|CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Everyone employed by Froebel House School has a responsibility in relation to child protection. In most cases this will be the referral of concerns to L. A. Roberts.
Increasingly, schools are expected to work with, support and sometimes lead different agencies to enable the most appropriate form of intervention to take place. This policy aims to outline the role that the school will have, the procedures that staff should take and guidance on issues related to child protection generally. It is not exhaustive. All staff should use as a rule of thumb the needs and safety of the child as being at the centre of any decision they make.
The Aims of the Policy
The aims of this policy are:
- To raise awareness of individual responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse.
- To provide a systematic means of monitoring, recording and reporting of concerns and cases.
- To provide guidance on recognising and dealing with suspected child abuse.
- To identify strategies and interventions available to support children at risk.
- To ensure that any deficiencies or weaknesses in child protection arrangements are remedied without delay.
- To ensure that safe recruitment procedures are operated.
The designated person is L. A. Roberts.
The designated person will:
- Co-ordinate action within the school and liaise with social care and other agencies over cases of abuse and suspected abuse.
- Act as a source of advice within the school.
- Ensure that staff are familiar with the school policy and procedure.
- Make child protection referrals, recording and reporting accordingly.
- Liaise with agencies about individual cases.
- Organise training on child protection within school.
- Ensure that appropriate strategies for recording and reporting incidents are kept within school.
- Provide appropriate feedback to members of staff as and when necessary.
- To be trained in child protection.
School staff should:
- Be alert to the signs of abuse as detailed in this policy.
- Report any concerns immediately, where possible to the designated teacher or his/her deputy.
- Consult with the designated teacher if in any doubt as to how to proceed.
- Follow the advice given in this policy in relation to how to handle disclosures.
- Ensure that their behaviour and actions do not place pupils or themselves at risk or harm or allegations of harm to a pupil (for example, in one to one tuition, sports coaching, conveying a pupil by car, or engaging in inappropriate electronic communication with a pupil).
- Receive training in child protection.
Partnerships with Parents
It is important that the school has an established approach to working with parents. Parents and children's need for privacy should be respected. However, the priority is the needs of the child and effective liaison is crucial for this.
It should be recognised that families from different backgrounds and cultures will have different approaches to child-rearing. These differences should be acknowledged and respected provided they do not place the child at risk as defined later in this policy.
Where possible school staff should work with and share information with parents. Permission for liaison and information sharing with outside agencies should be sought unless it places the child at risk. In these cases it is preferable to seek advice from social care or make a child protection referral.
Guidance on Recognising Abuse
Child abuse is a term used to describe ways in which children are harmed by someone often in a position of power. It is not the responsibility of the school staff to decide whether child abuse is occurring but we are required to act on any concerns and report it to the appropriate party. The health, safety and protection of a child are paramount.
Abuse might fall into the categories of:
- Emotional (including regular exposure to domestic violence)
Policy on Dealing with Suspected Abuse
All staff should refer concerns to the designated teacher as soon as possible. In the meantime, they should:
- Listen to the pupil, keeping clam and offering reassurance.
- Observe bruises but should not ask a child to remove or adjust their clothing to observe them.
- Allow the child to lead the discussion if a disclosure is made, but do not press for details by asking questions, e.g. "what did they do next".
- Do not ask a leading question (i.e. one that suggests the answer that is expected).
- Listen – don't investigate or ask leading questions, but use questions such as "is there anything else you'd like to tell me?"
- Accept what the pupil says without challenge – reassure them that they are doing the right thing and that you recognise how hard it is for them.
- Not lay blame or criticise either the child or the perpetrator.
- Not promise confidentiality – explain that they have done the right thing and who needs to be told.
- When abuse by another child is suspected, child protection procedures will be applied to both (alleged) abuser and abused. If appropriate, the school's disciplinary procedures will be invoked.
Policy on Dealing with Allegations of Abuse against Members of Staff, Head or Another Pupil
The school understand that a pupil may make an allegation against a member of staff, volunteer, Head or another pupil.
If such an allegation is made, the person to whom the allegation is made will immediately inform the Head. The Head will, on all such occasions, discuss the content of the allegation with the appropriate local authorised person.
If an allegation made to a member of staff concerns the Head, the person to whom the allegation is made will immediately inform V. Pocklington.
Discretion will be used in dealing with all allegations. A false allegation, whether it is made for Frivolous or malicious reasons can jeopardise the career of a member of staff and cause irreparable damage. Equally, if a genuine complaint is not taken seriously, it can be damaging to the child concerned and to other children who may become future victims.
The matter must remain strictly confidential until the Head has made an initial assessment and decided what steps are to be taken. A decision will be taken as to whether the suspicion or allegation is an internal disciplinary matter (in which case the school's disciplinary procedures will be followed) or whether there is a potential child protection issue (in which case the school's child protection procedures will be followed).
If it can be shown that an allegation is demonstrably false, it is not necessary to make a referral.
A member of staff against whom an allegation has been made may – but will not automatically – be suspended. Suspension will arise on the following grounds.
- A child or children would be at risk.
- The allegation is so serious that dismissal for gross misconduct is possible.
- It is necessary to allow any investigation to continue unimpeded.
Suspension may be considered at any stage of an investigation, but it is a neutral act, not a disciplinary sanction, and will be on full pay.
Procedures for Monitoring, Recording and Reporting
School policy is that brief notes should be kept at the time of the incident or immediately after with the subsequent completion of a critical incident sheet. Records may be used in legal proceedings and must be kept accurate and secure. All records should be copied to the designated person and should include factual information rather than assumption or interpretation. The child's own language should be used to quote rather than translation.
Records may be used at a later date to support a referral to an external agency.
The designated teacher will:
- Follow-up the referral using the critical incident sheet as a basis for consideration before action.
- Make additional records of discussions and any investigation that takes place.
- Make a decision whether to continue to monitor the situation or take the referral further. This decision should be communicated to the individual making the initial referral.
- Where a child is referred to social care, a local authority social worker should make a decision about the type of response that is needed within one working day and acknowledge receipt to the referrer.
Social Care Meetings
At times school staff will be called to participate in meetings organised and chaired by social care. These might include:
- Register reviews
- Case conferences
- Professionals' meetings in which representative professionals from different agencies are asked to meet to discuss children and their families with a view to providing support or making recommendations in terms of next stages of involvement.
- Core group meetings in which a "core" group of professionals associated with the family are asked to meet to review the progress of actions decided at case conferences and register reviews.
At these meetings, representatives from the school should be ready to report back providing information about:
- Attendance and punctuality
- Academic achievement
- Child's behaviour and attitude
- Relationships with peer group and social skills generally
- Child's appearance and readiness for school.
- Contact with parents/carers
- Any specific incidents that need reporting
Prior to the meeting, class teachers and other adults working closely with the child will be asked for their comments. Following the meeting feedback will be given and staff brought up to date with any actions that are needed.
Where children are on the child protection register and leave one school for another, the designated teacher must inform the receiving school and the key worker. If the child leaves the school with no receiving school, details should be passed to the principal education social worker.
Education staff have a professional responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with the investigative agencies. Members of staff should not promise confidentiality but can let the child know that only those who need to know will be informed and always for the child's own sake.
Time should be taken to reassure the child and confirm that information given will be treated sensitively. Reassurance should be given and the adult involved listen sympathetically and non-judgmentally.
Staff should be careful in subsequent discussions and ensure that information is only given to the appropriate person. All staff should be kept aware of issues relating to confidentiality and the status of information they may hold.
Members of staff, other than the designated member and those involved closely should only have enough details in order to help them to act sensitively and appropriately to a pupil. Sensitive information regarding pastoral issues and for children on the child protection register is kept separately in a folder in the closed section of the office. Discretion should be used when talking about the personal and changing circumstances of children.
Supporting Children at Risk
For children at risk, school may be the one stable place from which they can expect security and reassurance. It is not only about being alert to potential abuse but providing the support to help children through difficult times. Providing them with the coping skills that can help avoid situations arising and deal with the emotional difficulties afterwards if they do.
Support in School
All class teachers are responsible, in conjunction with other school staff for the pastoral needs of the children in their care. This includes maintaining opportunity for children to share their concerns and follow the guidance in this document. Care should always be taken in regard to the discussion of sensitive issues and advice should be sought where there are concerns.
Within the curriculum there will also be opportunities to discuss issues which some children might find sensitive. Care should be taken particularly in relation to discussion about families and their make-up. Assumptions about members of families and the presence of both parents should be avoided both in discussion and the presentation of materials. During health and safety and sex education lessons, staff should be alert to the fact that some children will have very different experiences and may find content at odds with their own experiences. Staff should make themselves familiar with the background of the children in their care in order to avoid distress.
Physical Contact with Pupils
Some form of physical contact with pupils by teachers is inevitable. All teachers should be aware of issues related to touching and the way in which this might be misconstrued. This relates particularly to any sensitive areas of the body.
Where any uncertainty exists, a senior member of staff should be consulted and one-to-one discussions with pupils might most appropriately take place in rooms which are openly visible to other members of staff.
In the event of physical restraint, it is important that only the minimum amount is used in order to prevent the pupil from causing injury to themselves, others or property. Following such an intervention, the critical incident form should be completed.
Early Years Foundation Stage Pupils
The school designates L. A. Roberts to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children within the Early Years Foundation Stage setting and liaising with local statutory children's agencies as appropriate.
The school will inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether that allegation relates to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere), or any other abuse which is alleged to have taken place on the premises, and of the action taken in respect of these allegations. The school will inform Ofsted as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days.
The school will report to the Disclosure and Barring Service within one month of leaving the school any person (whether employed, contracted, a volunteer or student) whose services are no longer used because he or she is considered unsuitable to work with children.
In this context, ceasing to use a person's services includes:
- Non-renewal of a fixed-term contract
- No longer engaging/refusing to engage a supply teacher provided by an employment agency.
- Terminating the placement of a student teacher or other trainee.
- No longer using staff employed by contractors or volunteers.
- Voluntary withdrawal from supply teaching, contract working, a course of initial teacher training, or volunteering.
It is important that reports include as much evidence about the circumstances of the case as possible.
Contact Details of the Local Agency Responsible for Child Protection
The telephone number of the local agency responsible for child protection is: 448879.
How to Recognise Possible Harm
The recognition that a child may be being harmed can be very difficult, but it is vital that all those concerned with the care of infants and young children are alert to the possible signs of harm. The following very general guidelines may be helpful as pointers to the possibility of harm.
A common site of accidental injury to children are the forehead, nose, chin (e.g. a toddler falling), elbows, hands, hips, knees, shins. However, the age of the child needs to be considered, as injuries of this nature in the case of an immobile infant, for example, may be suspicious.
Signs of harm may include:
- Bruising around the eyes, ears, cheeks, mouth and neck.
- Injuries to the gums and cheeks.
- Bruises of different ages that could indicate repeated violence.
- Fingertip bruising which may be caused by shaking or squeezing.
- Burn or scald marks. Bear in mind the possibility of cigarette burns which are rarely accidental. With any burn or scald, careful attention should be paid to whether the explanation is a likely one.
- Bald patches in hair.
- Bite marks; which often appear as an oval open-ended bruise. The size of a bite-type bruise may indicate whether it has been caused by an adult or another child.
- Torn frenulum (connecting tissue) on the underside of the tongue or under the upper lip – particularly important in bottle-fed babies.
The signs of physical neglect are often more evident, e.g. a child who is obviously smelly, frequently dirty, constantly cold or hungry. Persistent severe nappy rash, poor hair texture, poor skin, weight loss or failure to gain weight may also be signs of neglect.
Probably the most difficult form of abuse to recognise. An emotionally abused child may demonstrate some of the following behavioural signs:
- Silent, watchful, "frozen" child.
- Self-stimulating, e.g. rocking, head-banging.
- Temper tantrums, prolonged crying which may be the result of inconsistent management.
- In older children, low self-esteem/confidence, or withdrawn, introverted child.
Recognition of sexual harm may again be difficult, as there may not be any physical signs. Indications of sexual harm are more likely to be emotional or behavioural, or come to attention through a child's play or as the result of something he/she tells you. In this event, what the child says should always be taken seriously.