Child protection policy
Child Protection Policy
With regard to Dept. of Education guidance
‘Keeping children safe in education’ September 2016
We believe that children are a gift from God, therefore the safety and protection of children is of paramount importance to the staff of New Life Christian Academy. All staff will be fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of the children by following the guidelines and child protection procedures set out in this policy.
“Processes and procedures are never ends in themselves, but should always be used as a means of bringing about better outcomes for children. No guidance can, or should attempt to offer a detailed prescription for working with each child and family. Work with children and families where there are concerns about a child’s welfare is sensitive and difficult. Good practice calls for effective cooperation between different agencies and professionals: sensitive work with parents and carers in the best interests of the child; and the careful exercise of professional judgement and critical analysis of the available information” (Working Together to Safeguard Children – A Guide To Inter-Agency Working To Safeguard And Promote The Welfare Of Children-HM Government 1999).
3) Statement of Intent
New Life Christian Academy recognises that protecting and safeguarding children and young people is a shared responsibility and depends upon effective joint working between agencies and professionals that have different roles and expertise. Individual children and young people, especially some of the most vulnerable children and those at greatest risk of social exclusion, will need coordinated help from health, education and children’s social care services. The voluntary sector and other agencies also have an important role in protecting and safeguarding children.
New Life Christian Academy has a responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people they come into contact with. The need for guidelines and procedures is important to ensure that this is done with understanding and clarity. We recognise that safeguarding incidents could happen anywhere and all staff should be alert to possible concerns being raised in this school.
The guidelines for PSHE address many issues, which surround the safeguarding agenda.
One of the most consistent messages is through PSHE, young people’s learning supports the development of knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies, developing responsibility, helping children and young people to make informed judgements and making effective decisions’.
We, at New Life Christian Academy, therefore, will aim to protect and safeguard children and young people by;
• Ensuring that all staff / volunteers are carefully selected, trained and supervised. This involves all staff, including volunteers undertaking an enhanced DBS check and barred list check.
• Teaching staff to undergo an additional check to check that are not prohibited from teaching.
• Having a Child Protection Policy and Procedure and regularly reviewing and updating this in line with national and local policy developments. This will be done by ensuring that the school has links with the Hull Safeguarding Children Board and that staff are up to date with training given by the Hull Safeguarding Children Board.
• Ensuring that all staff and volunteers are familiar with the Child Protection Policy and Procedure and that this information is kept up to date through INSET and staff meetings.
• Ensuring that all staff / volunteers attend appropriate Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) or Child Protection Training and keep this training updated as required.
• Ensuring that the school has a designated Child Protection Co-ordinator and that all staff and volunteers are aware of the named person and process of reporting concerns to them.
• Being aware, through training, of the needs of children, signs and dangers of abuse and, where possible, assessing the risk that children and young people may encounter and taking relevant steps to minimise and manage this.
• Letting parents, carers, children and young people know how to report concerns about a child, young person, staff member or volunteer or complain about anything that they are not happy about by ensuring they have clear information when they start the school, then by through building good relationships, using a ‘concerns box’ and effective use of circle times.
• Ensuring that the child protection policy and procedures are disseminated to parents. A copy of the policy is on the school’s website and available for all parents/carers.
• Assessing the risk that children and young people may encounter and taking steps to minimise and manage this.
• Providing a safe and secure school environment where children are allowed to talk openly about their concerns/worries and are able to develop their confidence and build good relationships.
• Giving children, young people, parents and carers appropriate information and support when needed.
4) National and Local Guidance
This Child Protection Policy and Procedure should be read in conjunction with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) Guidelines and Procedures (accessible via http://hullscb.proceduresonline.com/index.htm). In accordance with the Children Act 2004 it is a statutory responsibility for key agencies coming into contact with children
and young people, to make arrangements to ensure that in discharging their functions, they have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (Section 11, Children Act 2004). Where private or voluntary organisations come into contact with or offer services to children they should, as a matter of good practice, take account of this guidance and follow it as far as possible.
The following national guidance should also be referred to:
• The Children Act (1989)
• The Children Act (2004)
• Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2016)
• Every Child Matters
• Working Together To Keep children safe (March 2015)
• Human Rights Act 1998
• Criminal Justice & Court Services Act 2000
• The Protection of Children Act 1999
• The Sexual Offences Act 2003
• What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused (March 2015)
• Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
• AMA Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who Work with Children and Young People (2009).
• Information Sharing: Guidance for practitioners & managers. HM Government (2015)
• Prevent Strategy (June 2015; revised July 2015)
Copies of the following school policies are also available in the school office.
• Health and Safety Policy
• Recruitment and Selection Policy
• Complaints Procedure
• Staff Conduct, Discipline and Grievance Policy
• Equality Policy
• Continuing Professional Development Policy
• Data Protection Policy
• Anti-bullying Policy
• E-safety Policy
• Behaviour policy
5) Safeguarding & Promoting Welfare & Child Protection
5.1) Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children are defined as:
• protecting children from maltreatment.
• preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
• ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
• and undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.
5.2) Child Protection
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity, which is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. Effective child protection is essential to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. However, all agencies should aim to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect children from harm is reduced
5.3) Children in Need
Children who are defined as ‘in need’, under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, are those whose vulnerability is such that they are unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health or development will be significantly impaired, without the provision of services. This includes those children with a disability. Local authorities have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need
5.4) Significant Harm
Some children are in need because they are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. The concept of significant harm is the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of the child, and gives the Local Authority 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
5.5) Early Help
It is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address risk and prevent issues escalating. Therefore, we aim to identify where early interventions are needed to support families in need by closely monitoring children and highlighting any emerging issues. If necessary, and with appropriate consent, information is shared and/or meetings convened with other relevant parties to support effective early help assessments for the child and family.
6) Who Abuses Children?
Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger for example, via the internet. They may be abused by an adult, or adults; another child, or children
7) What is Abuse and Neglect?
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Child refers to anyone under the age of 18. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children 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 the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber-bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
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.
Neglect is 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 or carer failing to:
• provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
• protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
• ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
• ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
• It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs
This is not an exhaustive list and it must be recognised that it is not the role of staff / volunteers to make an assessment of whether children or young people have suffered harm. Staff/volunteers/Child Protection Co-ordinator do have a duty to report any concerns about harm in accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children Board, Guidelines and Procedures.
8) Recognition of Harm
The harm or possible harm of a child may come to your attention in a number of possible ways;
• Information given by the child, his/ her friends, a family member, or close associate.
• The child’s behaviour may become different from the usual, be significantly different from the behaviour of their peers, be bizarre or unusual or may involve ‘acting out’ a harmful situation in play.
• An injury which arouses suspicion because;
o It does not make sense when compared with the explanation given.
o The explanations differ depending on who is giving them (e.g., differing explanations from the parent / carer and child).
o The child appears anxious and evasive when asked about the injury.
• Suspicion being raised when a number of factors occur over time, for example, the child fails to progress and thrive in contrast to his/her peers.
• Contact with individuals who pose a ‘risk to children’ (‘Guidance on Offences Against Children’, Home Office Circular 16/2005). This replaces the term ‘Schedule One Offender’ and relates to an individual that that has been identified as presenting a risk or potential risk of harm to children. This can be someone who has been convicted of an offence listed in Schedule One of the Children and Young Person’s Act 1933 (Sexual Offences Act 2003), or someone who has been identified as continuing to present a risk to children.
• The parent’s behaviour before the birth of a child may indicate the likelihood of significant harm to an unborn child, for example substance misuse, or, previous children removed from their carers.
Substance Misuse – the potential for a child to be harmed as a result of the excessive use of alcohol, illegal and controlled drugs, solvents or related substances may occur during a young person’s life. The use of drugs or other substances by parents or carers does not in itself indicate child neglect or abuse, and there is no assumption that a child living in such circumstances will automatically be considered under the child protection procedures. It is important to assess how parental substance use impacts upon the children or young people in the family.
Mental Health – Mental illness in a parent or carer does not necessarily have an adverse affect on the child or young person but it is important to assess its implications for any children involved in the family. The adverse affects of parental mental illness on the child are less likely when parental problems are mild, last for a short period of time, are not associated with family disharmony, and where there is another parent or family member who can respond to the child’s needs and offer protection. Where mental illness is accompanied by problem alcohol use, domestic violence or associated with poverty and social isolation, children are particularly vulnerable. The potential impact of a parental mental illness and the child’s ability to cope with it is related to age, gender and individual personality.
Domestic Violence – The Home Office (2009) defines domestic violence as ‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality’ (Working Together, HM Government 2010: page 262, paragraph 9.17). Domestic violence affects both adults and children in the family. Children and young people can suffer directly and indirectly if they live in a household where there is domestic violence. It is likely to have a damaging effect on the health and development of children. The amendment made in section 120 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 to the Children Act 1989 clarifies the meaning of harm to include, for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. This can include children witnessing violence in the home. Domestic violence has an impact in a number of ways:
- It can pose a threat to the physical well being of an unborn child, if a mother is kicked or punched.
- Children may suffer injuries as a result of being caught up in violent episodes.
- Children become distressed by witnessing the physical and emotional suffering of a parent.
- The physical and psychological abuse suffered by the adult victim can have a negative impact upon their ability to look after their children.
- The impact of domestic violence is exacerbated when the violence is combined with problematic alcohol or drug use.
- People working with children should also be alert to the frequent inter-relationship between domestic violence and the abuse and neglect of children
Bullying – This can be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (e.g., hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g., racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (e.g., isolating an individual from activities and social acceptance of their peer group). The damage inflicted by bullying (including bullying via the internet) can frequently be underestimated. Bullying can be through the use of electronic communication, e.g., text or social network sites, and is commonly known as cyber bullying. Bullying can cause considerable distress, to the extent that it can affect health and development and at the extreme significant harm. All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have in place rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies.
Female Genital Mutilation – This is against the law, yet for some communities it is considered a religious act and cultural requirement. It is illegal for someone to arrange for a child to go abroad with the intention of having her circumcised or have them circumcised in this country. Where a disclosure has been made, or evidence seen, of FGM taking place, the individual to which the disclosure has been made has a mandatory legal duty to report this to the relevant authority (the Police). If, however, there is a concern or suspicion the usual procedures can be followed.
Honour based Violence (HBV)
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses 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. All forms of so called HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. If in any doubt, staff should speak to the Child Protection Co-ordinator. Professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBV, or already having suffered HBV. This can be reported in following the usual procedures unless FGM has/is suspected to have taken place (see FGM section) or arranged marriage (see Possible Extremist Radicalisation section))
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) – This involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result of engaging in sexual activities. Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power in the relationship. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim, which increases as the exploitative relationship develops. Sexual exploitation involves varying degrees of coercion, intimidation or enticement, including unwanted pressure from peers to have sex, sexual bullying including cyber bullying and grooming. However, it also important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of this abuse.
- Having a relationship of concern with a controlling adult or young person (this may involve physical and/or emotional abuse and/or gang activity
- Entering and/or leaving a vehicle driven by an unknown adult
- Possessing unexplained amounts of money, expensive clothes or other items
- Frequenting areas known for risky activities
- Being groomed or abused via the internet and mobile technology
- Having unexplained contact with hotels, taxi companies and fast food outlets
The presence of any significant indicator should trigger a referral to Children’s Social Care. (Refer to HSCB guidelines)
Gang Activity – Children and young people who become involved in gangs are at risk of violent crime or exploitation and as a result of this involvement are deemed vulnerable. Agencies and professionals have a responsibility to safeguard these children and young people and to prevent further harm both to the young person and other potential victims. Risks associated with gang activity include access to weapons (including firearms), retaliatory violence and territorial violence with other gangs. Other risks include increased likelihood of involvement in knife crime, sexual violence and substance misuse. In relation to those children and young people who may be affected by gang activity concerns may be raised that a child or young person is:
- not involved in gangs but vulnerable to, or at risk of, becoming involved in a gang
- non-gang-involved and at risk of harm from gang members
- gang-involved and at risk of harm through their own gang-related activities.
Children missing in education
All children, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to a full time education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have. Local authorities have a duty to establish, as far as it is possible to do so, the identity of children of compulsory school age who are missing education in their area.
A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect. School staff should follow the DfE guidance on School Attendance (November 2016) for dealing with children that 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.
Schools should put in place appropriate safeguarding policies, procedures and responses for children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions. 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, FGM and forced marriage.
All schools must 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, at such intervals as are agreed between the school and the local authority (or in default of such agreement, at intervals determined by the Secretary of State).
Possible Extremist Radicalisation (with regards to the ‘Prevent Duty’ guidance DfE July 2015): As part of wider safeguarding responsibilities school staff and volunteers 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 art work promoting extremist messages or images
- Pupils accessing extremist material online, including through social networking sites
- Parental reports of changes in behaviour, friendship or actions and request for assistance
- Local schools, local authority services, partner schools, 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 equalities policy, views based on, but not exclusive to, gender, disability, homophobia, race, colour, culture or religion
- Attempts to impose extremist views or practices on others
- Anti-Western or Anti-British views
Unlike other referrals, any referral made in connection with possible extremist views, or possible arranged marriage, does not require parental consent. They are reported to the Access and Assessment in the same way as other referrals, but will be passed on to the Channel Programme.
9) Managing Disclosures of Abuse
When responding to a disclosure it is important that staff respond in a supportive and appropriate way, to allow the child to feel as at ease as they can and to remember that they have chosen to talk to that person as someone they trust.
It is vital that our actions do not abuse the child further or prejudice further enquiries.
If a child discloses abuse it is important that, as far as possible, the following basic principles are adhered to;
• Listen to what the child has to say with an open mind. If you are shocked by what is being said try not to show it.
• Do not ask probing or leading questions designed to get the child to reveal more – for example: “what did they do next?” or “where did they touch you?”. It is our role to listen not to investigate. Use open questions such as “is there anything else you want to tell me?” or “yes?” or “and?”
• Never stop a child who is freely recalling significant events.
• It is OK to observe bruises but not to ask a child to remove or adjust their clothing to observe them.
• Accept what the pupil says. Be careful not to burden them with guilt by asking questions such as “why didn’t you tell me before?”
• Do acknowledge how hard it was for them to tell you this and reassure them that they have done the right thing and that it is not their fault.
• Don’t criticise the alleged perpetrator, this may be someone they love.
• Never promise confidentiality, explain whom you will have to tell (the name of the Child Protection Co-ordinator) and why. It is also important that you don’t make promises that you cannot keep such as “I’ll stay with you all the time” or “it will be alright now”.
• Make note of the discussion, where possible on a cause for concern sheet, taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, as well as what was said, as accurately as possible. Record any injuries seen on a body map. Do not ask children to write a statement.
THE CHILD PROTECTION CO-ORDINATOR MUST THEN BE INFORMED IMMEDIATELY.
10) Reporting Concerns or Allegations of Abuse
A member of staff or volunteer must report any concerns or allegation of harm immediately to the designated Child Protection Co-ordinator. This concern should be recorded by the member of staff, or volunteer, on a ‘Cause for concern’ form. These concerns will be treated in a confidential way and staff will be supported in this. The Child Protection Co-ordinator will then become responsible for dealing with this. In the absence of the Child Protection Co-ordinator the matter should be reported through the line management. In the unlikely event of management not being available the matter should be reported directly to the appropriate Local Authority Child Care Team or Police Public / Family Protection Unit. In the case of it being out of hours the Emergency Duty Team should be contacted (SEE CONTACT DETAILS). These concerns must also be recorded and kept by the Child Protection Co-ordinator.
11) The Role of the Child Protection Co-ordinator
Where there are concerns about the welfare of any child or young person all staff / volunteers have a duty to share those concerns with the designated Child Protection Co-ordinator. The Headteacher is the Child Protection Co-ordinator. Although a deputy (trained to the same level as the Co-ordinator) may also assist in this role the Child Protection Co-ordinator will not delegate the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection.
The Child Protection Co-ordinator is responsible for:
• Monitoring and recording concerns about the well being of a child or young person.
• Making referrals to the Local Authority Children’s Services.
• Liaising with other agencies.
• Arranging training for staff / volunteers.
• Maintaining records which are kept in a secure place.
• Disseminating information, as appropriate, including training/developments in guidance/policy.
• Ensuring that all staff are aware of the guidelines and procedures
The Child Protection Co-ordinator, after receiving a referral, will act on behalf of the school in referring concerns or allegations of harm to Local Authority Children’s Social Care or the Police Public / Family Protection Unit.
If the Child Protection Co-ordinator is in any doubt about making a referral it is important to note that advice can be sought from Local Authority Children’s Social Care. The name of the child and family should be kept confidential at this stage and will be requested if the enquiry proceeds to a referral.
The Child Protection Co-ordinator may share limited information on a need to know basis amongst the staff / management but respecting the need for confidentiality.
It is not the role of the Child Protection Co-ordinator to undertake an investigation into the concerns or allegation of harm. It is the role of the Child Protection Co-ordinator to collate and clarify details of the concern or allegation and to provide this information to the Local Authority Central Duty Team, or Family Resource Centre if Children’s Social Care is already involved, whose duty it is to make enquiries in accordance with Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
12) Role of the Governing Body
The whole Governing Body will ensure the school:
• A member of the body is appointed as designated safeguarding governor.
• Has a child protection policy and procedures in place which is in accordance with LA guidance and locally agreed inter-agency procedures and available to all school personnel and parents on request
• Anyone with managerial responsibility will be checked to ensure not prohibited under section 128
• Operates safe recruitment procedures by making sure all appropriate checks are carried out on new staff, volunteers and any persons who work with children
• Keeps and maintains a Single Central Record
• Has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers that comply with guidance issued by the Dept. of Education and Hull Safeguarding Children Board
• Has a member of the Governing Body (usually Chair) the responsibility for liaising with the LA and partner agencies in the event of an allegation of abuse being made against the Head
• The Governing Body will review all policies and procedures in relation to safeguarding on an annual basis.
13) Seeking Consent for a Referral
Professional’s should seek in general to discuss any concerns with the family (including the child where appropriate) and where possible seek their agreement to making referrals to the Local Authority Central Duty Team. This should only be done where such discussion and agreement seeking will not place the child at an increased risk of significant harm.
It should be noted that parents, carers or child may not agree to information being shared, but this should not prevent referrals where child protection concerns persist. The reasons for dispensing with consent from the parents, carer or child should be clearly recorded.
In cases where an allegation has been made against a family member living in the same household as the child and it is your view that discussing the matter with the parent would place the child at risk of harm, or where discussing it may place a member of staff / volunteer at risk, consent does not have to be sought prior to the referral being made.
If you are unsure about whether to seek parental consent prior to a referral being made then seek advice from the duty social worker at the relevant Locality POD.
If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made to children’s social care immediately. Anybody can make a referral.
14) Making a Referral
Referrals of all children in need, including those where there are child protection concerns will be made to;
• Hull – To Children’s Social Care – Access and Assessment Team or Police Public Protection Unit
• East Riding – By telephoning the Call Centre/Children’s Social Care or Police Family Protection Team
• Out of Hours – To the relevant Emergency Duty Team
All referrals made by telephone need to be followed up in writing within 48 hours.
The Child Protection Co-ordinator should make the referral as appropriate. The referrer should be prepared, where possible, to give the following information;
• The nature of your concerns / allegation.
• Whether the child will need immediate action to ensure their safety.
• Are the parents aware of the concerns? Has consent for the referral been sought? If not, the reasons for this?
• Factual information about the child and family, including other siblings.
• The nature of your involvement with the family.
• Other professionals involved with the family.
• The source of your referral, is it based on your own assessment of the needs of the child, a reported allegation or disclosure, or has the concern been reported to you by another person, if so who?
• Child’s current whereabouts and when they were last seen
• If you consider the child suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm, who is the source of that harm and their current whereabouts?
Following a referral, for those children that require further monitoring, the school will follow agreed protection plans set by Children’s Social Care. The Child Protection Co-ordinator will monitor progress by attending all meetings, where possible, and ensure relevant paperwork is completed. Staff are responsible for recording any matters that relate to the protection of the child and reporting these to the Child Protection Co-ordinator.
15) Handling Information
Staff have the professional responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with other professionals particularly investigating agencies. Staff who receive the information about children and families in the course of their work should have the information only within professional context. All child protection records will be kept securely locked in the Headteacher’s office. Children’s Social Care should notify schools when a child with a child protection plan starts the school or if a child subsequently becomes subject to a child protection plan.
It is the school’s responsibility to pass on information immediately if a child transfers to a new school. For all matters of handling information the school will follow the government’s guidance ‘Information Sharing: Guidance and practitioners and managers’.
16) Allegations Against Staff Members / Volunteers/Other Pupils
If any member of staff or volunteer has concerns about the behaviour or conduct of another individual working within the group or organisation including:
• Behaving in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child;
• Possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child or
• Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children
then the nature of the allegation or concern should be reported to the Headteacher immediately. The member of staff who has a concern or to whom an allegation or concern is reported should not question the child or investigate the matter further.
Treat the matter seriously,
Avoid asking leading questions and keep an open mind,
Communicate with the child (if the complainant) in a way that is appropriate to the child’s age, understanding and preferred language or communication style,
Make a written record of the information (where possible in the words a child used), including
- When the alleged incident took place (time and date)
- Who was present (witnesses)
- What was said to have happened,
Sign and date the written record,
Report the matter immediately to the Designated Officer for Schools or in her absence the Local Authority Designated Officer directly.
N.B. Children/young people must not be asked to produce or sign any statement. This could undermine any potential investigation.
The school adheres to the Department for Education, Keeping Children Safe in Education, April 2015.
Under the Education Act 2011, it is a criminal offence to publish material that may lead to the identification of the teacher who is subject to an allegation before they are charged. This legislation applies to all stakeholders and parents/carers, and includes any form of disclosure which is addressed to the public at large or any section of the public ie social networking sites, speaking to the press, playground or staff room gossip etc..
In cases where there is an immediate risk to any child or young person, the information must be passed to Local Authority Children’s Social Care or the Police, as soon as possible.
• The welfare of the child is paramount
• Adults about whom there are concerns should be treated fairly and honestly and should be provided with support
• It is the responsibility of all adults to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. This responsibility extends to a duty of care for those adults employed, commissioned or contracted to work with children and young people.
In the case that the concern or allegation relates to the Headteacher then staff should report concerns directly to the Local Authority Designated Officer or contact Children’s Social Care themselves. If suspension of the alleged abuser is required the Headteacher should discuss this with the LADO to consider the timing.
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: email@example.com
A pupil against whom an allegation of abuse has been made may be fixed term excluded from the school pending an investigation and the school Behaviour policy may apply. The school will then take advice from Children’s Social Care and/or police on the investigation of such allegations and will take appropriate action to ensure the safety and welfare of all pupils involved.
In cases where there is an immediate risk to any child or young person, the information must be passed to Local Authority Children’s Social Care or the Police, as soon as possible.
Sexual Abuse by Young People: The boundary between what is abusive and what is part of normal childhood or youthful experimentation can be blurred. The determination of whether behaviour is developmental, inappropriate or abusive will hinge around the related concepts of true consent, power imbalance and exploitation. This may include children and young people who exhibit a range of sexually problematic behaviour such as indecent exposure, obscene telephone calls, fetishism, bestiality and sexual abuse against adults, peers or children.
Developmental Sexual Activity encompasses those actions that are to be expected from children and young people as they move from infancy through to an adult understanding of their physical, emotional and behavioural relationships with each other. Such sexual activity is essentially information gathering and experience testing. It is characterised by mutuality and of the seeking of consent.
Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour can be inappropriate socially, inappropriate to development, or both. In considering whether behaviour fits into this category, it is important to consider what negative effects it has on any of the parties involved and what concerns it raises about a child or young person. It should be recognised that some actions may be motivated by information seeking, but still cause significant upset, confusion, worry, physical damage, etc. It may also be that the behaviour is “acting out” which may derive from other sexual situations to which the child or young person has been exposed.
If an act appears to have been inappropriate, there may still be a need for some form of behaviour management or intervention. For some children, educative inputs may be enough to address the behaviour.
Abusive sexual activity includes any behaviour involving coercion, threats, aggression together with secrecy, or where one participant relies on an unequal power base.
Any concerns or allegations against another pupil should be raised and reported in the ways already outlined in this policy and the procedures followed in this way with support given to both parties.
17) Seeking Medical Attention
If a child has a physical injury and there are concerns about abuse;
If immediate medical attention is required then this should be sought immediately following the First Aid Policy. You should then follow the procedures for referring a child protection concern.
18) Staff & Volunteer Self Protection
Adherence to guidelines on self-protection for staff and volunteers working with children and young people can avoid vulnerable situations where false allegations can be made. These include:
• Avoiding situations where a staff member or volunteer is on their own with a child in a secluded place.
• In the event of an injury to a child, accidental or not, ensuring that it is recorded and witnessed by another adult in the organisations accident book.
• Keeping written records of any allegations a child makes against staff and volunteers and report in line with the Child Protection Policy.
• If a child or young person touches a staff member or volunteer inappropriately recording what happened immediately and inform the Child Protection Co-ordinator.
• Adhering to the school’s policies on:
o Child Protection policy
o Anti bullying policy
o E-safety policy
o Behaviour policy
o First Aid policy
o Recruitment and Selection policy (for Managers)
Plus any other relevant policies, including Safe Working Practice for Adults who work with Children (March 2009).
19) Code of Practice
Staff / Volunteers / children should always;
Take all allegations, suspicions or concerns about abuse that a young person makes seriously (including those made against staff) and report them through the procedures.
Provide an opportunity and environment for children to talk to others about concerns they may have.
Provide an environment that encourages children and adults to feel comfortable and confident in challenging attitudes and behaviours that may discriminate others.
Risk assess situations and activities to ensure all potential dangers have been identified.
Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Ensure all visitors sign in and out of the visitors book on arrival and on departure
Implement the Anti-bullying policy effectively to further protect individuals
Deliver Class 1 children into the hands of a known adult at home time
Provide emotional support to children when needed
Use physical restraint only as a last resort, to protect the child, other children, or themselves from harm
Ensure staff are aware of potential problems of working alone with 1 or 2 children and, where possible, should do so in a publically accessible place
Promote a culture to enable all staff to discuss personal issues or concerns that may be a barrier to protecting children.
Ensure children are supervised appropriately at all times
Provide a secure playground and entry system to the school
Following safer recruiting procedures
Work on building children’s self esteem through the curriculum, circle time and assemblies.
Develop openness and honesty with parents/carers.
Staff / Volunteers / children should not;
Permit or accept abusive or discriminatory behaviour.
Engage in inappropriate behaviour or contact.
Use inappropriate or insulting language.
Show favouritism to anyone.
Undermine or criticise others.
Give personal money.
Use social networks for personal communication with children and young people for whom they are responsible.
20) Support for Pupils
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. This school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. This school will endeavour to support pupils through:
• Ensuring that children are aware of the school procedures
• Developing pupils sense of responsibility with regard to safeguarding and helping to make the school a safe and secure environment and including them in some of the decision making
• The curriculum to encourage self-esteem and self-motivation
• The school ethos, which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and which gives all pupils and adults a sense of being respected and valued
• The implementation of school behaviour management policies
• A consistent approach, which recognises and separates the cause of the behaviour from that which the pupil displays.
• Regular liaison with other professionals and agencies who support pupils and their families
The school also acknowledges that children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities may have barriers to prevent them from reporting abuse or may make it difficult for others to recognise abuse. In these cases the individual nature of the needs and the child should be taken into account and any relevant provision made to reduce barriers, including making staff aware of this potential.
This Child Protection Policy is available to all parents/carers. The Child Protection Co-ordinator will offer support to parents/carers who wish to share concerns. Where staff have to face parents/carers who may be upset or confrontational they must try to ensure that they remain calm, listen and not dispute their statements. Help must be sought from another member of staff as quickly as possible without causing alarm. Staff must direct parents/carers to the Headteacher/Child Protection Co-ordinator for further support or information.
22) Recruitment & Selection
It is important when recruiting paid staff and volunteers to adhere to the school’s Recruitment and Selection Policy. This will ensure potential staff and volunteers are screened for their suitability to work with children and young people. In summary:
• All paid staff and volunteers with access to children and young people or sensitive information relating to children will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.
• Staff and volunteers (where possible) working directly with children or with access to sensitive information will be required to complete level 1 Safeguarding Training which will be updated as required.
• All staff and volunteers will be required to read the Child Protection Policy. This will be reviewed to ensure up to date knowledge.
• All paid staff will complete an application form, including details of previous employment, details of any conviction for criminal offences (including spent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974), agreement for an enhanced DBS check and permission to contact two referees, including their current or most recent employer (which should be taken up). Volunteers will complete a staff details form giving details of any conviction for criminal offences (including spent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974), agreement for an enhanced DBS check, and permission to contact a referee who can give a character reference.
• The potential staff member or volunteer will be interviewed for their suitability for the post.
• Staff and volunteers will be subject to regular meetings with their line manager to identify any concerns, training and support needs.
• Staff and volunteers will follow an induction process where they will complete any induction needs and access internal policies.
• When new staff join our school they will be informed of the safeguarding arrangements in place. They will be given a copy of the school’s safeguarding (Child Protection) policy and told the name Child Protection Coordinator and asked to sign to record that they have read the policy.
• Every new member of staff will have an induction period that will include essential safeguarding information. This programme will include basic safeguarding information relating to signs and symptoms of abuse, how to manage a disclosure from a child, how to record and issues of confidentiality. The induction will also remind staff of their responsibility to safeguard all children at our school and the remit of the role of the Child Protection Co-ordinator.
• Staff will be informed of any updates annually
• The school maintains a record of training. In order to maintain their knowledge and skills the Child Protection Coordinator undertakes refresher training at two yearly intervals.
• If appropriate our Governing Body will also undertake appropriate training to ensure they are able to carry out their duties to safeguard pupils and staff at our school.
• Increased safeguards were introduced through the creation of two new barred lists (regulated and controlled) to replace the existing POCA, POVA and List 99. The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) maintains these lists. A person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking with law if they work or volunteer, or try to work or volunteer with those groups. An organisation, which knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups, will also be breaking the law. If your organisation works with children or vulnerable adults and you dismiss a member of staff or a volunteer because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or you would have done so if they had not left, you must tell the Independent Safeguarding Authority.
Information on how to do this can be found at: http://www.isa-gov.org.uk/
More details can be found in the school’s Recruitment and Selection Policy and Continuing Professional Development Policy which also includes details of procedures for supply/cover staff. All policies are located in the Policies file in the staff room.
Disclosure and Barring Service
A person who is barred from working with children will be breaking the law of they work, or volunteer, or try to work or volunteer with those groups. If New Life Christian Academy knowingly employs, or allows to volunteer, someone who is barred to work with children they will also be breaking the law. If there is an incident where a member of staff or volunteer has to be dismissed because they have harmed a child, or would have been if they had not left, the school will notify the DBS.
Childcare Disqualification Requirements
We adhere to the supplementary guidance ‘Keeping children safe’ document detailing the legal requirements for Childcare disqualification’ checks to be carried out on relevant staff working with children. Our school will not continue to employ an individual who is disqualified, including by association in connection with early or later years childcare provision, nor will a disqualified individual provide or directly by concerned in the management of such provision unless they have received a waiver from Ofsted which covers the role that they wish to undertake. However this does not imply that individuals are prevented from working in a school in any other setting.
• Children’s Social Care (Local Authority)
o Central Duty Team (01482) 448879
o Emergency Duty Team (01482) 300304
• Child Protection Administrator (01482) 790933
• Local Authority Designated Officer (01482) 790933
• Police Public Protection Unit (01482) 307220
• Early help team (01482) 612991
• Hull Safeguarding Children Board (01482) 379090
East Riding of Yorkshire
• Children’s Social Care (Local Authority)
o Call Centre (01482) 395500
o Children’s Services (01482) 396840
o Emergency Duty Team (01482) 880826
• Child Protection Administrator (01482) 396472
• East Riding Safeguarding Children Board (01482) 396998/9
• Local Authority Designated Officer (01482) 396999
• Police Family Protection Team 0845 6060222 (Ext 2407)
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