Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

 

Meadow High School

Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

 

 

Policy Number:  27.

Statutory

 

Last Reviewed on:

11.06.19        J. Richards

Next review due by:

11.06.20

 


Contents

1. Aims............................................................................................................................................. 4

2. Legislation and statutory guidance............................................................................................. 4

3. Definitions.................................................................................................................................... 4

4. Equality statement....................................................................................................................... 5

5. Roles and responsibilities........................................................................................................... 5

6. Confidentiality.............................................................................................................................. 7

7. Recognising abuse and taking action......................................................................................... 7

8. Notifying parents....................................................................................................................... 15

9. Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities............................................................. 15

10. Mobile phones and cameras................................................................................................... 16

11. Complaints and concerns about school safeguarding policies.............................................. 16

12. Record-keeping....................................................................................................................... 16

13. Training.................................................................................................................................... 17

14. Monitoring arrangements........................................................................................................ 18

15. Links with other policies.......................................................................................................... 18

Appendix 1: types of abuse........................................................................................................... 19

Appendix 2: safer recruitment and DBS checks – policy and procedures................................... 20

Appendix 3: allegations of abuse made against staff................................................................... 23

Appendix 4: specific safeguarding issues..................................................................................... 27

 

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Useful Contacts

Designated Safeguarding Lead:

Mrs. J. Rigby                 jrigby@meadowhighschool.org 01895 443310 ext 209

Deputy Safeguarding Leads:

Ms. C. Caddell              ccaddell@meadowhighschool.org 01895 443310 ext 207

Mr. A. Bunker                abunker@meadowhighschool.org 01895 443310 ext 228

Ms. J. Richards              jrichards@meadowhighschool.org 01895 443310 ext 215

Mr. M. Rainsbury           mrainsbury@meadowhighschool.org 01895 443310 ext 238

Ms. A. Willis                  awillis@meadowhighschool.org 01895 443310 ext 239

Ms. B. Gamble              bgamble@meadowhighschool.org 01895 443310 ext: 205

Mrs. D. Gleed-Young     dgleedyoung@meadowhighschool.org  01895 443310 ext: 240

Link Governor for Safeguarding:

Mr. J. Goodbody 01895 443310

Deputy Link Governor:

Mr. G. Vickery 01895 443310

Chair of Governors:

Mr. R. Burton 01895 443310

Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO:)

Mr. R. Wratten   rwratten@hillingdon.gov.uk 01895 250975

Channel helpline:

020 730 7264

Safer School’s officer:

PC R. John Rowens. R.John@met.police.uk

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1. Aims

The school aims to ensure that:

  • Appropriate action is taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote children’s welfare
  • All staff are aware of their statutory responsibilities with respect to safeguarding
  • Staff are properly trained in recognising and reporting safeguarding issues

 

2. Legislation and statutory guidance

This policy is based on the Department for Education’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), and the Governance Handbook. We comply with this guidance and the arrangements agreed and published by our 3 local safeguarding partners.

This policy is also based on the following legislation:

  • Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, which places a duty on schools and local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils
  • The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009, which set out what must be recorded on the single central record and the requirement for at least one person conducting an interview to be trained in safer recruitment techniques 
  • The Children Act 1989 (and 2004 amendment), which provides a framework for the care and protection of children
  • Section 5B(11) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, which places a statutory duty on teachers to report to the police where they discover that female genital mutilation (FGM) appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18
  • Statutory guidance on FGM, which sets out responsibilities with regards to safeguarding and supporting girls affected by FGM
  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which outlines when people with criminal convictions can work with children
  • Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which defines what ‘regulated activity’ is in relation to children
  • Statutory guidance on the Prevent duty, which explains schools’ duties under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 with respect to protecting people from the risk of radicalisation and extremism

3. Definitions

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children means: 

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

Child protection is part of this definition and refers to activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or being likely to suffer, significant harm.

Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child, and may involve inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. Appendix 1 explains the different types of abuse.

Neglect is a form of abuse and 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. Appendix 1 defines neglect in more detail.

Sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery) is the sharing of sexual imagery (photos or videos) by children

Children includes everyone under the age of 18. All pupils at Meadow High School are regarded as vulnerable on account of their disability.

The following 3 safeguarding partners are identified in Keeping Children Safe in Education (and defined in the Children Act 2004, as amended by chapter 2 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017). They will make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children, including identifying and responding to their needs:  

  • Hillingdon Borough Council (LA)
  • Hillingdon Commissioning Group
  • Metropolitan Police

 

4. Equality Statement

Some children have an increased risk of abuse, and additional barriers can exist for some children with respect to recognising or disclosing it. We are committed to anti-discriminatory practice and recognise children’s diverse circumstances. We ensure that all children have the same protection, regardless of any barriers they may face.

We give special consideration to children who:

  • Have special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities (see section 9)
  • Are young carers
  • May experience discrimination due to their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification or sexuality
  • Have English as an additional language
  • Are known to be living in difficult situations – for example, temporary accommodation or where there are issues such as substance abuse or domestic violence
  • Are at risk of FGM, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, or radicalisation
  • Are asylum seekers
  • Are at risk due to either their own or a family member’s mental health needs
  • Are looked after or previously looked after

 

5. Roles and Responsibilities

Safeguarding and child protection is everyone’s responsibility. This policy applies to all staff, volunteers and governors in the school and is consistent with the procedures of the 3 safeguarding partners. Our policy and procedures also apply to extended school and off-site activities.

5.1 All staff

All staff will read and understand part 1 and Annex A of the Department for Education’s statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and review this guidance at least annually.

All staff will be aware of:

  • Our systems which support safeguarding, including this child protection and safeguarding policy, the staff code of conduct, the role and identity of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) and deputies, the behaviour policy, and the safeguarding response to children who go missing from education
  • The early help process (sometimes known as the common assessment framework) and their role in it, including identifying emerging problems, liaising with the DSL, and sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment
  • The process for making referrals to local authority children’s social care and for statutory assessments that may follow a referral, including the role they might be expected to play
  • What to do if they identify a safeguarding issue or a child tells them they are being abused or neglected, including specific issues such as FGM, and how to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality while liaising with relevant professionals
  • The signs of different types of abuse and neglect, as well as specific safeguarding issues, such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), FGM and radicalisation

Section 13 and appendix 4 of this policy outline in more detail how staff are supported to do this.

5.2 The designated safeguarding lead (DSL)

The DSL is a member of the senior leadership team. The DSL for meadow High School is Mrs. J. Rigby – Head teacher: jrigby@meadowhighschool.org

The DSL takes lead responsibility for child protection and wider safeguarding.

During term time, the DSL will be available during school hours for staff to discuss any safeguarding concerns.

Mrs. Rigby and the designated deputy safeguarding team can be notified out of school hours via the ‘MyConcern’ web enabled reporting system.

The Deputy Safeguarding team can also be contacted out of school hours via email and ‘MyConcern.’

When the DSL is absent, the deputy safeguarding team will act as cover. The team consists of:

Ms. C. Caddell – Deputy Head teacher: ccaddell@meadowhighschool.org

Mr. A. Bunker – Assistant Head teacher: Key Stage 5: abunker@meadowhighschool.org

Ms. J. Richards – Assistant head teacher: Years 9-11: jrichards@meadowhighschool.org

Mr. M. Rainsbury – Assistant Head teacher: Year 7-8: mrainsbury@meadowhighschool.org

Ms. A. Willis – Assistant Head teacher: Thematic: awillis@meadowhighschool.org

Ms. B. Gamble – Welfare: bgamble@meadowhighschool.org

Mrs. D. Gleed-Young – Family Liaison Officer dgleedyoung@meadowhighschool.org

The DSL will be given the time, funding, training, resources and support to:

  • Provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters
  • Take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings and/or support other staff to do so
  • Contribute to the assessment of children
  • Refer suspected cases, as appropriate, to the relevant body (local authority children’s social care, Channel programme, Disclosure and Barring Service, and/or police), and support staff who make such referrals directly

The DSL will also keep the headteacher informed of any issues, and liaise with local authority case managers and designated officers for child protection concerns as appropriate.

The full responsibilities of the DSL and deputies are set out in their job description.

5.3 The Governing Board

The governing board will approve this policy at each review, ensure it complies with the law and hold the headteacher to account for its implementation.

Mr. J. Goodbody is our designated governor for the governors, with Mr. G. Vickery as his deputy and monitors the effectiveness of this policy in conjunction with the full governing board. This is always a different person from the DSL.

The chair of governors will act as the ‘case manager’ in the event that an allegation of abuse is made against the headteacher, where appropriate (see appendix 3).

All governors will read Keeping Children Safe in Education.

Section 13 has information on how governors are supported to fulfil their role.

5.4 The Headteacher

The headteacher is responsible for the implementation of this policy, including:

  • Ensuring that staff (including temporary staff) and volunteers are informed of our systems which support safeguarding, including this policy, as part of their induction
  • Communicating this policy to parents when their child joins the school and via the school website
  • Ensuring that the DSL has appropriate time, funding, training and resources, and that there is always adequate cover if the DSL is absent
  • Ensuring that all staff undertake appropriate safeguarding and child protection training and update this regularly
  • Acting as the ‘case manager’ in the event of an allegation of abuse made against another member of staff or volunteer, where appropriate (see appendix 3)

6. Confidentiality

Wider issues of confidentiality are covered within our GDPR policy.

Meadow High School uses the ‘My Concern’ web enabled child protection system.  The system can be easily accessed on line by all members of staff and the Safeguarding Team and Safeguarding Lead are notified immediately via email.

My Concern and all subsequent actions connected with the concern are stored on My Concern and reviewed in weekly safeguarding meetings by the Safeguarding Team.  My Concern supports the recording and management of safeguarding concerns to minimise risk, ensure compliance, maximises efficiency and to safely share data with any trusted parties and agencies

All staff are directed to use My Concern to report any concerns about a child.

 

If staff feel the concern is of particular urgency the expectation is always that they will immediately notify in person any member of the safeguarding team, in addition to recording the details via My Concern.

 

The Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and GDPR do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. If staff need to share ‘special category data’ the DPA 2018 contains ‘safeguarding children and individuals at risk’ as a processing condition that allows practitioners to share information without consent if it is not possible to obtain consent, it cannot be reasonably expected that a practitioner gains consent, or to gain if to gain consent would place the child at risk.

  • Timely information sharing is essential to effective safeguarding
  • Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of abuse, as this may not be in the child’s best interests
  • The government’s information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners includes 7 ‘golden rules’ for sharing information, and will support staff who have to make decisions about sharing information
  • If staff are in any doubt about sharing information, they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy)
  • Confidentiality is also addressed in this policy with respect to record-keeping in section 12, and allegations of abuse against staff in appendix 3

 

7. Recognising abuse and taking action

Staff, volunteers and governors must follow the procedures set out below in the event of a safeguarding issue.

Please note – in this and subsequent sections, you should take any references to the DSL to mean “the DSL (or deputy DSL)”.

 

7.1 If a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger

Make a referral to children’s social care and/or the police immediately if you believe a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger. Anyone can make a referral.

Tell the DSL (see section 5.2) as soon as possible if you make a referral directly.

If you are worried a child has been abused or is at risk:

  • If you think they are in immediate harm or need medical attention: call 999
  • For further advice and guidance and to report: contact Hillingdon MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) Telephone: 01895 556644 or in an emergency only 01895 250111. Email: lbh@hillingdon.gov.uk

If someone acts inappropriately towards a child or young person online you must report it. It may be sexual chat, being asked to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable or someone being insistent on meeting up with them.

(For further advice on how to report child abuse to any local council: https://www.gov.uk/report-child-abuse-to-local-council 

 

7.2 If a child makes a disclosure to you

If a child discloses a safeguarding issue to you, you should:

  • Listen to and believe them. Allow them time to talk freely and do not ask leading questions
  • Stay calm and do not show that you are shocked or upset
  • Tell the child they have done the right thing in telling you. Do not tell them they should have told you sooner
  • Explain what will happen next and that you will have to pass this information on. Do not promise to keep it a secret
  • Write up your conversation as soon as possible in the child’s own words. Stick to the facts, and do not put your own judgement on it
  • Sign and date the write-up and pass it on to the DSL. Alternatively, if appropriate, make a referral to children’s social care and/or the police directly (see 7.1), and tell the DSL as soon as possible that you have done so

 

7.3 If you discover that FGM has taken place or a pupil is at risk of FGM

The Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education explains that FGM comprises “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs”.

FGM is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting, harmful consequences. It is also known as ‘female genital cutting’, ‘circumcision’ or ‘initiation’.

Possible indicators that a pupil has already been subjected to FGM, and factors that suggest a pupil may be at risk, are set out in appendix 4.

Any teacher who discovers (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a pupil at Meadow High School must immediately report this to the police, personally. This is a statutory duty, and teachers will face disciplinary sanctions for failing to meet it.

Unless they have good reason not to, they should also discuss the case with the DSL and involve children’s social care as appropriate.

Any other member of staff who discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on any pupil at Meadow High School must speak to the DSL and follow our local safeguarding procedures.

The duty for teachers mentioned above does not apply in cases where a pupil is at risk of FGM or FGM is suspected but is not known to have been carried out. Staff should not examine pupils.

Any member of staff who suspects a pupil is at risk of FGM or suspects that FGM has been carried out must speak to the DSL and follow our local safeguarding procedures.

Report to Hillingdon MASH: 01895 556633 lbh@hillingdon.gov.uk

Call the police non-emergency number:  101

Please note that the Serious Crime Act 2015 introduced the duty to report female genital mutilation (FGM.)

All regulated health and social care professionals and teachers are now required to report known cases of FGM in girls under 18 identified as part of their work to the police within one month.

Further advice and support can be found at: www.fco.gov.uk/fgm for anyone with concerns or questions about FGM.

 

7.4 If you have concerns about a child (as opposed to believing a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger)

Figure 1 on page 10 illustrates the procedure to follow if you have any concerns about a child’s welfare.

Where possible, speak to the DSL first to agree a course of action.

If in exceptional circumstances the DSL is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. Speak to a member of the senior leadership team and/or take advice from local authority children’s social care. You can also seek advice at any time from the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Make a referral to local authority children’s social care directly, if appropriate (see ‘Referral’ below). Share any action taken with the DSL as soon as possible.

If you are unsure whether a family meet the threshold for children’s social care, before conducting an EHA (Early Help Assessment) or making a referral, call children’s social services and ask to speak to a social worker for advice on 01895 556633. (Monday-Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm)

They will be able to guide you as to whether concerns meet social services threshold and if not what actions to take next. If you are advised to make a referral to social services, then use the Inter-Agency referral form and seek the family’s consent as advised by the social worker. The Inter-Agency referral form has its own guidance and is available to download at the website:

http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/28335/Useof-the-inter-agency-referral-form-and-the-early-help-assessment

 

Early help

If early help is appropriate, the DSL will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment as appropriate. Staff may be required to support other agencies and professionals in an early help assessment, in some cases acting as the lead practitioner.

The DSL will keep the case under constant review and the school will consider a referral to local authority children’s social care if the situation does not seem to be improving. Timelines of interventions will be monitored and reviewed.

The Early Help Assessment (EHA) is a standardised approach to conducting an assessment of a family’s needs and deciding how those needs should be met.

One or more practitioners can work with a young person or a child's parent/carer to assess the young person's or child's strengths and needs, noting these on the assessment tool. Together they should identify whether additional services are required. If they are, the practitioner must obtain the parent/carer or young person's consent to share the completed assessment with the identified services.

If there a number of children within the family and a number of different agencies already engaged (eg schools, children's centres etc.). It may be more appropriate to call a Team around the Family (see below) and complete the EHA tool at the meeting, using it to inform any intervention planning.

Consent and Information Sharing

Getting consent

Before completing the EHA you need the consent of the parent/carer and in some cases the young person. They will want to understand the purpose of the document and there is a leaflet to explain the process to the family: http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/eha

The assessment is used to access early intervention for families. When you complete the early help assessment with a family it could lead to the following outcomes:

  • After discussion with the family there are no longer concerns. The assessment is kept on file (MyConcern) and could be discussed again in the future if further concerns arise.
  •  After discussion with the family it could be appropriate that your own agency can provide the support and help needed and no other agencies need to be involved.  If this is the case it is advised you put an action plan in place and review within your own organisation to ensure the family's needs continue to be met.
  • Another single agency needs to be involved e.g. speech and language or school nurse. If that is the case the information obtained through your assessment can be used to support your referral.
  • A number of services are required to address the needs of the family identified by your assessment. If so a Team Around the Family meeting is needed.
  • Once completed please send a copy of the completed assessment to the TAF Co-ordinator.
  • If whilst completing your assessment with the family, you have child protection concerns are or worried about a child contact children's social services immediately on 01895 556644

Remember:

  • The EHA is an early intervention assessment tool and is not for making an assessment to social services (to do this complete an Inter-Agency referral form)
  • If you have any doubts about making a referral to social care speak to the DSL or any member of the safeguarding team at school or contact social services for further advice.
  • If you start an EHA and identify more worrying concerns, you can always stop and make a referral to social care.
  • If there is already a social worker allocated to the family, you do not need to complete an EHA. Instead, share any concerns directly with the social worker and participate in any planning processes already in place.

Team Around the Family (TAF)

This is a multi-agency meeting where all the professionals working with the family, including the parent/care and child(ren) where appropriate, explore what help is needed and how this can best be provided. Any agency working with the family can organise a team around the family meeting. The TAF Coordinator can be contacted to offer you advice and support with this process or, if you have not held a TAF meeting before, can attend your first meeting. At the first TAF meeting a lead professional is appointed to chair future meetings and be the central point of contact for TAF members, including the family. 

The Early Intervention and Prevention Service

For concerns about a pupil’s attendance and/or punctuality) telephone 01895 250858  Email: participationteam@hillingdon.gov.uk

Referral

If it is appropriate to refer the case to local authority children’s social care or the police, the DSL will make the referral or support you to do so.

If you make a referral directly (see section 7.1), you must tell the DSL as soon as possible.

The local authority will make a decision within 1 working day of a referral about what course of action to take and will let the person who made the referral know the outcome. The DSL or person who made the referral must follow up with the local authority if this information is not made available, and ensure outcomes are properly recorded.

If the child’s situation does not seem to be improving after the referral, the DSL or person who made the referral must follow local escalation procedures to ensure their concerns have been addressed and that the child’s situation improves.

Stages of Escalation:

At all stages conversations should be specific and evidence based as to what the difference in opinion is about; and what are the best outcomes for the child.

Stage One

Any worker who feels that a decision is not safe or is inappropriate should initially consult a supervisor/manager to clarify their thinking in order to identify the problem, and be specific and evidence based as to what the difference in opinion is about and what they aim to achieve. Initial attempts should be taken to resolve the problem at the lowest possible level. This would normally be between the people who hold the differing views and ideally be a conversation to discuss followed by email confirming the resolution or ongoing concern. It should be recognised that differences in status and/or experience may affect the confidence of some workers to pursue this unsupported.

Stage Two

If the problem is not resolved at stage one the concerned worker should contact their supervisor/manager within their own agency who should raise the concerns with the equivalent supervisor/manager in the other agency. The manager should also notify the LSCB/SAB Business Team, who will keep a record of all ongoing disagreements.

Stage Three

 If the problem is not resolved at stage two the supervisor/manager reports to their respective operations manager or named/designated safeguarding representative. These two managers must attempt to resolve the professional differences through discussion. The LSCB/SAB Business Team should be advised of any outcome.

Stage Four

If it is not possible to resolve the professional differences within the agencies concerned, the matter should be referred to the Chair of the LSCB/SAB, who may either seek to resolve the issue directly, or to convene a Resolution Panel. The Panel must consist of LSCB/SAB representatives from three agencies (including the agencies concerned in the professional differences, where possible).

Additional Notes

At all stages of the process, actions and decisions must be recorded in writing and shared with relevant personnel, to include the worker who raised the initial concern. In particular this must include written confirmation between the parties about an agreed outcome

7.5 If you have concerns about extremism

If a child is not suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger, where possible speak to the DSL first to agree a course of action.

If in exceptional circumstances the DSL is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. Speak to a member of the senior leadership team and/or seek advice from local authority children’s social care. Make a referral to local authority children’s social care directly, if appropriate (see ‘Referral’ above).

Where there is a concern, the DSL will consider the level of risk and decide which agency to make a referral to. This could include Channel, the government’s programme for identifying and supporting individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism, or the local authority children’s social care team.

The Department for Education also has a dedicated telephone helpline, 020 7340 7264, which school staff and governors can call to raise concerns about extremism with respect to a pupil. You can also email counter.extremism@education.gov.uk. Note that this is not for use in emergency situations.

In an emergency, call 999 or the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 if you:

  • Think someone is in immediate danger
  • Think someone may be planning to travel to join an extremist group
  • See or hear something that may be terrorist-related

 


Figure 1: procedure if you have concerns about a child’s welfare (as opposed to believing a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger)

(Note – if the DSL is unavailable, this should not delay action. See section 7.4 for what to do.)

 

It is not possible to copy this graphic - please refer to the policy document.

 

7.6 Concerns about a staff member or volunteer

If you have concerns about a member of staff or volunteer, or an allegation is made about a member of staff or volunteer posing a risk of harm to children, speak to the headteacher. If the concerns/allegations are about the headteacher, speak to the chair of governors.

The headteacher/chair of governors will then follow the procedures set out in appendix 3, if appropriate.

7.7 Allegations of abuse made against other pupils

We recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. Abuse will never be tolerated or passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”.

We also recognise the gendered nature of peer-on-peer abuse (i.e. that it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys will be perpetrators). However, all peer-on-peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously.

Most cases of pupils hurting other pupils will be dealt with under our school’s behaviour policy, but this child protection and safeguarding policy will apply to any allegations that raise safeguarding concerns. This might include where the alleged behaviour:

  • Is serious, and potentially a criminal offence
  • Could put pupils in the school at risk
  • Is violent
  • Involves pupils being forced to use drugs or alcohol
  • Involves sexual exploitation, sexual abuse or sexual harassment, such as indecent exposure, sexual assault, or sexually inappropriate pictures or videos (including sexting)

If a pupil makes an allegation of abuse against another pupil:

  • You must record the allegation and tell the DSL, but do not investigate it
  • The DSL will contact the local authority children’s social care team and follow its advice, as well as the police if the allegation involves a potential criminal offence
  • The DSL will put a risk assessment and support plan into place for all children involved (including the victim(s), the child(ren) against whom the allegation has been made and any others affected) with a named person they can talk to if needed
  • The DSL will contact the children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), if appropriate
  • Record the incident on ‘MyConcern’, remembering to link all pupils involved.

.

We will minimise the risk of peer-on-peer abuse by:

  • Challenging any form of derogatory or sexualised language or behaviour, including requesting or sending sexual images
  • Being vigilant to issues that particularly affect different genders – for example, sexualised or aggressive touching or grabbing towards female pupils, and initiation or hazing type violence with respect to boys
  • Ensuring our curriculum helps to educate pupils about appropriate behaviour and consent
  • Ensuring pupils know they can talk to staff confidentially by encouraging pupils, parents and families to talk to us. We actively promote a range of trusted adults for pupils to talk to, including promoting with pupils the importance of talking to and seeking support from their parents and families. We aim to empower pupils and their families to exercise control over the choices that will affect their life e.g. through determining for themselves how they would like personal / private information (which is not deemed to be a Child Protection issue) to be shared and with whom.
  • Ensuring staff are trained to understand that a pupil harming a peer could be a sign that the child is being abused themselves, and that this would fall under the scope of this policy

 

7.8 Sexting

Your responsibilities when responding to an incident

If you are made aware of an incident involving sexting (also known as ‘youth produced sexual imagery’), you must report it to the DSL immediately.

You must not:

  • View, download or share the imagery yourself, or ask a pupil to share or download it. If you have already viewed the imagery by accident, you must report this to the DSL
  • Delete the imagery or ask the pupil to delete it
  • Ask the pupil(s) who are involved in the incident to disclose information regarding the imagery (this is the DSL’s responsibility)
  • Share information about the incident with other members of staff, the pupil(s) it involves or their, or other, parents and/or carers
  • Say or do anything to blame or shame any young people involved

You should explain that you need to report the incident, and reassure the pupil(s) that they will receive support and help from the DSL.

Initial review meeting

Following a report of an incident, the DSL will hold an initial review meeting with appropriate school staff. This meeting will consider the initial evidence and aim to determine:

  • Whether there is an immediate risk to pupil(s)
  • If a referral needs to be made to the police and/or children’s social care
  • If it is necessary to view the imagery in order to safeguard the young person (in most cases, imagery should not be viewed)
  • What further information is required to decide on the best response
  • Whether the imagery has been shared widely and via what services and/or platforms (this may be unknown)
  • Whether immediate action should be taken to delete or remove images from devices or online services
  • Any relevant facts about the pupils involved which would influence risk assessment
  • If there is a need to contact another school, college, setting or individual
  • Whether to contact parents or carers of the pupils involved (in most cases parents should be involved)

The DSL will make an immediate referral to police and/or children’s social care if:

  • The incident involves an adult
  • There is reason to believe that a young person has been coerced, blackmailed or groomed, or if there are concerns about their capacity to consent (for example owing to special educational needs)
  • What the DSL knows about the imagery suggests the content depicts sexual acts which are unusual for the young person’s developmental stage, or are violent
  • The imagery involves sexual acts and any pupil in the imagery is under 13
  • The DSL has reason to believe a pupil is at immediate risk of harm owing to the sharing of the imagery (for example, the young person is presenting as suicidal or self-harming)

If none of the above apply then the DSL, in consultation with the headteacher and other members of staff as appropriate, may decide to respond to the incident without involving the police or children’s social care.

Further review by the DSL

If at the initial review stage a decision has been made not to refer to police and/or children’s social care, the DSL will conduct a further review.

They will hold interviews with the pupils involved (if appropriate) to establish the facts and assess the risks.

If at any point in the process there is a concern that a pupil has been harmed or is at risk of harm, a referral will be made to children’s social care and/or the police immediately.

Informing parents

The DSL will inform parents at an early stage and keep them involved in the process, unless there is a good reason to believe that involving them would put the pupil at risk of harm.

Referring to the police

If it is necessary to refer an incident to the police, this will be done through contacting our safer schools officer (PC R. John) or dialling 101

Recording incidents

All sexting incidents and the decisions made in responding to them will be recorded. The record-keeping arrangements set out in section 12 of this policy also apply to recording incidents of sexting.

Curriculum coverage

Pupils are taught about the issues surrounding sexting as part of our PSHE education and computing programmes. Teaching covers the following in relation to sexting:

  • What it is
  • How it is most likely to be encountered
  • The consequences of requesting, forwarding or providing such images, including when it is and is not abusive
  • Issues of legality
  • The risk of damage to people’s feelings and reputation

Pupils also learn the strategies and skills needed to manage:

  • Specific requests or pressure to provide (or forward) such images
  • The receipt of such images

This policy on sexting is also shared with pupils so they are aware of the processes the school will follow in the event of an incident.

8. Notifying parents

Where appropriate, we will discuss any concerns about a child with the child’s parents. The DSL will normally do this in the event of a suspicion or disclosure.

Other staff will only talk to parents about any such concerns following consultation with the DSL.

If we believe that notifying the parents would increase the risk to the child, we will discuss this with the local authority children’s social care team before doing so.

In the case of allegations of abuse made against other children, we will normally notify the parents of all the children involved.

9. Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities

We recognise that pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group, including:

  • Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration
  • Pupils being more prone to peer group isolation than other pupils
  • The potential for pupils with SEN and disabilities being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs
  • Communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers

All pupils at Meadow High School are particularly vulnerable due to their SEN

 

10. Mobile phones and cameras

At present, staff are allowed to bring their personal phones to school for their own use, but will limit such use to non-contact time when pupils are not present. Staff members’ personal phones will remain in their bags or cupboards during contact time with pupils.

Staff must not take pictures or recordings of pupils on their personal phones or cameras.

From September 2019, staff will NOT be permitted to use personal phones within school. However, SLT and welfare (who are ‘first responders’ to any Assistance Alarm) will be permitted use a (non-internet/camera disabled) mobile phone so that they may immediately notify emergency services in the event of a serious incident. (This must be stored next to the Assistance Alarm Control Box and be fully charged at all times)

From September 2019 all visitors will be instructed to hand in their personal mobile phones if entering the main school site (not the foyer.) These will be stored in a locked cupboard in reception and returned when they leave.

Should any member of staff become aware of inappropriate or non-essential use of a mobile phone, this should be reported to a member of the SLT, and may be subject to disciplinary action.

We will follow the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018 when taking and storing photos and recordings for use in the school.

All volunteers and students who work within our school will be made aware of this policy and will adhere to the policy.

Mobile phones have a place on outings or in school buildings which do not have access to a school landline. In these cases, staff should use school mobile phones and their personal mobile phones should be left at school

11. Complaints and concerns about school safeguarding policies

11.1 Complaints against staff

Complaints against staff that are likely to require a child protection investigation will be handled in accordance with our procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse made against staff (see appendix 3).

11.2 Other complaints

Explain how your school handles safeguarding-related complaints of other types here – for example, those related to pupils or premises.

11.3 Whistle-blowing

Please refer to policy number #22 ‘Whistleblowing’ (shared curriculum site/Policies)

12. Record-keeping

We will hold records in line with our records retention schedule.

All safeguarding concerns, discussions, decisions made and the reasons for those decisions, must be recorded in writing though the MyConcern safeguarding system.  If you are in any doubt about whether to record something, discuss it with the DSL.

Non-confidential records will be easily accessible and available. Confidential information and records will be held securely and only available to those who have a right or professional need to see them.

Safeguarding records relating to individual children will be retained for a reasonable period of time after they have left the school.

If a child for whom the school has, or has had, safeguarding concerns moves to another school, the DSL will ensure that their child protection file (as stored on MyConcern) is forwarded promptly, securely and separately from the main pupil file. In addition, if the concerns are significant or complex, and/or social services are involved, the DSL will speak to the DSL of the receiving school and provide information to enable them to have time to make any necessary preparations to ensure the safety of the child. MyConcern also enables the secure safeguarding record for a pupil to be transferred to those with a right or professional need to see them.

The transfer of safeguarding records should be secure and arranged separately from the main child file, in line with DfE guidance, and must be transferred under confidential cover. For example, the transferring DSL arranges to meet the receiving DSL and the records are physically exchanged between them. If a school sent information relating to a pupil who was not attending the new school in September, then this potentially could be a data protection breach. A receipt should be requested by the transferring setting and presented by the receiving setting. Where the physical transfer of files is not possible or appropriate, the best possible secure delivery of these files should take place, with a receipt being provided by the receiving setting. It is possible that there may be exceptional circumstances where during the summer break something happens to prevent the learner joining the new setting. This is rare and should be dealt with on a case per case basis. Similarly, consideration must be given to whether it is appropriate to transfer a safeguarding file overseas.

All data recorded by schools using MyConcern are transmitted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology – 2.048 bit SSL encrypts all data between end users and the server. This means that each school’s database is fully encrypted and no data is held in readable form. MyConcern is accessible securely within a school’s network or a secure (non-public) internet connection from any web enabled device.

Guidance from the Records Management Society is when a child with a child protection record reaches statutory school leaving age, the last school/setting attended should keep the child protection file until the child’s 25th birthday. Following this, the file should be shredded; a record should be kept of this having been done including the date, and why.

In addition:

  • Appendix 2 sets out our policy on record-keeping specifically with respect to recruitment and pre-employment checks
  • Appendix 3 sets out our policy on record-keeping with respect to allegations of abuse made against staff

13. Training

13.1 All staff

All staff members will undertake safeguarding and child protection training at induction, including on whistle-blowing procedures, to ensure they understand the school’s safeguarding systems and their responsibilities, and can identify signs of possible abuse or neglect. This training will be regularly updated and will be in line with advice from the 3 safeguarding partners.

All staff will have training on the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, Prevent, to enable them to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas.

Staff will also receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, through emails, e-bulletins and staff meetings) as required, but at least annually.

Contractors who are provided through a private finance initiative (PFI) or similar contract will also receive safeguarding training.

Volunteers will receive appropriate training, if applicable.

13.2 The DSL and deputies

The DSL and deputies will undertake child protection and safeguarding training at least every 2 years.

In addition, they will update their knowledge and skills at regular intervals and at least annually (for example, through e-bulletins, meeting other DSLs, or taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments).

They will also undertake Prevent awareness training.

13.3 Governors

All governors receive training about safeguarding, to make sure they have the knowledge and information needed to perform their functions and understand their responsibilities.

As the chair of governors may be required to act as the ‘case manager’ in the event that an allegation of abuse is made against the headteacher, they receive training in managing allegations for this purpose.

13.4 Recruitment – interview panels

At least one person conducting any interview for a post at the school will have undertaken safer recruitment training. This will cover, as a minimum, the contents of the Department for Education’s statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and will be in line with local safeguarding procedures.

13.5 Staff who have contact with pupils and families

All staff who have contact with children and families will have supervisions which will provide them with support, coaching and training, promote the interests of children and allow for confidential discussions of sensitive issues.

14, Monitoring arrangements

This policy will be reviewed annually by J. Richards/Assistant Head teacher. At every review, it will be scrutinised by the Senior Leadership and approved by the full governing board.

15 Links with other policies

This policy links to the following policies and procedures:

  • Behaviour
  • Staff code of conduct
  • Complaints
  • Health and safety
  • Attendance
  • Online safety
  • Equality
  • Sex and relationship education
  • First aid
  • Curriculum
  • Privacy notices
  • Whistle Blowing
  • IT acceptable use

These appendices are based on the Department for Education’s statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education.

Appendix 1: types of abuse

Abuse, including neglect, and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap.

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.

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.

Emotional abuse 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
  • Not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate
  • 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
  • Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another
  • Serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children

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
  • 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 is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.

Once a child is born, neglect may involve 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)
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

 


Appendix 2: safer recruitment and DBS checks - policy and procedures

We will record all information on the checks carried out in the school’s single central record (SCR). Copies of these checks, where appropriate, will be held in individuals’ personnel files. We follow requirements and best practice in retaining copies of these checks, as set out below.

New staff

When appointing new staff, we will:

  • Verify their identity
  • Obtain (via the applicant) an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, including barred list information for those who will be engaging in regulated activity (see definition below). We will not keep a copy of this for longer than 6 months
  • Obtain a separate barred list check if they will start work in regulated activity before the DBS certificate is available
  • Verify their mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities
  • Verify their right to work in the UK. We will keep a copy of this verification for the duration of the member of staff’s employment and for 2 years afterwards
  • Verify their professional qualifications, as appropriate
  • Ensure they are not subject to a prohibition order if they are employed to be a teacher
  • Carry out further additional checks, as appropriate, on candidates who have lived or worked outside of the UK, including (where relevant) any teacher sanctions or restrictions imposed by a European Economic Area professional regulating authority, and criminal records checks or their equivalent

We will ask for written information about previous employment history and check that information is not contradictory or incomplete.

We will seek references on all short-listed candidates, including internal candidates, before interview. We will scrutinise these and resolve any concerns before confirming appointments. The references requested will ask specific questions about the suitability of the applicant to work with children.

Regulated activity means a person who will be:

  • Responsible, on a regular basis in a school or college, for teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children; or
  • Carrying out paid, or unsupervised unpaid, work regularly in a school or college where that work provides an opportunity for contact with children; or
  • Engaging in intimate or personal care or overnight activity, even if this happens only once and regardless of whether they are supervised or not

Existing staff

If we have concerns about an existing member of staff’s suitability to work with children, we will carry out all the relevant checks as if the individual was a new member of staff. We will also do this if an individual moves from a post that is not regulated activity to one that is.

We will refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed, or poses a risk of harm, to a child or vulnerable adult where:

  • We believe the individual has engaged in relevant conduct; or
  • The individual has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence, or there is reason to believe the individual has committed a listed relevant offence, under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (Prescribed Criteria and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2009; or
  • The ‘harm test’ is satisfied in respect of the individual (i.e. they may harm a child or vulnerable adult or put them at risk of harm); and
  • The individual has been removed from working in regulated activity (paid or unpaid) or would have been removed if they had not left

Agency and third-party staff

We will obtain written notification from any agency or third-party organisation that it has carried out the necessary safer recruitment checks that we would otherwise perform. We will also check that the person presenting themselves for work is the same person on whom the checks have been made.

Contractors

We will ensure that any contractor, or any employee of the contractor, who is to work at the school has had the appropriate level of DBS check (this includes contractors who are provided through a PFI or similar contract). This will be:

  • An enhanced DBS check with barred list information for contractors engaging in regulated activity
  • An enhanced DBS check, not including barred list information, for all other contractors who are not in regulated activity but whose work provides them with an opportunity for regular contact with children

We will obtain the DBS check for self-employed contractors.

We will not keep copies of such checks for longer than 6 months.

Contractors who have not had any checks will not be allowed to work unsupervised or engage in regulated activity under any circumstances.

Trainee/student teachers

Where applicants for initial teacher training are salaried by us, we will ensure that all necessary checks are carried out.

Where trainee teachers are fee-funded, we will obtain written confirmation from the training provider that necessary checks have been carried out and that the trainee has been judged by the provider to be suitable to work with children.

Volunteers

We will:

  • Never leave an unchecked volunteer unsupervised or allow them to work in regulated activity
  • Obtain an enhanced DBS check with barred list information for all volunteers who are new to working in regulated activity
  • Carry out a risk assessment when deciding whether to seek an enhanced DBS check without barred list information for any volunteers not engaging in regulated activity. We will retain a record of this risk assessment

Governors

All governors will have an enhanced DBS check without barred list information.

They will have an enhanced DBS check with barred list information if working in regulated activity.

All governors will also have a section 128 check (as a section 128 direction disqualifies an individual from being a maintained school governor).

Staff working in alternative provision settings

Where we place a pupil with an alternative provision provider, we obtain written confirmation from the provider that they have carried out the appropriate safeguarding checks on individuals working there that we would otherwise perform.

Adults who supervise pupils on work experience

When organising work experience, we will ensure that policies and procedures are in place to protect children from harm.

We will also consider whether it is necessary for barred list checks to be carried out on the individuals who supervise a pupil under 16 on work experience. This will depend on the specific circumstances of the work experience, including the nature of the supervision, the frequency of the activity being supervised, and whether the work is regulated activity.

Pupils staying with host families

Where the school makes arrangements for pupils to be provided with care and accommodation by a host family to which they are not related (for example, during a foreign exchange visit), we will request enhanced DBS checks with barred list information on those people.

Where the school is organising such hosting arrangements overseas and host families cannot be checked in the same way, we will work with our partner schools abroad to ensure that similar assurances are undertaken prior to the visit.


Appendix 3: allegations of abuse made against staff

This section of this policy applies to all cases in which it is alleged that a current member of staff or volunteer has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child, or
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she would pose a risk of harm to children 

It applies regardless of whether the alleged abuse took place in the school. Allegations against a teacher who is no longer teaching and historical allegations of abuse will be referred to the police.

We will deal with any allegation of abuse against a member of staff or volunteer very quickly, in a fair and consistent way that provides effective child protection while also supporting the individual who is the subject of the allegation.

Our procedures for dealing with allegations will be applied with common sense and judgement.

Suspension

Suspension will not be the default position, and will only be considered in cases where there is reason to suspect that a child or other children is/are at risk of harm, or the case is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal. In such cases, we will only suspend an individual if we have considered all other options available and there is no reasonable alternative.

Based on an assessment of risk, we will consider alternatives such as:

  • Redeployment within the school so that the individual does not have direct contact with the child or children concerned
  • Providing an assistant to be present when the individual has contact with children
  • Redeploying the individual to alternative work in the school so that they do not have unsupervised access to children
  • Moving the child or children to classes where they will not come into contact with the individual, making it clear that this is not a punishment and parents have been consulted
  • Temporarily redeploying the individual to another role in a different location, for example to an alternative school or other work for the local authority.

Definitions for outcomes of allegation investigations

  • Substantiated: there is sufficient evidence to prove the allegation
  • Malicious: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive
  • False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation
  • Unsubstantiated: there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation (this does not imply guilt or innocence)
  • Unfounded: to reflect cases where there is no evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made

Procedure for dealing with allegations

In the event of an allegation that meets the criteria above, the headteacher (or chair of governors) where the head teacher is the subject of the allegation) – the ‘case manager’ – will take the following steps:

  • Immediately discuss the allegation with the designated officer at the local authority. This is to consider the nature, content and context of the allegation and agree a course of action, including whether further enquiries are necessary to enable a decision on how to proceed, and whether it is necessary to involve the police and/or children’s social care services. (The case manager may, on occasion, consider it necessary to involve the police before consulting the designated officer – for example, if the accused individual is deemed to be an immediate risk to children or there is evidence of a possible criminal offence. In such cases, the case manager will notify the designated officer as soon as practicably possible after contacting the police)
  • Inform the accused individual of the concerns or allegations and likely course of action as soon as possible after speaking to the designated officer (and the police or children’s social care services, where necessary). Where the police and/or children’s social care services are involved, the case manager will only share such information with the individual as has been agreed with those agencies
  • Where appropriate (in the circumstances described above), carefully consider whether suspension of the individual from contact with children at the school is justified or whether alternative arrangements such as those outlined above can be put in place. Advice will be sought from the designated officer, police and/or children’s social care services, as appropriate
  • If immediate suspension is considered necessary, agree and record the rationale for this with the designated officer. The record will include information about the alternatives to suspension that have been considered, and why they were rejected. Written confirmation of the suspension will be provided to the individual facing the allegation or concern within 1 working day, and the individual will be given a named contact at the school and their contact details
  • If it is decided that no further action is to be taken in regard to the subject of the allegation or concern, record this decision and the justification for it and agree with the designated officer what information should be put in writing to the individual and by whom, as well as what action should follow both in respect of the individual and those who made the initial allegation
  • If it is decided that further action is needed, take steps as agreed with the designated officer to initiate the appropriate action in school and/or liaise with the police and/or children’s social care services as appropriate
  • Provide effective support for the individual facing the allegation or concern, including appointing a named representative to keep them informed of the progress of the case and considering what other support is appropriate. Individuals can also receive further support and advice through their trade union representatives (if they are a member), a colleague or through the Employee Assistance Helpline (the service provided by the professional organisation Merrigold Health in partnership with Wellbeing Solutions management. Employee Assistance is free and confidential
  • Inform the parents or carers of the child/children involved about the allegation as soon as possible if they do not already know (following agreement with children’s social care services and/or the police, if applicable). The case manager will also inform the parents or carers of the requirement to maintain confidentiality about any allegations made against teachers (where this applies) while investigations are ongoing. Any parent or carer who wishes to have the confidentiality restrictions removed in respect of a teacher will be advised to seek legal advice
  • Keep the parents or carers of the child/children involved informed of the progress of the case and the outcome, where there is not a criminal prosecution, including the outcome of any disciplinary process (in confidence)
  • Make a referral to the DBS where it is thought that the individual facing the allegation or concern has engaged in conduct that harmed or is likely to harm a child, or if the individual otherwise poses a risk of harm to a child

 

If the school is made aware that the secretary of state has made an interim prohibition order in respect of an individual, we will immediately suspend that individual from teaching, pending the findings of the investigation by the Teaching Regulation Agency.

Where the police are involved, wherever possible the Local Authority will ask the police at the start of the investigation to obtain consent from the individuals involved to share their statements and evidence for use in the school’s disciplinary process, should this be required at a later point.

Timescales

  • Any cases where it is clear immediately that the allegation is unsubstantiated or malicious will be resolved within 1 week
  • If the nature of an allegation does not require formal disciplinary action, we will institute appropriate action within 3 working days
  • If a disciplinary hearing is required and can be held without further investigation, we will hold this within 15 working days

Specific actions

Action following a criminal investigation or prosecution

The case manager will discuss with the local authority’s designated officer whether any further action, including disciplinary action, is appropriate and, if so, how to proceed, taking into account information provided by the police and/or children’s social care services.

Conclusion of a case where the allegation is substantiated

If the allegation is substantiated and the individual is dismissed or the school ceases to use their services, or the individual resigns or otherwise ceases to provide their services, the case manager and the school’s personnel adviser will discuss with the designated officer whether to make a referral to the DBS for consideration of whether inclusion on the barred lists is required.

If the individual concerned is a member of teaching staff, the case manager and personnel adviser will discuss with the designated officer whether to refer the matter to the Teaching Regulation Agency to consider prohibiting the individual from teaching.

Individuals returning to work after suspension

If it is decided on the conclusion of a case that an individual who has been suspended can return to work, the case manager will consider how best to facilitate this.

The case manager will also consider how best to manage the individual’s contact with the child or children who made the allegation, if they are still attending the school.

Unsubstantiated or malicious allegations

If an allegation is shown to be deliberately invented, or malicious, the headteacher, or other appropriate person in the case of an allegation against the headteacher, will consider whether any disciplinary action is appropriate against the pupil(s) who made it, or whether the police should be asked to consider whether action against those who made the allegation might be appropriate, even if they are not a pupil.

Confidentiality

The school will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered.

The case manager will take advice from the local authority’s designated officer, police and children’s social care services, as appropriate, to agree:

  • Who needs to know about the allegation and what information can be shared
  • How to manage speculation, leaks and gossip, including how to make parents or carers of a child/children involved aware of their obligations with respect to confidentiality
  • What, if any, information can be reasonably given to the wider community to reduce speculation
  • How to manage press interest if, and when, it arises

Record-keeping

The case manager will maintain clear records about any case where the allegation or concern meets the criteria above and store them on the individual’s confidential personnel file for the duration of the case. Such records will include:

  • A clear and comprehensive summary of the allegation
  • Details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved
  • Notes of any action taken and decisions reached (and justification for these, as stated above)

If an allegation or concern is not found to have been malicious, the school will retain the records of the case on the individual’s confidential personnel file, and provide a copy to the individual.

Where records contain information about allegations of sexual abuse, we will preserve these for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), for the term of the inquiry. We will retain all other records at least until the individual has reached normal pension age, or for 10 years from the date of the allegation if that is longer.

The records of any allegation that is found to be malicious will be deleted from the individual’s personnel file.

References

When providing employer references, we will not refer to any allegation that has been proven to be false, unsubstantiated or malicious, or any history of allegations where all such allegations have been proven to be false, unsubstantiated or malicious.

Learning lessons

After any cases where the allegations are substantiated, we will review the circumstances of the case with the local authority’s designated officer to determine whether there are any improvements that we can make to the school’s procedures or practice to help prevent similar events in the future.

This will include consideration of (as applicable):

  • Issues arising from the decision to suspend the member of staff
  • The duration of the suspension
  • Whether or not the suspension was justified
  • The use of suspension when the individual is subsequently reinstated. We will consider how future investigations of a similar nature could be carried out without suspending the individual

Appendix 4: specific safeguarding issues

Children missing from education

A child going missing from education, particularly repeatedly, can be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding issues. This might include abuse or neglect, such as sexual abuse or exploitation or child criminal exploitation, or issues such as mental health problems, substance abuse, radicalisation, FGM or forced marriage.

There are many circumstances where a child may become missing from education, but some children are particularly at risk. These include children who:

  • Are at risk of harm or neglect
  • Are at risk of forced marriage or FGM
  • Come from Gypsy, Roma, or Traveller families
  • Come from the families of service personnel
  • Go missing or run away from home or care
  • Are supervised by the youth justice system
  • Cease to attend a school
  • Come from new migrant families

We will follow our procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children who 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 going missing in future. This includes informing the local authority if a child leaves the school without a new school being named, and adhering to requirements with respect to sharing information with the local authority, when applicable, when removing a child’s name from the admission register at non-standard transition points.

Staff will be trained in signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns which may be related to being missing, such as travelling to conflict zones, FGM and forced marriage.

If a staff member suspects that a child is suffering from harm or neglect, we will follow local child protection procedures, including with respect to making reasonable enquiries. We will make an immediate referral to the local authority children’s social care team, and the police, if the child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger.

Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse that occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.

This can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults, but does not always involve physical contact and can happen online. For example, young people may be persuaded or forced to share sexually explicit images of themselves, have sexual conversations by text, or take part in sexual activities using a webcam.

Children or young people who are being sexually exploited may not understand that they are being abused. They often trust their abuser and may be tricked into believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship.

If a member of staff suspects CSE, they will discuss this with the DSL. The DSL will trigger the local safeguarding procedures, including a referral to the local authority’s children’s social care team and the police, if appropriate.

Indicators of sexual exploitation can include a child:

  • Appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions
  • Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
  • Having older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Suffering from sexually transmitted infections or becoming pregnant
  • Displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour
  • Suffering from changes in emotional wellbeing
  • Misusing drugs and/or alcohol
  • Going missing for periods of time, or regularly coming home late
  • Regularly missing school or education, or not taking part in education

Homelessness

Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare.

The DSL and deputies will be aware of contact details and referral routes in to the local housing authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity (where appropriate and in accordance with local procedures).

Where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm, the DSL will also make a referral to children’s social care.

So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (including FGM and forced marriage)

So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses incidents or crimes committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community, including FGM, forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing.

Abuse committed in this context often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators.

All forms of HBV are abuse and will be handled and escalated as such. All staff will be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBV or already having suffered it. If staff have a concern, they will speak to the DSL, who will activate local safeguarding procedures.

FGM

The DSL will make sure that staff have access to appropriate training to equip them to be alert to children affected by FGM or at risk of FGM.

Section 7.3 of this policy sets out the procedures to be followed if a staff member discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out or suspects that a pupil is at risk of FGM.

Indicators that FGM has already occurred include:

  • A pupil confiding in a professional that FGM has taken place
  • A mother/family member disclosing that FGM has been carried out
  • A family/pupil already being known to social services in relation to other safeguarding issues
  • A girl:
    • Having difficulty walking, sitting or standing, or looking uncomfortable
    • Finding it hard to sit still for long periods of time (where this was not a problem previously)
    • Spending longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet due to difficulties urinating
    • Having frequent urinary, menstrual or stomach problems
    • Avoiding physical exercise or missing PE
    • Being repeatedly absent from school, or absent for a prolonged period
    • Demonstrating increased emotional and psychological needs – for example, withdrawal or depression, or significant change in behaviour
    • Being reluctant to undergo any medical examinations
    • Asking for help, but not being explicit about the problem
    • Talking about pain or discomfort between her legs

Potential signs that a pupil may be at risk of FGM include:

  • The girl’s family having a history of practising FGM (this is the biggest risk factor to consider)
  • FGM being known to be practised in the girl’s community or country of origin
  • A parent or family member expressing concern that FGM may be carried out
  • A family not engaging with professionals (health, education or other) or already being known to social care in relation to other safeguarding issues
  • A girl:
    • Having a mother, older sibling or cousin who has undergone FGM
    • Having limited level of integration within UK society
    • Confiding to a professional that she is to have a “special procedure” or to attend a special occasion to “become a woman”
    • Talking about a long holiday to her country of origin or another country where the practice is prevalent, or parents stating that they or a relative will take the girl out of the country for a prolonged period
    • Requesting help from a teacher or another adult because she is aware or suspects that she is at immediate risk of FGM
    • Talking about FGM in conversation – for example, a girl may tell other children about it  (although it is important to take into account the context of the discussion)
    • Being unexpectedly absent from school
    • Having sections missing from her ‘red book’ (child health record) and/or attending a travel clinic or equivalent for vaccinations/anti-malarial medication

The above indicators and risk factors are not intended to be exhaustive.

Forced marriage

Forcing a person into marriage is a crime. 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.

Staff will receive training around forced marriage and the presenting symptoms. We are aware of the ‘one chance’ rule, i.e. we may only have one chance to speak to the potential victim and only one chance to save them.

If a member of staff suspects that a pupil is being forced into marriage, they will speak to the pupil about their concerns in a secure and private place. They will then report this to the DSL.

The DSL will:

  • Speak to the pupil about the concerns in a secure and private place
  • Activate the local safeguarding procedures and refer the case to the local authority’s designated officer
  • Seek advice from the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or fmu@fco.gov.uk
  • Refer the pupil to an education welfare officer, pastoral tutor, learning mentor, or school counsellor, as appropriate

Preventing radicalisation

Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism. Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Schools have a duty to prevent children from being drawn into terrorism. The DSL will undertake Prevent awareness training and make sure that staff have access to appropriate training to equip them to identify children at risk.

We will assess the risk of children in our school being drawn into terrorism. This assessment will be based on an understanding of the potential risk in our local area, in collaboration with our local safeguarding partners and local police force.

We will ensure that suitable internet filtering is in place, and equip our pupils to stay safe online at school and at home.

There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Radicalisation can occur quickly or over a long period.

Staff will be alert to changes in pupils’ behaviour.

The government website Educate Against Hate and charity NSPCC say that signs that a pupil is being radicalised can include:

  • Refusal to engage with, or becoming abusive to, peers who are different from themselves
  • Becoming susceptible to conspiracy theories and feelings of persecution
  • Changes in friendship groups and appearance
  • Rejecting activities they used to enjoy
  • Converting to a new religion
  • Isolating themselves from family and friends
  • Talking as if from a scripted speech
  • An unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
  • A sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
  • Increased levels of anger
  • Increased secretiveness, especially around internet use
  • Expressions of sympathy for extremist ideologies and groups, or justification of their actions
  • Accessing extremist material online, including on Facebook or Twitter
  • Possessing extremist literature
  • Being in contact with extremist recruiters and joining, or seeking to join, extremist organisations

Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. It is important to note that these signs can also be part of normal teenage behaviour – staff should have confidence in their instincts and seek advice if something feels wrong.

If staff are concerned about a pupil, they will follow our procedures set out in section 7.5 of this policy, including discussing their concerns with the DSL.

Staff should always take action if they are worried.

Further information on the school’s measures to prevent radicalisation are set out in other school policies and procedures, including E-Safety, Behaviour, and IT Acceptable Usage.

Checking the identity and suitability of visitors

All visitors will be required to verify their identity to the satisfaction of staff on arrival.

If the visitor is unknown to the setting, we will check their credentials and reason for visiting before allowing them to enter the setting. Visitors should be ready to produce identification.

In order to gain entry to the school, all visitors must sign on through our electronic entry system. They will then be issued with a photographic visitor badge which must be worn at all times.

Visitors to the school who are visiting for a professional purpose, such as educational psychologists and school improvement officers, will be asked to show photo ID and:

  • Will be asked to show their DBS certificate, which will be checked alongside their photo ID; or
  • The organisation sending the professional, such as the LA or educational psychology service, will provide prior written confirmation that an enhanced DBS check with barred list information has been carried out

All other visitors, including visiting speakers, will be accompanied by a member of staff at all times. We will not invite into the school any speaker who is known to disseminate extremist views, and will carry out appropriate checks to ensure that any individual or organisation using school facilities is not seeking to disseminate extremist views or radicalise pupils or staff.

Non-collection of children

Please refer to ‘Children Not Collected From School Procedure Nov 2018’ (as issued by Hillingdon LA)

Missing pupils

Our procedures are designed to ensure that a missing child is found and returned to effective supervision as soon as possible.

If a pupil, who has previously been marked as present, is found to be absent, the procedure will be as follows:

1. Teacher to inform head teacher, or a member of SLT and the office straight away.

2. Head teacher, or SLT, plus any available staff, to organise a search of the grounds.

3. If pupil is not found, gather as many staff as possible to re-search the grounds as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

4. SLT will inform parents and police. Every attempt to contact parents and police should be recorded.

5. Senior member of staff will then make the decision as to whether the search should be extended beyond the school grounds. The decision may also be influenced by staff’s knowledge of the child who has absconded.

6. Any staff who leave the school grounds should take a mobile phone with them and not put themselves or the child in danger at any point (see below).

7. Once the child has been found, the member(s) of staff will use their professional judgement to inform how they respond to support the child.

8. A written report will be logged on MyConcern.

9. The head teacher, or lead member of SLT, will brief parents and police, if necessary.

10. Upon his/her return into school, and when calm enough to do so, the pupil will meet with a member of SLT, so that reasons for the absconding can be understood. A support plan for the individual may need to be considered along with sanctions appropriate for the pupil’s needs.

Pupils Who Abscond From School, But Remain Within the School Grounds

In these circumstances, a pupil will not be pursued by staff or forced back into the school. Staff will remain at a safe distance, keeping the child in sight. Interventions should only be attempted by staff is the pupil is a danger to themselves or others. Any damage to property may be charged to the child’s parent(s)/carer(s).

Staff will also consider the pupil’s age, vulnerability and demeanour when considering decisions to be taken.

Staff will support each other in care and decisions to be made.

Pupils Who Abscond From the School Grounds

Where a pupil is seen to leave the school premises without authorisation, the following procedure will be followed:

  • Active pursuit of the pupil should not be considered. This may make the pupil panic possibly putting himself / herself into immediate danger. Staff will instead try to follow, keeping the pupil in sight and at a safe distance
  • Any staff who leave the school grounds should take a mobile phone with them and not put themselves or the child in danger at any point and inform the head teacher or a member of SLT and the office immediately.
  • Consider if there is a member of staff who has a good connection with the pupil, who can support the absconding pupil
  • SLT to phone parents and police. Every attempt to contact parents and police should be recorded
  • Once the child has been found, the member(s) of staff will use their professional judgement to inform how they respond to support the child.
  • The head teacher, or lead member of SLT, will brief parents and police, if necessary
  • If the pupil returns to school of their own volition, parents and police to be phoned by the office. Parents will always be informed if their child absconds from the school.