Safeguarding and Child Protection PolicyDesignated Safeguarding Lead: Mrs. Kathryn Donovan
- Link to Working Together 2015
- Link to Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015
- Link to Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board (GSCB)
- Types of abuse – in download above
- GSCB Escalation Policy – in download above
1.1 The Montagu Academy is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people. As a consequence there is an expectation upon all staff, volunteers and those that work with the Academy to share this commitment. The protection of our students from abuse is the responsibility of all our staff with the best interests of the child as the overarching principle.
1.2 Although not a statutory partner the Montagu Academy will comply with the framework detailed in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 (Appendix 1), Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 (Appendix 2) and the procedures of Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board (Appendix 3).
1.2 We aim to ensure that all concerns of a child protection nature are handled sensitively, professionally and in ways that support the specific needs of the individual child. Through providing a caring, safe and stimulating environment which promotes the social, physical and moral development of all our students, we aim to foster an atmosphere of trust, respect and security.
1.3 This policy will be reviewed by the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) annually.
2.0 What Montagu Academy staff should know and do
2.1 Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this policy 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; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
2.2 ‘Child’ includes everyone under the age of 18.
2.3 Where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action will be taken to protect that child. Action should also be taken to promote the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or are at immediate risk.
2.4 It is recognised that Montagu Academy staff will often find themselves working alone with children. We recognise that this is a regulated activity and as such all our staff will be subject to an enhanced CRB check. In addition there is a responsibility upon the employee to bring to the attention of the DSL any issue that might cast doubt on either their suitability to work with children or damage the reputation of the Academy. This in no way dilutes the corporate responsibility of the Academy but rather reinforces the clear message of personal responsibility and accountability.
2.5 All adults in the Academy who come into contact with children and their families have a responsibility to safeguard children. Academy staff are important as they are in a position to potentially identify concerns early and provide help for children, to prevent concerns from escalating. Academy staff form part of a wider safeguarding system for children, as described in the statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015. Academy staff will, therefore, work together with Social Care, Education, the Police, Health services and other services to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.
2.6 All staff has a responsibility to identify children who may be in need of extra help or who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. All staff then has a responsibility to take appropriate action, working with other services as needed. All staff members will also receive appropriate child protection training which is regularly updated. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will undergo enhanced safeguarding Multi-Agency training as ratified and supported by Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board (GSCB).
3.0 The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
3.1 The role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead is to: –
3.1.1 Ensure child protection procedures are in place and updated as appropriate.
3.1.2 Provide support to staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties and to liaise closely with other services such as children’s social care.
3.1.3 Be available to provide advice & support to staff and for confidential discussion about concerns.
3.1.4 Liaise with the Local Authority and other agencies, as appropriate. (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015)
3.1.5 Keep secure written records of concerns about children and action taken, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.
3.1.6 Be the first point of contact for external agencies that are pursuing Child Protection investigations.
3.1.7 Co-ordinate the Academy’s representation at Child Protection conferences and Core Group meetings and the submission of written reports for conferences
3.1.8 Facilitate Safeguarding Practice Reflection – appropriate supervision & after care for all staff who are involved in child protection cases.
4.0 What Academy staff should do if they have concerns about a child
4.1 All Academy staff members should be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection. Staff members working with children are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the best interests of the child.
4.2 If staff members have concerns about a child they should raise these with the DSL. This also includes situations of abuse which may involve staff members. The safeguarding lead will usually decide whether to make a referral to children’s social care, but it is important to note that any staff member can refer their concerns to children’s social care directly.
4.3 If a student begins to disclose any matter involving alleged abuse, whether physical, emotional or sexual (See Appendix D for further information on types of abuse), to a member of staff, staff should follow the following guidelines:
4.3.1 Stay calm and reassuring
4.3.2 Explain that you cannot promise confidentiality. You may have to inform the DSL.
4.3.3 Listen to the student rather than directly question them.
4.3.4 Do not press them for details or ask leading questions, but ensure that questioning provides a clear understanding of context.
4.3.5 Ask the student if they have told anyone else.
4.3.6 Write a detailed account, in the student’s own words, dated, timed and signed.
4.3.7 Inform the DSL and hand them the detailed account as this may be needed as evidence in court.
4.3.8 Assure the student that they have done the right thing and you know how difficult it is to talk about such experiences.
4.3.9 The key task at this moment is to listen to the student and not interrupt if he or she is freely recalling significant events, and to make a note of all that is said to be passed to the DSL. Staff should also be aware that noted recordings of the discussion may need to be used in any subsequent court proceedings and may be made available to the student’s parents at a later date.
4.4 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. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.
4.5 Occasionally situations arise when workers within one agency feel that the decision made by a worker from another agency on a child protection or child in need case is not a safe decision. The safety of individual children is the paramount consideration in any professional disagreement and any unresolved issues should be addressed with due consideration to the risks that might exist for the child (Appendix E for process flowchart and GSCB website for full process).
5.1 If a student requests confidentiality they must be told that this cannot be promised and it should be explained that staff have a responsibility to share information with those adults who will be able to help protect them from harm. They should be reassured that only staff that needs to know about it will be told. This could result in the student not continuing the conversation, in which case do not pursue the matter and report concerns to the DSL.
5.2 In relation to ‘consent’ staff may need to act without parental consent in order to protect a child from harm. The DSL will liaise with police colleagues and children’s services if required.
5.3 Staff should take care not to discuss information given in confidence outside the appropriate professional contexts. The DSL will disclose any information about a student to other members of staff on a need to know basis only. Where staff are directly involved with a case, they will be updated on the outcome, ensuring that they have any necessary information to further safeguarding the child.
6.0 Allegations of abuse made against our staff
6.1 We understand that a student or child may make an allegation against a member of staff. If such an allegation is made, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the DSL. If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the DSL the matter will be discussed directly with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
6.2 The DSL should immediately discuss the allegation with the LADO. The purpose of an initial discussion is for the LADO to consider the nature, content and context of the allegation and to agree a course of action. Any relevant additional information, history will be provided. There may be situations when police are involved, for example if the person is deemed to be an immediate risk to children and there is evidence of a possible criminal offence. (Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2015, Part 4)
6.3 Further information about the process can be found at Appendix F.
7.0 Allegations of abuse made against other children
7.1 Any allegations of abuse made against other children will be managed via our DSL who will take immediate advice from Children’s Services professionals.
8.1 Staff should acknowledge their individual responsibilities to bring matters of concern to the attention of the DSL and/or relevant external agencies. This is particularly important where the welfare of children may be at risk. This means that staff should report any behaviour by colleagues that raises concern regardless of the source.
9.0 Physical intervention
9.1 The use of physical intervention should, wherever possible, be avoided. It should only be used to manage a child or a young person’s behaviour if it is necessary to prevent personal injury to the child, other children or an adult, to prevent serious damage to property or in what would reasonably be regarded as exceptional circumstances. When physical intervention is used it should be undertaken in such a way that maintains the safety and dignity of all concerned.
9.2 Any incident of safe handling must be recorded as soon as practicable, for incidents to be tracked and monitored.
9.3 When supporting a young person in distress adults should:
9.3.1 Consider the way in which they offer comfort and reassurance to a distressed child and does it in an age appropriate way.
9.3.2 Be circumspect in offering reassurance in one to one situations, and always record actions.
9.3.3 Never touch a child in a way which may be considered indecent.
9.3.4 Record and report situations which may give rise to concern from either party.
9.3.5 Not assume that all children seek physical comfort if they are distressed.
10.0 One to One Situations
10.1 One to one situations have the potential to make a young person more vulnerable to harm by those who seek to exploit their position of trust. Adults working in one to one settings with children and young people may also be more vulnerable to unjust or unfounded allegations being made against them. Both possibilities should be recognised so that when one to one situations are unavoidable, reasonable and sensible precautions are taken. Every attempt should be made to ensure the safety and security of children and young people and the adults who work with them.
10.2 This means that adults should:
10.2.1 Ensure that when lone working is an integral part of their role, full and appropriate risk assessments have been conducted and agreed.
10.2.2 Avoid meetings with a child or young person in remote, secluded areas.
10.2.3 Always inform other colleagues and/or parents/carers about the contact beforehand, assessing the need to have them present or close by.
10.2.4 Avoid use of ‘engaged’ or equivalent signs wherever possible, such signs may create an opportunity for secrecy or the interpretations of secrecy
10.2.5 Always report any situation where a child becomes distressed or angry.
10.2.6 Carefully consider the needs and circumstances of the child / children when in one to one situations.
10.3 Meetings with children and young people outside agreed working arrangements should not take place.
11.0 Transporting children
11.1 There will be occasions when adults are expected or asked to transport children as part of their duties. Adults, who are expected to use their own vehicles for transporting children will ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy, appropriately insured and that the maximum capacity is not exceeded.
11.2 A record of driving licence and insurance details will be held by the Academy for all employees and any change of circumstances brought to the attention of the principle.
11.3 It is inappropriate for adults to offer lifts to a child or young person outside of their normal working duties, unless this has been brought to the attention of the Principle and has been agreed with parents. Impromptu or emergency arrangements of lifts must be recorded and be able to be justified.
12.1 Working with children and young people may involve the taking and recording of images. Any such work should take place with due regard to the law and the need to safeguard the privacy, dignity, safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Informed written consent from parents or carers and agreement, where possible, from the child or young person, should always be sought before an image is taken by staff for any purpose.
12.2 Adults should:
12.2.1 Be clear about the purpose of the images and what will happen to them when the activity is concluded
12.2.2 Be able to justify images of children in their possession
12.2.3 Avoid making images in one to one situations or which show a single child with no surrounding content
12.2.4 Ensure the child / young person understands why the images are being taken and has agreed to the activity and that they are appropriately dressed
12.2.5 Report any concerns about any inappropriate or intrusive photographs found
12.2.6 Ensure that they have parental permission to take and/or display photographs
12.3 Adults should not:
12.3.1 Display or distribute images of children unless they have consent to do so from parents/carers
12.3.2 Take images ‘in secret’, or take images in situations that may be construed as being secretive.
12.4 It is not appropriate for adults to take photographs of children for their personal use
13.0 Showers and Changing
13.1 Adults should:
13.1.1 Avoid any physical contact when children are in a state of undress
13.1.2 Avoid any visually intrusive behaviour
13.1.3 Where there are changing rooms announce their intention of entering
13.2 Adults should not:
13.2.1 Change in the same place as children
13.2.2 Shower or bathe with children
13.2.3 Assist with personal care tasks which a child/young person can undertake by themselves
14.0 Sharing information
14.1 All Academy staff is expected to treat information they receive about children and young people in a discreet and confidential manner and should seek advice from the DSL if they are in any doubt about sharing information they hold or which has been requested of them.
14.2 Everyone needs to know the procedures for handling allegations against staff and to whom any concerns or allegations should be reported and be familiar with local child protection arrangements.
14.3 The eight principles within the Data Protection Act 1998 will govern the way that Montagu Academy staff share information. They must make sure the information is:
14.3.1 used fairly and lawfully
14.3.2 used for limited, specifically stated purposes
14.3.3 used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
14.3.5 kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
14.3.6 handled according to people’s data protection rights
14.3.7 kept safe and secure
14.3.8 not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection
15.0 Sexual contact
15.1 All adults should clearly understand the need to maintain appropriate boundaries in their contacts with children and young people. Intimate or sexual relationships between children/young people and the adults who work with them will be regarded as a grave breach of trust. Allowing or encouraging a relationship to develop in a way which might lead to a sexual relationship is also unacceptable.
15.2 Any sexual activity between an adult and the child or young person with whom they work may be regarded as a criminal offence and will always be a matter for disciplinary action. This means that adults should not:
15.2.1 have sexual relationships with children and young people
15.2.2 have any form of communication with a child or young person which could be interpreted as sexually suggestive, or provocative i.e. verbal comments, letters, notes, electronic mail, phone calls, texts, physical contact
15.2.3 make sexual remarks to or about, a child /young person
15.2.4 discuss their own sexual relationships with or in the presence of children or young people
15.3 This means that adults should:
15.3.1 Ensure that their relationships with children and young people clearly take place within the boundaries of a respectful professional relationship.
15.3.2 Take care that their language or conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought, particularly when members of staff are dealing with adolescent boys and girls.
16.0 First Aid and Administration of Medication
16.1 The Academy will ensure that there are trained and named individuals to undertake first aid responsibilities and that training is regularly monitored and updated.
16.2 In circumstances where children need medication regularly a health care plan would be established to ensure the safety and protection of children and adults who are working with them. Depending upon the age and understanding of the child, they should be encouraged to self-administer medication or treatment including, for example, any ointment, use of inhalers.
17.0 Behaviour Management
17.1 All children and young people have a right to be treated with respect and dignity even in those circumstances where they display difficult or challenging behaviour.
17.2 This means that adults should:
17.2.1 Not use force as a form of punishment
17.2.2 Try to defuse situations before they escalate
17.2.3 Inform parents of any behaviour management techniques used
17.2.4 Be mindful of factors which may impact upon a child or young person’s behaviour. E.g. bullying, abuse and where necessary take appropriate action.
17.2.5 Where a child has specific needs in respect of particularly challenging behaviour, a positive handling plan / risk assessment may be drawn up and agreed by all parties.
18.0 Dress and Appearance
18.1 A person’s dress and appearance are matters of personal choice and self-expression. However adults should dress in ways which are appropriate to their role and this will need to be different to how they dress when not at work. This means that adults should wear clothing which is not likely to be viewed as offensive, revealing, or sexually provocative. Dress should not distract, cause embarrassment or give rise to misunderstanding. Dress must be absent of any political or otherwise contentious slogans.
19.0 Propriety and Behaviour
19.1 All adults working with children and young people have a responsibility to maintain public confidence in their ability to safeguard the welfare and best interests of children and young people.
19.2 Adults should not:
19.2.1 Behave in a manner which would lead any responsible person to question their suitability to work with children or act as a role model.
19.2.2 Make, or encourage others to make, unprofessional personal comments which scapegoat, demean or humiliate, or which might be interpreted as such
19.3 This means that adults should be aware that behaviour in their personal lives may impact upon their work with children and young people.
20.2 B – Keeping Children Safe in Education
20.4 D – Types of abuse
In order to identify and assess the risks to any children, the following
definitions should be understood by Academy staff;
20.4 D 1 Physical abuse is anything that causes physical harm to a child including fabricated or induced illness whereby a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, ill health in a child.
20.4 D 2 Emotional abuse is the persistent maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It can include seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another, for example the witnessing of the domestic abuse of a parent/carer.
20.4 D 3 Sexual abuse can involve forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily through violence and not necessarily with the child’s understanding. These offences can include non-contact activities too, such as the taking of images, encouraging the watching of sexual acts or grooming.
20.4 D 4 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 the failure to provide adequate food, clothing or shelter. Neglect is a very broad term and can include failing to protect the child, failing to provide adequate supervision, failing to provide medical care and failing to look after a child’s basic emotional needs. It is also the hardest form of abuse to spot. It is therefore particularly important that officers have this at the forefront of their minds when dealing with incidents where children are present.