Details of Policy Updates
Notes of Guidance:
- Unless otherwise specified, ‘school’ means all schools whether maintained, non-maintained or independent schools, including academies and free schools, alternative learning provision (e.g. The Wheels Project) and pupil referral units ‘School' includes maintained nursery schools. ‘College’ means further education colleges and sixth-form colleges as established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, and relates to their responsibilities towards children under the age of 18, but excludes 16-19 academies and free schools (which are required to comply with relevant safeguarding legislation by virtue of their funding agreement).
- 'Children' includes everyone under the age of 18.
- This model policy refers to children and young people throughout which is applicable for cross phase provision. Nursery and primary provision should remove reference to “young people” and secondary and post 16 provision should remove reference to “children.”
- Avoid naming individuals within the policy because, if these individuals change or leave The Wheels Project, the policy will need to be updated. However, it is important to clearly identify the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead(s) and other members of the safeguarding team via notice boards, newsletters, The Wheels Project website and incorporate this information into your staff handbook and induction information for new staff, supply teachers, other temporary staff and volunteers in The Wheels Project.
- This model policy has been designed to be adapted by the General Manager, Governing Bodies to reflect the ethos of The Wheels Project. It is essential that all aspects of this policy are reviewed and updated annually to ensure that there is parity between the written policy and practice of the educational establishment. However, if statutory guidance changes, this model policy will be updated and re-circulated accordingly by the Alternative Learning Virtual Head Teacher. This does not take away the responsibility of The Wheels Project to ensure there is an effective safeguarding and child protection policy in place which meets the ' requirement of the statutory guidance in place at that time.
- The Wheels Project must make the policy available publicly via The Wheels Project or college website or by other means.
- In drawing up a new safeguarding and child protection policy, consideration should be given to the range of people who will refer to the it, for example - teaching, support and lunch staff, parent helpers, volunteers, supply staff etc. as well as young people in the setting. Consideration should be given to:
- How a visiting teacher / agency / supply member of staff is made aware of the information contained within the safeguarding policy and their responsibility to comply?
- How the policy will be shared with other organisations commissioned to provide a service in your school?
- It useful to produce a brief “welcome sheet" for visitors to the school, including a summary of the child protection policy, the name of the DSL, etc.
The school should establish a system for staff to alert the DSL in writing of any concerns, e.g. School Child Welfare Concern Record. Electronic transmission of such a record can allow the DSL to incorporate information easily into a chronology and reduce the administrative burden on the DSL. Consideration needs to be made for staff members who do not have easy access to computers and who will require the opportunity to submit written records.
- Issues relating to contemporaneous, high quality records and access to information are a constant feature in Serious Case Reviews. Information and access to information being invested in just one person is never good practice. It is a matter for individual schools and colleges as to whether they choose to have one or more deputy designated safeguarding lead(s). Any deputies should be trained to the same standard as the DSL - Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2016).
- All staff should be made aware of their responsibility to maintain confidentially and aware of their duties to report and record any safeguarding or child protection concerns they may have in accordance with the school/college safeguarding and child protection procedures.
- The day to day safeguarding activities within The Wheels Project can be undertaken by non-teacher personnel reporting to and supervised by the DSL who should be a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Whilst the activities of the DSL can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection remains with the DSL. This responsibility should not be delegated (KCSIE, 2016).
- This safeguarding and child protection policy has links with the wider safeguarding agenda; when agreeing or reviewing the policy, links should be made with other relevant guidelines and procedures (see Appendix A).
Safeguarding is defined as: 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; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), 2016).
Child Protection refers to the situation where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, and action is required to protect that child.
At The Wheels Project safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is child- centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child. Everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.
The Wheels Project is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children by:
- The provision of a safe environment in which children and young people can learn;
- Fulfilling our statutory (legal) responsibilities to identify children who may be in need of extra help or who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.
All action taken by The Wheels Project will be in accordance with:
- Current legislation: Children Act 1989 and 2004; Education Act 2002 and 2011 and Education and Inspection Act 2006
- Statutory guidance:
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015), which sets out the multiagency working arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and protect them from harm; in addition it sets out the statutory roles and responsibilities of schools.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016) is statutory guidance issued by the Department for Education which all schools and colleges must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The Teacher Standards 2012 state that supervisors, including General Manager, should safeguard children's wellbeing and maintain public trust in the teaching profession as part of their professional duties.
Key documentation, procedures and guidelines are detailed in Appendix A.
- All staff at The Wheels Project have a role and responsibility to safeguard children and young people attending our school, irrespective of their role within the school by:
- Identifying concerns early and providing help for children and young people, to prevent concerns from escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989. These concerns should be discussed with The Wheels Project Designated Safeguarding Lead.
- All staff should be aware of the process and principles for sharing information within The Wheels Project.
- The most important consideration is whether sharing information is likely to safeguard and protect a child. Any staff member who has a concern about a child’s welfare should follow the referral processes set out in Appendix B.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:
- Recruitment and Selection
- Whistleblowing and Public Interest Disclosure – to be written (24.7.17)
- Code of Conduct for Staff
- E-Safety – to be written (24.7.17)
- Policy on Supporting Children in Care – to be written (24.7.17)
[This list has been amended to reflect the practice in The Wheels Project]
This policy will contribute to the safeguarding of pupils/students at The Wheels Project by.
- Clarifying standards of behaviour for staff and pupils/students;
- Contributing to the establishment of a safe, resilient and robust safeguarding ethos in The Wheels
- Project, built on mutual respect, and shared values;
- Teaching children about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of broad and balance curriculum;
- Alerting staff to the signs and indicators of safeguarding issues;
- Developing staff awareness of the causes of abuse;
- Developing staff awareness of the risks and vulnerabilities their pupils/students face by addressing concerns at the earliest possible stage;
- Reducing the potential risks pupils/students face of being exposed to violence, extremism, exploitation or victimisation;
- Working in partnership with pupils/students, parents and agencies.
This policy will contribute to supporting the pupils/students at The Wheels Project by:
- Identifying and protecting the most vulnerable;
- Identifying individual needs where possible; and
- Designing plans to meet those needs.
All staff and visitors will:
- Be familiar with this safeguarding policy;
- Be subject to Safer Recruitment processes and checks, whether they are new staff, supply staff, contractors, volunteers etc;
- Be involved, where appropriate, in the implementation of individual education programmes, integrated support plans, child in need plans and interagency child protection plans;
- Be alert to signs and indicators of possible abuse;
- Record concerns and give the record to the DSL.
- If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm, a referral should be made to children’s social care and/or the police immediately. Anyone can make a referral. Where referrals are not made by the DSL, they should be informed, as soon as possible, that a referral has been made.
In addition to this policy, all staff should read and understand Part One of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) (September 2016).
- All staff members will receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training, which is regularly updated. In addition, all staff should receive safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings), as required, but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.
- Whistle blowing procedures will be covered in whole school training so that staff know what to do if they have concerns relating to safeguarding practice within the school.
- All training will be effective and comply with the law at all times.
- The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies will undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. The training will be updated every two years.
- Governing bodies and proprietors will ensure that all staff members undergo safeguarding and child protection training at induction. The training will be regularly updated. Induction and training will be in line with advice from the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB).
- Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB).
- The Wheels Project will ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel will have undertaken safer recruitment training, in line School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009.
The designated teacher appointed to promote the educational achievement of children in care will undergo appropriate training.
- The DSL will undertake Prevent awareness training and in turn will provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation.
Online safety training for staff will be integrated, aligned and considered as part of the overarching safeguarding approach.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is a senior member of staff, who undertakes lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection within the school. Details of our DSL and Deputy DSL are available on The Wheels Project website, our newsletters or the notice board in Reception.
Whilst the activities of the DSL can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding child protection remains with the DSL.
The broad areas of responsibility for the DSL are:
- Managing referrals to other agencies including the local authority children’s social care in cases of suspected abuse; the Channel Programme where there is a radicalisation concern; the Disclosure and Barring Service in cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child and the Police in cases where a crime may have been committed in relation to safeguarding. The DSL will also support and advise other staff in making referrals to other agencies.
- Work with others to fulfil statutory responsibilities in relation to children and young people subject to a child protection plan by attending child protection conferences and implementing the multiagency child protection plan; and liaise with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) where there are concerns about the conduct or an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer at The Wheels Project (N.B. if there is an allegation against the General Manager, then the Chair or Vice Chair of Governors will liaise with the LADO).
- Undertake Training to ensure the DSL (and any deputies) will undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role.
- Raise Awareness to ensure The Wheels Project safeguarding and child protection policies are known, understood and used appropriately. The DSL will also provide an annual report to the governing body on safeguarding and child protection activity within The Wheels Project.
- Manage safeguarding information through the collection, monitoring, reviewing, safe storage and transfer of safeguarding and child protection files in line with Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board guidance.
- Availability of the DSL (or a deputy) during term time and The Wheels Project hours needs to be ensured for staff in The Wheels Project to discuss any safeguarding concerns.
A more detailed description of the role of the DSL is explained in more detail in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016)-Annex B.
The governing body will ensure that:
- The Wheels Project has a safeguarding policy in accordance with the procedures of Bristol Safeguarding Children Board;
- The Wheels Project operates, “safer recruitment” procedures and ensures that appropriate checks are carried out on all new staff and relevant volunteers;
- A member of The Wheels Project’s senior leadership team is appointed as the DSL;
- The DSL attends appropriate refresher training every two years;
- The General Manager and all other staff who work with children undertake regular safeguarding training;
- Temporary staff and volunteers are made aware of The Wheels Project’s arrangements for safeguarding and child protection and their responsibilities;
- The Wheels Project remedies any deficiencies or weaknesses brought to its attention without delay;
- The Wheels Project has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff/volunteers;
- The governing body reviews its policies/procedures annually;
- A nominated governor is appointed with a specific brief for safeguarding and child protection and will liaise with the General Manager and DSL. The role is strategic rather than operational - they will not be involved in concerns about individual pupils/students;
- The Nominated Governor will liaise with the General Manager and the Designated Safeguarding Lead to produce an annual report for governors and complete the annual safeguarding audit for the local authority;
- A member of the Governing Body (usually the Chair) is nominated to be responsible for liaising with the local authority and other partner agencies in the event of allegations of abuse being made against the General Manager.
Safer Recruitment and Selection
The Wheels Project pays full regard to the safer recruitment practices detailed in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education' (2016) including scrutinising applicants, verifying identity and academic or vocational qualifications, obtaining professional and character references, checking previous employment history and ensuring that a candidate has the health and physical capacity for the job. It also includes undertaking appropriate checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). All recruitment materials will include reference to The Wheels Project commitment to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of pupils.
It is recognised the stressful and traumatic nature of safeguarding and child protection work. The Wheels Project will support staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the DSL and to seek further support, as appropriate.
Opportunities will be provided for pupils/students to develop skills, concepts, attitudes and knowledge that promote their safety and wellbeing. Relevant issues will be supported through the curriculum, specifically in PSHE, to explore key areas such as self-esteem, emotional literacy, assertiveness, power, sex and relationship education, e-safety and bullying.
Whole School Approach
All policies which address issues of power and potential harm, for example antibullying, equal opportunities, handling, positive behaviour, will be linked to ensure a whole school approach.
The safeguarding policy cannot be separated from the general ethos of The Wheels Project, which should ensure that pupils/students are treated with respect and dignity, taught to treat each other with respect, feel safe, have a voice, and are listened to.
Staff members working with children are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the best interests of the child.
Identification of those at Increased risk, or have Additional Safeguarding Needs
Certain groups of pupils within school are more likely to be identified as requiring extra support to meet their safeguarding needs; these could include children in care, young carers, those living in households where there is domestic abuse, and/or substance misuse, etc. It is therefore important that those at greater risk are identified, regularly monitored and appropriate measures put in place to support their needs.
All staff need to be aware of the systems within The Wheels Project which support safeguarding and child protection - this forms part of the induction process but also on-going training which is regularly updated. All staff should:
- Know the DSL and any deputies and how to contact them;
- Know the Chair of Governors, Vice Chair of Governors and the Governor responsible for safeguarding;
- Read and understand this policy and revisit it annually or when significantly amended.
- Read Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016);
- Attend safeguarding training;
- Be aware of The Wheels Project’s procedures in order to identify those pupils in need of early intervention/help and take appropriate action where there are concerns for the welfare and protection of children and young people;
- Adhere to The Wheels Project’s Behaviour Policy (sometimes called Code of Conduct) and behaviour management policies;
- Know what to do if a child tells them he/she is being abused or neglected. Staff should know how to manage the requirement to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality whilst at the same time liaising with relevant professionals such as the designated safeguarding lead and children’s social care. Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about an allegation- as this may ultimately not be in the best interests of the child (see Appendix C);
- Report concerns about a child/young person immediately or as soon as it is practicable to the DSL; however, if a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm a referral should be made to children's social care or the police immediately;
- Be aware of signs of abuse or neglect (see Appendix D);
- Be aware of whistleblowing procedures to the senior leadership team if they have concerns about safeguarding practices within The Wheels Project. Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with the senior leadership team or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels may be open to them:
- General guidance can be found at- Advice on whistleblowing
- The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. Staff can call: 0800 028 0285 - line is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday and Email: email@example.com.
- Supervisors must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out;
- Report their concerns to the DSL if they think a pupil/student may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism;
- Report any potential safeguarding concerns about an individual’s behaviour towards children and young people immediately. Allegations or concerns about colleagues and visitors must be reported directly to the General Manager. If the concern relates to the General Manager it should be reported to the Chair of Governors, who will liaise with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and they will decide on any action required;
- Be aware that if staff are employed in provision covered by the Childcare Regulations 2009 and fall within the scope of Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006, they must complete a self-declaration form in addition to the enhanced DBS.
In addition to the above there are other areas of safeguarding that the school has a responsibility to address and these include:
- Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Trafficking
involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result of engaging in sexual activities. Sexual exploitation can take many forms, ranging from the seemingly 'consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power in the relationship. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim which increases as the exploitative relationship develops. Sexual exploitation involves varying degrees of coercion, intimidation or enticement, including unwanted pressure from peers to have sex, sexual bullying including cyberbullying and grooming. However, it also important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of this abuse.
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a girl being at risk of FGM, or already having suffered FGM. There are a range of potential indicators that a child or young person may be at risk of FGM, which individually may not indicate risk but if there are two or more indicators present this could signal a risk to the child or young person. Victims of FGM are likely to come from a community that is known to practise FGM.
- Professionals should note that girls at risk of FGM may not yet be aware of the practice or that it may be conducted on them, so sensitivity should always be shown when approaching the subject.
(See Keeping Children Safe in Education Annex A).
- All types of bullying including cyberbullying and sexting
The Wheels Project has a separate AntiBullying policy which is accessible Behaviour Policy 2017
- Forced marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage, as it involves coercion and force as opposed to a marriage based on free choice. It affects both males and females.
- Domestic violence, Gender-based violence/violence against women and girls (VAWG) and teenage relationship abuse
involves any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse between those who are, or have been in relationships or family members regardless of gender or sexuality and is applicable to teenagers engaged in abusive relationships.
- Gangs and youth violence.
Teachers and designated staff have a range of powers in relation to discipline to tackle problems, including violence, in the school environment. Such powers cover disciplinary actions, the power to restrain violent pupils, and the power to search pupils for prohibited items.
As part of school’s duty to promote pupils’ wellbeing, we have a role to play in preventing drug misuse as part of our pastoral responsibilities (health and wellbeing/Healthy Schools) and to support the Government’s drug strategy (2010) to provide information, advice and support to pupils via the curriculum.
- Fabricated or induced illness.
This supplementary guidance, Safeguarding Children in whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced (2008), sets out a national framework within which agencies and professionals at local level - individually and jointly - draw up and agree upon their own more detailed ways of working together where illness may be being fabricated or induced in a child by a carer who has parenting responsibilities for them.
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Good mental health and resilience are fundamental to our children’s physical health, relationships, education and to achieving their potential.
- Faith abuse.
The National Action Plan to Tackle Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief is intended to help raise awareness of the issue of child abuse linked to faith or belief and to encourage practical steps to be taken to prevent such abuse.
The school is aware of its responsibilities under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, specifically Section 26, and the Prevent Strategy to safeguard pupils who are at risk of radicalisation by identifying and risk assessing individual who may be drawn into terrorism, violent or nonviolent extremism. We provide a safe environment for our pupils to explore, understand and discuss sensitive topics including terrorism and extremist ideology. We use the curriculum and pastoral support to educate our pupils and to enable them to challenge these ideas. Staff are aware of the risk posed by other students and adults who may have been radicalised and the impact of radicalisation via social media. Staff have received appropriate training and have the knowledge and confidence to identify pupils at risk of being drawn into terrorism and extremism and challenge extremist ideals. Our IT filters are regularly reviewed in order to prevent access to terrorist and extremist materials on line at the school.
- Private Fostering
is essentially arrangements made privately for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative with the intention that it should last for 28 days or more. A relative, under the Children Act 1989, is a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of the full or half blood or by marriage) or step-parent. A private foster carer may be a friend of the family, the parent of a friend of the child, or someone previously unknown to the child’s family who is willing to privately foster a child. The period for which the child is cared for and accommodated by the private foster carer should be continuous, but that continuity is not broken by the occasional short break. The school has a responsibility to refer to Children's Services any private fostering arrangement. Children's Services will undertake an assessment to ensure the needs and welfare of the child or young person is being met and that adults caring for them have access to advice and support.
- Online Sexual Abuse
The use of technology to manipulate, exploit, coerce or intimidate a child to (but not limited to): engage in sexual activity; produce sexual material/content; force a child to look at or watch sexual activities; encourage a child to behave in sexually inappropriate ways; or groom a child in preparation for sexual abuse (either online or offline). It can also involve directing others to, or coordinating, the abuse of children online. As with other forms of sexual abuse, online abuse can be misunderstood by the child and others as being consensual, occurring without the child’s immediate recognition or understanding of abusive or exploitative conduct. In addition, fear of what might happen if they do not comply can also be a significant influencing factor. No child under the age of 18 can consent to being abused or exploited. Financial gain can be a feature of online child sexual abuse, it can involve serious organised crime and it can be carried out by either adults or peers.
Schools, including Academies and Free Schools, must monitor pupils' attendance through their daily register. Schools should agree with their local authority the intervals in which they will inform local authorities of the details of pupils who are regularly absent from school or have missed 10 school days or more without permission. Schools must also notify the authority if a pupil is to be deleted from the admission register in certain circumstances. Pupils who remain on a school roll are not necessarily missing education but schools should monitor attendance and address it when it is poor. Schools also have safeguarding duties under section 175 of the Education Act 2002 in respect of their pupils, and as part of this should investigate any unexplained absences. Academies and independent schools have a similar safeguarding duty for their pupils.
Additional information about key safeguarding areas can also be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education - Annex A (2016).
Part 2: Procedures
The procedure to respond to a concern about a child is detailed in Appendix B.
In general, the DSL will discuss any child protection concerns with parents/carers before approaching other agencies, and will seek their consent to making a referral to another agency. However, there may be occasions when the school will contact another agency before informing parents/carers because it considers that contacting them may increase the risk of significant harm to the child.
Staff work in partnership with other agencies in the best interests of the children. If there are child protection concerns, referrals should be made by the DSL (or Deputy DSL) to First Response by phone (0117 9036444); in less urgent cases, the DSL should use the web form to contact First Response. Where the child already has a social worker, the request for service should go immediately to the social worker involved or, in their absence, to their team manager.
We will co-operate with any child protection enquiries conducted by children’s social care: The Wheels Project will ensure representation at appropriate inter-agency meetings such as integrated support plan meetings initial and review child protection conferences and core group meetings.
Where a pupil/student is subject to an inter-agency child protection plan or a multiagency risk assessment conference (MARAC) meeting, The Wheels Project will contribute to the preparation, implementation and review of the plan as appropriate.
In situations where a child in care may be put on to part time timetable, The Wheels Project will consult with the Hope Virtual School and complete the pro-forma found at https://www.bristol.gov.uk/schools-learninq-early-vears/resources-professionals/attendance-and-exclusions
When The Wheels Project is considering excluding, either fixed term or permanently, a vulnerable pupil and / or a pupil/student who is the subject of a child protection plan or where there is an existing child protection file, we will call a multiagency risk- assessment meeting prior to making the decision to exclude. In the event of a one- off serious incident resulting in an immediate decision to exclude, the risk assessment must be completed prior to convening a meeting of the Governing Body.
Where schools and colleges have not been involved in making the arrangement but a member of staff or volunteer at a school or college becomes aware that a pupil may be in a private fostering arrangement, where a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if disabled) is provided with care and accommodation by someone to whom they are not related in that person’s home, they should raise this, in the first instance, with the DSL. The Wheels Project should notify the local authority of the circumstances, via First Response. Once notified, the local authority will check that the arrangement is suitable and safe for the child.
Mandatory reporting of known cases:
Phone 101 (999 if the child is in immediate risk of harm). It is also good practice
to phone First Response to notify of this.
- For suspected cases, the following points need to be considered:
- All requests for extended leave or circumstances where a child is known to be going to a practising country of origin for the six week holidays should be reported to First Response.
Other points to be aware of are as follows:
- She has a parent from a practicing community.
- She and her family have a low level of integration into a community.
- The mother or any sisters have experienced FGM.
- She is withdrawn from her peers and social group.
- She has talked about, or you know about, the arrival of a female family elder.
- She talks about it to other children.
- She refers to a 'special procedure’ or ‘special occasion’ or ‘become a woman'.
- She is out of the country for a prolonged period (holidays of 6 weeks to two months or more).
- She is taking a long holiday to her country of origin or another country where the practice is prevalent (parents may talk about it too).
- Prior to referring to First Response, the parents will be invited in to consider and discuss the following: who is going, where are they going, when are they coming back, who are they going to visit, what is the purpose of the visit?
An explicit conversation with the parent will need to take place about FGM, highlighting that the practise is illegal in this country and is classified as child abuse. This includes that the law in this country protects British nationals abroad so that it is also illegal to take the girl abroad to perform FGM. Please record the parent’s response and reactions to this. Parents should also be notified that First Response will also be contacted. It is good practise to seek consent to share this information. However, if a parent refuses, then you need to notify the parent that this is your professional duty to inform First Response.
- What happens next?
First Response will make a risk assessment based on the information provided, and the information they may already hold on the family. The likely outcome is that a joint visit with the police and social care will be made where a written agreement will be signed. They may also take further action if further assessment is needed.
A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect.
The Wheels Project, school and college staff should follow The Wheels Project's procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children that go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect, including sexual exploitation, and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in future. The Wheels Project must notify referring schools and agencies if the pupil is absent for more than two consecutive weeks.
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 - please see Education Welfare Service - Bristol City Council https://www.bristol.gov.uk/schools-learning-early-years/education-welfare
As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Staff should use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation arid act proportionately which may include making a referral to the Channel programme.
Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for schools to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation. An individual’s engagement with the programme is entirely voluntary at all stages. To make a referral, complete the referral form and send it to the Police Prevent Team at: ChannelSW@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk
For advice and guidance in making a referral or about a student causing concern: Tel. 01179 455536/9 - also contact First Response.
Whilst the Data Protection Act 1998 places duties on organisations and individuals to process personal information fairly and lawfully, it is not a barrier to sharing information where the failure to do so would result in a child being placed at risk of harm. Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children; if unsure, staff should contact the DSL to discuss.
Key Documentation, procedures and guidance
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016)
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2015)
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015)
- Designated teacher for looked after children (2009)
- Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales (2015).
- Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (2015).
- The Teachers’ Standards (2012)
- Mandatory Reporting of Female Genital Mutilation - procedural information (2015)
- Listening to and involving children and young people (2014)
- Alternative provision (2016)
- Behaviour and discipline in schools (2015)
- Children missing education (2013)
- Parental responsibility measures for behaviour and attendance (2013)
- School exclusion (2015)
- Multi-Agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation (2016)
- Promoting the education of looked-after children (2014)
- Supervision of activity with children (2012)
- Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 (2015)
- Education for children with health needs who cannot attend school (2013)
- Inclusive schooling: children with special educational needs (2001)
- SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years (2015)
- Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (2015)
Reporting Concerns Flow Chart - (Children living in Bristol)
Other Local Authority Contacts
If you have concerns about a child who lives in South Gloucestershire contact:
- 01454 866000 - First Point Monday to Friday 9-5pm
- 01454 615165 - Out of hours/Weekends
If you have concerns about a child who lives in North Somerset contact:
- 01275 888 808 - Single Point of Access (SPA) Monday-Thursday 8.45am- 5pm, Friday 8.45am-4.30pm
- 01454 615165 Out of hours/Weekends
If you have concerns about a child who lives in Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) contact:
- 01225 396312 or 01225 396313 Children and Families Duty and Assessment Team Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
- 01454 615165 Out of hours/Weekends
Remember in an emergency please ring 999
Dealing with a Disclosure of Abuse
When a child tells me about abuse s/he has suffered, what must I remember?
- Stay calm.
- Do not communicate shock, anger or embarrassment.
- Reassure the child. Tell her/him you are pleased that s/he is speaking to you.
Never promise confidentiality. Assure her/him that you will try to help but let the child know that you may have to tell other people in order to do this. State who this will be and why.
- Encourage the child to talk but do not ask "leading questions" or press for information.
- Listen and remember.
- Check that you have understood correctly what the child is trying to tell you.
- Praise the child for telling you. Communicate that s/he has a right to be safe and protected.
- It is inappropriate to make any comments about the alleged offender.
- Be aware that the child may retract what s/he has told you. It is essential to record all you have heard.
- At the end of the conversation, tell the child again who you are going to tell and why that person or those people need to know.
- As soon as you can afterwards, make a detailed record of the conversation using the child’s own language. Include any questions you may have asked. Do not add any opinions or interpretations.
NB It is not education staff’s role to seek disclosures. Their role is to observe that something may be wrong, ask about it, listen, be available and try to make time to talk.
Recognise - Respond - Reassure - Refer - Record
Types of abuse and neglect
Abuse and neglect is defined as the maltreatment of a child or young person whereby someone may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
All school and college staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases multiple issues will overlap with one another.
The following are the definition of abuse and neglect as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2016) however, the ultimate responsibility to assess and define the type of abuse a child or young person may be subject to is that of the Police and Children's Services - our responsibility is to understand what each category of abuse is and how this can impact on the welfare and development of our children and where we have concerns that a child or young person may be at risk of abuse and neglect (one or more categories can apply) to take appropriate action as early as possible.
- Physical abuse:
a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
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
- Sexual abuse:
involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
- Emotional abuse:
the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or 'making fun' of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill- treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.