Child Protection Policy
We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children.
We make every effort to provide a safe and welcoming environment underpinned by a culture of openness where both children and adults feel secure, able to talk and believe that they are being listened to.
We maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” where safeguarding is concerned.
The purpose of this policy is to provide staff, volunteers and governors with the framework they need in order to keep children safe and secure in our school and to inform parents and guardians how we will safeguard their children whilst they are in our care.
Specific guidance is available to staff within the procedure documents.
Within this document:
Child protection is an aspect of safeguarding, but is focused on how we respond to children who have been significantly harmed or are at risk of significant harm.
The term staff applies to all those working for or on behalf of the school, full time or part time, in either a paid or voluntary capacity. This also includes parents and governors.
Child refers to all young people who have not yet reached their 18th birthday. On the whole, this will apply to pupils of our school; however the policy will extend to visiting children and students from other establishments.
Parent refers to birth parents and other adults in a parenting role for example adoptive parents, step parents, guardians and foster carers.
Abuse could mean neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse or any combination of these. Parents, carers and other people can harm children either by direct acts and / or failure to provide proper care. Explanations of these are given within the procedure document.
- To provide staff with the framework to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children and in so doing ensure they meet their statutory responsibilities.
- To ensure consistent good practice across the school.
- To demonstrate our commitment to protecting children.
Principles and Values
- Children have a right to feel secure and cannot learn effectively unless they do so.
- All children have a right to be protected from harm.
- All staff have a key role in prevention of harm and an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may indicate a child is at risk of harm, either in the school or in the community, taking into account contextual safeguarding, in accordance with the guidance.
- We acknowledge that working in partnership with other agencies protects children and reduces risk and so we will engage in partnership working throughout the child protection process to safeguard children.
- Whilst the school will work openly with parents as far as possible, it reserves the right to contact Children’s Social Care or the police, without notifying parents if this is believed to be in the child’s best interests.
We recognise that staff anxiety around child protection can compromise good practice and so have established clear lines of accountability, training and advice to support the process and individual staff within that process.
In this school any individual can contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or the Deputy if they have concerns about a young person.
DSL is Odele Davies and the Deputy DSLs are Edward Harrison and Karen Lunnon. There is a nominated safeguarding governor, Alison Chamberlain, who will take leadership responsibility for safeguarding. The Chair of Governors Sue Lewis will receive reports of allegations against the headteacher and act on the behalf of the governing body.
As an employer we comply with the “Disqualification under the childcare act 2006” guidance issued in February 2015.
All staff in our school are expected to be aware of the signs and symptoms of abuse and must be able to respond appropriately. Training is provided as required annually in a whole staff INSET. Separate training is provided to all new staff on appointment. Policies and procedures are provided to new staff prior to their induction and they staff are required to sign to say they have read these. The DSL will attend training at least every other year to enable them to fulfil their role.
Any update in national or local guidance will be shared with all staff in briefings and then captured in the next whole school training. This policy will be updated during the year to reflect any changes brought about by new guidance.
Following any concerns raised, the DSL will assess the information and consider if significant harm has happened or there is a risk that it may happen. If the evidence suggests the threshold of significant harm, or risk of significant harm has been reached, or if it is not clear if the threshold is met, then the DSL will contact Children’s Social Care and if appropriate the police. If the DSL is not available or there are immediate concerns, the staff member will refer directly to Children’s Social Care and the police if appropriate.
Generally the DSL will inform the parents prior to making a referral. However there are situations where this may not be possible or appropriate, particularly when informing parents/carers may place the child at further risk.
N.B. The exception to this process will be in those cases of known FGM where there is a mandatory requirement for the teacher to report directly to the police. The DSL should also be made aware.
- We maintain that all matters relating to child protection are to be treated as confidential and only shared as per the ‘Information Sharing Advice for Practitioners’ (DfE 2015) guidance
- There is a lawful basis for child protection concerns to be shared with agencies who have a statutory duty for child protection.
- Information will be shared with individuals within the school who ‘need to know’.
- All staff are aware that they cannot promise a child to keep a disclosure confidential.
- The content of the curriculum
- A school ethos which helps children to feel safe and able to talk freely about their concerns, believing that they will be listened to and valued.
Dealing with allegations against staff
If a concern is raised about the practice or behaviour of a member of staff this information will be recorded and passed to a headteacher, either Odele Davies or Edd Harrison. The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will be contacted and the relevant guidance will be followed.
If the allegation is against a headteacher, the person receiving the allegation will contact the LADO or Chair of Governors directly.
Dealing with allegations against pupils
If a concern is raised that there is an allegation of a pupil abusing another pupil within the school, the ‘Peer on Peer Abuse’ guidance will be followed (Annex 6)
Section 175 of the education act 2002; Children Act 2004 & 1989
As a school, we review this policy at least annually in line with DfE, HSCB and HCC requirements and other relevant statutory guidance.
Roles and responsibilities within Mengham Junior School
All staff have a key role to play in identifying concerns early and in providing help for children. To achieve this they will:
- Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are listened to.
- Ensure children know that there are adults in the school who they can approach if they are worried or have concerns.
- Plan opportunities within the curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to assess and manage risk appropriately and keep themselves safe.
- Attend training in order to be aware of and alert to the signs of abuse.
- Maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” with regards to safeguarding.
- Record their concerns if they are worried that a child is being abused and report these to the DSL as soon as practical that day. If the DSL is not contactable immediately a Deputy DSL should be informed
- Be prepared to refer directly to social care, and the police if appropriate, if there is a risk of significant harm and the DSL or a Deputy DSL is not available.
- Follow the allegations procedures (Annex 5) if the disclosure is an allegation against a member of staff.
- Follow the procedures set out by the HSCB and take account of guidance issued by the DfE.
- Support pupils in line with their child protection plan.
- Treat information with confidentiality but never promising to “keep a secret”.
- Notify the DSL or a Deputy DSL of any child on a child protection plan or child in need plan who has unexplained absence.
- Have an understanding of early help, and be prepared to identify and support children who may benefit from early help.
- Liaise with other agencies that support pupils and provide early help.
- Ensure they know who the DSL and Deputy DSLs are and know how to contact them.
- Have an awareness of the Child Protection Policy, the Behaviour Policy, the Staff Behaviour Policy (or Code of Conduct), procedures relating to the safeguarding response for children who go missing from education and the role of the DSL.
- Contribute to inter-agency working in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 guidance
- Provide a co-ordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified
- Ensure staff are alert to the various factors that can increase the need for early help (para 18 KCSiE 2018)
- Working with Children’s Social Care, support their assessment and planning processes including the school’s attendance at conference and core group meetings.
- Carry out tasks delegated by the governing body such as training of staff, safer recruitment and maintaining a single central register.
- Provide support and advice on all matters pertaining to safeguarding and child protection to all staff regardless of their position within the school.
- Treat any information shared by staff or pupils with respect and follow agreed policies and procedures.
- Ensure that allegations or concerns against staff are dealt with in accordance with guidance from Department for Education (DfE), Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) and Hampshire County Council (HCC)
- Ensure the school has effective safeguarding policies and procedures including a Child Protection Policy, a Staff Behaviour Policy or Code of Conduct, a Behaviour Policy and a response to children who go missing from education.
- Ensure HSCB is informed in line with local requirements about the discharge of duties via the annual safeguarding audit
- Recruitment, selection and induction follows safer recruitment practice including all appropriate checks.
- Allegations against staff are dealt with by the headteacher. Allegations against the headteacher are dealt with by the Chair of Governors
- A member of the Senior Leadership Team is appointed as Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and has this recorded in their job description
- Staff have been trained appropriately and this is updated in line with guidance
- Any safeguarding deficiencies or weaknesses are remedied without delay
- A nominated governor for safeguarding is identified
DSL responsibilities (to be read in conjunction with DSL role description in KCSiE)
In this school the DSL is Odele Davies
The Deputy DSL are Edward Harrison and Karen Lunnon
In addition to the role of all staff and the senior management team the DSL will
- Refer cases to social care, and the police where appropriate, in a timely manner avoiding any delay that could place the child at more risk.
- Assist the Governing Body in fulfilling their safeguarding responsibilities set out in legislation and statutory guidance
- Attend appropriate training and demonstrate evidence of continuing professional development to carry out the role.
- Ensure every member of staff knows who the DSL and the Deputies are, have an awareness of the DSL role and know how to contact them.
- Ensure all staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns about a child to the DSL and concerns about an adult to a Headteacher.
- Ensure whole school training occurs regularly with at least annual updates so that staff and volunteers can fulfil their responsibilities knowledgeably.
- Ensure any members of staff joining the school outside of the agreed training schedule receive induction prior to commencement of their duties
- Keep records of child protection concerns securely and separately from the main pupil file and use these records to assess the likelihood of risk
- Ensure that safeguarding records are transferred accordingly (separate from pupil files) and in a timely fashion when a child transfers school
- Ensure that where a pupil transfers school and is on a child protection plan or is a child looked after, their information is passed to the new school immediately and that the child’s social worker is informed. Consideration is given to a transition meeting prior to moving if the case is complex or on-going.
- Be aware of the training opportunities and briefings provided by HSCB to ensure staff are aware of the latest local guidance on safeguarding
- Develop, implement and review procedures in the school that enable the identification and reporting of all cases, or suspected cases, of abuse
- Meet any other expectations set out for DSLs in KCSiE 2018
The following procedures apply to all staff working in the school and will be covered by training to enable staff to understand their role and responsibility.
The aim of our procedures is to provide a robust framework which enables staff to take appropriate action when they are concerned that a child is being harmed or is at risk of harm.
The prime concern at all stages must be the interests and safety of the child. Where there is a conflict of interest between the child and an adult, the interests of the child must be paramount.
All staff are aware that very young children and those with disabilities, special needs or with language delay may be more likely to communicate concerns with behaviours rather than words. Additionally, staff will question the cause of knocks and bumps in children who have limited mobility.
If a member of staff suspects abuse, spots signs or indicators of abuse, or they have a disclosure of abuse made to them they must:
- Make an initial record of the information
- Report it to the DSL immediately
- The DSL will consider if there is a requirement for immediate medical intervention, however urgent medical attention should not be delayed if the DSL is not immediately available (see point 8 below)
- Make an accurate record (which may be used in any subsequent court proceedings) as soon as possible and within 24 hours of the occurrence, of all that has happened, including details of:
- Dates and times of their observations
- Dates and times of any discussions in which they were involved.
- Any injuries
- Explanations given by the child / adult
- What action was taken
- Any actual words or phrases used by the child
The records must be completed on CPOMS by the staff member concerned.
5. In the absence of the DSL or their Deputies, be prepared to refer directly to Children’s Social Care (and the police if appropriate) if there is the potential for immediate significant harm
Following a report of concerns the DSL must:
- Decide whether or not there are sufficient grounds for suspecting significant harm in which case a referral must be made to Children’s Social Care and the police if it is appropriate
- Normally the school should try to discuss any concerns about a child’s welfare with the family and where possible to seek their agreement before making a referral to Children’s Social Care. However, in accordance with DfE guidance, this should only be done when it will not place the child at increased risk or could impact a police investigation. The child’s views should also be taken into account.
- If there are grounds to suspect a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm the DSL (or Deputy) must contact Children’s Social Care via the Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF) making a clear statement of:
- the known facts
- any suspicions or allegations
- whether or not there has been any contact with the child’s family