarding children.
- The school is committed to working with other agencies to provide early help for children before they become at risk of harm or require a ‘child in need’ statutory assessment. ‘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. ‘ (DfE 2015)
- ‘All staff should be aware of the early help process, and understand their role in it. This includes identifying emerging problems, liaising with the designated safeguarding lead, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment and, in some cases, acting as the lead professional in undertaking an early help assessment.’ (DFE 2016)
- ‘All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to children’s social care and for statutory assessments under the Children Act 19895 that may follow a referral, along with the role they might be expected to play in such assessments.´ (DFE 2016)
- All staff have equal responsibility to report their concerns about a child or the behaviour of any adult without delay to the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Whilst the Designated Safeguarding Lead will normally make referrals to Children’s Services, any staff member can refer their concerns to children’s social care directly in emergencies or if they feel they need to do so. (Knowsley Mash on 0151 443 2600)
- Everyone has responsibility to escalate their concerns and ‘press for reconsideration’ if they believe a child’s needs remain unmet or if the child is failing to thrive and in need or if the child is at risk of harm. ‘Concerns about a child should always lead to help for a child at some point.’
- The school understands its responsibility to request a statutory assessment lead by a social worker for any child in need, as defined under the Children Act 1989, who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health and development will be significantly impaired, without the provision of services.
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2016) reminds us that all staff should maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” where safeguarding is concerned.
- The school will work in partnership with other agencies to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm, including the need to share information about a child in order to safeguard them. ‘Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.’ Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2015)
- The school will work with other agencies to ensure any actions that are part of a multi-agency coordinated plan are completed in a timely way.
- The school will follow the Local Authority and Knowsley Children’s Safeguarding Board’s procedures and provide them with information as required. (http://www.knowsleyscb.org.uk)
- Staff, children and families will need support following child protection processes being followed.
- Children have a right to learn ways to keep themselves safe from harm and exploitation.
- Legislation and Guidance:
Schools and colleges must have regard for the DfE statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2016). This child protection policy should be read alongside this statutory guidance and all staff must read and understand at least part 1 of this guidance.
Local authorities have a duty to make enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare. There may be a need for immediate protection whilst the assessment is carried out.
A ‘child in need’ is defined under the Children Act 1989 as a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health and development will be significantly impaired, without the provision of services; or a child who is disabled. A social worker will lead and co-ordinate any assessment under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities (in relation to their education functions, and governing bodies of maintained schools and further education institutions, which include sixth-form colleges) to exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are pupils at a school, or who are students under 18 years of age attending further education institutions. The same duty applies to independent schools (which include Academies and free schools) by virtue of regulations made under section 157 of the same Act.)
Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2016) provides additional guidance and clearly states:
‘Protecting children from harm and promoting their welfare depends upon a shared responsibility and effective joint working between different agencies’
In addition, Working Together also reinforces the need to take action to provide Early Help before child protection is required:
‘Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early Help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.’ DFE 2016
The school therefore understands its responsibility to engage with other professionals in Early Help Assessments when a child’s needs according to the Knowsley Children’s Safeguarding Board Responding to Need and Level of Needs framework sit below the requirement for a statutory assessment.
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty upon local authorities and educational providers to ‘have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. The DfE has provided statutory guidance for schools and child care providers: ‘The Prevent Duty’ (June 2015). The guidance summarises the requirements on schools and child care providers in terms of four general themes: risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training and IT policies. Our school will ensure that staff are aware of the indicators of extremism and radicalisation and no how to respond in keeping with Local and national guidance. Staff will use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include making a referral to the Channel programme. Equally children will be made aware of the risks and support available to them. We will ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in schools. The Government has developed an ‘educate against hate’ website providing information and resources for schools and parents to support them to recognise and address extremism and radicalisation in young people.
‘Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) places a statutory duty upon teachers along with regulated health and social care professionals in England and Wales, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions. It will be rare for teachers to see visual evidence, and they should not be examining pupils, but the same definition of what is meant by “to discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out” is used for all professionals to whom this mandatory reporting duty applies. Information on when and how to make a report can be found at-
‘Mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation procedural information’
Teachers must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out. Unless the teacher has a good reason not to, they should also still consider and discuss any such case with the school or college’s designated safeguarding lead and involve children’s social care as appropriate. The duty does not apply in relation to at risk or suspected cases (i.e. where the teacher does not discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out, either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) or in cases where the woman is 18 or over. In these cases, teachers should follow local safeguarding procedures.’ DFE 2016
The school will also consult the government guidance Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation (revised 2016). In addition, the school recognises the important role schools has in safeguarding children from Forced Marriage. (The Forced Marriage Unit has published Multi-agency guidelines, with pages 32-36 focusing on the role of schools and colleges. School and college staff can contact the Forced Marriage Unit if they need advice or information. Contact: 020 7008 0151 or email: email@example.com., DFE 2016)
Early years providers have a duty under section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006 to comply with the welfare requirements of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The Teaching Standards (DfE 2013) also requires all teachers to ‘uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, including:
- treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position
- having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions
- showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others’
In addition, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it clear that all members of staff are in a position of trust and would therefore be committing a criminal offence to have a sexual relationship with a young person below the age of 18, even if that pupil is over the age of consent. In addition it would be a breach of trust to have a relationship with any school student over the age of 18.
The school will also take account of additional DFE guidance including:
Criminal Exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: County lines Guidance (DFE,2017)
Working Together to Safeguard Children (DFE, 2015)
What to do if you are worried a child is being abused 2015- Advice for practitioners DFE 2015
The Prevent Duty – Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers DFE 2015
How social media is used to encourage travel to Syria and Iraq (DFE Briefing note for schools)
Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006
The Ofsted School Inspection Handbook and Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills
Other DFE statutory guidance including: attendance and children who go missing from home or care which is found here https://www.gov.uk/topic/schools-colleges-childrens-services/safeguarding-children
- Communicating with parents and visitors:
The following statement is provided to parents so they are aware of the school’s responsibilities:
‘The school ensures children learn in a safe, caring and enriching environment. Children are taught how to keep themselves safe, to develop positive and healthy relationships, how to avoid situations where they might be at risk including by being exploited.
The school also has a statutory responsibility to share any concerns it might have about a child in need of protection with other agencies and in particular police, health and children’s services. Schools are not able to investigate child protection concerns but have a legal duty to refer them. In most instances the school will be able to inform the parents/carer of its need to make a referral. However, sometimes the school is advised by children’s services or police that the parent/carer cannot be informed whilst they investigate the matter. We understand the anxiety parents/carers understandably feel when they are not told about any concerns from the outset. The school follows legislation that aims to act in the interests of the child.
The school will always seek to work in partnership with parents and other agencies to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child and family’
The following notice is made available to all visitors in reception. In addition all visitors are provided with additional safeguarding guidance.
‘Our school is committed to safeguarding children and promoting children’s welfare and expects all staff, governors, volunteers and visitors to share this commitment and maintain a vigilant and safe environment. Everyone has a responsibility to act without delay to protect children by reporting anything that might suggest a child is being abused or neglected. We would expect you to also report to the headteacher or Designated Safeguarding Lead any behaviours of any adults working in the school that may concern you. By signing our visitors book you are agreeing to follow the school’s safeguarding advice to visitors and where appropriate the code of conduct for staff and volunteers.’
The names and photographs of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and those who deputise for them are displayed in reception and the staffroom.
In addition to this child protection policy the school has procedures or policies in relation to other areas for safeguarding children including as examples:
- administering medicines
- anti-bulling including cyber bullying
- alternative and off-site provision
- behaviour for learning
- code of conduct for staff, governors and volunteers (guidance on safer working practices)
- Children in Care (Looked After Children)
- Clubs, trips, educational visits and extended school activities
- data protection
- drug and substance misuse
- disability objectives and access plan
- equal opportunities
- emergency planning
- fire drills
- first aid
- intimate care
- internet (e-safety)
- risk assessments
- safe recruitment practices
- managing allegations against staff
- school and site security
- safeguarding advice for visitors
- special educational needs and disabilities
- taking and using photographs
- Roles and responsibilities:
The Head Teacher is: Mr B.Kerwin
The Chair of Governors is: Mrs S. Gannon
The Designated Safeguarding Lead for Child Protection is: Mr S. Farrimond
Those trained to provide cover for the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead are: Mr B. Kerwin
The nominated Safeguarding / Child Protection Governor is: Mrs. B. Smith
The nominated governor for dealing with allegations against the Head Teacher is: Mrs S. Gannon
The Governing body should ensure that:
- The school meets the statutory responsibilities set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2016) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2015).
- The school has a strategy for providing early help together with other agencies and supporting children and families by carrying out early help assessments.
- The Child Protection Policy is reviewed annually and available to parents, normally via the school’s website.
- All adults working within the school are aware of the school’s code of conduct and this guidance is in keeping with the Guidance for Safer Working Practices for Adults Working with Children (Safer Recruitment Consortium, 2016)
- The school’s practice is reviewed in line with Local Authority guidance, Knowsley Children’s Safeguarding Board priorities and any actions identified in the Local Authority 175 Audit are completed.
- There is a named Designated Safeguarding Lead who is a member of the school leadership team. There are colleagues trained to provide cover for the role.
- The school has procedures in keeping with the KSCB for dealing with any allegations made against any adult working within the school.
- There is a nominated governor, usually the chair, who is the case manager for managing any allegations against the Head Teacher.
- There is an additional nominated governor to liaise with the Designated Safeguarding Lead and champion child protection/safeguarding on behalf of the safeguarding body.
- The school follows safer recruitment procedures, including the statutory pre-employment checks on all staff working with young people. The Chair of Governors and safeguarding governor together with the headteacher review the school’s single central record.
- The school itself is a safe environment where the views of children and families are listened to and where children are taught about safeguarding and how to keep themselves safe, including on the internet or when using new technology. Any complaints about services lead to improvements in practice.
- The school will ensure there are appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place in respect of internet use.
- It scrutinises the impact of the school’s training strategy so that all staff, including temporary staff and volunteers, are aware of the school’s child protection procedures. All staff must have child protection training which is regularly updated.
- There is effective analysis of safeguarding data including bullying, attendance, exclusions, behaviour logs, pupils taken off roll, views and the progress and participation of vulnerable students.
- All safeguarding practices are quality assured by the leadership team, including the auditing of safeguarding records and the supervision of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and other members of the safeguarding team.
- The Governing body will appoint an appropriately trained designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of children who are looked after.
Governing bodies are accountable for ensuring the school has effective policies and procedures in place in line with local and national guidance, and for monitoring the school’s compliance with them. Neither the Governing Body nor individual governors have a role in dealing with individual child protection cases or the right to know the detail of cases (except when exercising their disciplinary functions in respect of allegations against a member of staff or investigating a complaint brought to their attention).
The Head Teacher will ensure that:
- The Single Central Record is maintained and up-to-date and the safer recruitment practices set out in Keeping Children Safe 2016 are followed, including pre-employment checks. At least one member of every recruitment panel has attended safer recruitment training.
- Job descriptions and person specifications for all roles make specific reference to child protection and safeguarding.
- There is a listening culture within the school where both staff and children are able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practices.
- Referrals are made to the Disclosure and Barring Service and / or the National College of School Leadership as appropriate.
- They liaise with the Local Authority Designated Officer where an allegation is made against a member of staff.
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead has a job description in keeping with the requirements of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 and that sufficient time, training and support are allocated to this role, including the appointment of colleagues able to deputise for the Designated Safeguarding Lead who have undertaken the same training.
- The curriculum provides opportunities to help students stay safe especially when on-line. Children should be aware of the support available to them.
- They quality assure the school’s child protection practices including the auditing of safeguarding records and the supervision of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and other members of the safeguarding team to ensure that actions and decisions are reviewed appropriately.
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Keeping Children Safe in Education DfE 2016 sets out the broad areas of responsibility for the Designated Safeguarding Lead:
The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:
- Refer cases of suspected abuse to the local authority children’s social care as required;
- Support staff who make referrals to local authority children’s social care;
- Refer cases to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern as required;
- Support staff who make referrals to the Channel programme;
- Refer cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child to the Disclosure and Barring Service as required; and
- Refer cases where a crime may have been committed to the Police as required.
Work with others
- Liaise with the headteacher or principal to inform him or her of issues especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations;
- As required, liaise with the “case manager” (as per Part four) and the designated officer(s) at the local authority for child protection concerns (all cases which concern a staff member); and
- Liaise with staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies. Act as a source of support, advice and expertise for staff.
The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years.
The designated safeguarding lead should undertake Prevent awareness training.
In addition to the formal training set out above, their knowledge and skills should be refreshed (this might be via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding leads, or simply taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, as required, but at least annually, to allow them to understand and keep up with any developments relevant to their role so they:
- 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;
- Have a working knowledge of how local authorities 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 or college’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff;
- Are alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers;80
- Are able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals;
- Understand and support the school or college with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation;
- Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses; and
- Encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school or college may put in place to protect them.
- The designated safeguarding lead should ensure the school or college’s child protection policies are known, understood and used appropriately;
- Ensure the school or college’s child protection policy is reviewed annually (as a minimum) and the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly, and work with governing bodies or proprietors regarding this;
- Ensure the child protection policy is available publicly and parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school or college in this; and
- Link with the local KSCB to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local policies on safeguarding.
Child protection file
- Where children leave the school or college ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible. This should be transferred separately from the main pupil file, ensuring secure transit and confirmation of receipt should be obtained.
- During term time the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns. Whilst generally speaking the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) would be expected to be available in person, it is a matter for individual schools and colleges, working with the designated safeguarding lead, to define what “available” means and whether in exceptional circumstances availability via phone and or Skype or other such mediums is acceptable.’
According to Local Guidance it is expected that the Head Teacher will be the case manager for any allegations against staff and make referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service or National College of School Leadership.
In addition to the role outlined in Keeping Children Safe the Designated Safeguarding Lead is also expected to ensure that:
- Children’s Services is notified if a child subject to a Child Protection Plan is absent for more than two days without explanation and the social worker is informed when a child subject to a Child Protection Plan or a Child in Need Plan moves to a new setting.
- A training log is kept of all child protection training include the names of those attending. All staff must have regular training.
- Child protection records are kept securely and separately from the child’s normal file
- The school attends and contributes to Child Protection Case Conferences and Child in Need Meetings, ensuring actions are completed in a timely manner.
- The school escalates its concerns with other agencies when a child’s needs are not being met.
- All staff read and understand part 1 of the DfE (2016) guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education and have available to them other key documents and guidance.
All staff and volunteers should:
- Contribute to ensuring students learn in a safe environment.
- Read and understand as a minimum part 1 of the DFE (2016) guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education and engage in training which enables them to identify children who may need additional help or who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and take appropriate action. Staff should have an understanding of the specific safeguarding issues outlined in part 1 of the DFE (2016) guidance Keeping Children Safe e.g. fabricated or induced illnesses, faith abuse. Be aware that behaviours linked to the likes of drug taking, alcohol abuse, truanting and sexting put children in danger.
- Report any concerns about a child’s welfare without delay to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or any of the safeguarding team. Report any concerns without delay about the behaviour of an adult towards a child to the Head Teacher, Designated Safeguarding Lead, Chair of Governors or Local Authority Designated Officer for Allegations against Staff (via Knowsley Mash 0151 443 2600). Understand their responsibility to escalate their concerns and ‘press for reconsideration’ if a child remains at risk or their needs are not met. This includes the understanding that any member of staff can make a referral to Children’s Services if required to. Teachers must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out.
- Follow the school’s policies including this child protection policy and the school’s code of conduct for adults and the Guidance for Safer Working Practices for Adults Working with Children (2015)
- Understand their responsibility to escalate their concerns and ‘press for reconsideration’ if a child remains at risk or their needs are not met. This includes the understanding that any member of staff can make a referral to Children’s Services if required to. (Knowsley MASH on 0151 443 2600).
- Be aware safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting. Staff should recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. Staff must challenge any form of derogatory and sexualised language or behaviour. Staff should be vigilant to sexualised/aggressive touching/grabbing particularly towards girls. Behaviours by children should never be passed off as ‘banter’ or ‘part of growing up’. The DFE states ‘peer on peer abuse should be taken as seriously as abuse by adults and should be subject to the same child protection procedures. Professionals should not dismiss abusive behaviour as normal between young people and should not develop high thresholds before taking action.’ Concerns should be referred to senior staff who may need to consult with the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Victims of peer on peer harm should be supported by the school’s pastoral system and referred to specialist agencies including, as examples, ‘CAMHs’, ‘Brook’ and ‘Barnardos’. A risk assessment may need to be in place. The school curriculum will support young people to become more resilient to inappropriate behaviours towards them, risk taking behaviours and behaviours that children may be coerced into including ‘sexting’ or ‘initiation/hazing’ behaviours.
- Understand that some children, including those with Special Educational Needs or Looked After, may be more vulnerable to abuse. ‘Children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. 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- without outwardly showing any signs; and
- communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.’ (DFE 2016)
The DFE has provided additional practice guidance ‘Safeguarding Disabled Children’ DFE 2009.
- Have access to the school’s managing allegations against adults procedures and whistle blowing policy.
- (The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. Staff can call: 0800 028 0285 – line is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Have access to ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused 2015- Advice for practitioners DFE 2015’
- Procedures for reporting Child Protection or Child Welfare Concerns:
- All concerns should be reported without delay directly to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Designated Safeguarding Deputies, Head Teacher or any member of the School Leadership Team. This should be followed by a written account of the concerns completed on the school’s Child Protection/Child Welfare Incident Form.
- Consideration will need to be given to immediately protecting the child and contacting the police or other emergency services.
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead will follow the KSCB and Local Authority Procedures by making a referral to Children’s Services (Keeping Safe in Education reminds us that any adult can refer their concerns to Children’s Services directly). This should be followed up with a written referral to Children’s Services.
- Concerns about a child should always lead to help for a child. The school may need to escalate its concerns with Children’s Services to ensure a referral is accepted or work with other agencies to ensure an Early Help Assessment is completed.
School Improvement Liverpool School’s Safeguarding Handbook and Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (DFE 2016) provides key flowcharts and guidance to support staff and volunteers understanding and decision making. This will support staff to make a referral themselves should that become necessary.
Any staff member who has a concern about a child’s welfare should follow the referral processes set out in paragraphs 21-27 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (DFE, 2016). Staff may be required to support social workers and other agencies following any referral.
If a teacher in the course of their work in the profession, discovers that an act of Female Genital Mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18 the teacher must report this to the police. Keeping Children Safe in Education provides additional guidance.
- Additional Child Protection Guidance provided to all adults working with young people which will include:
- Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2016)
- The School’s Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers
- Guidance for Safer Working Practices for Adults Working with Children (Safer Recruitment Consortium 2015)
- A flowchart summarising the child protection procedures
- Definitions of abuse or neglect and possible indicators
- Identified groups of children more vulnerable to abuse
- Specific guidance related to Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage, Child Sexual Exploitation, Extremism and Radicalisation, Neglect and online-safety
- Dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers procedures
- Whistleblowing procedures
- ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused March 2015- Advice for practitioners DFE 2015’
- On-line safety, data protection and the use of digital photographic equipment
The school’s on-line/E-safety/ Acceptable User policy clearly outlines the way in which the school uses technology and the measures in place to ensure safe and responsible use by all. There is a clear code of conduct for staff and volunteers for using new technologies, mobile phones and personal photographical equipment around children. The school will consider, in particular, Looked After Children (Children in Care) who might be put at risk by being included in publicity materials or school photographs.
The DFE highlights the risks of new technologies:
‘The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Child sexual exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation- technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm. The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:
- content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material
- contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users
- conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm’
Staff should bring immediately to the attention of the Designated Safeguarding Lead and senior leadership team any behaviours by adults or children themselves that may be risky or harmful.
A child missing from an education setting is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect including exploitation. Local Authority guidance and procedures will be followed for dealing with a child who is missing from education, particularly on repeated occasions. Unauthorised attendance will be closely monitored. The attendance children with known welfare and attendance concerns will be monitored closely, particularly those with chronic poor attendance or persistent absentees. Schools should also scrutinise the attendance of off-site provision to ensure children are attending and are safe. Similarly the attendance of children who are vulnerable or with known welfare and safeguarding concerns such as children who have a Child Protection Plan, a Child In Need, are Children Looked After and/or SEN will be monitored on a daily and weekly basis. Social care will be informed immediately when there are unexplained absences or attendance concerns. It is important that the school’s attendance team, including the EWO, school nurse and Safer Schools Officer, are aware of any safeguarding concerns. It is critical that when a child is not attending school their welfare is confirmed and best practice would be for an appropriate professional to visit the home and speak to the child away from their parents/carers, particularly if there are any safeguarding concerns. It is essential that all staff are alert to signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns such as travelling to conflict zones, Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage.
- Private Fostering
Our school has a mandatory duty to report to the local authority if they believe a child is subject to a private fostering arrangement. (This does not include close family relatives eg grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or auntie.) A private fostering arrangement is made without the knowledge of the local authority for the care of a child under the age of 16 years (under 18 for children with disabilities) whereby the child is in the care of someone other than their parent or close relative. Further guidance is available in Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Complaints about safeguarding should follow the school’s complaints policy.
The school and Local Authority also have whistle blowing procedures.
The Local Authority Officer for dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers can be contacted through Knowsley Mash on 0151 443 2600.