Safeguarding Child Protection Policy and Procedure
The Radclyffe School fully recognises its responsibilities for child protection and safeguarding the needs and welfare of all children and is committed to following the procedures set out by the Oldham Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) and guidance issued by Department for Education (DfE)(Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2016 and Working Together to Safeguard Children).
In the Children Acts 1989 and 2004, a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ as:
The Radclyffe School recognises that the welfare of the child is paramount and that all children regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity have equal rights to protection. The Governing Body and staff of The Radclyffe School take seriously our responsibility under section 175 Education Act 2002 to safeguard and promote the welfare of students, to minimise risk and to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements are in place within our school to identify, assess and support those children who are suffering harm, or likely to do so, and to keep them safe and secure whilst in our care.
The Radclyffe School understands the duty, as set out under section 11 of the Children Act 2004, to promote the importance of safeguarding and the welfare of children and will adhere to this. The Radclyffe School understands that where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action should be taken to protect that child. Action should also be taken to promote the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or are at immediate risk.
This Policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school. All staff have a responsibility to take appropriate action. The Radclyffe School recognises that because of their day to day contact with children, staff are well placed to observe outward signs of abuse, neglect and maltreatment. The Radclyffe School understands that it is expected to work with, support and sometimes lead different agencies to enable the most appropriate form of intervention to take place.
This policy aims to outline the role that the school will have, the procedures that staff should follow and general guidance on issues related to child protection. It is not exhaustive. As a rule of thumb, all staff should put the needs and safety of the child at the centre of any decision made. They should adopt an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where child protection and safeguarding are concerned and always act in the interests of the child.
Date Policy Last Reviewed – October 2016
Signed (Chair of Governors) – Jim Greenwood
Next Review – October 2017
It is the responsibility of all members of staff, governors and volunteers to ensure that all child protection concerns, both minor and serious, are reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) immediately.
The DSL may have other information regarding a child or their family of which other staff may not be aware. Minor concerns may take on greater significance within the wider context of knowledge of a child or family that the DSL may have. It is not the responsibility of school staff to investigate or decide the truth of any disclosure or allegation, but to follow procedures and record and discuss all concerns with the DSL, Deputy DSL or a Member of the Child Protection Management Team in the absence of the DSL or the Deputy DSL prior to any discussion with parents.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead is: Mrs Denise Harrison
The Designated Deputy Safeguarding Lead is: Ms Tina Cavanagh
The Governor for Safeguarding and Child Protection is: Mrs Angela Chrisham
The Child Protection Management Team members are: Mrs J Melia (SENCO and Designated Teacher for Looked After Children), Mrs J O’Brien (Achievement and Access Manager), Mrs J Wernick, (Deputy Headteacher), Mr D Willcocks (Focus Room Manager), Mrs P Fielding (Family Support Worker), Mr Andrew Lunt (Learning Mentor) and Mr A Maher (Head of Business and Computing).
Year Managers are also trained in Safeguarding and Child Protection.
You must immediately inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead if you have concern/s about a child or a child discloses information to you which suggests they might be, or might become at risk. However, you do have a responsibility to respect that child’s right to confidentiality. Do not discuss information with staff other than those identified above. If you are worried about a child speak to someone straight away. Do not email your concerns; make contact directly. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will decide whether to make a referral to children’s social care or the police, but it is important to note that in exceptional circumstances anyone can refer their concerns to children’s social care directly. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.
All staff should refer concerns to the DSL as soon as possible. In the meantime they should:
1. Listen to the child, ensuring that they remain safe and secure and offer reassurance;
2. Ensure the child understands that you will have to tell someone else -offer the option of disclosure to a member of CPMT or a Year Manager, who may already have a relationship with them. You must NEVER promise to keep what the child tells you secret. You must let the child know that you will have to pass this information on. For example, ‘I am worried about your bruise and I need to tell Mrs X so that she can help us think about what to do next.’
3. Observe bruises but do not ask a child to remove or adjust their clothing to observe them;
4. Make a written record as soon as possible after the event, noting: the date, time, child’s name and your name on the sheet you make notes on, even if you are only recording observations. Record their words rather than your interpretation;
5. Do not investigate or ask leading questions. Use open questions – beginning with words like: ‘How’? ‘Why’?, ‘When’?, ‘Who’?, Your contemporaneous notes may be used in court. Do not interrogate – it is not our job to prove or disprove what the child says, just listen, support and act;
6. Accept what the child says without challenge – reassure them that they are doing the right thing and that you recognise how hard it is for them. Do not lay blame or criticise either the child or the alleged perpetrator;
7. Ensure that referral to the DSL or member of CPMT is immediate. Do not leave it until later and DO NOT email your concerns – the child may be put at further risk if you do this. You may email (to put in writing your concerns) once you have passed your concerns on verbally to the DSL, Deputy DSL or CPMT member;
8. The DSL or members of CPMT will make decisions about referrals to Early Help, children’s social care, the police or other outside agencies;
9. Should a referral be necessary, the DSL will inform parents that a referral has been made to children’s social care, if the parent does not already know and if there is no reason not to tell them. Parents will not be informed if the allegation is of sexual abuse or physical assault or where informing the parent might put the child at further risk, to prevent the child being harmed or intimidated (and retracting their disclosure). This procedure also applies in cases of suspected fabricated or induced illness by proxy, and the parent is not informed that this is being considered;
10. The DSL will remain in close communication with other professionals around the child and with the family, in order to share any updates about the child. If a child protection investigation is pursued, the DSL and other key school staff will work closely and collaboratively with all professionals involved in the investigation, to keep the child safe. They will attend a child protection conference and provide updated reports/information about the child and attend any subsequent child protection review conferences/core group/Early Help Intervention meetings and take an active role in the implementation of the protection plan.
Safeguarding and child protection is an issue that also involves staff protection. There are certain things which you must do to protect yourself and in so doing you are also protecting children.
At any time, a student may speak to a member of staff and make an allegation about another member of staff’s conduct towards them. In such situations appropriate action is taken to ensure that the school carries out its statutory duties relating to the handling of allegations against staff. Following an appropriate procedure ensures that students and staff are treated fairly and consistently, with appropriate support in place until the matter is resolved and that:-
On hearing an allegation, the member of staff , immediately:
The member of staff :
On receiving details of the allegation, the Head teacher will appoint a case manager / investigating officer with responsibility for:
Governing bodies and proprietors should appoint an appropriate senior member of staff, from the school leadership team, to the role of designated safeguarding lead. The designated safeguarding lead should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. This should be explicit in the role-holder’s job description.
It is a matter for individual schools as to whether they choose to have one or more deputy designated safeguarding lead(s). Any deputies should be trained to the same standard as the designated safeguarding lead.
Whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead. This responsibility should not be delegated.
The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should liaise with the local authority and work with other agencies in line with always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns. It is a matter for individual schools and colleges and the designated safeguarding lead to arrange adequate and appropriate cover arrangements for any out of hours/out of term activities.
The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. The training should be updated every two years.
In addition to their formal training, as set out above, their knowledge and skills should be updated, (for example via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding leads, or taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments), at regular intervals, but at least annually, to keep up with any developments relevant to their role. They should be available to take part in all child protection matters, to take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings – and/or to support other staff to do so – and to contribute to the assessment of children.
The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:
The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years.
The designated safeguarding lead should undertake Prevent awareness training.
In addition to the formal training set out above, their knowledge and skills should be refreshed (this might be via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding leads, or simply taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, as required, but at least annually, to allow them to understand and keep up with any developments relevant to their role so they:
All school and college staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases multiple issues will overlap with one another.
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. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). 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 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, 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 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.
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 care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues – bullying including cyberbullying; children missing education, child missing from home or care, child sexual exploitation, domestic violence, drugs, fabricated or induced illness, faith abuse, female genital mutiliation (FGM), forced marriage, gangs and youth violence, gender based violence/violence against women and girls, hate, mental health, private fostering, preventing radicalization, relationship abuse, sexting and trafficking.
All staff should be aware safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting.
The following signs signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and can happen online. A significant number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation go missing from home, care and education at some point. Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual exploitation:
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM):”FGM comprises all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons” (World Health Organisation definition 1995). 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. FGM is a barbaric and inhumane act. It is a criminal offence to conduct FGM in this country or to take a British girl or permanent resident of the UK abroad for the purposes of FGM. It is a child protection issue and upon suspicion you must follow child protection procedures. Under no circumstances should you discuss your suspicions with the child’s friends, family or other community members, regardless of whether you trust them or not. There is a range of potential indicators that a child or young person may be at risk of FGM, which individually may not indicate risk but if there are two or more indicators present this could signal a risk to the child or young person. Indicators that FGM may have taken place are: constant need to go to the toilet; urine infections; spending longer than usual in the toilet/bathroom; prolonged absence from school after holiday periods; difficulty walking, sitting or standing; making excuses or refusal to take part in PE or other physical activities and family history (sister, mother) having undergone this procedure. Victims of FGM are likely to come from a community that is known to practice FGM. Professionals should note that girls at risk of FGM may not yet be aware of the practice or that it may be conducted on them, so sensitivity should always be shown when approaching the subject. FGM is practiced in Ghana, Yemen, Togo, Kenya, Mauritania, Senegal, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Morocco, Iran, Canada, Thailand, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, India, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria. This is not an exhaustive list and if you have any suspicions please follow your child protection procedures.
Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) places a statutory duty upon teachers along with regulated health and social care professionals in England and Wales, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions. It will be rare for teachers to see visual evidence, and they should NOT examine students, but the same definition of what is meant by “to discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out” is used for all professionals to whom this mandatory reporting duty applies. Teachers must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out. Unless the teacher has good reason not to, they should also report the matter to their Designated Safeguarding Lead immediately who will involve children’s social care.
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. Schools can play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses 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. All forms of HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. Staff should refer to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of schools’ 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 terrorism and forms of extremism. 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 alert 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 schools are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (“the CTSA 2015”) in the exercise of their functions to have “due regard” to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This duty is known as the Prevent Duty. According 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.
The statutory Prevent guidance summarises the requirements on schools in terms of four general themes: risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training and IT policies.
Schools are 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. Schools and colleges 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 schools and colleges to have distinct policies on implementing the Prevent duty.