THORNHAM ST. JAMES PRIMARY SCHOOL
SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Updated October 2021
Statement of Intent
This school believes that the safeguarding, welfare and protection of children should be an integral part of the ethos of the school, and that this should be a ‘listening’ school which seeks to create an atmosphere in which children feel secure, that their viewpoints are valued, and that they are encouraged to talk and are listened to.
The school will follow procedures as laid down by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), and government guidance as recommended by ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ DfE 2020, and ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ DfE 2018. The school will respect issues of confidentiality and will give priority to working together with other agencies to protect children in our care particularly those who have been identified as being at risk of child abuse.
In this statement, and policy, staff includes both teachers and any other person employed or volunteering to work in the school who has contact with our children. It intends to give clear direction about expected behaviour and our legal responsibility to safeguard all children at our school.
This policy should be read along side other safeguarding policies e.g.: anti-bullying, e-safety, health & safety, allegations against staff, safer working practices and whistleblowing.
It is the responsibility of every member of staff, governor, volunteer and regular visitor to school to ensure that they carry out the requirements of this policy and, at all times, work in away that will safeguard and promote the welfare of all the pupils in this school.
Aims and Objectives
- The school aims to provide pupils with relevant information, skills and attitudes to help them to resist abuse. We hope that pupils will feel confident they can confide in staff on issues of neglect, abuse and deprivation.
- To allow staff to be familiar and confident with the appropriate child protection procedures and issues. This policy is intended to give clear guidance to all staff teaching and non-teaching on:
- The signs that may indicate the possibility of abuse;
- The procedures to follow, if a child discloses abuse or a member of staff suspects abuse.
- To work with parents to build an understanding of the School’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of all children and a recognition that this may occasionally require cases to be referred to other investigative agencies as a constructive and helpful measure.
- To monitor children who have been identified as ‘at risk’.
- To contribute to an inter-agency approach to child protection by developing effective and supportive liaison with other agencies and schools – thereby contributing towards a more effective detection of the incidence of child abuse.
- To annually review the School procedures and improve the way child protection issues are managed.
These objectives relate directly to the six aims of this Child Protection Policy at Thornham St. James School and are intended to show how the aims are actually put into practice.
Safeguarding through the Curriculum.
- The skills will be delivered through the Curriculum and especially via Pastoral and PSHE.
- We try to create an environment and ethos in which children feel secure, their viewpoints are valued, they are encouraged to talk and they are listened to.
- We use the Curriculum to raise pupils’ awareness and build confidence so that pupils have a range of contacts and strategies to ensure their own protection and understand the importance of protecting others.
- We try to impress upon pupils the importance of rejecting violence as a means of resolving conflict.
- We include, in the Curriculum/PSHE programmes, information on personal safety.
Training and development of staff.
- We provide child protection training regularly to school staff and in particular the designated teacher to ensure that their skills and expertise are up to date. Training focuses on the recognition of the symptoms of child abuse, the procedures and case studies. All staff undergo some initial training in child protection during the induction programme for new teachers.
- Each member of staff is given a complete copy of this policy in their staff file.
Communication with parents.
We inform parents/carers (by publishing a statement in the School prospectus and on the school website) that the staff are required by law to follow the procedures laid down by the Oldham Child Protection Guidelines and OLSCB. ]The statement reads as follows: (See P6 of policy – Information for parents)
Recording, Storing and Sharing information.
We keep clear records of pupils’ progress, maintain sound policies on confidentiality, provide information to other professionals and submit reports to case conferences. All records are kept in a secure location.
- We employ the child protection procedures and systems of the LA.
- We employ systems that enable the transition process to include child protection procedures.
- School is committed to developing links with outside agencies – by attending case conferences, core groups.
- School will undertake/consider a CAF or Early Help when necessary. This is the procedure for early identification concerns about a child’s welfare before they become bigger concerns.
The Role of Headteacher and Governors
The Headteacher and governors of the school will seek to fully support the role and responsibilities of the designated persons for child protection through ensuring that:
- The school has an effective policy in place, is reviewed annually and is available on the school website.
- The policies and procedures adopted by the Governing Body are followed by all.
- There is a designated person for Safeguarding, Child Protection and Looked after Children.
- There is a designated governor for Safeguarding and Looked after Children. The Designated Governor at our school is Mrs D Millington.
- The Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) guidelines are complied with.
- All staff receive a copy of the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.
- All staff undertake regular safeguarding training.
- Procedures are in place for dealing with allegations against members of staff and volunteers in line with statutory guidance.
- Safer Recruitment practices are followed in accordance with the requirements of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ DfE (2019).
- A Single Central Record is held, which includes all members of staff.
The Role and Responsibilities of the Designated Safeguarding Lead
The designated person for the school is M. Johnson. She will always be the first point of reference for any issue to do with safeguarding in the school. In the absence of M. Johnson the deputy Headteacher, S.Hodkinson, (as deputy Designated Lead) should be referred to.
In this school the designated lead will carry out their role in accordance with the responsibilities outlined in Annex B of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will:
- Provide advice and support to all staff on child protection matters.
- Represent school at child protection conferences and core group meetings, liaise with Children’s Services and other agencies when necessary, make referrals of suspected abuse and attend inter agency meetings.
- Ensure that appropriate staff within the school know sufficient about the child who has or maybe suffering abuse, know what signs to look for and what to do.
- Keep information regarding children on the Child Protection Register, informing staff appropriately.
- Ensure written records of concerns are kept, even if there is no immediate need for referral, and monitored using the school ‘cause for concern’ form.
- Pass on information when children change schools
- Arrange ongoing whole school awareness raising and staff development (including support staff), with regard to child protection.
The Role and Responsibilities of Every Member of Staff
- Know who the designated person is.
- Know and follow the in-school procedures.
- Understand the role of the designated person and the LSCB procedures.
- Attend any in-school meetings when appropriate.
- Monitor any vulnerable child who is in their care and implement any child protection plans.
- Have a general awareness of the possible indicators of abuse.
- Keep confidential any sensitive information, which has been shared with them.
- Record concerns on a ‘Cause for Concern’ form and hand to the designated persons.
- Deal with a disclosure from a child in line with recommendations set down in ‘Dealing with Disclosure’.
- Undergo regular child protection training.
- Ensure that curriculum plans provide opportunities for children to develop their skills and knowledge of safe practices, including e-safety.
All teaching staff must understand the importance of reporting suspicious circumstances and be able to report signs of abuse to the Headteacher/Designated Person. Beyond the initial reporting of suspected child abuse, staff have a clearly restricted role as further judgements and action decisions are the responsibility of other agencies with statutory powers to help the child.
A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect. Going missing during the school day is also a potential indicator of abuse, including child sexual exploitation.
All staff have a responsibility to alert the Designated Safeguarding Lead if a pupil goes missing from education or during the school day.
Guidance and Procedures to Follow
Staff will follow the in-school child protection procedures as shown at Appendix 1 and Appendix 2.
- Our school procedures for safeguarding children are in line with Oldham LSCB child protection procedures.
- Any member of staff, volunteer or visitor to the school who receives a disclosure of abuse, an allegation or suspects that the abuse may have occurred must report it immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or in their absence the deputy designated person for child protection or another designated member of staff. An initial concern should be done verbally on the same day that the concern arises, and then should be followed up using the in-school recording and notification procedure, (Cause for Concern Form).
- All staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from Early Help. Early Help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life. In the first instance, staff should discuss early help requirements with the Designated Safeguarding Lead, which may result in an Early Help assessment.
- If it is decided that a referral is necessary, the designated safeguarding lead or another designated member of staff will immediately refer cases of suspected abuse or allegation to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH team) on tel: 0161 770 7777. A telephone referral should be followed by a written record of the referral, which will be emailed to the MASH team (using the LSCB multi-agency referral form) as soon as possible and within the school day. www.oldham.gov.uk/lscb/info/4/referralsandassessments
If students are from out of borough then the relevant Social Services Safeguarding Team will be contacted.
- The school will always undertake to share information with parents/carers where there is an intention to refer a child to statutory services unless to do so could place the child/young person at greater risk or harm or impede an investigation by statutory services. (See LSCB Guide to ‘Making a Child Protection Referral’)
What School Staff Should Look out For
Types of Abuse
(Extract from Keeping Children Safe in Education – Statutory guidance for schools and colleges – September 2019)
Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse may take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only in so far 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 cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may 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. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline 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. (see below- peer on peer
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, for example, as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Specific safeguarding issues
In addition to being vigilant of the signs of neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and child exploitation (see appendix), all staff should understand the risks presented by:
- Children missing from education
- Children missing from home or care
- Child sexual exploitation
- Bullying including cyber bullying
- Fabricated or induced illness
- Faith abuse
- Female genital mutilation (see below)
- Forced marriage
- Gangs and youth violence
- Gender based violence/ violence against women and girls
- Mental illness
- Peer on peer abuse (see below)
- Private fostering
- Radicalisation and extremism (see below)
- Teenage relationship abuse
Further information on these issues can be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019, on the NSPCC website and via the GOV.UK website.
Female Genital Mutilation
If staff have any concerns regarding FGM, they must follow school safeguarding procedures e.g. immediately speak to a Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Staff have a statutory duty to report any discovery that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18.
Peer on Peer Abuse
All staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to: bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying); physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse); sexual violence and sexual harassment (including online harassment); upskirting; sexting; and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals; consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nude images and/or videos (also known as sexting); causing someone to engage in sexual activity without their consent such as touching themselves sexually.
Radicalisation and Extremism
Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of schools’ wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. As with managing other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in students’ behaviour, which could indicate that they may need help or protection. If staff have any concerns about a young person’s safety they should speak to a Designated Lead.
What is extremism? – Extremism is 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. We also include in our definition of extremism: calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas. (Keeping Children Safe in Education – Statutory guidance for schools and colleges September 2018). Extremism can be both violent and non-violent.
What is radicalisation? – Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism. (Keeping Children Safe in Education – Statutory guidance for schools and colleges September 2019).
There is no single way of identifying whether a child is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Background factors combined with specific influences such as family and friends may contribute to a child’s vulnerability. Similarly, radicalisation can occur through many different methods (such as social media) and settings (such as the internet).
However, it is possible to protect vulnerable people from extremist ideology and intervene to prevent those at risk of radicalisation being radicalised. Staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which indicate they may need help or protection.
Procedures in place for protecting students at risk of radicalisation
The way forward in Primary Schools is through ‘Healthy Relationships’, the difference between right and wrong, mutual respect, personal safety and well-being. It is about spotting the early signs!
Teaching British Values within the curriculum
Fundamental British Values are defined as: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Actively promoting the values means challenging opinions or behaviours in school that are contrary to British Values.
We teach a broad and balanced curriculum, which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. We actively promote community cohesion and British Values across all curriculum areas, but particularly RE, PSHE and English.
We aim to build pupils’ resilience to radicalisation by providing a safe environment for debating controversial issues and helping them understand how they can influence and participate in decision making.
All visiting speakers that visit school should be fully checked to ensure they are suitable. All staff who wish to invite visiting speakers into school must get permission from the Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher who will ensure necessary checks are carried out. All visiting speakers must be supervised by at least one member of school staff.
After School Activities
All after school activities and groups must have approval from the Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher, and have relevant certificates of training and/or qualifications and DBS checks.
Our Internet controls in school ensure all students are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the Internet in school.
Our E-safety education with pupils, parents and staff includes the risks of online radicalisation.
Staff Training/Prevent Duty
Understanding the risk factors and signs of radicalisation is part of the ongoing safeguarding training of all staff. The Designated Safeguarding Lead has had Prevent Awareness Training and is able to provide advice and support to other members of staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation
If we have safeguarding concerns regarding a young person, the Designated Safeguarding Leads will make an appropriate referral to Channel or Children’s Social Care.
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 means for schools to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation.
What to do if a child talks to you about abuse
It should be recognised that a child or young person may seek you out to share information about abuse or neglect, or talk spontaneously individually or in a group when you are present. In these situations, you should:
Listen carefully to the child; do not directly question them.
Allow the child the time to give an account; do not stop a child from recalling events.
Make an accurate record of concerns using the school record of concern form Reassure the child that they were right to tell.
Explain that you cannot promise not to speak to others, but will only pass on the information to those who need to know.
Pass the concern directly to the Designated Safeguarding lead or deputy designated person.
If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child, a referral should be made to Children’s Social Care immediately. Anybody can make a referral.
Recording, Storing and Sharing Information
All staff are required to record accurately information that may be required in respect of child protection. If a child discloses, record the precise information as soon as possible, with date, event, action taken and sign and date the record. All records of concerns or disclosures should be made using the in-school cause for concern form. It is very important for staff to distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion.
- All staff records must be passed to the Headteacher/Designated Teacher for storage and action.
- All safeguarding records are kept confidentially and securely in a locked cabinet in the Headteacher’s office.
- Information required by the court should be given to the officers of the court and not to other persons who may use it as evidence.
- All staff should be made aware of any child ‘under concern’ and any sensitive issues relating to that child should be taken to the Headteacher or Designated teacher.
- Once any information has, of necessity, been shared with a member of staff, that member of staff must undertake not to discuss the information with anyone who is not in possession of the same information.
When a pupil transfers to another school in this area, the following action will be taken:
- If the child has a Child Protection Plan, a meeting will be held with the designated person from the receiving school, at which all relevant information will be transferred. If possible, both designated persons will attend the next case review.
- If the child does not have a Child Protection Plan but concerns exist, a note will accompany the child’s information to the new school, which indicates that the designated person is available for informal discussion if the new school considers it necessary. Confidential information on children in this position, will be stored by this school for a period of five years. Unless the child is returned to a Child Protection Plan at the new school these records will be destroyed after that time.
The Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. 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.
- The Headteacher and all other staff who work with children will undertake appropriate child protection awareness training to equip them to carry out their responsibilities for child protection effectively, that is kept up to date by refresher training at ‘regular’ intervals as set out in “Keeping Children Safe in Education” 2021. All staff should read at least part one of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2021).
- The school will ensure that the designated persons undertake refresher safeguarding training every two years to keep knowledge and skills up to date.
- All staff (including governors) will receive child protection/safeguarding training when first appointed as part of their induction.
- We recognise that staff working in school have who may have become involved with a child who has suffered harm or appears likely to suffer harm may find the situation upsetting. We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the Designated Safeguarding Lead and to seek further support if required.
Advice to Teachers
Staff often become initially aware of the possibility of abuse occurring when they are asked for advice/questioned by children in a confidential manner. Having considered teacher’s professional responsibilities, the current legal situation and a desire to protect staff, the Governing body have issued the following statement/directive.
- The Governors and staff believe that the school’s function is to provide a general education about sexual, drug and other matters and not to offer individual advice, information or counselling on aspects of sexual behaviour, contraception or social behaviour.
- If a pupil asks a teacher for advice on sexual matters, the teacher must not trespass on the parents’ rights and responsibilities. Therefore, the teacher should encourage the pupil to seek advice from his or her parents and, if appropriate, from the relevant health service professional.
- In all cases of explicit questions being asked by a child to a member of staff, abuse should only be suspected when the questions are totally inappropriate to the age of the child.
- We recognise that all matters relating to child protection are confidential.
- The Headteacher or Designated Person will disclose personal information about a pupil to other members of staff on a ‘need to know’ basis only.
- All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share sensitive information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
- All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets which might compromise the child’s safety or well-being, or that of any other.
- All staff and volunteers need to be aware of the confidential nature of personal information about all pupils’ families, and will aim to maintain this confidentiality.
Allegation Against School Staff
- Teachers must protect themselves and staff should bear in mind that even perfectly innocent actions can sometimes be misconstrued.
- When pupils make such an allegation against a member of staff, Safeguarding Staff from Allegations Procedures must be followed.
- There is an LSCB procedure for investigating allegations of professional abuse. Issues of concern should be reported to the Headteacher or the next most senior member of staff who will then contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) at the Safeguarding Children Team on 770 8870.
- In the event of an allegation of abuse being made against the headteacher allegations should be reported to the Chair of Governors.
Safer Working Practice
- We understand that staff should have access to advice on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour. The document “Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young People” (DfE Oct 2015) provides advice on this and circumstances, which should be avoided in order to limit complaints against staff of abuse, and/or allegations of physical or sexual abuse. These matters are referred to in the staff handbook.
- This school is committed to safer recruitment and the suitability of all at the school. The Headteacher has undertaken approved safer recruitment training in line with statutory requirements and at least one Governor will also undertake this training.
- School ensures that there is safe practice followed in checking the suitability of staff to work at the school. All school staff have undertaken an enhanced DBS check.
- School ensures that visitors or contractors who visit the school premises are appropriately ‘risk assessed’ – identities are checked on arrival. Those visitors/contractors who have not undergone a DBS check are supervised whilst in school.
Photography and Videos
Full parental consent is sought at the beginning of each year for their child to be photographed or videoed for school purposes, publicity and/or use on the school website. Parents are permitted to take photographs at school events such as the Nativity or music performances, but are reminded of their responsibilities with regard to their safe use and circulation.
Information for Parents
In general, we will discuss concerns with parents before approaching other agencies. However, there may be occasions when the school will contact another agency before informing the parents if the school decides that contacting parents may increase the risk of significant harm to the child.
The following statement will appear in the school’s prospectus to inform parents of the school’s duty in this respect:
Protecting Children from Abuse
Parents should be aware that the school will take any reasonable action to ensure the safety of pupils. Where the school is concerned that a child may be the subject of ill-treatment, neglect or other forms of abuse, staff must follow Oldham Child Protection procedures and report their concerns to Oldham Social Care Department.
The LSCB procedures instruct the school to contact the Social Care Team first, where sexual abuse is alleged/suspected. Otherwise, in any discussion of concerns with parents a copy of the Oldham leaflet for the public on child protection will be shared.
Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse
Although the signs of child abuse are well documented many of the symptoms taken in isolation can occur in situations where no child abuse is occurring, will occur or has ever occurred. Many of these signs may also be indications of other medical, social or psychological problems or simply normal child development. Staff therefore need to be careful and thoughtful in ascertaining whether abuse is suspected. The large number of signs and symptoms described in this policy need to be considered in the light of normal child development e.g.
- Temper tantrums are to be expected from a two-year-old but may be a sign of serious distress in a child of 10.
- An interest in sexual topics and members of the opposite sex is to be expected in a youngster of 15, but in a 7 year old, such behaviour may well be a cause for concern.
If there are reasonable grounds for suspecting child abuse is taking place then the Headteacher/Designated Person must act immediately. It is safer to act or to discuss with other agencies than to delay.
The different categories of child abuse and their symptoms can be found in appendices 4 &5.
The policy is regularly updated in order that we comply with new legislation and good practice. Currently the School’s policy for ‘Child Protection’ is consistent with, and so reinforces:
- Oldham Local Safeguarding Children Board and Child Protection Procedures (OLSCB).
- Working Together to Safeguard Children. DfE (2018)
- ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’. DfE (2021)
- What to Do of You are Worried a Child is Being Abused’. DfE (March 2015)
- Guidance for Safer Working practices for Adults who work with Children and Young people in Education Settings. DfE (Oct 2015)
- Information Sharing: ‘Advice for Practitioners’ DfE (March 2015)
- The Prevent Duty: Departmental Advice for Schools and Childcare Providers. DfE (2015)
- In-school Child Protection Procedures Flowchart.
- Dealing with a Disclosure of Abuse.
- Cause for Concern Form.
- Definitions and Signs of Abuse.
- Signs of possible Radicalisation.
- Additional important information about specific terms, forms of abuse or safeguarding issues
For the Appendices please click on the link below.