Keeping your Child Safe
What is Safeguarding?
The Governors and staff of Somerset Nursery School and Children’s Centre fully recognise the responsibilities and duty placed upon them to have arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of all pupils at the school. We recognise that all staff, including volunteers, have a full and active part to play in protecting pupils from harm.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
We believe that our school should provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment in which pupils can learn and which promotes the social, physical and emotional wellbeing of each individual pupil, and which takes a child-centred approach.
The school recognises its responsibilities and duties to report Child Protection concerns to the social work service within Children’s Services and to assist Children’s Services in Child Protection enquiries and in supporting Children in Need.
This policy is in line with the London Child Protection Procedures 2017 (5th edition amended October 2017), Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018.
The school will raise Child Protection / Safeguarding concerns with parents / carers at the earliest appropriate opportunity, and work in partnership with them and other agencies to improve outcomes.
The school will ensure that all staff are provided with the appropriate training in Child Protection and Safeguarding issues, including Early Help processes, as recommended in the guidance. In particular the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) will have their role explicitly stated in their job descriptions and will be released to attend the necessary enhanced training courses to enable them to carry out their role effectively. Designated leads will also ensure that all staff are provided with Part One of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 guidance and assisted to understand and discharge their roles and responsibilities as set out in this guidance.
Project Tearose is an information sharing agreement between the Metropolitan Police and Wandsworth Borough Schools. Our school has signed up to this agreement.
If police have responded to a domestic incident and there are children in the family, the officers working on project Tearose will disclose this incident to the child’s school the following morning (Monday to Friday). The actual content of the information shared is kept to the minimum, i.e. outlining the offence, but without specific details.
At each school the information is shared securely with the Designated Safeguarding Leads, and is treated as sensitive and confidential.
Research shows that children who are involved or who have witnessed domestic abuse are more at risk of emotional harm and potentially physical harm. The information is shared in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child, and so that support can be offered to the child if necessary. The school is part of the network available to support the family and child.
All staff are required to read this policy carefully and to be aware of their role in these processes. All new staff will have the opportunity to discuss safeguarding requirements and this policy during their induction process.
- To raise awareness of all school staff of the need to safeguard all children and of their responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse
- To emphasise the need for good communication between all members of staff in matters relating to child protection
- To develop a structured procedure within the school which will be followed by all members of the school community in cases of suspected abuse
- To provide a systematic means of monitoring pupils known or thought to be at risk of significant harm or where there are ongoing concerns
- To work openly and in partnership with parents in relation to child protection concerns
- To support all pupils’ development in ways that will foster security, confidence and independence
- To promote safe practice and challenge poor and unsafe practice
- To further develop and promote effective working relationships with other agencies involved with safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
- To ensure that all adults working within our school have been checked as to their suitability to work with children, in line with current guidance
- To integrate opportunities into the curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse, allowing for continuity and progression through the key stages
- To take account of and inform policy in related areas, such as anti-bullying; online safety; discipline and behaviour; health and safety; child on child abuse; missing children; child sexual exploitation; FGM; violence in the name of honour; anti-radicalisation; positive handling and physical intervention procedures; procedures for dealing with allegations against staff and recruitment practice
- Child abuse is taken to refer to any child of under 18 years who, through the actions of adults (with a caring role for that child) or their failure to act, has suffered or is at risk of suffering significant 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 (eg via the internet). They may be abused by adults or another child or children
- Behaviours such as alcohol and substance misuse, truanting and sexting put children at risk or in danger and safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer-on-peer abuse, including cyber-bullying and gender-based violence / sexual assaults
- Abuse is broadly divided into four categories:- Neglect, Physical Injury, Sexual Abuse and Emotional Abuse. Brief definitions are given below. Guidance for recognising the indicators of possible abuse are attached as Appendix 3.
- 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. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care and treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
- 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 feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a child who they are looking after. This situation is now known as illness fabricated or induced by carer (previously Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy).
- Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or a young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e,g rape) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at pornographic material or watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
- Emotional abuse is the persistent ill treatment 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 the other person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve 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 ill treatment of a child although it may occur alone.
It is important to recognise that many children will be living (or may have lived) in families where Domestic Abuse is a factor, and that these situations have a harmful impact on children emotionally, as well as placing them at risk of physical harm. The definition of Domestic abuse is below
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual; or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and / or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact, it can also occur through the use of technology.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a girl being at risk of FGM, or already having suffered FGM. There is a range of potential indicators that a child or young person may be at risk of FGM, which individually may not indicate risk but if there are two or more indicators present this could signal a risk to the child or young person. Victims of FGM are likely to come from a community that is known to practise FGM. Professionals should note that girls at risk of FGM may not yet be aware of the practice or that it may be conducted on them, so sensitivity should always be shown when approaching the subject.
FGM is illegal in the UK and there is a mandatory duty on schools to report cases of FGM to the police.
Children Who Go Missing From Home or Care are particularly vulnerable and may be at significant risk at times. The immediate risks associated with going missing include:
- No means of support or legitimate income – leading to high risk activities
- Involvement in criminal activities
- Victim of Abuse
- Victim of crime, for example through sexual assault and exploitation
- Alcohol/substance misuse
- Deterioration of physical and mental health
- Missing out on schooling and education
- Increased vulnerability
Longer-term risks include:
- Long-term drug dependency / alcohol dependency
- Disengagement from education
- Child sexual exploitation
- Poor physical and/or mental health.
Children Missing From Education: all children, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to a full-time education which is suitable to their age, ability and aptitude and any special educational needs they may have. A child going missing from education, or not attending it regularly, is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect. We will follow the required procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children who go missing from education, including appropriate notification to the Local Authority. We will also ensure staff are alert to the potential risks of poor or non attendance and cessation of attendance, including the signs to look out for and triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential concerns such as travelling to war zones, FGM and forced marriage.
Prevent: all schools must have due regard to the need to prevent pupils from being drawn into terrorism or being radicalised. We will ensure that staff are provided with appropriate training and information to enable them to assess the risk of children being drawn into extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology and identify any child who may be at risk and how to support them. We will also ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school. Concerns will be discussed with the child’s parents whenever possible and with the Local Authority Prevent co-ordinator and referrals made to the Channel programme when appropriate.
- We believe that all children have a right to be protected from harm and /or abuse
- We recognise that abuse and neglect are complex issues and rarely stand alone events and therefore require a culture of vigilance, professional curiosity and respectful challenge and effective recording and monitoring systems
- We recognise that abuse occurs in all cultures, religions and social classes and that staff need to be sensitive to the many differing factors which need to be taken into account depending on the child’s cultural and social background when dealing with CP and safeguarding issues. However we also recognise that the needs of the child are paramount and any concerns will be referred on appropriately whatever the family background of the child concerned.
- We recognise that because of the day to day contact with children school staff are extremely well placed to observe outward signs of abuse
- We recognise that a child who is abused or witnesses abuse or violence may find it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self-worth, they may feel helpless and humiliated and may feel self blame.
- We recognise that the school may provide the only stability in the lives of children who have been abused or are at risk of harm.
- We accept that research shows that the behaviour of a child in these circumstances may range from that which is perceived as normal to that which is overtly aggressive, disturbed or withdrawn.
- We know that it is important that children feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are sensitively listened to, and that children know that there are adults in school whom they can approach if they are worried or unhappy.
- We acknowledge that (although all designated / key staff have the skills and experience to respond to a variety of situations and issues) there may be occasions where it will be appropriate to consider whether specific or additional arrangements need to be put in place where an issue is particularly sensitive due to gender issues or cultural or faith issues. This ensures that in cases of sexual abuse in particular, a pupil can be spoken to by a same sex member of staff (who has received enhanced training) if this is felt to be appropriate.
- We adhere to the principles of working in partnership with those who hold parental responsibility for each child.
- The prime concern at all times must be the welfare and safety of the child. Where there is a conflict between the needs of the child and the parent/carer, the interests of the child must be paramount.
- The ethos of the school supports open practice, good communication and a safe culture in which children can thrive and learn.
- All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and know that these concerns will be taken seriously by the leadership team and dealt with sensitively and appropriately
Our school procedures are in line with those agreed by the Wandsworth Safeguarding Children Board, the LA and the Secretary of State (see Appendix 1 for details of relevant procedural and guidance documents)
We will therefore ensure that
- We have a designated member of staff who has received appropriate training and support for this role, in accordance with mandatory requirements.
- We have a minimum of one additional member of staff who will act in the absence of the designated member of staff and has also received appropriate training for this role.
- We will ensure designated staff attend training and receive relevant updates every year and all staff are provided with training at induction and thereafter on a regular basis including safeguarding briefings and updates at least annually
- Induction and refresher training for staff members will include the school’s behaviour policy and procedures for children missing education as well as the staff code of conduct and this CP / safeguarding policy
- The roles of the designated safeguarding leads are explicit in their job descriptions
- Every member of staff, volunteer and governor knows the name of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) and their role and what the back up arrangements are if the DSL is unavailable.
- We will ensure that staff have access to a DSL at all times during the school day so that they can report concerns and seek advice / guidance if required
- All staff are familiar with the school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy as well as the staff code of conduct and that these issues are included in the induction for each new staff member
- All staff develop their understanding of signs and indicators of abuse and report any concerns to the designated lead but know that they can also refer direct to Children’s Services (Social Services) if needed
- We will ensure that all staff are aware that it is important to identify any concerns about children at as early a stage as possible so that their needs can be identified and monitored and appropriate support put in place
- We recognise that there is a variety of expertise within the staff team and will provide opportunities for staff to contribute to and shape safeguarding arrangements and policy
- We are aware of risks to children online and will ensure children are safeguarded in school from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material through appropriate filtering and monitoring systems and educated in how to be as safe as possible online
- When considering referrals to support agencies the school will act in accordance with WSCB Thresholds for Intervention guidance, which is consistent with the London-wide Continuum of Need thresholds
- All staff are aware that they should raise any concerns about colleagues or other adults with the DSL
- All staff know how to respond appropriately to a child who discloses abuse.
- All parents / carers are made aware of the responsibilities of staff members with regard to Child Protection procedures, (for example by including this information in the school prospectus).
- We will request a minimum of three emergency contact numbers for each child as we acknowledge that this is a protective measure for children to enable swift contact with families when necessary
- We will refer any child believed to have suffered or to be likely to suffer significant harm to Children’s Social care without delay, and will follow up any such referral in writing as quickly as possible (on the same day)
- We will ensure the immediate safety of any child felt to be at serious risk by taking appropriate action and by involving other relevant agencies as necessary
- We will carry out risk assessments where required and ensure any assessed risk is appropriately managed and key staff have been provided with the relevant information and with strategies to support safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff members
- We will develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters, including attendance at CP case conferences wherever possible and providing reports as a matter of course (model format attached as appendix 2). We will contribute to multi – agency assessments of children’s needs where appropriate and work in a fully integrated way with other relevant services as appropriate.
- If a child’s situation does not appear to be improving, the school will take responsibility for finding out what is happening and keep pressing for action to be taken
- Written records are kept of all concerns, whether or not there is a need to refer the matter immediately, and that these records are kept securely, separate from the main pupil file, and in locked locations
- All concerns, discussions and decisions made and the reasons for those decisions are recorded in writing.
- All staff members are made aware of the record keeping requirements and how they are expected to record any safeguarding concerns.
- The child’s social worker is notified of any pupil subject to a Child Protection Plan who is absent from school without explanation for more than 2 days
- Any new concern or relevant information about a child subject to a Child Protection Plan will be passed to the child’s allocated social worker without delay
- If a child subject to a Child Protection Plan leaves the school, records will be transferred to the new school without delay and in a secure manner which ensures acknowledgement of receipt of the information. The child’s social worker will also be informed of the change
- If school staff are unsure how to proceed in a potential Child Protection situation, or require advice, this will be appropriately sought via the Education Safeguarding Advisor, a duty manager in IPOC / MASH or directly from the Safeguarding Standards Service. (useful numbers listed in Appendix 5)
EARLY INTERVENTION AND HELP
- All staff recognise that when a child or family may be experiencing difficulties, support is most effective if it is provided at as early a stage as possible
- This involves identifying emerging problems; liaising with the designated lead or other relevant colleagues; sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and acting as lead professional in undertaking an Early Help Assessment (EHA)
- Any concerns will be identified by staff, discussed with relevant colleagues and parents and support put in place. Effective monitoring systems will be used to assess the effectiveness of interventions and outcomes.
- Any child may benefit from Early Help but school staff will be particularly alert to the potential need for support for any pupil who
- is disabled and has specific additional needs;
- has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory education, health and care plan);
- is a young carer;
- is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups;
- is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home;
- is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves;
- Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation;
- is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as substance abuse, adult mental health problems or domestic abuse;
- has returned home to their family from care;
- is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect;
- is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
- is a privately fostered child.
- If appropriate support is not available within school’s own resources, an Early Help Assessment will be completed to identify the child’s needs and enable additional support to be sought from other agencies
- A Team Around the Child will be established where appropriate and a Lead Professional identified
- If Early Help is in place the situation will be kept under constant review and consideration given to additional referrals (eg to social care) if the child’s situation does not appear to be improving
- Early Help Assessments will follow the Signs of Safety and Wellbeing model
We always aim to work in close partnership with parents and carers, working on the best interests of the children. However, if you have any concerns about your child or the centre, please bring them to our attention as soon as possible. We will always take your views seriously and do our best to resolve any problems.
You can talk to any member of staff who will pass your concerns on to the Executive Headteacher if necessary. Alternatively you can talk directly to the Executive Headteacher. We will respond to you as quickly as possible, but please allow us enough time to think carefully about the problem.
If you wish to make a formal complaint there is a procedure to follow. This is set out in the Complaints Policy which you can ask to see at any time and is available in the reception areas of the centre. To contact any one of the Governors please leave a message with the Office, or contact the Chair of Governors.