Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

 

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY 

Keeping children safe in education from DfE

ST THOMAS A BECKET R C PRIMARY SCHOOL

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

 

Date of Last Review:         September 2016

Agreed by Governors:       September 2016

Shared with all Staff:      September 2016

Frequency of Review:                    Annually

Date of Next Review:      September 2017

 

Designated Senior Person for Child Protection:

Mrs B Greally

Headteacher

Deputy Designated Senior Person for Child Protection:

Mrs J Cooper

Deputy Headteacher

Deputy Designated Senior Person for Child Protection:

Mrs L Pearson

Key Stage 1 Phase Leader

Named Governor for Child Protection: 

Mr T Layele

Chair of Governors

 

 

 

OUR MISSION STATEMENT

 

St Thomas a Becket School is a primary school of the Roman Catholic diocese of Southwark.

 

The aim of the school is to offer excellence of education in accordance with the teaching of the church and to value and develop each child’s potential in a community in which every member is fully respected.

 

We try to ensure that this is done by:

 

  • Praying together
  • Valuing the experiences of each member of the community
  • Being a caring, forgiving community
  • Living and working and playing together
  • By encouraging the children to achieve the best of their ability

 


 

Introduction

 

The purpose of this document is to assist all adults within this school to protect and safeguard children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. We follow the London Child Protection Procedures endorsed by Greenwich Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, and DfE publication ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2016’.

The safeguarding of children is the responsibility of everyone in the school. This child protection policy therefore is one of several related policies to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and staff within this school. (Related policies are found listed at the end of this document.)

Our children have the right to protection, regardless of age, gender, race, culture or disability. They have a right to be safe in our school.

We recognise that because of the day to day contact with children, school staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse. The school will therefore:

  • Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to.
  • Ensure children know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried. At the start of each academic year, SLT and teachers will make children aware of what the school does to keep them safe and what they need to do if they have any worries or concerns.
  • Include opportunities in the curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.

 

We promote an ethos of respect within our school. We respect our children and encourage all children to do their best. We provide opportunities that enable our children to take and make decisions for themselves.

Our teaching of personal, social and health education, sex and relationships education and citizenship, as part of the National Curriculum, helps to develop appropriate attitudes in our children and makes them aware of the impact of their decisions on others. We also teach them how to recognise different risks in different situations, and how to behave in response to them.

 

As a school we follow the London Child Protection Procedures endorsed by Greenwich Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education. The governors of St. Thomas a Becket’s School, under the requirements of section 175 of the 2002 Education Act will ensure:

  • We have a designated person for child protection (DCPO) who receives appropriate, annual training and support for this role.
  • We have a nominated governor responsible for child protection.
  • Every member of staff (including temporary and supply staff and volunteers) and the governing body knows the name of the DCPO responsible for child protection and their role.
  • There is regular and appropriate training (at least annually)for the DCPO, all staff and governors.
  • All staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns as soon as possible to the DCPO.
  • Parents are informed of the responsibility placed on the school and staff for child protection by setting out its obligations in the school prospectus and on the school website.
  • The school notifies Children’s Safeguarding and Social Care if there is an unexplained absence of more than two days of a pupil who is subject to a Child Protection Plan.
  • The school will develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters including attendance at case conferences.
  • Written records of concerns about children will be kept, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.
  • All records are kept securely, separate from the main pupil file, and in locked locations.
  • Procedures are developed and followed where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer.
  • Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed and all staff members (permanent and temporary), governors, outside agencies (e.g. school nurses, sports coaches, supply teachers etc...) and volunteers will be checked through the Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) (Enhanced Level). A Prohibition Order check will also be run on all Teachers.

 

We recognise that children who are abused, neglected or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self -worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. The school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at school their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn. The school will endeavour to support the pupil through:

  • The content of the curriculum.
  • The school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued.
  • The school behaviour policy which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils in the school. The school will ensure that the pupil knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred.
  • Liaison with other agencies that support the pupil such as Children’s Safeguarding and Social Care, Child and Adult Mental Health Service, Attendance Advisory Service, Special Needs Department and Educational Psychology Service.
  • Ensuring that, where a pupil who has a child protection plan leaves, their information is transferred to the new school immediately and that the child's social worker is informed.

Aims and objectives

This policy ensures that all staff in our school are clear about the actions necessary with regard to a child protection issue. Its aims are:

  • to raise the awareness of all staff and identify responsibility in reporting possible cases of abuse;
  • to ensure effective communication between all staff when dealing with child protection issues;
  • to lay down the correct procedures for those who encounter an issue of child protection.

Types of abuse

There are four categories of abuse defined within the Working together to safeguard children 2010 documentation, and in the keeping Children safe in Education 2016 which are Physical, Emotional, Sexual and Neglect.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may take many forms e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child. It may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child. This unusual and potentially dangerous form of abuse is now described as fabricated or induced illness in a child

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effects on the child’s emotional development, and may involve:

  • Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person
  • Imposing developmentally inappropriate expectations
  • Causing children to feel frightened or in danger - e.g. witnessing domestic violence
  • Exploitation or corruption of children

Some level of emotional abuse is involved in most types of ill treatment of children, though emotional abuse may occur alone.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. It may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Child sexual exploitation is complex and can manifest itself in different ways. Essentially it involves children and young people receiving something – for example, accommodation, drugs, gifts, or affection – as a result of them performing sexual activities, or having others perform sexual activities on them. It can occur without physical contact, when children are groomed to post sexual images of themselves on the internet.

Neglect

Neglect involves 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 and development. This may involve failure to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing, failure to protect from physical harm or danger or failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of a child’s basic emotional needs.

 

Other Specific Safeguarding Issues

All members of staff at St Thomas a Becket are also aware of certain issues described below as highlighted to be the most prevalent.

Female Genital Mutilation

Suspicions may arise in a number of ways that a child is being prepared for FGM to take place abroad. These include knowing both that the family belongs to a community in which FGM is practised and is making preparations for the child to take a holiday, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school. The child may also talk about a special procedure/ceremony that is going to take place. Indicators that FGM may already have occurred include prolonged absence from school or other activities with noticeable behaviour change on return, possibly with bladder or menstrual problems. Some teachers have described how children find it difficult to sit still and look uncomfortable, or may complain about pain between their legs, or talk of something somebody did to them that they are not allowed to talk about.

Breast Ironing

Breast ironing also known as breast flattening is the pounding and massaging of a pubescent girls breasts, using hard or heated objects, to try to make them stop developing or disappear. Victims are like to come from a community that is known to practise Breast Ironing (examples are countries in Africa). Professionals should note that girls at risk of Breast Ironing 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.

Radicalisation and Extremism

Radicalisation is the process by which individuals come to support terrorism or violent extremism. Extremism can be defined as a vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs; and/or calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas. There is no typical profile for a person likely to become involved in radicalisation and extremism, or when they move to adopt violence in support of their particular ideology. Although a number of possible behavioural indicators are listed below, staff should use their professional judgement and discuss with the DCPO if they have any concerns:

  • Use in inappropriate language
  • Possession of violent extremist literature or material
  • Behavioural changes
  • The expression of extremist views
  • Advocating violent actions and means
  • Association with known extremists or extremist groups
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology or group

If the school has any significant concerns about a pupil beginning to support terrorism and/or violent extremism, the DCPO will contact the local authority and local police.

In the event of a criminal or terrorist offence, or concerns that such an offence may have taken place, the Police should be contacted immediately. Terrorism offences can include fundraising, possession of terrorist material or glorifying acts of terrorism.

Forced Marriage – Arranged Marriage

A forced marriage is where one or both people (Adult or Child) do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities, cannot) consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. It is an appalling and indefensible practice and is recognised in the UK as a form of violence against women and men, domestic/child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights. The pressure put on people to marry against their will can be physical (including threats, actual physical violence and sexual violence) or emotional and psychological (for example, when someone is made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family). Financial abuse (taking your wages or not giving you any money) can also be a factor. Any evidence will be passed on to the Local Safeguarding Board to be investigated.

Child missing from education

The local authority must be notified when a school is to delete a pupil from its register under the above circumstances. This should be done as soon as the grounds for deletion are met, but no later than deleting the pupil’s name from the register. It is essential that schools comply with this duty, so that local authorities can, as part of their duty to identify 8 Regulation 4 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 9 Regulation 12(3) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 9 Regulation 12(3) of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 14 children of compulsory school age who are missing education, follow up with any child who might be in danger of not receiving an education and who might be at risk of abuse or neglect. All schools must inform the local authority of any pupil who fails to attend school regularly, or has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 school days or more, at such intervals as are agreed between the school and the local authority (or in default of such agreement, at intervals determined by the Secretary of State).

Child Sexual Exploitation

Further information on child sexual exploitation (CSE) involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result of engaging in sexual activities. Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power in the relationship. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim which increases as the exploitative relationship develops. Sexual exploitation involves varying degrees of coercion, intimidation or enticement, including unwanted pressure from peers to have sex, sexual bullying including cyberbullying and grooming. However, it also important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of this. This includes the distribution of pornographic images.

Peer on peer abuse

School may be the only stable, secure and safe element in the lives of children at risk of, or who have suffered harm. Nevertheless, whilst at school, their behaviour may be challenging and defiant, or they may instead be withdrawn, or display abusive behaviours towards other children. School recognises that some children may abuse their peers and any incidents of peer on peer abuse will be managed in the same way as any other child protection concern and will follow the same procedures.

Peer on peer abuse can manifest itself in many ways. This may include bullying (including cyber bullying), on-line abuse, gender-based abuse, ‘sexting’ or sexually harmful behaviour. We do not tolerate any harmful behaviour in school and will take swift action to intervene where this occurs. We use lessons and assemblies to help children understand, in an age-appropriate way, what abuse is and we encourage them to tell a trusted adult if someone is behaving in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. School understands the different gender issues that can be prevalent when dealing with peer on peer abuse

Honour-Based Violence’

So called honour-based violence covers crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including Female Genital Mutilation, forced marriage, and practices of breast ironing (as referred to above). All forms of honour-based violence are forms of abuse, and should be reported to the DCPO.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities

Children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. This can include:

  • assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
  • children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying- without outwardly showing any signs;
  • communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers

Procedures and responsibilities:

If any member of staff or volunteer suspects that a child in his/her class or within the school may be a victim of abuse, they must immediately inform the DCPO about their concerns. If the DCPO is unavailable then the deputy DCPO.

This should be done initially through a confidential verbal report but followed as soon as possible (and before the adult leaves the school premises) in writing using the appropriate concern sheet. In discussion with the DCPO the action to be taken will be agreed and recorded on the concern sheet. This action will be within the procedures outlined in the LA Child Protection guidelines.

When following concerns/allegations of abuse or neglect the school’s DCPO works closely with the Children’s Social Care department. All parties involved handle such investigations in a sensitive manner, but the interest of the child is of utmost importance.

Any allegation of child abuse or neglect may lead to a criminal investigation, so staff should not question the child through asking a child leading questions or attempting to investigate allegations of abuse. This could jeopardise a criminal investigation. The role of the DCPO in this situation is to identify the nature of the concern and to report this in accordance with the schools procedures.

If a child discloses abuse, the school will make a referral to Children’s Social Care informing the parents first. However in some circumstances the school may not inform the parents first if they consider the child to be at “risk of significant harm” or if the abuse is of a sexual nature.

If a child protection referral is made, the course of action open to Children’s Social Care is:

  • to carry out an initial assessment (usually within 6 weeks)
  • to make the child part of a Child Protection Plan
  • to interview / examine the child
  • call an emergency case conference
  • refer to other agencies
  • take ‘no further action’
  • initiate a ‘TAC’ (Team Around the Child) meeting
  • consider ‘Child in Need’ category with regular core group meetings usually every 6 weeks

The case conference offers the opportunity to share information and formulate a plan of

The case conference offers the opportunity to share information and formulate a plan of action. Staff are expected to attend and participate in all case conferences and meetings held under the LA guidelines. Case conferences are called every 3 months with Core Group Meetings held every 6 weeks.

We regard all information relating to individual child protection issues as confidential, and we treat this accordingly. We only pass information on to appropriate persons and staff are informed on a need to know basis only. We inform the child at all stages of who is involved, and what information we have given them.

Any concern raised about a child which is not an immediate child protection concern will be recorded and filed. These documents will be regularly reviewed to determine if any further action is necessary.

The governor responsible for child protection and safeguarding will meet termly or more regularly if appropriate, to monitor the effectiveness of safeguarding within the school.

Governors will ensure that all adults employed in school to have their application vetted through the DBS (Enhanced Level) in order to ensure that there is no evidence of offences involving children or abuse.

Royal Greenwich Early Help Guidance

The Royal Greenwich Early Help Guidance and the Prevention Strategy sets out arrangements for working together to build resilience, and prevent and protect from harm. Early help is key to the success of the strategy in improving outcomes for our children and young people and working together is the key to the success of early help.

The Designated Child Protection Officer’s Roles & Responsibilities

Broad areas of responsibility proposed for the Designated Child Protection Officer:

  • The designated person must have the status and authority within the school management structure to carry out the duties of the post including committing resources and where appropriate directing other staff. A deputy acts in the designated person’s absence.
  • Recognise how to identify signs of abuse and neglect and when it is appropriate to make a referral to other agencies.
  • Refer cases of suspected abuse or allegations to the relevant statutory agencies (children’s social care or the police).
  • Act as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff within the educational establishment when deciding whether and when to make a referral to relevant statutory agencies.
  • Seek advice from and share information with relevant statutory agencies before seeking consent or informing parents of a referral. Where practicable, concerns should be discussed with the family and agreement sought for a referral to children’s services unless this may, either by delay or the behavioural response it prompts, place the child at risk of significant harm.
  • Understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention, for example through locally agreed common and shared assessment processes, such as the Royal Greenwich Early Help Guidance.
  • Have a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so.
  • Ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies and child protection procedures, especially new or part-time staff who may work with different educational establishments.
  • Ensure all staff have induction and refresher training covering child protection and are able to recognise and report any concerns about children’s safety and welfare immediately they arise.
  • Feed back to, and reassure, staff who have raised a child protection concern.
  • Be able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of referrals and/or concerns.
  • Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses.
  • Ensure the establishment’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies and procedures are updated and reviewed, and work with the governing body regarding this.
  • Ensure parents can see copies of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies and procedures which alerts them to the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the establishment in this.
  • Where children leave the establishment ensure their Child Protection file is provided for any new establishment as soon as possible but transferred separately from the main pupil file.

 

Virtual School Head teacher

We liaise regularly with the Local Authority Virtual School Head teacher. The Virtual School Head teacher advises on best practice for Looked After Children, particularly with regards to how funding can best support their progress, and meet the needs identified in the Looked After Children’s personal education plans.

Training

Child protection training for the DCPO will take place every year and for all staff (including mid-day meal supervisors) training will also take place every year, with updates as they arise. Temporary staff members will receive child protection training during their induction procedures.

Allegations of abuse against a staff member

The school’s whistle blowing procedure enables staff to raise concerns or allegations in confidence about other staff members. The Head teacher should be immediately informed whenever an allegation is made that a member of staff or volunteer has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or,
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.

The Chair of Governors should be immediately informed whenever the allegation is about the Head teacher.

The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is also available for concerned staff 0800 028 0285.

Any person found to be engaged in conduct which harmed (or likely to harm) children and removed by the governors from relevant work/or had ceased relevant work under circumstances where they would have been removed if they had not done so, must be referred to the ISA as soon as possible after leaving the school.

Other relevant policies and documentation to support child protection and Safeguarding are:

  • Anti-bullying and Behaviour Policy
  • Positive Handling
  • Attendance
  • Health and Safety (including security, risk assessment, first aid etc.)
  • PSHE and other curricular areas such as Science
  • Sex and Relationship Education Policy (SRE)
  • Equality and diversity

Internet - including e-safety

  • Whistleblowing
  • Safeguarding Policy

 

Appendix 1                          

What are the signs of Abuse?

 

 

Physical abuse

Emotional Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Neglect

Physical signs

-Injuries to any part of the body

-Children who find it painful to walk, sit

down, to move their jaws or are in some

other kind of pain

-Injuries which are not typical of the

bumps and scrapes associated with

children’s activities

-The regular occurrence of unexplained

injuries

-The child who is frequently injured,

where even apparently reasonable

explanations are given

confused or conflicting explanations of

how the injuries were sustained

-Poor attachment relationship with

the child

-Unresponsive or neglectful

behaviour towards the child’s

emotional or psychological needs

-Persistent negative comments

about the child

-Inappropriate or inconsistent

developmental expectations of the

child

-Parental problems that supersede

the needs of the child

-Dysfunctional family relationships

including domestic violence

There may be no recognisable

signs of sexual abuse but the

following indicators may be

signs that a child is or has been

sexually abused

-Signs of blood or other

discharge on the child’s under

clothes

-Awkwardness in walking or

sitting down

-Tummy pains

-Regression into enuresis

-Tiredness

Abnormal growth including failure to thrive

Underweight or obesity

Recurrent infection

Unkempt dirty appearance

Smelly

Inadequate/unwashed clothes

Hunger

Listlessness

 

 

 

 

 

Behavioural signs

-Furtive, secretive behaviour

-Uncharacteristic aggression or

withdrawn behaviour

-Compulsive eating or sudden loss of

appetite

-The child who suddenly becomes ill coordinated

-The child who finds it difficult to stay

awake

-The child who is repeatedly absent

-Consider what is known about the family

- Do you or other colleagues have

concerns about the family

The recognition of emotional abuse

is based on observations over time

of the quality of relationships

between parent/carer and the

child. Be aware of reported or

observed parent/carer behaviours.

-Extreme variations in

behaviour e.g. anxiety,

aggression or withdrawal

-Sexually provocative

behaviour or knowledge that is

incompatible with the child’s

age and understanding

-Drawings and or written work

which are sexually explicit

(indirect disclosure)

-Direct disclosure; It is

important to recognise that

children have neither the

experience nor the

understanding to be able to

make up stories about sexual

assault

Indicators of neglect are recognisable in the child, in the

parent/carers behaviours and within the home or school

environment. Be aware of reported or observed

-Attachment disorders

-Indiscriminate friendliness

-Poor social relationships

-Poor concentration

-Developmental delays

-Low self esteem

environmental signs

Insufficient food, heating and ventilation in the home

Risk from animals in the household

Inappropriate sleeping arrangements and inadequate bedding

Dangerous or hazardous environment

 

 

 

APPENDIX 2

CHILD PROTECTION CONCERN FORM

Use this form to record any concern about a child’s welfare and give it to the designated senior person for child protection.

 

If you suspect the child may be suffering abuse or neglect, or you have received a disclosure of abuse from a child, or you have heard about an allegation of abuse, you must complete the child protection record of concern form and hand it to the designated person as soon as possible.

 

 Child’s full name:

 

 

 Date of this record:

 

 

Why are you concerned about this child?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 What have you observed and when?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 What have you heard and when?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 What have you been told and when?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Date and time you handed this form to the designated person?

 

 

 

 Class and Class Teacher:

 

 

 Have you spoken to the child?                Yes               No

 

 

 What did they say?  Use the child’s own words:

 

 

 

 

 

 Have you spoken to anyone else about your concern?                  Yes                 No

 

 

Who:

 

 Is this the first time you have been concerned about?                        Yes                    No

this child?

 

Further details:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Your name and role:

 

 

 

  Signed:                                                                            Date:

 

 

 

  Additional space if required:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

APPENDIX 3: Body Map

 

 

 CHILD’S NAME:             

 

 DATE: