The purpose of this document is to outline the responsibilities and procedure for dealing with concerns over child protection issues,to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in our care.
This policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school.
Through our child protection policy we aim to:
▪Promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm
▪Support children who give rise to any concern about their care and/or protection;
▪Raise awareness of child protection issues amongst adults working in the school;
▪Provide staff with a sensitive and rapid route to accessing help and support, through the implementation of clear procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse;
▪Supportpupils whohave been abused in accordance with their agreed child protection plan;
▪Establish a safe environment in which children canlearn and develop the skills needed to help keep them safe;
▪Work sensitively with parents/carers at all times.
We recognise that because of their day-to-day contact with children, school staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse. (Examples of types of child abuse and their symptoms are set out at Appendix 1.) The school will therefore:
▪Establish and maintain anenvironment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to;
▪Ensure children know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried;
▪Include opportunities in the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education)curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.
We will respond to the risk of abuse of pupils from any source. Where that abuse is from other children, the victim will need to be protected while the alleged abusers will also need investigation, support and management. Abusers may well have suffered abuse themselves but their abuse of others will need to stop and all victims be protected. School will refer all cases where there is risk of harm to children, even when the alleged abuser is another child.
We will follow the procedures detailed by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and the guidance issued by the Department for Education: “Working together to Safeguard Children” (2015) and “Keeping Children Safe in Education” (2015) to:
▪Ensure that all staff (including temporary and support staff and volunteers) are aware that child protection incidents could happen anywhere and are alert to possible concerns being raised in this school;
▪Ensure we have a Designated Lead with responsibility for Child Protection who has received appropriate training and support for this role – Amandeep Tamber;
▪Ensure we have a nominated governor responsible for child protection – Catherine Barlen;
▪Ensure every member of staff (including temporary and supply staff and volunteers)and governing bodyknows the name of the Designated Lead responsible for child protection and their role;
▪Ensure all staff and volunteersunderstand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the Designated Lead responsible for child protection;
▪Ensure all staff are also aware that they may raise concerns directly with Children’s Social care services;
▪Ensure that parents have an understanding of the responsibility placed on the school and staff for child protection by setting out its obligations in the parent handbook/prospectus;
▪Make parents aware of our policy through its publication on the school website;
▪Notify social services if there is an unexplained absence of one day of a pupil who is on the child protection register;
▪Develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters including attendance at case conferences;
▪Keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately;
▪Ensure all records are kept securely, separate from the main pupil file,and in locked locations;
▪Follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer;
▪Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed (Safer Recruitment policy).
Related School Policies
The following policies are related:
Health and Safety, including First Aid
RESPONDING TO DISCLOSURES OF ABUSE
All staff have a duty to recognise safeguarding concerns. Accordingly all concerns regarding the welfare of pupils will be recorded and discussed with the Designated Lead with responsibility for child protection, Amandeep Tamber, or in her absence Simon Prebble. If both the above are absent the most senior member of staff on site must be informed (see Appendix 2). Allegations of child abuse must always be given the highest priority and referred immediately.
Miss Tamber, in consultation with the Headteacher where necessary, will decide on an appropriate course of action. All staff may however raise concerns directly with Children’s Social Care services.
Staff must immediately report:
▪any suspicion that a child is injured, marked, or bruised in a way which is not really attributable to the normal knocks or scrapes received in play;
▪any explanation given which appears inconsistent or suspicious;
any behaviours which give rise to suspicions that a child may have suffered harm (e.g. worrying drawings or play);
any concerns that a child may be suffering from inadequate care, ill treatment, or emotional maltreatment;
any concerns that a child is presenting signs or symptoms of abuse or neglect;
any significant changes in a child’s presentation, including non-attendance;
any hint of disclosure of abuse from the child themselves, or another person;
▪concerns about pupil on pupil abuse (including serious bullying);
▪any concerns regarding person(s) who may pose a risk to children (e.g. living in a household with children present).
The Parent Support Adviser must refer patterns or trends in absence to the Designated Lead.
Supporting the child
If a child chooses to tell a member of staff about possible abuse, there are a number of things that should be done to support the child. Staff will, wherever possible, elicit enough information to pass on to the Designated Lead in order that she can make an informed decision about what to do next.
listen to and take seriously any disclosure or information that a child may be at risk of harm;
try to ensure that the person disclosing does not have to speak to another member of school staff;
clarify the information;
try to keep questions to a minimum and of an ‘open’ nature e.g. ‘Can you tell me what happened ?’ rather than ‘Did x hit you?’;
try not to show signs of shock, horror or surprise;
not express feelings or judgements regarding any person alleged to have harmed the child;
explain sensitively to the person that they have a responsibility to refer the information to the Designated Lead, Miss Tamber, or in her absence the Headteacher - If both are absent, Miss Bal or the most senior member of staff available must be informed;
reassure and support the person as far as possible;
explain that only those who ‘need to know’ will be told;
explain what will happen next and that the person will be involved as appropriate.
use the Incident form to complete a WRITTEN record (Appendix 3) – date, time, what the child did, said, etc;
It should be made clear to pupils that CONFIDENTIALITY CANNOT BE GUARANTEED IN RESPECT OF CHILD PROTECTIONISSUES.
Action by the Designated Lead (or other senior person in their absence)
Following any information raising concern, the Designated Lead will consider:
Any urgent medical needs of the child;
Discussing the matter with other agencies involved with the family;
Consulting with appropriate persons e.g. Local Authority Designated Officer for Safeguarding, Social Care;
The child’s wishes.
Wherever possible, to talk to the parents, unless to do so may place the child at risk of significant harm, impede any police investigation and/or place a member of staff or others at risk;
Whether to make a child protection referral to social care because a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm and if this needs to be undertaken immediately;
Not to make a referral at this stage;
If further monitoring is necessary;
If it would be appropriate to undertake an assessment (e.g. Common Assessment Framework) and/or make a referral for other services.
All information and actions taken, including the reasons for any decisions made, will be fully documented. All referrals to social care will be accompanied by a standard referral form – see Appendix 4.
ACTION FOLLOWING A CHILD PROTECTION REFERRAL
The Designated Lead or other appropriate member of staff will:
Make regular contact with the social worker involved to stay informed;
Wherever possible, contribute to the Strategy Discussion;
Provide a report for, attend and contribute to any subsequent Child Protection Conference;
If the child/children are placed on a child protection plan, contribute to the plan and attend Core Group Meetings and Review Child Protection Conferences;
Where in disagreement with a decision made e.g. not to apply Child Protection Procedures, discuss this with the Local Authority Designated Officer for Safeguarding or the manager of the Child Protection and Review unit;
Where a child on a child protection plan moves from the school or goes missing, immediately inform the key worker in Social Care.
RECORDING AND MONITORING
It is essential that accurate records be kept where there are concerns about the welfare of a child. These records should be kept in secure, confidential files, which are separate from the child’s school records.
When there is suspicion of significant harm to a child and a referral is made, as much information as possible should be given about the nature of the suspicions, the child and the family. Use of previous records (if available) may prove to be particularly useful in this respect.
NBAny referral to Social Services by telephone must be confirmed with the specified written form and a copy kept on the confidential school file (another copy should be sent to the designated Education Officer at the LA). A note must be made of the Duty Social Worker and the time at which the call is made. If parents have not been informed about (or if they have agreed to) the referral being made this must be reported to Social Services.
All Child Protection documents will be retained in a ‘Child Protection’ file, separate from the child’s main file. This will be locked away and only accessible to the Headteacher and designated persons. These records will be copied and transferred to any school or setting the child moves to, clearly marked ‘Child Protection, Confidential, for attention of Designated Lead Child Protection.’ The receiving school will be telephoned in advance to inform them that a confidential document is being sent by recorded delivery or in person by the Designated Lead with responsibility for Child Protection or the Parent Support Adviser. This applies to schools where a designated person is not able to collect. Original copies will be retained until the child’s 25th birthday.
Some documents may be stored electronically but must be encrypted with a secure password known only by the Headteacher, and Deputy Headteachers.
Reports may be needed for Child Protection Case conferences or the criminal/civil courts. Consequently records and reports should be:
▪factual (no opinions);
▪non-judgemental (no assumptions);
The Head Teacher will monitor that:
▪the Single Central Record is kept up-to-date on a monthly basis;
▪that CP data is reported to Governors termly.
The Senior Designated Person (Amandeep Tamber) will monitor that all child protection files are up-to-date and include a complete chronology of documents.
The Safeguarding Governor will make termly visits to the school to monitor CP procedures and policy.
The CP Policy will be reviewed annually.
ALLEGATIONS REGARDING PERSON(S) WORKING IN OR ON BEHALF OF THE SCHOOL (INCLUDING VOLUNTEERS)
An allegation that is made against any person working in or on behalf of the school that he/she 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/children in a way that indicates that he/she is unsuitable to work with children,
must be properly investigated in line with agreed procedures.
Whilst we acknowledge such allegations may be false, malicious or misplaced, we also acknowledge they may be founded.
▪Staff who hear an allegation against another member of staff, or have witnessed an event of abuse against a staff member, should report the matter immediately to the Designated Lead, Amandeep Tamber, and make a written record.
▪The Designated Lead will take immediate steps to secure the safety of the children and any urgent medical needs.
▪The Designated Lead may need to clarify any information regarding the allegation, however no person will be interviewed at this stage.
▪The Designated Lead will consult with the Local Authority Designated Officer for Safeguarding in order to determine if it is appropriate for the allegation to be dealt with by the school or if there needs to be a referral to Social Care and/or the police for investigation.
▪Consideration will be given throughout to the support and information needs of pupils, parents and staff.
▪The Designated Lead will inform the Safeguarding Governor of any allegation.
▪If the allegation is against the Headteacher, it should be taken directly to the Chair of Governors who will liaise with the Safeguarding Governor.
THE ROLE OF THE DESIGNATED LEAD:
▪To ensure that all staff know that the Designated Lead, Miss Tamber, is responsible for Child Protection issues. In her absence, concerns should be reported to the Headteacher, if both are absent report to Miss Bal or the most senior member of staff available.
▪To refer promptly all cases of suspected child abuse to the local social services department or the police child protection team. If a parent arrives to collect the child before the social worker has arrived then it must be remembered that we have no right to prevent the removal of the child. However, if there are clear signs of physical risk or threat, the Police should be called.
▪To maintain and update as necessary the Child Protection Monitoring List.
▪To organise regular training on Child Protection within the School.
▪To ensure Ealing’s procedures are followed.
▪To co-ordinate action where child abuse is suspected.
▪To facilitate and support the development of a whole school policy on Child Protection.
▪To attend case conferences or nominate an appropriate member of staff to attend on her behalf.
▪Maintain records of case conferences and other sensitive information in a secure confidential file and to disseminate information about the child only on a “need to know basis”.
▪Liaise with other agencies that support the pupil such as social services, Child and Adult Mental Health Service, education welfare service and educational psychology service.
▪To pass on records and inform the key worker when a child who is subject to a Child Protection plan leaves the school. To raise staff awareness and confidence on child protection procedures and to ensure new staff are aware of these procedures.
▪To keep up to date with current practice by participating in training opportunities wherever possible.
THE ROLE OF GOVERNORS
Governing Bodywill ensure that:
▪the school has child protection procedures in place that are in accordance with local authority guidance and locally agreed inter-agency procedures, and the policy is made available to parents on the school’s website or on request to the office for a hard copy;
▪the school operates safer recruitment procedures and makes sure that all appropriate checks are carried out on staff and volunteers who work with children;
▪the school has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers that comply with guidance from the local authority and locally agreed inter-agency procedures;
▪a senior member of the school’s leadership team is designated to take lead responsibility for child protection (and deputy);
▪staff undertake appropriate child protection training;
▪they remedy, without delay, any deficiencies or weaknesses regarding child protection arrangements;
▪the Chair of Governors is nominated to be responsible for liaising with the LA and /or partner agencies in the event of allegations of abuse being made against the Headteacher;
▪where services or activities are provided on the school premises by another body, the body concerned has appropriate policies and procedures in place in regard to child protection and liaises with the school on these matters where appropriate;
▪they review their policies and procedures annually and provide information to the LA about them and about how the above duties have been discharged.
SUPPORTING THE CHILD AND PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS
▪We recognise that the child’s welfare is paramount, however good child protection practice and outcome relies on a positive, open and honest working partnership with parents/carers.
▪Whilst we may, on occasion, need to make referrals without consultation with parents, we will make every effort to maintain a positive working relationship with them whilst fulfilling our duties to protect any child.
▪We will provide a secure, caring, supportive environment for the child.
▪Children will be given a proper explanation (appropriate to age and understanding) of what action is being taken on their behalf and why.
▪We will endeavour always to preserve the privacy, dignity and right to confidentiality of the child and parents. The Designated Lead will determine which members of staff ‘need to know’ personal information and what they ‘need to know’ for the purpose of supporting and protecting the child.