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Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy

MARVELS LANE PRIMARY SCHOOL

CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFEGUARDING POLICY

Introduction

At Marvels Lane we have a primary responsibility for the care, welfare and safety of our pupils. We aim to provide a caring, supportive and safe environment in which all children can be the best that they can be in all that they do.

We acknowledge that children can be subject to significant harm and/or abuse physically, emotionally, sexually or through neglect.

The purpose of this and connected policies is to ensure that we do all that we can to: prevent children experiencing harm; protect them if harm or abuse is suspected or happening; support those who may have been abused.

This policy applies to all employees and volunteers working at Marvels Lane School.

Definitions

The following definitions of abuse are currently in use:

Neglect:

The persistent or severe neglect of a child, or the failure to protect the child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold or starvation, or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.

The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in a 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 or shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical harm 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.

Physical abuse:

Actual or likely physical injury to a child or failure to prevent physical injury (or suffering) to a child including deliberate poisoning, suffocation and fabricated or induced illness.

This 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 of a child.

Sexual abuse:

Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child may be dependent and/or developmentally immature.

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.

Emotional abuse:

Actual or likely severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. This category should be used where it is the sole or main form of abuse.

This form of abuse is 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 over protection 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, although it may occur alone.

Harm means ill treatment or the impairment of health or development; development means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behaviour development. Health means physical or mental health. Ill-treatment includes sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment which are not physical. Harm now also includes the impairment of a child’s health or development as a result of witnessing the ill treatment of another person.

Abuse is 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. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.

Female Genital Mutilation:

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a collective term for all procedures involving the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for cultural or other non therapeutic reasons. The procedure is typically performed on girls aged between four and 13 years, but in some cases FGM is performed on new born infants or on young women before pregnancy. The age at which girls undergo FGM varies according to the community. FGM is illegal in the United Kingdom (UK) and carries a 14 year jail sentence. It is also illegal to take a child abroad to undergo FGM. FGM is considered child abuse in the UK and causes physical, psychological and sexual harm.

At Marvels Lane Primary School, all staff and volunteers working in our school are:

  • Vigilant to the risk of it being practiced
  • Alert to the signs of potential or actual abuse
  • Aware of the guidance that is available in respect of FGM

We take this abuse very serious and will take timely and appropriate action in respect of concerns about any child suspected of to be at risk or to have undergone FGM

For information on Child Sexual Exploitation and Female Genital Mutilation – reference is  made to the Statutory Guidance on Keeping Children Safe in Education (April 2016).

Extremism:

As part of our safeguarding ethos, we encourage pupils to respect the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We ensure that partisan political views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject in the school and where political issues are brought to the attention of the pupils; reasonably practicable steps have been taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to pupils.

Any information that we are given we will address by passing on to the appropriate persons.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Governing Body has:

~ appointed the Headteacher – Edward Dove – to be the Designated Lead Person for child protection;

~ appointed 2 additional staff members to be part of the safeguarding team

–  Deputy Designated Person – (situation vacant)

–  Additional Person – Jackie Cariello – also Designated Lead Trained.

~ appointed a link governor for Safeguarding and Looked after Children – Christine Turner – also Designated

Lead Trained

~ responsibility for the effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of this policy.

The Headteacher, as Designated Lead Person, will work together with the ‘Safeguarding Team’, comprising of the Headteacher, the Deputy Designated Person (situation vacant) and the Pupil Parent Support Worker to:

~ ensure that procedures for child protection (see below) are in place, made known to all staff and followed;

~ ensure that the School Central Record is in place and up to date and that all relevant checks have been carried out for all existing / new / temporary staff, visitors and volunteers;

~ ensure that all staff undertake relevant training in child protection procedures;

~ ensure that the school contributes to inter-agency working;

~ monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of this policy

The Deputy Designated Person, will:

~ act as the primary contact for outside professionals and parents;

~ attend all Case Conferences and other professional meetings where possible / relevant, maintaining a central record of attendance;

~ provide relevant information to appropriate professionals in the best interests of the child

~ ensure that all paper work is up to date and kept in a secure place.

~ ensure that relevant paperwork and/or other information is passed on or collected for children

leaving the school or joining as casual admissions.

~ convene ‘Team Around the Child’ (TAC) meetings and/or take on Lead Professional role, as  appropriate.

In the event of any of the above staff being absent, roles and responsibilities will be covered by other trained personnel from within the safeguarding and/or leadership teams.

The Link Governor will attend safeguarding meetings on a regular basis.

All school personnel should:

~ be fully aware of the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Physical Contact Policy together with the policies listed at the end of this policy and follow the procedures therein.

Prevention

We aim to prevent children experiencing harm through creating a positive, caring environment in which all children feel safe. At any time children do not feel safe they should feel confident to speak to any member of staff in the knowledge that they will be listened to. Furthermore, that the appropriate person/people will make all reasonable efforts to investigate, solve and/or deal with the problem.

Safeguarding, child protection and safer recruitment procedures will be well publicised and followed which, along with school security arrangements will create a culture of safety and vigilance throughout the school.

Child Protection

We aim to protect children from harm by ensuring the following procedures are followed:

If any member of staff or other adult connected with the school has a concern, suspicion or evidence that a child is being abused or experiencing harm they must inform the Designated Person (or other member of the safeguarding team) immediately. That person will then, with the help of further investigation and/or advice from the safeguarding team, determine what action is required, including a referral to the relevant Child Protection agency if required.

The concern, reasons for concern and any resulting action will be recorded on an internal purple incident sheet.  In the case of any referrals to outside agencies, the child’s parents will be informed unless it is felt that this will place the child at greater risk.

All staff should be aware of these procedures as well as the different categories of abuse and be vigilant in looking out for possible signs thereof. If in doubt, they should discuss their concerns with any member of the safeguarding team or their line manager and record their concerns on a purple sheet. In the case of disclosures, staff should follow the ‘Basic Guidelines re Disclosures’. When recording information, staff should be careful to record facts and, wherever possible, the child’s own words –   they should make it very clear if they have paraphrased or included any of their own opinion. It is not a member of staff’s responsibility to investigate any concern.

Throughout this process, confidentiality is an issue that needs to be understood by all those involved.

All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to observe confidentiality at all times but that they have a duty to share information with relevant professionals and other agencies in order to safeguard children. Consequently, staff should not promise total confidentiality to a child, rather the child should be reassured that only those that need to know will be informed. The Head Teacher or Deputy Designated Person for Safeguarding will disclose any information about a child or a young person to other members of staff on a need to know basis. Where safeguarding or child protection concerns are identified for a specific child this information will be held securely in a central record and a confidential pupil record within a locked cabinet.

In the case of referrals to outside agencies the deputy designated person, or other member of the safeguarding team, will work in close cooperation with other professionals and/or members of the ‘team around the child/family’. A Common Assessment Form will be completed and other relevant information will be transferred. A member of the safeguarding team will attend all Case Conferences and other relevant meetings whenever possible in the best interest of the child.

The safeguarding team will meet half termly. Its primary purpose is to review all purple sheets and identify any patterns, cross reference concerns with other information (e.g. attendance, attainment), review and evaluate any action, monitor previous/ongoing cases and discuss/identify/make decisions on any further action that might be required. The team will also ensure the delivery of the SDP action plan for safeguarding.

The Deputy Designated Person will report to the Link Governor for Child Protection and Safeguarding on a regular basis, at least termly.

Support

We also aim to support those children who may have experienced or witnessed harm or abuse.

Such children may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth and to view the world in a positive way. School may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in their lives. We also recognise that such children may at times exhibit challenging and defiant behaviour and careful note of the context of such behaviour will be taken.

We aim to support the child through a broad, irresistible curriculum that offers a range of opportunities for success within a caring and secure environment. Additional support, including counseling, can be offered within school with a specific aim to develop resilience and a sense of being valued. If necessary, we will also liaise with and access individual or family support from other agencies.

We also aim to support those members of staff who may have experienced or witnessed harm or abuse by signposting them to the appropriate outside agency.

Training

The Head Teacher will ensure that he, as Designated Person, the Deputy Designated Person, Pupil Parent Support Worker and Governor with special responsibility for child protection receive specific training relevant to their role. The school also ensures that all its employees are kept informed about and understand child protection issues through a programme of staff Inset.

It is required that the Designated Persons for Safeguarding and Child Protection undertakes training in inter agency working and refresher training at two yearly intervals.

All other staff (including Governors) who work with children, should undertake training to equip them to carry out their responsibilities for Child Protection effectively and this should be updated at three year intervals.

Training includes locally agreed inter-agency meetings put in place by the LCSB.

Safer Recruitment

It is vital that we adopt recruitment and selection procedures that help to deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children, or are otherwise unsuited to work with them. To this end the Headteacher and at least one governor will attend and keep up to date with relevant safer recruitment training.

When we are recruiting for new posts we will:

~ ensure that the advert and job description make reference to the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children;

~ ensure that the person specification includes specific reference to suitability to work with children;

~ obtain, scrutinise comprehensive information from applicants, and take up and satisfactorily resolve any discrepancies or anomalies;

~ obtain independent professional and character references that answer specific questions to help assess an applicant’s suitability to work with children and follow up any concerns from this. Where possible these references will be sought prior to interview;

~ conduct face to face interviews that explore the candidate’s suitability to work with children as well as his/her suitability to the post. During this interview we will ask specific questions concerning safeguarding and refer to any concerns raised by references;

~ verify the successful applicant’s identity, and professional qualifications claimed;

~ verify the candidate’s mental health and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities

~ verify the person’s right to work in the UK

~ check on previous employment history and experience;

~ ensure that the candidate has an up to date DBS check and also refer to List 99;

~ use the DCSF Recruitment and Selection Checklist;

~ offer appointments on condition that all pre appointment checks are satisfied.

Single Central Record

The School Designated Lead and School Business Manager will maintain a Single Central Record of all staff, governors, volunteers and other relevant personnel with due regard to the most up-to-date best practice.

The Link Governor will monitor this document termly.

Volunteers

Volunteers who have unsupervised access to children are required to have an enhanced DBS check before they commence their duties.

All new governors are required to have enhanced DBS checks no later than 21 days after their appointment.

Disqualification by Association

All staff, including new staff, covered by the ‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006’ will have been briefed as to their duties and responsibilities regarding Disqualification by Association. They will also have signed a letter confirming that they understand these duties. The school will keep a record of this internally and on the Single Central Record. The Headteacher will follow local and national guidelines in any case in which a member of staff discloses that they might be liable to being disqualified by association.

Allegations Against a Member of Staff

A child protection allegation involving a member of staff must be reported to the Headteacher immediately. An allegation can be made by a child or another member of staff as per the school’s Whistle-Blowing Policy. If the complaint involves the Headteacher then the next most senior member of staff must be informed who will inform the Chair of Governors and together they will ensure that the necessary action is taken. Following consultation with the LA Safeguarding Officer, an investigation will take place and a decision will be made as to further action. This may involve a multi-agency strategy meeting to look at the complaint in its widest context and/or the member of staff being removed from duties involving direct contact with children. The member of staff may also be suspended from all duties as a precautionary measure pending investigation by Social Services or the Police. Decisions resulting from any investigations will be made by the Headteacher and/or the governors’ Disciplinary Committee. All relevant parties will be kept informed, as appropriate, throughout the process.

Further guidance can also be obtained from the Statutory Guidance for Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016).

This policy is a working document and will be reviewed by governors and staff on a regular basis.

All staff should be fully aware of the contents of this policy and other related policies including Physical Contact, Behaviour, Complaints, First Aid, E-Safety and Whistleblowing.

                                                                                                                                   September 2016

Click here to download our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.