Child Safeguarding Policy
Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
The Designated Safeguarding Lead at the School is Amba Lanning,
1.1 Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
1.1.1 Intergalactica Limited (the school) is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. All pupils, regardless of age, special needs or disability, racial/cultural heritage, religious belief or sexual orientation have the right to be protected from all types of harm and abuse. This Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy forms a fundamental part of our approach to providing excellent pastoral care to all pupils.
1.1.2 This Policy and its implementation procedures set out the arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils at the School, and have been prepared in compliance with, and with regard to:
• The Education Acts
• Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations 2014 (as amended from time to time)
• Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
• The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
• The Children Act 2004
• What to do if you are worried a Child is being Abused March 2015
• Working Together to Safeguard Children July 2018 (A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children)
• Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2018
• Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 September 2018
Promoting the education of looked after children July 2014
Mental Health and Behaviour in schools June 2014
Counselling in schools: a blueprint for the future March 2015
• Information Sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services July 2018
DBS Referrals Guidance (as may be amended from time to time)
• ISI commentary on the Regulatory Requirements September 2018
• Teacher misconduct: regulating the teaching profession March 2014 (and related guidance)
• Information Commissioner's Office Data Sharing Code of Practice May 2011
• Preventing and Tackling Bullying October 2014
• Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) April 2017
• Prevent Duty Guidance, Channel Guidance, and Prevent Departmental Advice 2015
1.1.3 The School recognises and acts upon the legal duties set out in the above statutes, regulations and guidance, to protect its pupils (and staff) from harm.
1.1.4 This Policy is used in accordance with locally agreed inter-agency procedures. The School will ensure that its safeguarding arrangements take into account local procedures and practice, including criteria for action and protocol for assessment.
1.1.5 This Policy is addressed to all members of staff and volunteers at the School (temporary and permanent). Adherence to this Policy is mandatory for all staff and staff or volunteers and its use is not subject to discretion. This Policy applies whenever staff or volunteers are working with pupils, including where this is away from the School, for example at another institution, on school visits and trips, as well as sporting and cultural activities.
1.1.6 This Policy is available to all parents, staff and volunteers on the School’s website. A paper copy of this Policy is also available to parents upon request to the School office.
1.2 Creating a Culture of Safeguarding
1.21 The School recognises that safeguarding covers much more than child protection and so this Policy will operate in conjunction with Intergalactica's Safeguarding Procedures (which itself incorporates the staff Code of Conduct), and other related policies and procedures. These cover areas including Equal Opportunities; Health and Safety; First Aid; Educational Visits; Anti-Bullying; Behaviour Management.
The school takes seriously its responsibility to promote and nurture the mental health and wellbeing of all its pupils and staff. As well as protecting children from harm, ‘safeguarding’ widens the responsibility to preventing harm and promoting the welfare of children. It is recognised that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children includes:
• Protecting children from maltreatment
• Preventing the impairment of children’s health or development
• Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
• Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action will be taken to protect that child. Action will also be taken to promote the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or at immediate risk. The school recognises the importance of children receiving the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating, the importance of acting on and referring the early signs of abuse and neglect, keeping clear records, listening to the views of the child, reassessing concerns when situations do not improve, sharing information quickly and challenging inaction.
1.2.3 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. Everyone who works with our pupils should make sure that their approach is child-centred (that is, that they consider at all times what is in the best interests of the child).
1.2.4 As well as ensuring that the School's policies and procedures support its safeguarding responsibilities, the School will work with pupils and their families, and contribute to inter-agency working, in line with statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children. This includes providing a co-ordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified, and contributing to inter-agency plans to provide additional support to children subject to child protection plans.
1.2.5 Having these safeguards in place not only protects and promotes the welfare of children but also it enhances the confidence of our staff, volunteers, parents/carers and the general public.
1.2.6 The School has systems to:
• Prevent unsuitable people working with pupils;
• Identify pupils who are at risk of and/or are likely to suffer significant harm and take appropriate action, and promote the welfare of pupils in need of additional support;
• Promote safe practice and challenge poor and unsafe practice;
• Deal with issues of confidentiality, information sharing and consent;
• Protect students and staff from online risks, which include online safety education and training, policies and procedures governing the use of IT, filtering and monitoring systems, and procedures to manage any incidents that occur;
Ensure that staff do not, through their actions, place pupils at risk of harm, or place themselves at risk from an allegation of harm (by providing guidance on areas such as 1:1 tuition, sports coaching, conveying by car, inappropriate electronic communication).
1.2.7 The School encourages the pupils in its care to raise any concerns that they might have and ensure that these are taken seriously. The School also encourages pupils to contribute their own ideas, appropriate to their age and understanding, about how their safety and welfare could be further improved.
1.2.8 The primary and immediate requirement is to notify the Local Authority's designated officer or team of officers/Children’s Services, or the local Prevent officer as appropriate; the School will also notify the Legal Department at Trust Office of any safeguarding issues in the following circumstances:
• The issue involves an allegation against a member of staff, a volunteer or the Head;
• The issue relates to concerns about the education provided to the pupil;
• The issue involves referral to external agencies;
• The issue could result in a claim against the Trust or affect the School’s reputation.
Schools are encouraged to contact the Legal Department in any other case where guidance or advice is felt to be needed.
1.3 Implementation Procedures
The School has implementation procedures to assist staff and volunteers when handling safeguarding concerns.
Information on these procedures is available to all staff and volunteers at the School and the procedures must be followed at all times.
1.4 Early Years Foundation Setting
1.4.1 This Policy applies to the School’s provision for the Early Years Foundation Setting (‘EYFS’). The identity of and contact details for the Designated Safeguarding Lead/s with responsibility for safeguarding within this setting are set out at paragraphs 4.1 and 11.1 below.
1.4.3 Safeguarding training for staff in the EYFS will include guidance on identifying signs of possible abuse and neglect (such as significant changes in a pupil’s behaviour, deterioration in wellbeing, physical indications, or comments which give cause for concern, or any reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting), and on how to respond in a timely and appropriate way to such signs or to inappropriate behaviour in other members of staff or any other person working with children (EYFS Statutory Framework 3.6).
1.5 Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can face additional safeguarding challenges, including particular vulnerability to peer-on-peer abuse. Staff must be alert to the fact that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. These may include:
Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child's disability without further explanation;
Being more prone to peer group isolation than other children;
The potential for children with SEN and disabilities to be disproportionately impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs; and
Communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
To address these particular challenges, children with SEND may require extra pastoral support. The additional vulnerabilities of pupils with SEND and the school's duty to make reasonable adjustments should be particularly carefully considered in situations where the use of reasonable force may be needed in response to risks presented by incidents involving children with SEND or medical conditions.
1.6 Looked After Children
The school will ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep safe any children on roll who are looked after by the local authority.
1.7 Private fostering
Private fostering occurs 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. If a member of staff becomes aware that a pupil may be in a private fostering arrangement, they should raise this in the first instance with the Designated Safeguarding Lead. The School will then notify the local authority of the circumstances.
2.1 Our aims are to:
2.1.1 Create an environment in the School which is safe and secure for all pupils.
2.1.2 Encourage our pupils to establish satisfying relationships within their families, with peers and with other adults.
2.1.3 Encourage children to develop a sense of autonomy and independence.
2.1.4 Work with parents to build their understanding of and commitment to the welfare of all pupils.
2.2 In order to fulfil these aims the Director will take the necessary steps to ensure that:
2.2.1 All staff (including supply and temporary staff) and volunteers receive training in safeguarding children and an explanation of the systems within the School as part of their induction.
1.1.2. Appropriate supervision arrangements are put in place if staff start work before their DBS disclosure has been obtained, and in all cases a Barred List Check and Prohibition Order check will have been undertaken. Relevant staff are also asked whether anyone in their household meets the disqualification criteria under The Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 and the 2018 regulations.
2.2.4 The school obtains assurance that appropriate child protection checks are carried out and procedures apply to any staff or volunteer of another organisation who work with the School’s pupils on another site (for example, in a separate institution).
2.2.6 Where the school ceases to use the services of any person (whether employed, contracted, a volunteer or student) or the person resigns or otherwise ceases to provide his or her services because it is considered that the person may be unsuitable to work with children, a referral will be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in accordance with the procedural guidance at http://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-barring-referrals-to-the-dbs (contact PO Box 181, Darlington, DL1 9FA. Tel: 01325 953795, email email@example.com). In cases involving teaching staff, the school will also decide whether to refer the matter to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to consider prohibiting the individual from teaching.
2.2.7 All School staff are alert to signs of abuse and neglect, and all staff know to whom they should report concerns or suspicions of abuse or neglect.
2.2.8 All School staff keep themselves updated on safeguarding issues and child protection procedures by accessing advice, guidance and training as appropriate to their role.
2.3 This Policy is compatible with and meets all applicable requirements of Merton LSCB.
3. Responding to Safeguarding and Child Protection Concerns
3.1 Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding children. School staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children, to prevent concerns from escalating. School staff have a responsibility to identify children who may be in need of extra help or who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. All staff then have a responsibility to take appropriate action, working with other services as needed.
3.2 Any concern, allegation or incident of abuse must be referred to the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Staff should not assume that a colleague or another professional will take action and share information that might be critical in keeping children safe. They should be mindful that early information sharing is vital for effective identification, assessment and allocation of appropriate service provision. All concerns, discussions and decisions made and the reasons for those decisions should be recorded in writing. If in doubt about sharing information or recording requirements, staff should discuss this with the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare, and protect the safety, of children.
3.3 If staff have concerns about a child (as opposed to a child being in immediate danger or at risk of harm – see para 3.4 below) they will need to decide what action to take. All staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from earlyhelp, that is, support as soon as a problem emerges. Such problems should be discussed in the first instance with the Designated Safeguarding Lead. The early help process may also involve sharing information with other professionals and contributing to an early help assessment.
3.4 Any child may benefit from early help, but staff should be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
Is disabled and has specific additional needs
Has special educational needs
Is a young carer
Is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour
Is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home
Is misusing drugs or alcohol
Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child
Has returned home to their family from care
Is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
Is a privately fostered child
3.5 If a child is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, this must be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, who will make a referral to children's social care and/or the police immediately (see section 5.12). It is not the responsibility of the School to investigate suspected or alleged abuse; this is the role of the Police and Social Services.
3.6 What is Child Abuse?
Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institution or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the Internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children. 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 categories listed below are drawn from Keeping Children Safe in Education(September 2018):
3.6.1 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, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
3.6.2 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 children 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.
3.6.3 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 the production of sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate online abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education.
3.6.4 Neglect - the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
3.6.5 Child sexual exploitation (CSE), child criminal exploitation (CCE) and forms of so-called 'honour based' violence including female genital mutilation (FGM) are child abuse, and domestic abuse and attempts to draw children into violent extremism should also be treated as a safeguarding issue. Further information on these areas can be found in the Safeguarding Procedures. If a teacher discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18 the teacher must report this to the police.
3.6.6 Sexting is a child protection issue. Even if explicit material is sent or elicited without malicious intent the consequences are serious and put those involved at risk of serious harm. Having or sending explicit material on digital devices is also a criminal offence for those under 18. Pupils are taught about sexting as part of their internet safety education. The School takes incidences of sexting extremely seriously, and deals with them in accordance with child protection procedures, including reporting to the police.
3.6.7 Who are the abusers? - abusers can be parents or carers, siblings or members of the extended family, neighbours, teachers, strangers or other pupils; in short, an abuser could be anyone.
3.6.8 Peer on peer abuse: all staff should also recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. This is most likely to include, but is not limited to:
bullying (including cyber bullying)
physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm
sexual violence and sexual harassment
sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery), and
initiation/hazing type violence and rituals
It is more likely that girls will be victims of peer abuse and boys perpetrators, but all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously. Peer on peer abuse should be recognised as abuse and never be tolerated or passed off as ‘banter’, ‘just having a laugh’ or ‘part of growing up’. The school seeks to minimise the risk of such abuse by ensuring that it is clear to all members of the school community that it not tolerated, and by educating pupils as part of the PSHE programme about healthy and respectful relationships, the wider societal factors (such as sexist stereotypes and language), and how to recognise, report and respond to peer abuse.
Any allegation of such abuse will be promptly and thoroughly investigated, recorded and treated according to its gravity. The threshold for dealing with an issue of pupil behaviour or bullying under the safeguarding procedure is, subject to local specifics as in any other cases, when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. In such cases the school’s response will include referral to children’s social care or the police. Victims, perpetrators and any other child affected will be supported within the pastoral care structure, taking account of their views and feelings, and support may include counselling where appropriate. All children involved will be treated as ‘at risk’. Further information can be found in the Safeguarding Procedures.
3.6.9 Contextual safeguarding: safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school and can occur between children outside the school. All staff should consider the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. It is important to provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and the full context of any abuse.
3.7 Signs of abuse
All school staff members should be aware of the signs of abuse, neglect and radicalisation so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection.
The following may help staff to be aware of possible signs of abuse - There are further sources of information such as the GDST Safeguarding Procedures, What to do if you're worried a child is being abused and the NSPCC website. However such lists are not exhaustive - if staff members are unsure they should always seek advice and report concerns even where signs/indicators are not present. Staff should also be alert to behaviours or circumstances that put children in danger, such as drug taking, alcohol abuse, self harm, truanting, cyber bullying and sexting.
(There may be other signs of abuse specific to female genital mutilation and to radicalisation of young people. These are described in the Safeguarding Procedures)
3.7.1 Physical Abuse
• Unexplained injuries/burns
• Untreated injuries
• Bruises/abrasion around the face
• Bi-lateral injuries e.g. two bruised eyes
• Bite marks
• Bruising abrasions to lips, cheeks, outer ear
3.7.2 Emotional Abuse
• Excessive overreaction to mistakes
• Continual self-deprecation
• Excessive rocking, thumb sucking, hair twisting
• Extreme compliance/aggression
• Drug, alcohol and substance misuse
• Significant peer relationship difficulties
3.7.3 Sexual Abuse
• Sexual awareness inappropriate to child’s age, including provocative sexual behaviour
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Sudden changes in behaviour or school performance
• Fear of undressing for gym
• Drug, alcohol, substance abuse
• Constant hunger, tiredness and/or poor personal hygiene
• Untreated medical problems
• Destructive tendencies
• Social isolation
• Poor self-esteem and/or relationship with peers
• Excessive rocking, hair twisting, thumb sucking
3.7.5 Missing Children
A child going missing from an education setting is a potential indicator of abuse and neglect. Staff should treat prolonged or repeated absence, or particular patterns of absence, with no satisfactory explanation, as a potential safeguarding issue and take action accordingly. Procedures are detailed in the GDST Safeguarding Procedures.
4. Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
4.1 The School has appointed a Designated Safeguarding Lead. The Designated Safeguarding Lead is a member of the School’s Senior Leadership Team with the necessary status and authority to take responsibility for child protection matters. This responsibility can be delegated. The Designated Safeguarding Lead with lead responsibility for. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will ensure that there is always cover for the role (including any out of hours/out of term activities) and that arrangements for cover are communicated clearly to staff.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will:
4.1.1 be responsible for ensuring that all cases of suspected or actual child protection concerns are dealt with in accordance with the guidance and regulations set out at paragraphs 1.1.2;
4.1.2 refer cases of suspected abuse or allegations to the local Social Services Department in accordance with LSCB procedures, and work with other agencies in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children;
4.1.4 ensure that he/she/they is/are aware of the latest national and local guidance and requirements and will keep the Head, staff and volunteers informed as appropriate;
4.1.5 receive appropriate training in child protection matters and interagency working, to include both national and local bodies, at least every two years, and in addition to formal training, update their knowledge and skills at regular intervals and at least annually, in order to keep up with developments relevant to the role. This will include local inter-agency working protocols and training in the LSCB’s approach to Prevent duties;
4.1.6 ensure that the Head, staff and volunteers have access to and understand their role as appropriate in the child protection procedures; ensure that staff receive child protection training regularly, in line with advice from Merton LSCB.
4.1.6 act as a source of advice and support within the School and co-ordinate action regarding referrals in relation to both children and allegations against staff.
5. Responding to Disclosures of Abuse
5.1 Children are more likely to be abused by someone they know and trust than by a stranger. Staff members 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 take action in the best interests of the child. Staff are aware that anyone can make a referral, if necessary.
5.2 Staff and volunteers should make themselves available to listen and demonstrate to the pupil that what they are saying is being taken seriously and without criticism and should respond in a supportive, calm manner, avoiding asking detailed questions. The role of the staff or volunteer is to listen, record and report; not to investigate. Staff and volunteers should take care to ensure that their behaviour and actions do not place pupils or themselves at risk of harm.
5.3 If a pupil reports abuse from another pupil or pupils, staff should follow the procedures in this section. All children involved, whether a potential perpetrator or victim, will be treated as being ‘at risk’. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will liaise with local agencies in relation to handling any such cases which arise.
5.4 Immediate Response
If a disclosure is made, the member of staff or volunteer should:
5.4.1 allow the pace of the conversation to be dictated by the pupil;
5.4.2 ask open questions which encourage the pupil to talk such as “can you tell me what happened?”
5.4.3 accept what the pupil says and do not ask for further detail;
5.4.4 acknowledge how hard it was for them to tell you and show by voice tone and/or facial expression that you are taking their concerns seriously;
5.4.5 note carefully any clearly visible external signs of possible injury or neglect (but note paragraph 5.5.4 below);
5.4.6 reassure the pupil that they have done the right thing, that it is not their fault, and explain whom you will have to tell (the Designated Safeguarding Lead) and why.
5.5 The member of staff or volunteer should not:
5.5.1 burden the pupil with guilt by asking questions such as “why didn’t you tell me before?”
5.5.2 interrogate or pressure the pupil to provide information;
5.5.3 ask any potentially leading questions such as those that start with the words, how, what, when, where and why, as this may impact on any potential case brought to court;
5.5.4 undress the child or examine clothed parts of the child’s body in an attempt to determine the nature of any such injuries/neglect;
5.5.5 criticise the alleged perpetrator, this may be someone they love;
5.5.6 promise confidentiality (see paragraph 5.6 and 5.7);
5.5.7 make promises that they cannot keep such as “I’ll stay with you all the time” or “it will be alright now”;
5.5.8 put words in the child's mouth (i.e. finish their sentences);
5.5.9 jump to conclusions or speculate about what happened or might have happened, or make accusations;
5.5.10 show an overly emotional reaction, such as expressing disgust, shock or disbelief;
5.5.11 attempt to investigate the allegations.
5.6 If a pupil confides in a member of staff or volunteer and requests that the information is kept secret, staff/volunteers must not make promises about confidentiality. Staff must tell the pupil sensitively that they have a responsibility to tell the named Designated Safeguarding Lead (see paragraph 4) so that the child can be helped to stay safe and feel better.
5.8 The School recognises that a child who is abused may feel helpless and humiliated, may blame themselves, and find it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self-worth. We recognise that the School may provide the only stability in the lives of children who have been abused or who are at risk of harm. The School has age appropriate systems in place for children to express their views and give feedback so that their wishes or feelings will be taken into account when determining what action to take and what services to provide. However the child’s wishes or feelings cannot override the duty to refer suspected abuse to children’s social care or police.
5.9 The School will provide continuing support to a pupil who has disclosed abuse through promoting a caring and safe environment within the School and encouraging self-esteem and self-assertiveness through the curriculum and through relationships. In doing so, the School will act in accordance with guidance from the relevant authorities to ensure that, for example, legal proceedings are not compromised.
5.10 All allegations involving staff or volunteers will be discussed immediately with the Local Authority’s Designated Officer or team of officers before any investigation takes place. In borderline cases, these discussions can be held informally and without naming the individual.
In any case of immediate risk or serious harm to children, the police shall be informed at the outset.
5.11 Recording Information
5.11.1 make brief notes at the time or immediately afterwards, which record the date, time, place and context of the disclosure or concern, and what has actually been said (wherever possible using the child's exact words, even if they seem childish, rude or inappropriate), not assumption or interpretation. Notes must be signed and dated;
5.11.2 clearly distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion;
5.11.3 record any observed injuries and bruises;
5.11.4 note the non-verbal behaviour and the key words in the language used by the pupil (do not translate into “proper terms”);
5.11.5 complete a Safeguarding Concern Form, attach any original notes and pass them to the Designated Safeguarding Lead;
5.11.6 appreciate that their records may be used in criminal proceedings or disciplinary investigations.
5.12 Reporting Concerns
5.12.1 Any concerns about pupils must be discussed with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or in their absence one of the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads) as soon as possible and at latest by the end of the school day, unless the person raising the claim is concerned that appropriate action has not or will not be taken, and the school recognises that all staff have the right to make their own referral.
5.12.2 Where the disclosure identifies a safeguarding issue, the Designated Safeguarding Lead will report the disclosure to the local Social Services Department within 24 hours and where relevant (as outlined in paragraph 1.2.8) will notify the Legal Department at Trust Office. In the most serious cases, and if there is suspicion that a crime has been committed, the Designated Safeguarding Lead will contact the police.
5.12.3 The school’s procedures differentiate between safeguarding children who have suffered significant harm and those who are in need of support from one or more agencies. In cases where a child is not suffering or at risk of suffering serious harm, but rather is in need of additional support, an inter-agency assessment will be undertaken to determine the most appropriate action.
5.12.4 Whilst the Designated Safeguarding Lead will usually decide whether to make a referral, in exceptional circumstances, such as in an emergency or a genuine concern that appropriate action has not been taken, anyone can refer their concerns to children’s social care directly (see section 9 below). If a member of staff makes a referral independently, they must inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead as soon as possible thereafter.
5.12.5 If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made immediately. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point.
6 Allegations against staff
6.1 Schools must follow the procedures for handling allegations made against staff and/or volunteers set out in Part 4 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2016). The aim is to deal with any allegation quickly and in a fair and consistent way which provides effective protection for the child and at the same time provides appropriate support for the person who is the subject of the allegation.
6.2 Where a safeguarding-related allegation or cause for concern is made against any member of staff or volunteer, the matter should be reported immediately to the Head (unless the allegation relates to the Head). The Head should not speak to the member of staff who is the subject of the allegation at this point. In the absence of the Head the allegation should be reported to the Head of Legal at Trust Office (or in their absence the Chief Executive).
6.6 where we cease to use the services of any person (whether employed, contracted, a volunteer or student) or the person resigns or otherwise ceases to provide his or her services because it is considered that the person may be unsuitable to work with children, a referral will be made to the DBS promptly and in any event within 28 days in accordance with our legal duty. In cases involving teaching staff, the school will also decide whether to refer the matter to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to consider prohibiting the individual from teaching.
6.7 Where required to do so, we will provide information requested by the DBS or NCTL in respect of a member of staff or volunteer in accordance with our legal duty.
6.8 Communications with the School community about safeguarding-related allegations shall only be made following consultation with the Local Authority’s designated officer or team of officers and any investigating authorities. There are restrictions on the reporting or publishing of allegations against teachers (which apply up to the point where the accused person is charged with an offence, or the DfE/NCTL publish information about an investigation or decision in a disciplinary case). Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity. The Legal Department will advise on the statutory reporting restrictions on publication of details of allegations.
6.9 If there has been a substantiated allegation against a member of staff, the school will work with the Local Authority’s designated officer or team of officers to determine whether there are any improvements to be made to the school’s procedures or practice to help prevent similar events in the future.
7. Promotion of mental health and well-being
The School takes very seriously its responsibility to promote and nurture the mental health and well-being of all of its pupils and staff.