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Susan Evans Director of Education
Key Safeguarding Colleagues
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Designated LAC Teacher
Children’s social care referrals
Multi agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
This chart explains to staff, volunteers and directors the process of reporting a disclosure and the actions the designated staff must undertake.
Educate U is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff, volunteers and directors to share this commitment.
Educate U will fulfil our local and national responsibilities as laid out in the following key documents:
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021
- Working together to Safeguard Children.
- Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales
Safeguarding children and child protection applies to all children up to the age of 18.
Safeguarding is the action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.
- protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
- preventing harm to children’s health or development
- ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.
Child protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children identified as suffering from, or likely to suffer, significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.
Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.
The purpose of this policy is to inform Directors, staff, parents and volunteers about the school’s responsibilities for safeguarding children and to enable everyone to have a clear understanding of how these responsibilities should be carried out.
We recognise that all adults, including temporary staff and volunteers have a full and active part to play in protecting children from harm and that the child’s welfare is our paramount concern.
All staff members believe that our school should provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment that promotes the social, physical and moral development of the individual child.
Child Protection Statement
This school takes its responsibility to safeguard children extremely seriously and this school will train and empower all staff to recognise and respond effectively to protect a child who may be at risk of significant harm. The school’s approach to safeguarding is child centred and therefore, all staff will consider what is in the best interests of the child at all times. Everyone who comes into contact with a child has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and acting promptly.
It could happen here
We will ensure all staff members will maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ and feel able to raise concerns either about a child at risk or a member of staff whose behaviour may present a risk to a child.
All staff and volunteers are:
- Familiar with this safeguarding policy and have an opportunity to contribute to its review.
- Alert to signs and indicators of safeguarding concerns
- Able to record and report concerns as set out in this policy.
- Able to deal with disclosures of breaches of safeguarding from a child or young person.
- Involved in the implementation of individual education programmes, integrated support plans, child in need plans and interagency child protection plans as required.
Additionally, all staff have read and understood part 1 of the latest Keeping Children Safe in Education. All staff working directly with children have also read Annex A.
- have safeguarding at the heart of everything we do.
- maximise opportunities to teach our children / young people how to keep safe both in the real and virtual world.
- support the child’s development in ways that will foster security, confidence and independence.
- provide an environment in which children and young people feel safe, secure, valued, respected, feel confident.
- ensure that ALL of our children / young people know a member of staff they can talk to if they are worried about something.
- make sure all of our staff, including volunteers know how to contact child protection agencies should they need to.
- provide a systematic means of monitoring children known or thought to be at risk of harm, and ensure we, the school, contribute to assessments of need and support packages for those children.
- emphasise the need for good levels of communication between all members of staff and between the school and other agencies.
- have and regularly review, a structured procedure within the school which will be followed by all members of the school community in cases of suspected abuse.
- develop and promote effective working relationships with other agencies, especially MASH, the Police and Children’s Social Care.
- ensure that all adults within our school who have access to children have been recruited and checked as to their suitability in accordance with Part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021.
- have in place, other, up to date policies which support safeguarding.
Voice of the Child – Working Together to Safeguard Children 2019
Our school recognises the findings in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2019, where children expressed that they wanted an effective safeguarding system to be:
- vigilant: to have adults notice when things are troubling them
- understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon
- stability: to be able to develop an ongoing stable relationship of trust with those helping them
- respect: to be treated with the expectation that they are competent rather than not
- information and engagement: to be informed about and involved in procedures, decisions, concerns and plans
- explanation: to be informed of the outcome of assessments and decisions and reasons when their views have not met with a positive response
- support: to be provided with support in their own right as well as a member of their family
- advocacy: to be provided with advocacy to assist them in putting forward their views
- protection: to be protected against all forms of abuse and discrimination
The school will act in accordance with the following.
Government legislation and guidance
- The Children Act 1989
- The Children Act 2004
- Education Act 2002
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021
- Sexual Violence and sexual harassment between children in school and colleges 2018
- Working Together to Safeguard Children 2019
- Regulated Activity in relation to children: scope
- The Education (Child Information) (England) Regulations 2005
- Prevent Duty for England and Wales (2015) under section 26 of the Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015
- Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015)
- Dealing with Allegations of Abuse against Teachers and Other Staff (2012)
- Children Missing Education Statutory guidance 2016
- Local Safeguarding Children Board Interagency and safeguarding procedures West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board
- as a general principle, all matters relating to child protection are confidential and should only be shared on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
- the Designated Safeguarding Lead will disclose any child protection related information about a child to other members of staff on a need-to-know basis only.
- all staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
- all staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets if doing so might compromise the child’s safety or wellbeing.
- the intention to refer a child to Children’s Social Care will be shared with parents/carers unless to do so could put the child at greater risk of harm or impede a criminal investigation. If in doubt, advice should be sought from the MASH.
We recognise ALL staff have a crucial role to play in supporting children and identifying concerns early and providing help.
Our school will
- establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are listened to
- be aware of the signs of abuse and maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” with regards to child protection
- ensure that children know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried about any problems
- know what to do if a child tells them, they are being abused or neglected
- know how and where to record their concerns and report these to the Designated Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible
- if a child is in immediate danger, know how to refer the matter to Children’s Social Care and/or the police immediately
- support pupils in line with their Child Protection Plan and notify the Designated Safeguarding Lead of any child on a Child Protection Plan who has an unexplained absence
- actively plan opportunities within the curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to assess and manage risk appropriately and keep themselves safe
- be aware of and follow the Sussex Child Protection & Safeguarding Procedures, produced by West Sussex, East Sussex, and Brighton & Hove. This will include the referral process.
- have read and understand Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021. and be alert to signs of abuse and know to whom they should report any concerns or suspicions.
- participate in safeguarding training as part of their induction
- receive safeguarding and child protection updates and training as every term in addition to attending weekly Thursday’s Child meetings and regular updates via the weekly bulletin, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children
- ensure that they know who the Designated and Deputy Safeguarding Lead(s) is/are and how to contact them
- be aware of the early help process and understand their role in it. This includes identifying problems and working effectively with other agencies that provide support to pupils.
- refer to the company Directors if they have concerns about another member of staff
Staff will keep a written record of any incidents and sanctions for any serious pupil disciplinary offences.
Responsibilities of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in its care and to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements within our school to identify, assess, and support children who are, or who may be, suffering harm.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 makes clear that governing bodies and proprietors should have a senior board level or equivalent lead to take leadership responsibility for their school or colleges safeguarding arrangements and to ensure there are appropriate policies and procedures relevant to their particular setting.
As a school we are fully committed to that and will ensure all of our policies and practices enable our school to take action in a timely manner to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children and young people attending Educate U.
Expectations of DSL
DSL – Victoria Read, Headteacher
DDSL – Mark Brown, Mindfulness Lead
- There will be regular review and audit, ensure that any safeguarding deficiencies or weaknesses within the school are remedied without delay.
- Ensure that child protection records are kept securely and separately from other records and are only accessed by staff who need to.
- Ensuring that there are procedures in place to effectively manage allegations against all staff members. In all cases we will follow the guidelines outlined in Part 4 Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021
- All such cases, and in cases of any doubt as to whether the matter reaches threshold for an allegations, advice and guidance must be sought from the local authority designated officer (LADO) BEFORE any internal investigation begins.
- Ensuring that we discharge our responsibilities in respect of adhering to the reporting restrictions imposed by the Education Act 2002 where teachers are under investigation.
- We will also ensure parents and carers are aware of their responsibilities not to publish any information during such investigations as highlighted at paragraph 200 Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 and section 141F of the Education Act 2002.
- Recognising that Directors do not have a role in pursuing or managing the processes associated with individual cases of child protection
- Recognising that Directors do not have a right to know details of such cases, except when exercising their disciplinary functions in respect of allegations against staff
- Making sure all staff are familiar with the contents of part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education, and that all staff have been trained appropriately and that this is updated in line with guidance
- Ensuring that the school is contributing to inter-agency working, which includes providing a coordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified
- Giving consideration as to how children may be taught about safeguarding including online, through teaching and learning opportunities
- Ensuring that the school creates a culture of safe recruitment and as part of that adopt recruitment procedures that help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children.
- Ensuring that the school keeps an up-to-date single central record (SCR) of all staff and volunteers and the dates of all appropriate safeguarding checks and including the detail as suggested within Part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021.
- Monitoring the adequacy of resources committed to child protection and the staff and governor training profile.
- Disqualification by association criteria does not now apply to those working in school and as such we will no longer ask our staff to provide details of those living in the same household cautioned or convicted for certain offences.
- ensuring the school follow the correct procedure for managing professional differences where there is disagreement between the school and other agencies in respect of action taken to keep a child safe.
The NSPCC / TES safeguarding self-assessment is regarded by the Local authority as a useful tool for this purpose https://www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/working-with-schools/esat/
Responsibilities of Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
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 will
- assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling their responsibilities under section 175 or 157 of the Education Act 2002
- attend initial training for their role and refresh this every two year
- keep their knowledge and skills updated through the local safeguarding hub and at least annually
- ensure that all staff know who the Designated Safeguarding Lead is, their role and how to make contact
- ensure that all staff understand their responsibilities in relation to signs of abuse and responsibility to refer any concerns to the designated safeguarding lead. In addition, the Designated Safeguarding Lead should ensure that all staff read and understand Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 (Post Brexit Update 2021)and have a record of when this was done.
- ensure that new staff participate in safeguarding training as part of their induction and that all staff receive safeguarding and child protection updates as required, but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children.
- be the lead for the school when engaging the managing professional difference protocol when there is disagreement between the school and other agencies in respect of action taken to keep a child safe. (See Protocol managing professional differences)
- liaise with relevant curriculum leads in setting to ensure education for safeguarding is considered within all aspects of the curriculum
The Designated Safeguarding Lead is expected to
- refer cases of suspected abuse to the West Sussex MASH. Where a referral is made that notes are completed that same day
- support staff who make referrals to local authority Children’s Social Care
- refer cases to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern as required
- support staff who make referrals to the Channel programme
- refer cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child to the Disclosure and Barring Service as required
- refer cases where a crime may have been committed to the police, via the MASH as required.
- ensure all child protection files are kept separately and securely from other records and accessible only by staff who need to access them for safeguarding purposes.
- liaise with the Board of Directors to inform them of issues, especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigation
- as required liaise with the case manager and where required the LADO, in all cases involving allegations against members of staff (both current and former members of staff) • liaise with staff on matters of safety and safeguarding, and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies • act as a source of support, advice and expertise for staff.
- as well as training all members of staff as above, the DSL and deputies should undergo training to provide them with the skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years.
- the DSL and deputies should undertake Prevent Awareness training and ensure the rest of the staff are trained on induction to the school. Regular updates should be included at least annually in the school’s safeguarding updates.
Designated Safeguarding Lead – continual professional development
The DSL should be afforded time to allow them to keep up to date with any developments relevant to their role, including:
- attending the DSL network termly meetings when organised by the Local Authority
- understanding the assessment process for providing early help and intervention for example, through locally agreed common and shared assessment processes such as early help assessments. Contact details for your local IPEH hub can be found here
- maintaining a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so
- ensuring each member of staff has access to and understands the centre’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff
- being alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers
- keeping detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals separately from the main pupil file and use these records to assess the likelihood of risk. The written records should clearly identify details of the concerns and what action was taken. Records stored electronically will have a different password and shall be protected from the child’s other files and accessible only by the DSL and DDSL.
- supporting the school with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation
- obtaining access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses
- encouraging a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings among all staff, in any measures the school may put in place to protect them
- ensuring that where a pupil transfers from the school and is on a Child Protection Plan or is Looked After, the information is passed to the new school immediately and the child’s social worker informed
- acting as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies
- ensuring that either they attend Child Protection conferences, core groups or other multi-agency planning meetings, contributes to assessments and provides a report which will normally have been shared with the parents
- ensuring that any child who is subject to a child protection plan and who is absent without explanation is referred to their key worker’s social care team. In some cases, any absence may be a cause for concern and warrant immediate reporting.
- ensuring the school’s child protection policy is reviewed annually, the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly
Early help and child protection procedures
If a child is in immediate danger the police must be called by dialling 999.
If a member of staff has concerns about a child.
- the member of staff will report their concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or in their absence, the Deputy Safeguarding Lead.
- the Designated Safeguarding Lead will decide whether the concerns should be referred to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). If there are grounds for actual or suspected significant harm, then a referral will be made to the MASH via telephone in the first instance. If the Designated Safeguarding Lead is unsure about whether a referral is required, they should contact the MASH by telephone for advice.
- if it is decided to make a referral to the MASH this will usually be discussed with the parents, unless to do so would place the child at further risk of harm or could impact on a police investigation (the MASH is able to provide advice on this).
- if it is considered likely that by informing parents / carers of the referral will increase the risk to the child(ren) advice MUST BE SOUGHT FROM MASH before INFORMING the PARENT / CARER.
- the member of staff will make an accurate and detailed recording (which may be used in any subsequent court proceedings) as soon as possible and on the same day. The signed and dated recording must be a clear, precise, factual account of the observations. Do not add comments or opinion although observations about a child’s demeanour or emotional state may be recorded.
- the MASH will require a follow up of any phone call in writing from the referrer. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will ensure that any written referrals are made using the Request for Support form available here and can also be found on the LSCB website.
- the school child protection records must reflect who was spoken to at MASH, the time and date of that contact. The school child protection records must also clearly record any advice given and what steps the school have been taken. Actions should be reviewed, and records updated accordingly.
- particular attention will be paid to the attendance and development of any child for who the school has concerns, or who has been or is the subject of a Child Protection Plan.
If in doubt whether to share information, please take advice from MASH. Further advice on the seven golden rules for sharing information can be found in Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers and guidance.
- staff should not assume a colleague, or another professional is making a referral. It is the duty of the designated lead to take action and ensure information is shared in order to keep a child safe.
- in addition, our school will ensure that all staff, including volunteers and directors, know how to contact MASH in the unlikely event that the DSL or deputy are not available. This will also be the case where any member of staff is concerned that the DSL or deputy is not taking concerns seriously.
- in addition, we encourage all members of staff, including volunteers and governors to recognise and respond to safeguarding concerns which occur in the community and are nothing to do with school in the appropriate manner to by contacting MASH or the NSPCC.
Any child may benefit from early help, but all school and college staff should be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child 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. All West Sussex school and colleges have an allocated early help worker, available via the local Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help (IPEH) hub. A list of which is found here. Our school will work with our early help worker in order to maximise support for those children who may benefit from additional support.
West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board Continuum of Need / Threshold Guidance
Our school will use the Threshold Guidance found here to inform our decision making and which referral pathway to take.
Flowchart for child protection procedures for school and colleges
DSL ensures accurate records are made and all original handwritten notes are retained.
Any staff member can contact MASH if circumstances dictate (DSL/ deputy DSL already deployed on other active safeguarding matters)
Matter is reported to the DSL or deputy DSL.
If child in immediate danger call police 999
The DSL will make a judgement about the situation, using WSSCB Threshold document and either: –
Decides it does not meet threshold for referral. Decides to monitor and work with family and review.
Decides matter is child protection, level 4, and contacts MASH by phone and takes advice.
LOCAL AUTHORITY DESIGNATED OFFICER (LADO)
The LADOs for West Sussex are Miriam Williams and Donna Tomlinson. The Asst. LADO is Sally Arbuckle.
Consultation Contact Number: 0330 222 6450 (Available 09.00 – 17.00)
LADO Service Contact Number: (Available through the MASH) 01403 229900
LADO Service email address: [email protected]
If a member of staff has concerns about another staff member.
- this applies to any member of staff/volunteer whom the staff member has contact with in their personal, professional or community life.
- an allegation is any information which indicates that a member of staff/volunteer may have I behaved in a way that has or may have harmed a child ii. possibly committed a criminal offence against/related to a child iii. behaved towards a child or children in a way which indicates s/he will pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children.
- if staff have concerns about another staff member, then this should be referred to the Head Teacher. If the allegation is against the Head Teacher, then the referral should be made to the Director of Education. If for any reason this causes a delay, then the local authority designated officer (LADO) should be approached directly.
- the person to whom an allegation against another member of staff is first reported, should take the matter seriously and keep an open mind. S/he should not investigate or ask leading questions if seeking clarification. It is important not to make assumptions. Confidentiality should not be promised, and the person should be advised that the concern will be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis only.
Complaints by parents about any aspect of the school MUST be reviewed to ensure there are no allegations against staff contained within the complaint which require referral to LADO.
Allegations against member of staff, including volunteers and Board of Directors.
- making an immediate written record of the allegation using the informant’s words including time, date and place where the alleged incident took place, brief details of what happened, what was said and who was present
- this record should be signed, dated and immediately passed on to the Board of Directors
- the recipient of an allegation must not unilaterally determine its validity and failure to report it in accordance with procedures is a potential disciplinary matter. The DSO will not investigate the allegation themselves, or take written or detailed statements, but will assess and decide whether to refer the concern to the LADO. If there is any doubt as to whether to refer, advice should be taken from the LADO.
- if there are concerns that a child is at risk, the matter must be immediately reported to MASH.
- any records generated in the course of such matters must be retained securely, away from other child protection and personnel records and only be accessed by those who need to for investigation / review purposes.
- guidelines contained within the Pan Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures in respect of managing allegations made against people who work or volunteer with children, found here, must be followed on each occasion. If there is any doubt, then advice must be taken from LADO.
What staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding practices within the school
- all staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the centres safeguarding regime and know that such concerns will be taken seriously by the senior leadership team.
- appropriate whistleblowing procedures, which are suitably reflected in staff training and staff behaviour policies, should be in place for such concerns to be raised with the school’s senior leadership team.
- where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with their employer, or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels may be open to them:
- advice can be taken from LADO
Whistleblowing/ Confidential reporting
We will ensure that all staff members are aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the actions or attitudes of colleagues. If necessary, the member of staff can speak with the Head of school, the Board of Directors or with the LADO.
We will ensure staff are aware of and know how to access West Sussex Confidential Reporting Policy, accessed here and that further assistance for staff to raise concerns can be accessed by calling the NSPCC whistleblowing helpline on 0800 028 0285.
SEN and Disabilities Special Considerations
As a centre, we are aware that children with SEN and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges and expect all staff to recognise:
- assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration.
- being more prone to peer group isolation than other children.
- the potential for children with SEN and disabilities being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs; and
- communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
Children looked after and previously looked after children
- The Directors of this school will ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep looked after children safe.
- In particular, we will ensure that appropriate staff have the information they need in relation to a child’s looked after legal status and contact arrangements with birth parents or those with parental responsibility.
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead will have details of the child’s social worker and the name of the virtual school head in the authority that looks after the child.
- We recognise a previously looked after child potentially remains vulnerable and we will ensure that all staff should have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep previously looked after children safe. When dealing with looked after children and previously looked after children, we will ensure our schoolwork together with other agencies and takes prompt action when necessary, to safeguard these children, who are a particularly vulnerable group.
- Our school will work with the virtual school head to discuss how the school can best support the child and meet the needs of the child’s personal education plan and use any additional resources accordingly.
The use of responsible force in the school
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 recognises that there are circumstances when it is appropriate for staff in school to use reasonable force to safeguard children and young people. The term ‘reasonable force’ covers the broad range of actions used by staff that involve a degree of physical contact to control or restrain children. This can range from guiding a child to safety by the arm, to more extreme circumstances such as breaking up a fight or where a young person needs to be restrained to prevent violence or injury. ‘Reasonable’ in these circumstances means ‘using no more force than is needed’. The use of force may involve either passive physical contact, such as standing between pupils or blocking a pupil’s path, or active physical contact such as leading a pupil by the arm out of the classroom.
A ‘no contact’ policy can leave staff unable to fully support and protect their pupils and students.
Our school recognises 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. Our children are particularly vulnerable to risks of online safety due to this being their preferred way of communication, their understanding of relationships and friendships and, for some, the understanding of online safety from their families. An effective and proactive approach to online safety empowers a school to protect and educate the whole community in their use of technology and establishes mechanisms to identify, intervene in and escalate any incident where appropriate. It also empowers children and young people to make informed choices and keep themselves safe online. Educate U invites the Youth prevention team into school every term with one session focusing on online safety.
The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:
- content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material; for example, pornography, fake news, racist or radical and extremist views.
- contact being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example, commercial advertising as well as adults posing as children or young adults; and
conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example, making, sending and receiving explicit images, or online bullying.
Filters and monitoring
We will do all we reasonably can to limit children’s exposure to the risks outlined above from the centre’s IT system. We will ensure we have the appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place. We will consider our prevent duties when identifying what filters and monitoring to adopt.
Our school recognises that many children have unlimited and unrestricted access to the internet via 3G and 4G. We will carefully consider how this is managed on our premises and issue specific guidance for pupils and staff in respect of this.
Reviewing online safety
We understand that technology in this area evolves and changes rapidly and we will therefore keep the matter under regular review, by for example, using a relevant assessment tool.
As a school we recognise we have many opportunities to teach safeguarding, including online. We are aware of the following resources which could support us. A wide variety of teaching and learning resources s are available both locally and nationally. Some of these are.
- UKCCIS have recently published their Education for a connected world framework. Online safety is a whole school and college issue. The framework aims to support the development of the curriculum and is of particular relevance to PSHCE education and IT. It is designed, however, to be usable across the curriculum and beyond and to be central to a whole school approach to safeguarding and online safety.
- The PSHE Association provides guidance to school on developing their PSHE curriculum including online safety –Accessed here • Parent Zone and Google have developed Be Internet Legends a free internet safety curriculum with PSHE accredited lesson plans and teaching resources for Key Stage 2 pupils.
We recognise the need for staff to undergo regularly updated safeguarding training and the requirement to ensure our children are taught about safeguarding, including online. With that in mind, online safety training for staff will be integrated, aligned and considered as part of our overarching safeguarding approach. It will also be included within our teaching and learning policy and practice. Staff are trained formally every term in addition to giving updates via the weekly bulletin and focused safeguarding in Thursday’s Child.
- Our school recognises that private fostering occurs when a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) is provided with care and accommodation by a person who is not a parent, person with parental responsibility for them or a relative in their own home. A child is not privately fostered if the person caring for and accommodating them has done so for less than 28 days and does not intend to do so for longer. Such arrangements may come to the attention of school staff through the normal course of their interaction, and promotion of learning activities, with children.
- our school will notify the local authority to allow the local authority to check the arrangement is suitable and safe for the child.
- we will ensure our staff are aware of the link to the comprehensive guidance on the circumstances in which private fostering may arise can be found at here.
- we will ensure the Pan-Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures regarding private fostering can be found here and will be followed where private fostering is known or believed to be taking place.
When to be concerned
All staff and volunteers should be aware of the main categories of abuse:
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. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.
Physical abuse 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.
Emotional abuse 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 ability 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.
Sexual abuse Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving 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) by establishing a close relationship or friendship. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males; women can also commit acts of sexual abuse as can other children.
Neglect 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 caregivers), 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: Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Indicators in the child
Bruising It is often possible to differentiate between accidental and inflicted bruises. The following must be considered as non-accidental unless there is evidence, or an adequate explanation provided:
- bruising in or around the mouth
- two simultaneous bruised eyes, without bruising to the forehead, (rarely accidental, though a single bruised eye can be accidental or abusive)
- repeated or multiple bruising on the head or on sites unlikely to be injured accidentally for example the back, mouth, cheek, ear, stomach, chest, under the arm, neck, genital and rectal areas
- variation in colour possibly indicating injuries caused at different times
- the outline of an object used e.g., belt marks, handprints or a hairbrush
- linear bruising at any site particularly on the buttocks, back or face
- bruising or tears around or behind, the earlobe/s indicating injury by pulling or twisting
- bruising around the face
- grasp marks to the upper arms, forearms or leg
- petechial haemorrhages (pinpoint blood spots under the skin) commonly associated with slapping, smothering/suffocation, strangling and squeezing
Fractures may cause pain, swelling and discolouration over a bone or joint. It is unlikely that a child will have had a fracture without the carers being aware of the child’s distress. If the child is not using a limb, has pain on movement and/or swelling of the limb, there may be a fracture.
There are grounds for concern if:
- the history provided is vague, non-existent or inconsistent
- there are associated old fractures
- medical attention is sought after a period of delay when the fracture has caused symptoms such as swelling, pain or loss of movement.
Rib fractures are only caused in major trauma such as in a road traffic accident, a severe shaking injury or a direct injury such as a kick.
Skull fractures are uncommon in ordinary falls, i.e., from three feet or less. The injury is usually witnessed, the child will cry and if there is a fracture, there is likely to be swelling on the skull developing over 2 to 3 hours. All fractures of the skull should be taken seriously.
Mouth Injuries Tears to the frenulum (tissue attaching upper lip to gum) often indicates force feeding of a baby or a child with a disability. There is often finger bruising to the cheeks and around the mouth. Rarely, there may also be grazing on the palate.
Poisoning Ingestion of tablets or domestic poisoning in children under 5 is usually due to the carelessness of a parent or carer but it may be self-harm even in young children.
Perplexing cases which may indicate a possibility of fabricated or Induced Illness (FFI) Professionals may be concerned at the possibility of a child suffering significant harm as a result of having illness fabricated or induced by their carer.
Possible concerns are:
- discrepancies between reported and observed medical conditions, such as the incidence of fits
- attendance at various hospitals, in different geographical areas
- development of feeding / eating disorders, as a result of unpleasant feeding interactions
- the child developing abnormal attitudes to their own health
- nonorganic failure to thrive – a child does not put on weight and grow and there is no underlying medical cause
- speech, language or motor developmental delays
- dislike of close physical contact • attachment disorders
- low self esteem
- poor quality or no relationships with peers because social interactions are restricted • poor attendance at school and under-achievement.
These cases are very complex and for a case to be considered as FFI is after careful and detailed review by a consultant paediatrician.
Bite marks can leave clear impressions of the teeth when seen shortly after the injury has been inflicted. The shape then becomes a more defused ring bruise or oval or crescent shaped. Those over 3cm in diameter are more likely to have been caused by an adult or older child. A medical/dental opinion, preferably within the first 24 hours, should be sought where there is any doubt over the origin of the bite.
Burns and Scalds It can be difficult to distinguish between accidental and non-accidental burns and scalds. Scalds are the most common intentional burn injury recorded. Any burn with a clear outline may be suspicious e.g., circular burns from cigarettes, linear burns from hot metal rods or electrical fire elements, burns of uniform depth over a large area, scalds that have a line indicating immersion or poured liquid.
Old scars indicating previous burns/scalds which did not have appropriate treatment or adequate explanation. Scalds to the buttocks of a child, particularly in the absence of burns to the feet, are indicative of dipping into a hot liquid or bath.
Scars A large number of scars or scars of different sizes or ages, or on different parts of the body, or unusually shaped, may suggest abuse.
Emotional / behavioural presentation:
- refusal to discuss injuries
- admission of punishment which appears excessive
- fear of parents being contacted and fear of returning home
- withdrawal from physical contact
- arms and legs kept covered in hot weather
- fear of medical help
- aggression towards others
- frequently absent from centre
- an explanation which is inconsistent with an injury
- several different explanations provided for an injury.
Indicators in the parent:
- may have injuries themselves that suggest domestic violence
- not seeking medical help/unexplained delay in seeking treatment reluctant to give information or mention previous injuries
- absent without good reason when their child is presented for treatment
- disinterested or undisturbed by accident or injury
- aggressive towards child or others
- unauthorised attempts to administer medication
- tries to draw the child into their own illness
- past history of childhood abuse, self-harm, somatising disorder or false allegations of physical or sexual assault
- parent/carer may be over involved in participating in medical tests, taking temperatures and measuring bodily fluids
- observed to be intensely involved with their children, never taking a much-needed break nor allowing anyone else to undertake their child’s care.
- may appear unusually concerned about the results of investigations which may indicate physical illness in the child
- wider parenting difficulties may (or may not) be associated with this form of abuse
- parent/carer has convictions for violent crimes.
Indicators in the family/environment:
- marginalised or isolated by the community
- history of mental health, alcohol or drug misuse or domestic violence
- history of unexplained death, illness or multiple surgery in parents and/or siblings of the family
- past history of childhood abuse, self-harm, somatising disorder or false allegations of physical or sexual assault or a culture of physical chastisement.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.
It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.
It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including 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 though it may occur alone.
Indicators in the child
- developmental delay
- abnormal attachment between a child and parent/carer e.g., anxious, indiscriminate or no attachment
- aggressive behaviour towards others
- child scapegoated within the family • frozen watchfulness, particularly in pre-school children
- low self-esteem and lack of confidence
- withdrawn or seen as a ‘loner’ – difficulty relating to others • over-reaction to mistakes
- fear of new situations
- inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations
- neurotic behaviour (e.g., rocking, hair twisting, thumb sucking)
- fear of parents being contacted
- extremes of passivity or aggression
- drug/solvent abuse • chronic running away
- compulsive stealing • low self-esteem
- air of detachment – ‘don’t care’ attitude
- social isolation – does not join in and has few friends
- depression, withdrawal
- behavioural problems e.g., aggression, attention seeking, hyperactivity, poor attention
- low self-esteem, lack of confidence, fearful, distressed, anxious
- poor peer relationships including withdrawn or isolated behaviour.
Indicators in the parent
- domestic abuse, adult mental health problems and parental substance misuse may be features in families where children are exposed to abuse
- abnormal attachment to child e.g., overly anxious or disinterest in the child
- scapegoats one child in the family
- imposes inappropriate expectations on the child e.g., prevents the child’s developmental exploration or learning, or normal social interaction through overprotection
- wider parenting difficulties may, or may not, be associated with this form of abuse.
Indicators of in the family/environment
- lack of support from family or social network
- marginalised or isolated by the community
- history of mental health, alcohol or drug misuse or domestic violence
- history of unexplained death, illness or multiple surgery in parents and/or siblings of the family
- past history of childhood abuse, self-harm, somatising disorder or false allegations of physical or sexual assault or a culture of physical chastisement.
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.
Using the Neglect Identification and Management Tool (NIMT) In order to assist professionals, identify and respond to neglect, West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board have adopted the Neglect identification & Management Tool (NIMT). Our school is committed to using this tool to assess concerns and identify support for those children at risk of neglect.
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 caregivers)
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Indicators in the child Physical presentation
- failure to thrive or, in older children, short stature
- frequent hunger
- dirty, unkempt condition
- inadequately clothed, clothing in a poor state of repair
- red/purple mottled skin, particularly on the hands and feet, seen in the winter due to cold
- swollen limbs with sores that are slow to heal, usually associated with cold injury • abnormal voracious appetite
- dry, sparse hair •
recurrent/untreated infections or skin conditions e.g., severe nappy rash, eczema or persistent head lice/scabies/diarrhoea
- unmanaged / untreated health/medical conditions including poor dental health • frequent accidents or injuries.
- general delay, especially speech and language delay
- inadequate social skills and poor socialization.
- attachment disorders
- absence of normal social responsiveness
- indiscriminate behaviour in relationships with adults
- emotionally needy
- compulsive stealing
- constant tiredness
- frequently absent or late at centre
- poor self esteem
- destructive tendencies
- thrives away from home environment
- aggressive and impulsive behaviour
- disturbed peer relationships
- self-harming behaviour.
Indicators in the parent
- dirty, unkempt presentation
- inadequately clothed
- inadequate social skills and poor socialisation
- abnormal attachment to the child e.g., anxious
- low self- esteem and lack of confidence
- failure to meet the basic essential needs e.g., adequate food, clothes, warmth, hygiene • failure to meet the child’s health and medical needs e.g., poor dental health;
- failure to attend or keep appointments with health visitor, GP or hospital; lack of GP registration; failure to seek or comply with appropriate medical treatment; failure to address parental substance misuse during pregnancy • child left with adults who are intoxicated or violent
- child abandoned or left alone for excessive periods
- wider parenting difficulties may or may not be associated with this form of abuse.
Indicators in the family/environment
- history of neglect in the family
- family marginalised or isolated by the community.
- family has history of mental health, alcohol or drug misuse or domestic violence
- history of unexplained death, illness or multiple surgery in parents and/or siblings of the family
- family has a past history of childhood abuse, self-harm, somatising disorder or false allegations of physical or sexual assault or a culture of physical chastisement
- dangerous or hazardous home environment including failure to use home safety equipment, risk from animals
- poor state of home environment e.g., unhygienic facilities, lack of appropriate sleeping arrangements, inadequate ventilation (including passive smoking) and lack of adequate heating
- lack of opportunities for child to play and learn.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.
The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.
They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males; women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Indicators in the child Physical presentation
- urinary infections, bleeding or soreness in the genital or anal areas
- Emotional / behavioural presentation:
- makes a disclosure
Indicators in the parents:
- comments made by the parent/carer about the child
- lack of sexual boundaries
- wider parenting difficulties or vulnerabilities
- grooming behaviour
- parent is a sex offender
Indicators in the family/environment
- marginalised or isolated by the community
- history of mental health, alcohol or drug misuse or domestic violence
- history of unexplained death, illness or multiple surgery in parents and/or siblings of the family
- past history of childhood abuse, self-harm, or a culture of physical chastisement
- family member is a sex offender
Specific safeguarding issues
Children in the court system
- our school will do all we can in supporting any of our children / young people who are required to attend court to give evidence in criminal court. We recognise that maybe because crimes were committed against them or for crimes they have witnessed. There are two age-appropriate guides to support children 5-11-year-olds, accessed here and 12-17-year-olds accessed here.
Our school will always do all we can to support our pupils, which includes providing counselling and other types of therapy. We are aware however that where the pupil is a witness in a criminal trial, we must ensure relevant guidelines are followed – which can be found here. In any such situation we will be guided by the police in respect of provision of any therapy before trial.
Making child arrangements via the family courts following separation can be stressful and entrench conflict in families. This can be stressful for children
The Ministry of Justice has launched an online child arrangements information tool with clear and concise information on the dispute resolution service.
Child Missing 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 (not on a school role or in any other suitable provision) in their area.
- school should put in place appropriate safeguarding policies, procedures and responses for children who go missing from education (truant) or whose absence from school is unexplained, particularly on repeat occasions. It is essential that all staff are alert to signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns such as travelling to conflict zones, FGM and forced marriage.
- a child going missing from education (truant) is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect. School staff should follow the procedures for dealing with children that go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect, including sexual exploitation, and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in future.
- unexplained absences where school is not able to contact parents within a short space of time to establish the reason for the absence should be considered as a potential safeguarding concern.
- the law requires all school o have an admission register
- all school must inform their local authority of any pupil who is going to be deleted from the admission register where they:
- have been taken out of school by their parents and are being educated outside the school system e.g., home education
- have ceased to attend school and no longer live within reasonable distance of the school at which they are registered
- have been certified by the school medical officer as unlikely to be in a fit state of health to attend school before ceasing to be of compulsory school age, and neither he/she nor his/her parent has indicated the intention to continue to attend the school after ceasing to be of compulsory school age
- are in custody for a period of more than four months due to a final court order and the proprietor does not reasonably believe they will be returning to the school at the end of that period
- have been permanently excluded.
The local authority must be notified when a school is to delete a pupil from its register under the above circumstances. This should be done as soon as the grounds for deletion are met, but no later than deleting the pupil’s name from the register. It is essential that school comply with this duty 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 in danger of not receiving an education and who might be at risk of abuse or neglect.
All school must inform the local authority (Pupil Entitlement: Investigation) of any pupil who fails to attend school regularly, or has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 days or more, at such intervals as are agreed between the school and the local authority (or in default of such agreement, at intervals determined by the Secretary of State)
Further advice re attendance, absence and missing can be obtained from the Pupil Entitlement Advice Line 03302 228200.
Absence from school
- where children do not turn up at the centre, we will follow our school attendance policy.
- we will ensure we have more than one parent / carer contact number for each pupil.
- where a student has not attended, and we are unable to contact any parent or carer we will consider the matter from a safeguarding perspective.
- in particular we will consider if there are any existing child protection or safeguarding concerns for the child – if there are, we will notify the relevant agency of the absence immediately.
- We will also consider if there are any other special circumstances, for example, child or parent disability that may make it difficult for them to make contact with health or other services if they needed to, especially in times of emergency.
- if there any concerns our school will consider making a home visit and contacting the MASH.
- if there are significant concerns, we will contact the police immediately.
Child Sexual Exploitation
- Child sexual exploitation (CSE) involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result of engaging in sexual activities. Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power in the relationship.
- the perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim which increases as the exploitative relationship develops. Sexual exploitation involves varying degrees of coercion, intimidation or enticement, including unwanted pressure from peers to have sex, sexual bullying including cyberbullying and grooming. However, it also important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of this abuse.
- where there are concerns a child may be at risk of CSE, advice MUST be taken from MASH and school will normally complete Part A of the CSE ‘screening tool’ • completion of this should not delay you making a referral however it may assist you in being clear about the key areas of concern and the level of risk. • school play a vital role in keeping children safe from CSE and often have more information than any other agency. Where school have concerns, they must be persistent in referring those concerns, and escalate using the professional difference protocol if necessary.
Child Criminal Exploitation
Criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns. Key to identifying potential involvement in county lines are missing episodes, when the victim may have been trafficked for the purpose of transporting drugs. Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation:
- can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years.
- can affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years.
- can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual.
- can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence.
- can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults; and
- is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources. If there are any concerns a child or young person is at risk of Criminal exploitation MASH must be contacted for advice.
Contextual Safeguarding Networks
Recent developments in developing a contextual safeguarding network can significantly increase the support to young people at risk of exploitation. This network looks at different aspects of potential abuse which is committed outside the home.
Our school recognises the definition of domestic abuse to be any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
- financial; and
Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result. Domestic abuse affecting young people can also occur within their personal relationships, as well as in the context of their home life.
Any concerns regarding domestic abuse will be considered by the Designated Safeguarding Lead or deputy and advice and guidance obtained from MASH.
Our school recognises that being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (and any deputies) should be aware of contact details and referral routes into the Local Housing Authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity. Indicators that a family may be at risk of homelessness include household debt, rent arrears, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour, as well as the family being asked to leave a property.
Whilst referrals and or discussion with the Local Housing Authority should be progressed as appropriate, this does not, and should not, replace a referral into children’s social care where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm.
- the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places a new legal duty on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help including an assessment of their needs and circumstances, the development of a personalised housing plan, and work to help them retain their accommodation or find a new place to live.
- the following factsheets usefully summarise the new duties: Homeless Reduction Act Factsheets found here the new duties shift focus to early intervention and encourage those at risk to seek support as soon as possible, before they are facing a homelessness crisis.
- in most cases school and college staff will be considering homelessness in the context of children who live with their families, and intervention will be on that basis. However, it should also be recognised in some cases 16- and 17-year-olds could be living independently from their parents or guardians, for example through their exclusion from the family home, and will require a different level of intervention and support. Children’s services will be the lead agency for these young people and the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or a deputy) should ensure appropriate referrals are made based on the Child circumstances. The department and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have published joint statutory guidance on the provision of accommodation for 16- and 17-year-olds who may be homeless and/ or require accommodation
So Called Honour Based Violence – including Female Genital Mutilation
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses incidents or 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. Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. It is important to be aware of these dynamic and additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take. All forms of HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. 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.
If staff have a concern regarding a child that might be at risk of HBV or who has suffered from HBV, they should speak to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or deputy) who will in turn contact the MASH.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
- All have a legal obligation to report acts of Female Genital Mutilation.
- Female Genital Mutilation (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.
- 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. From 31st October 2015, regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales must report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18’s which they identify in the course of their professional work to the police.
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. We recognise our school can play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.
The Forced Marriage Unit has published statutory guidance and Multi-agency guidelines, with pages 35-36 of which focus on the role of school and colleges.
School staff who have concerns about a forced marriage should contact the DSL or deputy DSL who should contact MASH for further advice. Specialist advice can also be obtained from the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or email [email protected]
As part of our safeguarding training our school will include a focus on radicalisation.
- protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of our school’s 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 any form of violent extremism, including terrorism. 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 managing other safeguarding risks, staff should be alerted to changes in children’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. School staff should use their professional 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 school as defined in the summary of this guidance, are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counterterrorism and Security Act 2015 (“the CTSA 2015”), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard7 to the need prevent people being drawn into terrorism8” must have regard to statutory guidance issued under section 29 of the CTSA 2015 (“the Prevent guidance”). Paragraphs 57-76 of the Prevent guidance are concerned specifically with school (but also cover childcare). It is anticipated that the duty will come into force for sixth form colleges and FE colleges early in the autumn.
- the statutory Prevent guidance summarises the requirements on school in terms of four general themes: risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training and IT policies.
- school is expected to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This means being able to demonstrate both a general understanding of the risks affecting children and young people in the area and a specific understanding of how to identify individual children who may be at risk of radicalisation and what to do to support them. School should have clear procedures in place for protecting children at risk of radicalisation. These procedures may be set out in existing safeguarding policies. It is not necessary for school to have distinct policies on implementing the Prevent duty.
- the Prevent duty builds on existing local partnership arrangements. For example, governing bodies and proprietors of all school should ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the policies and procedures of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs).
- 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 school is 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, school should ensure that the Designated Safeguarding Lead undertakes Prevent awareness training and is able to provide advice and support to other members of staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation.
- school must ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in schools. School should ensure that suitable filtering is in place. It is also important that school teach pupils about online safety more generally.
- the Department for Education has issued advice and social media guidance to school and childcare providers to help them keep children safe from the risk of radicalisation and extremism.
- The prevent duty and Ofsted descriptors also requires educational settings to ensure that preventing radicalisation and violent extremism is embedded within the curriculum. Staff are also expected to feel confident and competent in using appropriate pedagogical approaches to facilitate this learning.Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseasAccording to the Prevent duty guidance ‘having due regard’ means that the authorities should place an appropriate amount of weight on the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism when they consider all the other factors relevant to how they carry out their usual functions.“Terrorism” for these purposes has the same meaning as for the Terrorism Act 2000 (section 1(1) to (4) of that Act).The prevent duty advice is for/of:
- school leaders, school staff and governing bodies in all local maintained schools, academies and free school
- proprietors, governors and staff in all independent school
- proprietors, managers and staff in childcare settings
- particular interest to safeguarding leads.
The social media guidance is for:
- Head Teachers
- safeguarding leads.
Channel Programme – for these at risk of radicalisation
School staff should understand when it is appropriate to make a referral to the Channel programme. 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 school 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.
- 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 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. School which are required to have regard to Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 (Post Brexit Update 2021). are listed in the CTSA 2015 as partners required to cooperate with local Channel panels.10
In West Sussex, two panels operate, meeting monthly – one specifically for Crawley, and the other for the rest of West Sussex.
- Prevent and Channel Duty – A Toolkit for School
- Channel General Awareness e-learning package
- Making a Channel Referral in West Sussex
- Prevent Channel Referral Form
Further advice and guidance regarding the Prevent duty and preventing radicalisation and violent extremism can be accessed on the West Sussex Service for School website.
Guidance issued under section 36(7) and section 38(6) of the CTSA 2015 in respect of Channel is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/channel-guidance 10 Such partners are required to have regard to guidance issued under section 38(6) of the CTSA 2015 when co-operating with the panel and police under section 38 of the CTSA 2015
Peer on Peer Abuse
- at our school we believe that all children have a right to attend school and learn in a safe environment. Children should be free from harm by adults in the school and other students.
- we recognise that some students will sometimes negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of others and their behaviour will be dealt with under the school’s behaviour policy or anti -bullying policy in the first instance.
- however, we recognise that some allegations may be of such a serious nature that they may raise safeguarding concerns.
- all staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer-on-peer abuse. This may include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and may manifest as (though not limited to): bullying (including cyber-bullying), gender-based violence/sexual assaults and sexting. Such peer-on-peer abuse may take many different forms and present in many different ways – see below. All school staff must be aware that children can be abusers and any concerns should be discussed with the designated safeguarding lead.
- if Peer on Peer abuse is suspected staff should follow section 8.7 of the West Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures – Children who Harm Other Children.
Preventing Peer on Peer Abuse
As a school we will minimise the risk of allegations against other pupils by:
- providing a developmentally appropriate PSHE education curriculum which develops students understanding of consent, acceptable behaviour, keeping themselves safe and healthy relationships.
- having systems in place for any student to raise concerns with staff, knowing that they will be listened to, believed and valued
- delivering targeted work on assertiveness and keeping safe to those children identified as being at risk • developing robust risk assessments and providing targeted work for pupils identified as being a potential risk to other pupils
- how allegations of peer-on-peer abuse will be recorded, investigated and dealt with.
- clear processes as to how victims, perpetrators and any other child affected by peer-on-peer abuse will be supported.
- a clear statement that abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”;
- recognition of the gendered nature of peer-on-peer abuse (i.e., that it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys’ perpetrators), but that all peer-on-peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously.
Allegations against other pupils which are safeguarding issues occasionally, allegations may be made against student by other students in the school which are of a safeguarding nature. Safeguarding issues raised in this way may include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Staff need to be aware that these behaviours from the perpetrator may be indicative of safeguarding issues which are directly affecting them.
Professionals must decide in the circumstances of each case whether or not behaviour directed at another child should be categorised as abusive or not.
It will be helpful to consider the following factors:
- relative chronological and developmental age of the two children (the greater the difference, the more likely the behaviour should be defined as abusive)
- a differential in power or authority (e.g., related to race or physical or intellectual vulnerability of the victim)
- actual behaviour (both physical and verbal factors must be considered)
- whether the behaviour could be described as age appropriate or involves inappropriate sexual knowledge or motivation
- physical aggression, bullying or bribery.
- the victim’s experience and perception of the behaviour
- the possibility the abuser is, or was, also a victim.
- attempts to ensure secrecy.
- an assessment of the change in the behaviour over time (whether it has become more severe or more frequent)
- duration and frequency of behaviour.
Examples of safeguarding issues against a student could include:
- violence, particularly pre-planned
- forcing others to use drugs or alcohol
- blackmail or extortion
- threats and intimidation (including racist or homophobic/religious remarks, cyber-bullying)
- isolating an individual from social activities
- indecent exposure, indecent touching or serious sexual assault
- forcing others to watch pornography or taking part in sexting
- encouraging other children to engage in inappropriate sexual behaviour
- photographing or videoing other children performing indecent acts
If there is a safeguarding concern, the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) should be informed.
- If the matter relates to sexual violence or sexual harassment
- A factual record should be made of the allegation, but no attempt at that stage should be made to investigate the circumstances (though further discussion with the alleged victim/perpetrator may be required by the school is further assessment required prior to safeguarding decision).
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead should contact the MASH to discuss the case.
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead will follow through the outcomes of the discussion and make a referral when appropriate.
- If the allegation indicates that a potential criminal offence has taken place, the MASH will consult with the police.
- Parents of both the student being complained about and the alleged victim should be informed and kept updated on the progress of the referral, unless to do so would place the alleged victim at risk, and/or jeopardise a police investigation. If unsure, advice should be sought.
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead will make a record of the concern and a copy will be kept on both pupils’ files.
- It may be appropriate to exclude the pupil being complained about for a period of time according to the schools’ behaviour policy and procedures.
- Where neither Children’s Social Care nor the police accept the complaint, a thorough school investigation should take place in the matter using the school’s usual disciplinary procedures.
- In situations where the school considers a safeguarding risk is present, a risk assessment should be prepared along with a preventative plan. The plan should be monitored, and a date set for a follow up review with everyone concerned. The plan should reflect both the physical and emotional safety of all pupils concerned.
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between Children in School
New guidance has been produced to assist and manage cases of sexual violence and harassment between pupils. The full guidance can be found here Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physical and verbal) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support. Staff should be aware that some groups are potentially more at risk. Evidence shows girls, children with SEND and LGBT children are at greater risk.
Staff should be aware of the importance of:
- making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up.
- not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”; and
- challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, flicking bras and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.
What is Sexual violence and sexual harassment?
It is important that school staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact children can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way. When referring to sexual violence we are referring to sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Act.
Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person
(B) the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. What is consent? Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child-on-child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:
- sexual comments, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names.
- physical behaviour, such as: deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes (school should be considering when any of this crosses a line into sexual violence – it is important to talk to and consider the experience of the victim) and displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature; and online sexual harassment. This may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence. It may include:
- non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos.
- sexualised online bullying.
- unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media; and •
- sexual exploitation; coercion and threats
The response to a report of sexual violence or sexual harassment
The initial response to a report from a child is important. It is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by If staff have a concern about a child or a child makes a report to them, they should follow the referral process. As is always the case, if staff are in any doubt as to what to do, they should speak to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or a deputy).
Safeguarding and supporting the alleged perpetrator
The following principles are based on effective safeguarding practice and should help shape any decisions regarding safeguarding and supporting the alleged perpetrator:
- The school will have a difficult balancing act to consider. On one hand they need to safeguard the victim (and the wider pupil/student body) and on the other hand provide the alleged perpetrator with an education, safeguarding support as appropriate and implement any disciplinary sanctions.
- consider the age and the developmental stage of the alleged perpetrator and nature of the allegations. Any child will likely experience stress as a result of being the subject of allegations and/or negative reactions by their peers to the allegations against them.
- consider the proportionality of the response. Support (and sanctions) should be considered on a case-by-case basis. An alleged perpetrator may potentially have unmet needs (in some cases these may be considerable) as well as potentially posing a risk of harm to other children. Harmful sexual behaviours in young children may be a symptom of either their own abuse or exposure to abusive practices and or materials. Advice should be taken, as appropriate, from children’s social care, specialist sexual violence services and the police.
- it is important that if the alleged perpetrator does move to another educational institution (for any reason), that the new educational institution is made aware of any ongoing support needs and where appropriate, potential risks to other children and staff. The Designated Safeguarding Lead should take responsibility to ensure this happens as well as transferring the child protection file.
- It is also very important to monitor the emotional health and well-being of all involved, including the alleged perpetrator and school must consider accessing specialist services. Where there are concerns school should discuss the concerns with MASH worker.
Youth Produced Sexual Imagery or ‘Sexting’
- we recognise that ‘Sexting’ is a safeguarding risk to our children. Any incident of youth produced sexual imagery which comes to the attention of any staff within our school will be referred to the Designated Safeguarding Lead straightaway.
- we recognise that responding to such cases can be complex and as such our school has adopted the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) guidance, as recommended by West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board, in responding to and managing such instances.
- For further advice in respect of managing cases of sexting or where there is any doubt about whether to refer a case, the advice of MASH should be obtained as soon as possible.
Children with family members in prison
We are aware of the additional challenges faced by children who have a parent / carer sent to prison. We recognise that these children are at risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health.
Other aspects of risk – Bullying and Emotional Health & Well-being
In addition to the information contained above, additional information is provided on the following areas.
Bullying including cyberbullying.
We have an anti-bullying strategy which is used by all staff. National guidance on anti-bullying can be found here. In addition, support for victims of significant bullying can be provided by the local IPEH hub.
Emotional Health and Well-being
we support our student’s emotional health and where necessary seek the advice and support of our local IPEH hub and in particular the Youth Emotional Support (YES) programme.
DEALING WITH A DISCLOSURE
We are determined that our school will be a safe place where children feel able to talk to a trusted adult if they are concerned.
We are also determined that all staff, including volunteers, will know how to respond appropriately should a child disclose to them.
If a child discloses.
- accept what the child says.
- stay calm, the pace should be dictated by the child without them being pressed for detail. DO NOT ASK LEADING QUESTIONS such as “did x touch you there?” It is our role to listen – not to investigate.
- If more information is needed to establish if there has been abuse use open questions such as “describe what happened?” “tell me what happened?”
- use age-appropriate words; avoid jargon or terms the child may well not understand.
- be careful not to burden the child with guilt by asking questions like “Why didn’t you tell me before?” but you could ask ‘Have you spoken to anyone else about this?’
- acknowledge how hard it was for the child to tell you
- not criticise the perpetrator, the child might have a relationship with them
- not promise confidentiality but reassure the child that they have done the right thing, explain whom you will have to tell (the designated lead) and why and, depending on the child’s age, what the next stage will be. It is important that you avoid making promises that you cannot keep such as “I’ll stay with you all the time” or “it will be all right now.”
- If you are in any doubt as to whether to refer the matter speak and discuss with MASH.
When recording information.
- any records made should be kept and passed to the DSL, this may include scraps of paper.
- make detailed notes at the time or immediately afterwards; record the date, time, place and context of disclosure or concern. Record facts and what was said but not your assumption or interpretation.
- if it is observation of bruising or an injury record the detail, e.g., “right arm above elbow”.
- use skin / body maps if necessary.
- do not take photographs.
- note the non-verbal behaviour and the key words in the language used by the child (try not to translate into ‘proper terms’).
- record the date, time and location where the notes were made and if anyone else was present.
- pass the notes as soon as possible to your designated safeguarding lead.
- Educate U will use West Sussex reporting forms
- Paper copies of reporting forms should be readily available to all staff who may require them. Staff should not have to print forms off before being able to complete them.
- Paper reporting forms are located together with the latest copies of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 (Post Brexit Update 2021)., Confidential Reporting Policy and the schools’ child protection and safeguarding policy, in the red safeguarding folders stored in the office
Support for staff.
It is recognised that staff working in a school who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm or appears to be likely to suffer harm may find the situation stressful and upsetting. The school will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the Designated Safeguarding Lead and to seek further support as appropriate.
Child Protection Files
- records kept for child protection purposes must be kept securely, separate from other records and accessed only by those who need to do so for safeguarding and / or monitoring purposes. These are stored in the DSL’s file which is kept securely in the office.
- each child should have a separate record.
- each record must be accurate, legible and entries made as soon as practicable after a concern is raised.
- where computer systems are used, staff must still have access to paper forms so immediate conversations with a child / body map drawing etc. can be made contemporaneously.
- any paper records generated at 4 above must be retained within the file, even where they have been scanned to a computer record.
- where there is more than one sibling, each sibling should have their own record, cross-referenced where necessary to their siblings.
- each file should have a chronology to enable assessment
- each file should have an up-to-date contact number for other key professionals.
When a child moves school
- Any child protection files relating to that child must be transferred / retained in accordance with guidelines which can be found here
- In addition to the child protection file, the Designated Safeguarding Lead should also consider if it would be appropriate to share any information with the new school in advance of a child leaving. For example, information that would allow the new school to continue supporting victims of abuse and have that support in place for when the child arrives.
Allegations against Staff Records
- any records generated in respect of an allegation must be kept securely, accessed only by those who require doing so for legitimate investigation / safeguarding / review purposes.
- any records must be kept separate from any other personal file relating to that staff member
- any records must not be kept in any child’s child protection file.
MANAGING PROFESSIONAL DIFFERENCES & CONCERNS
This is a vital tool in keeping children safe.
On occasions there may be differences of opinion between professionals in response to a specific safeguarding matter, for example, from the view of the centre, children’s social care closing a case too early or removing a child from a child protection plan too soon.
Professional Differences and Concerns Protocol
In such circumstances the Designated Safeguarding Lead will assess the impact of such a decision on the child(ren) and where concerns remain, the Designated Safeguarding Lead will engage the Managing Professional Difference protocol which can be found on the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Website
Signed: Susan Evans Director of Education