Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures
‘Everyone to work together to ensure that all children and young people are safe and feel safe within their homes, schools and communities’- Oldham LSCB vision
In our school, we are committed to establishing a positive, supportive and safe environment where children feel valued. We want children to feel able to report issue of concern to them to staff.
This policy has been written in conjunction with Oldham LSCB’s Child Protection Procedures Handbook and should be read alongside statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children’, and DfE advice What to do if you are worried a child is being abused- Advice for practitioners. and ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ 2016.
This policy applies to all members of the school community: full time and part time staff, governors, students and volunteers. This policy should be considered alongside the school’s behaviour policy, e-safety policy and other relevant guidance, policies and updates.
As a school, we comply with local child protection procedures approved by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (formerly The Area Child Protection Committee) and ensure that all adults working and looking after children in school are able to put the procedures into practice.’
Mrs Sue Callaghan is the Designated Safeguard Lead (DSL) for dealing with safeguarding children issues. Mrs Gemma Chapman is the deputy designated person.
Mrs Paula Parslow is the nominated governor for child protection. The role of the child protection governor is to ensure that an annual report is presented to the governing body on child protection and safeguarding activities. They should also ensure that safeguarding issues are regularly discussed and actioned by the governing body.
There are three main elements to our policy:
We want to create an environment of total care where pupils feel secure, stimulated and empowered to take the positive steps necessary to protect themselves and others. We aim that all children feel able to report issues of concern to our staff.
We will do this by;-
Staff are made aware of procedures relating to child protection in terms of their own actions and the need to pass information on to appropriate staff. If a member of staff suspects that a child is a victim of abuse or a pupil discloses that he or she is being abused information MUST BE passed without delay to the designated person, Sue Callaghan.
We will provide protection by;-
Our aim is to provide the best possible support for pupils within school. We will endeavour to treat any instances of suspected abuse sympathetically. Staff must recognise that they can not guarantee complete confidentiality when a child discloses an instance of abuse. Staff must then only share information with the designated people.
Our school is committed to safer recruitment and the suitability of all staff at our school. The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 require governing bodies of maintained schools to ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel has undertaken safer recruitment training. The headteacher has undertaken the NSPCC Safer Recruitment in Education training (December 2017)
It will be made clear to applicants for posts within the school, whether voluntary or paid, that the position is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
All applicants to work within school will be interviewed before an appointment is made and will be requested to provide two references. All references will be followed up.
Where applicants have unexplained gaps in their employment history, or have moved rapidly from one job to another, explanations will be sought.
All successful applicants/appointments will be followed up with clearance checks on their suitability to work with children from checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
All staff, as part of their induction programme will be offered ‘in-house’ training or other relevant agencies to ensure that they recognise the signs and symptoms of possible physical, emotional, sexual abuse and/or neglect and understand the procedures. The designated person will attend OLSCB approved training every two years and whole school child protection training will be offered every three years for all other school staff. Sue Callaghan has attended a 2 day training course on Child Sexual Exploitation. All staff have attended a twilight course highlighting Child Sexual Exploitation.
In January 2018 Sue completed the NSPCC Child Protection in Schools training course again. She has also attended WRAP training (Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent) and the Prevent e-learning training course. All staff have completed WRAP training online.
Prevent abuse by good practice
Any concerns will be reported to Sue Callaghan who has overall responsibility for safeguarding children, and will be the first point of contact for members of other agencies. The flow chart, ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused’ along with information from the Local Safeguarding Children Board will be displayed with this policy.
All adults working with or on behalf of children have a responsibility to protect children and keep them safe:
Recognise unmet needs, risk factors, signs of abuse, harm & neglect
Respond at an appropriate level- Early Help support, alert Children’s Social Care
Record in a factual, timely and appropriate manner. Ensure records are kept up to date and secure
Refer to appropriate service/agency, sharing information to safeguard and protect children from harm.
The Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead
Whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead; this lead responsibility should not be delegated.
The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:
Work with others
The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:
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:
The designated safeguarding lead should:
During term time the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should always be available (during school hours) for staff in the school to discuss any safeguarding concerns. This may be via email or phone.
Types of abuse and neglect
All school staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another.
The definition of abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), 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, although it may occur alone.
This involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent 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.
Respond appropriately to suspicions of abuse
Worrying changes in a child’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance will be recorded. These will include the name address and age of the child, timed and dated observations, describing objectively the child’s appearance/behaviour, without further comment or interpretation and where possible the exact words spoken by the child and other parties, and the dated name and signature of the observer. All observations and recordings will be kept confidential, shared only with those who need to know. (Those people will usually be the designated member of staff/ day-care manager.)
Liaise with other agencies
In accordance with local authority guidelines, confidential records and observations will be shared with Social Services as appropriate. A list of contact names and telephones in included in Oldham LSCB’s Quick Guide ‘Making a Child Protection Referral’.
Contact names and numbers of Children’s services duty officers and the NSPCC helpline will also be available for staff and parents.
Confidential records, kept on a child will be shared with the child’s parents as appropriate. With the proviso that the care and safety of the child is always paramount the school will do all it can to support the child and the family, by endeavouring to build up trusting and supportive relationships between families, staff and volunteers by continuing to welcome the child and family during any investigations,
It is not a responsibility of staff to identify or investigate suspected abuse, however staff will keep accurate records of their observations and of any disclosure by the child or others in connection with the suspected abuse. Children will be listened to at all times. Strict confidentiality will be observed at all times.
Recording, storing and sharing of child protection information
Our school has a system of recording any concerns about a child using a proforma. Any records would be kept securely, separate from the pupil’s main academic file. Only the designated person has access to this information. All child protection information is shared on a ‘need to know’ basis. Any information would be audited regularly to ensure files are kept up to date and in good order.
When a child transfers to another school, the child protection file would be passed immediately to the designated person at the receiving school.
Our school is committed to developing effective links with relevant agencies and is committed to taking an active role in multi agency meetings and attendance and providing written reports to child protection case conferences and core group meetings.
If an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff, volunteer or student.
As child protection supersedes all working conditions, the staff member may be suspended. This action is taken to protect all concerned in the allegation. There is a local authority procedure for investigating allegations of professional abuse.
Contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to report your concern by:
For further information refer to the Oldham LCSB website
This policy is available on the school’s website.
All staff are familiar with this policy which will be reviewed and updated annually.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children refers to the process of protecting children from maltreatment, preventing the impairment of 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 (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015).
Child protection refers to the processes undertaken to protect children who have been identified as suffering, or being at risk of suffering significant harm (Children Act 1989).
Staff refers to all those working for or on behalf of the school, full time or part time, in either a paid or voluntary capacity.
Child refers to all young people who have not yet reached their 18th birthday.
Parent refers to birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, for example step-parents, foster carers and adoptive parents or legal guardian.
Child in Need (CIN) Under section 17 (s.17 (10)) of the Children Act 1989, a child is ‘in need’ if:
Child in Need of Protection Under section 47(1) of the Children Act 1989, a local authority has a duty to make enquiries where they are informed that a child who lives or is found in their area:
Specific safeguarding issues
All staff have an awareness of safeguarding issues. Staff are aware that behaviours linked to the likes of drug taking, alcohol abuse, truanting and sexting put children in danger. All staff are aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to, bullying (including cyberbullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting.
Children missing from 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. Effective information sharing between parents, schools, and local authorities is critical to ensuring that all children are safe and receiving suitable education. A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect and such children are at risk of being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation.
If a child is missing from education, school staff follow the procedures for unauthorised absence and 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 going missing in future. 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.
The law requires all schools to have an admission register and, with the exception of schools where all pupils are boarders, an attendance register. All pupils must be placed on both registers. Schools must place pupils on the admission register at the beginning of the first day on which the school has agreed, or been notified, that the pupil will attend the school. If a pupil fails to attend on the agreed or notified date, the school should consider notifying the local authority at the earliest opportunity to prevent the child from going missing from education.
It is important that the admission register is accurate and kept up to date. Schools should regularly encourage parents to inform them of any changes whenever they occur. This can assist the school and local authority when making enquiries to locate children missing education.
Schools should monitor attendance and address it when it is poor or irregular. 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.
Where a parent notifies a school that a pupil will live at another address, all schools are required to record in the admission register:
Where a parent of a pupil notifies the school that the pupil is registered at another school or will be attending a different school in future, schools must record in the admission register:
Schools must also notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register under any of the fifteen grounds set out in the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 as amended, as soon as the ground for deletion is met and no later than the time at which the pupil’s name is deleted from the register. This duty does not apply where the pupil has completed the school’s final year, unless the local authority requests for such information to be provided.
A pupil’s name can only be deleted from the admission register under regulation 8(1), sub-paragraph (f)(iii) or (h)(iii) if the school and the local authority have failed to establish the pupil’s whereabouts after jointly making reasonable enquiries.
Where a school notifies a local authority that a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register, the school must provide the local authority with:
the full name of the pupil;
if applicable; the name of pupil’s destination school and the pupil’s expected start date there, if applicable; and
Schools and local authorities should work together to agree on methods of making returns. When making returns, the school should highlight to the local authority where they have been unable to obtain the necessary information from the parent, for example in cases where the child’s destination school or address is unknown. Schools should also consider whether it is appropriate to highlight any contextual information of a vulnerable child who is missing education, such as any safeguarding concerns.
It is essential that schools comply with these duties, so that local authorities can, as part of their duty to identify children of compulsory school age who are missing education, follow up with any child who might be at risk of not receiving an education and who might be at risk of being harmed, exploited or radicalised.
The department provides a secure internet system – school2school – to allow schools to transfer pupil information to another school when the child moves. All local authority maintained schools are required, when a pupil ceases to be registered at their school and becomes a registered pupil at another school in England or Wales, to send a Common Transfer File (CTF) to the new school. Academies (including free schools) are also strongly encouraged to send CTFs when a pupil leaves to attend another school. Independent schools can be given access to school2school by the department.
The school2school website also contains a searchable area, commonly referred to as the ‘Lost Pupil Database’, where schools can upload CTFs of pupils who have left but their destination or next school is unknown or the child has moved abroad or transferred to a non-maintained school. If a pupil arrives in a school and the previous school is unknown, schools should contact their local authority who will be able to search the database.
Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and can happen online. A significant number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation go missing from home, care and education at some point. Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual exploitation:
So-called ‘honour based’ violence
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 designated safeguarding lead. 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.
Handling case of forced marriage.
If staff have a concern regarding a child that might be at risk of HBV, they should activate local safeguarding procedures, using existing national and local protocols for multiagency liaison with police and children’s social care. Where FGM has taken place, since 31 October 2015 there has been a mandatory reporting duty placed on teachers that requires a different approach (see following section).
FGM mandatory reporting duty
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences. 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.
This is a useful summary of the FGM mandatory reporting duty: FGM Fact Sheet.
Forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological. A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities, for example). Nevertheless, some communities use religion and culture as a way to coerce a person into marriage. Schools and colleges can play an important role 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of schools’ and colleges’ wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. During the process of radicalisation it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being radicalised. Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism. There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. It can happen in many different ways and settings. Specific background factors may contribute to vulnerability which are often combined with specific influences such as family, friends or online, and with specific needs for which an extremist or terrorist group may appear to provide an answer. The internet and the use of social media in particular has become a major factor in the radicalisation of young people. As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Staff should 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.
From 1 July 2015, specified authorities, including all schools (and, since 18 September 2015, all colleges) as defined in the summary of this guidance, are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CTSA 2015), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard83 to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty. It applies to a wide range of public-facing bodies. Bodies to which the duty applies must have regard to statutory guidance issued under section 29 of the CTSA 2015. Paragraphs 57-76 of the Revised Prevent duty guidance: for England and Wales are specifically concerned with schools (but also cover childcare). The guidance is set out in terms of four general themes:
The Prevent guidance refers to the importance of Prevent awareness training to equip staff to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas. Individual schools are best placed to assess the training needs of staff in the light of their assessment of the risk to pupils at the school of being drawn into terrorism. As a minimum, however, schools should ensure that the designated safeguarding lead undertakes Prevent awareness training and is able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation.
The Government has launched educate against hate, a website designed to equip school and college leaders, teachers and parents with the information, tools and resources they need to recognise and address extremism and radicalisation in young people. The website provides information on training resources for teachers, staff and school and college leaders, such as Prevent e-learning, via the Prevent Training catalogue.
School and college staff should understand when it is appropriate to make a referral to the Channel programme.85 Channel guidance is available at: Channel guidance. An elearning channel awareness programme for staff is available at: Channel General Awareness. Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for schools to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation. An individual’s engagement with the programme is entirely voluntary at all stages. In addition to information sharing, if a staff member makes a referral to Channel, they may be asked to attend a Channel panel to discuss the individual referred to determine whether support is required. Section 36 of the CTSA 2015 places a duty on local authorities to ensure Channel panels are in place. The panel must be chaired by the local authority and include the police for the relevant local authority area. Following a referral, the panel will assess the extent to which identified individuals are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and, where considered appropriate and the necessary consent is obtained, arrange for support to be provided to those individuals. Section 38 of the CTSA 2015 requires partners of Channel panels to co-operate with the panel in the carrying out of its functions and with the police in providing information about a referred individual. Schools and colleges that are required to have regard to Keeping children safe in education are listed in the CTSA 2015 as partners required to cooperate with local Channel panels.
The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Child sexual exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation: technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm.
An effective approach to online safety empowers a school or college to protect and educate the whole school or college community in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in and escalate any incident where appropriate.
The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:
Filters and monitoring
Governing bodies and proprietors should be doing all that they reasonably can to limit children’s exposure to the above risks from the school or college’s IT system. As part of this process, governing bodies and proprietors should ensure their school or college has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place. Whilst considering their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and provide them with a safe environment in which to learn, governing bodies and proprietors should consider the age range of their pupils, the number of pupils, how often they access the IT system and the proportionality of costs vs risks.
The appropriateness of any filters and monitoring systems are a matter for individual schools and colleges and will be informed in part by the risk assessment required by the Prevent Duty.
The UK Safer Internet Centre has published guidance as to what “appropriate” might look like:
Guidance on e-security is available from the National Education Network-NEN. Buying advice for schools is available here: buying for schools.
Whilst filtering and monitoring are an important part of the online safety picture for schools and colleges to consider, it is only one part. Governors and proprietors should consider a whole school approach to online safety. This will include a clear policy on the use of mobile technology in the school. Many children have unlimited and unrestricted access to the internet via 3G and 4G in particular and the school and college should carefully consider how this is managed on their premises.
Whilst it is essential that governing bodies and proprietors ensure that appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place, they should be careful that “over blocking” does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.
Governors and proprietors should ensure that, as part of the requirement for staff to undergo regularly updated safeguarding training (paragraph 64) and the requirement to ensure children are taught about safeguarding, including online (paragraph 68), that online safety training for staff is integrated, aligned and considered as part of the overarching safeguarding approach.
Information and support
There is a wealth of information available to support schools and colleges to keep children safe online. The following is not exhaustive but should provide a useful starting point: