1.1 The welfare and safety of children who attend our school is our paramount concern. We will promote the health, well-being and safety of the pupils in all we do. Our children have the right to protection, regardless of age, gender, ability, race or social background. They have a right to be safe in our school. The school recognises and understands its statutory responsibilities to work together in partnership with other agencies to help children to grow up in a healthy and safe environment.
1.2 This policy draws on guidance for schools set out in: The Children’s Act 2004, Working Together to Safeguard Children DCSF 2006 (revised in 2010); Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education DCSF 2007 and the Lord Laming Report, The Protection of Children in England (2009). This policy contains a statement of school policy in relation to allegations of abuse against staff.
1.3 Definition of safeguarding:
All adults who work with children have a duty to promote their welfare and keep them safe. The Children Act sets out these responsibilities as the requirement to keep children free from maltreatment, to prevent the impairment of children’s health and development and to ensure that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
2 Aims and objectives
2.1 The aims and objectives of this policy are to:
• keep our children safe;
• ensure that all our staff promote an environment where children can learn in a safe, caring, stimulating and positive school;
• ensure that all pupils know they are valued and their concerns will be taken seriously and addressed by the adults who care for them; we want all children to feel safe and know what to do if they ever have concerns about any aspect of their physical or emotional safety;
• make clear the importance of children becoming confident and resilient, and being able to make decisions for themselves;
• value the promotion of the emotional intelligence of our pupils so that they are self-aware and can empathise with others;
• ensure that this school works effectively with a wide range of agencies involved in the promotion of the health, well-being and safety of children.
2.2 This policy sets out the roles and responsibilities of all adults who work or support our school and in so doing provides guidance on how we will make sure our school is a safe and caring place for all our pupils. It outlines the procedures to be taken if an incident of concern is identified with any child in our school. It will also set out how adults record and communicate concerns and how we will monitor incidents if and when they occur.
3 Staff responsibilities
3.1 It is the responsibility of the headteacher to ensure all of the following:
• that the governing body adopts appropriate policies and procedures to safeguard children in the school;
• that these policies are implemented by all staff;
• that sufficient resources and time are allocated for staff to carry out their responsibilities effectively;
• that all staff and adult helpers in the school are able to voice their concern if they feel that a child is vulnerable, or that there are any particular practices that are unsafe.
3.2 There is a named member of staff designated as the nominated safeguarding children adviser. This is normally the headteacher, but s/he may delegate this responsibility in some circumstances. The adviser is guided by two principles:
• in accordance with the Children Act, the welfare of the child is always paramount;
• confidentiality should be respected whenever possible.
3.3 A key role of the adviser is to be fully conversant with the procedures of the Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC), and to ensure that the school takes action to support any child who may be at risk. The adviser must also make sure that all staff, both teaching and non-teaching, are aware of their responsibilities in relation to child protection. The adviser will work closely with Children’s Services, as well as the ACPC, when investigating any allegations of abuse. All parties involved will handle such investigations in a sensitive manner, remembering all the time that the interests of the child are of paramount importance.
3.4 All staff have a responsibility to report to the headteacher or nominated safeguarding children adviser any concern they have about the safety of any child in their care.
4 Safeguarding Procedures
4.1 Any action taken by the named nominated safeguarding children adviser when dealing with an issue of child protection must be in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Local Authority’s (LA) Child Protection guidelines.
4.2 All adults in our school share responsibility for keeping our children safe. We may on occasion report concerns which, on investigation, prove unfounded.
4.3 We will maintain accurate written records of all matters of concern.
4.4 If teachers suspect that a child in their class may be a victim of abuse, they should not try to investigate, but should immediately inform the nominated safeguarding children adviser about their concerns. Abuse can be of a physical, sexual or emotional nature. It can also be the result of neglect. Staff must not keep to themselves any information about safeguarding which a child gives them; they are required by law to pass this information on.
4.5 If a child alleges abuse, the school will usually contact the LA without first informing parents and carers. However, in some circumstances, following advice from the LA, parents and carers may be informed first.
4.6 If a referral is made, a case conference will be held within eight working days. Case conferences offer the opportunity to share information and formulate a plan of action. Relevant staff are expected to attend and participate in all case conferences and meetings held.
5 Physical restraint
5.1 There may be times when adults, in the course of their school duties, have to intervene physically in order to restrain children and prevent them or others from coming to harm. Such intervention will always be the minimum necessary to resolve the situation. We follow the guidance given in The Use of Force to Control or Restrain Pupils – Guidance (DCSF 2010). The headteacher will require the adult(s) involved in any such incident to report the matter to him or her immediately, and to record it in the incident log.
6 Teaching and learning
6.1 Our teaching of personal, social and health education (PSHE) and citizenship, as part of the National Curriculum, helps children develop appropriate attitudes towards others and to come to understand normal, appropriate expectations of social behaviour; we also aim to teach them how to recognise different types of risks in a range of situations, and how to behave in response to them.
6.2 We will teach in such as way as to encourage pupils to be able to voice their opinions and develop their own self confidence. We aim to build strong and caring relationships with all our pupils. In so doing we hope to provide our pupils with the skills necessary to be able to bring to the attention of any adult working in the school any matters of concern they may have. We will always take seriously any safeguarding issues drawn to our attention by any pupil.
6.3 We will make sure that all school activities are carried out safely. Whenever appropriate, teachers will make risk assessments before activities go ahead (see our Health, Safety and Welfare, and Off-sites Visits policies).
6.4 Teachers will make sure pupils are given clear safety instructions whenever they are engaged in activities that have potential risks, such as using an oven or handling science equipment.
7.1 We regard all information relating to individual child protection issues as confidential, and we treat it accordingly. We pass information on to appropriate persons only.
7.2 We comply with the requirements of the government and the LA, with regard to confidentiality. The files we keep on children are available on request to those children’s parents or carers. Information from third parties will not be disclosed without their prior consent. Access to these files may be withheld in certain prescribed cases where there are instances of actual or alleged abuse. Working notes are not subject to disclosure, but will be summarised and then kept on file. These guidelines are in line with the safeguards on disclosure of information set out in the Education (School Records) Regulations 1989 and subsequent guidance.
8.1 We regularly use the internet in school, because it has many educational benefits and supports pupils’ learning. In order to minimise the risk of children coming across unsuitable material, we provide constant supervision, and we use only a filtered service, selected links, and child-friendly search engines. We also seek parental permission before using photographs of children or their work on the school’s website, or in newsletters and other publications.
9 Staff recruitment and continuing professional development
9.1 The nominated safeguarding children adviser has regular training and development opportunities so their skill and competence level remains high. They also attend multi-agency training so that our school maintains effective working relationships with all other agencies.
9.2 All adults in the school receive regular training to raise their awareness of safeguarding issues, and to improve their knowledge of safeguarding procedures. The maximum period of time before refresher training must take place is three years.
9.3 We will do all we can to ensure that all those working with children in our school are suitable people. This involves scrutinizing applicants, verifying their identity and qualifications, and obtaining references, as well as the mandatory check of List 99 and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. We follow the government guidance set out in Child Protection: Preventing Unsuitable People from Working with Children and Young Persons in the Education Service (2002), and Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education (2007).
9.4 We ensure that at least one member of every staff recruitment panel, whether members of staff or the governing body, has received recent safer recruitment training.
10 Allegations against staff
10.1 If an allegation of abuse is made against a member of the school staff (or a volunteer helper), it will always be investigated by the headteacher, or, in the case of the allegation being against the headteacher, by the Chair of the Governing Body. If it is felt, after these initial investigations, that a further enquiry is needed, then the member of staff will be suspended. Suspension is a neutral act, and in no way implies that the person is guilty of any wrongdoing. However, it is acknowledged that this would be distressing for the person concerned, and the school will do all it can to balance the interests of any individual with that of the need to keep children safe. The school will seek advice from the LA on these matters, and comply with national and locally agreed guidance.
11 The leadership and management of safeguarding
11.1 All members of staff have a part to play in ensuring that our pupils are safe and that their wellbeing is supported. The overall responsibility for safeguarding issues lies with the headteacher as the school’s safeguarding officer, although this may be delegated to the nominated safeguarding children adviser on a day to day basis.
11.2 The safeguarding officer will have responsibility for maintaining accurate records of all incidents and liaising with external agencies. They will also oversee the training programme for all staff and ensure that staff are kept up to date with all relevant safeguarding policy matters.
11.3 The headteacher will retain responsibility for all matters of staff recruitment and related safeguarding issues (see above).
11.4 The governing body will oversee the safeguarding policy and will have a nominated governor responsible for working with the headteacher and nominated safeguarding children adviser on related matters.
12 Monitoring and review
12.1 The governing body will ensure that the school has a senior member of staff designated to take lead responsibility for dealing with safeguarding issues. Governors will regularly monitor and review any incidents recorded, or reported through the headteacher’s reports. A named governor participates in the school’s training with regard to child protection procedures.
12.2 This policy is reviewed annually by the governing body.