- Statutory Framework
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Types of Abuse / specific safeguarding issues
- Children potentially at risk of greater harm
- Professional Confidentiality
- Records and Information Sharing
- Interagency Working
- Allegations about members of the workforce
- Promoting positive mental health and resilience in School
- Use of reasonable force
The School and its staff form part of the wider safeguarding system for children. All who come 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.
- This Child Protection policy forms part of the safeguarding arrangements and is for all staff, parents, governors, volunteers and the wider school community and should be read in conjunction with the following:
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023
- the School Behaviour policy;
- the School Staff Code of Conduct;
- the safeguarding response to children missing from education
- the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (Annex B of KCSIE) Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children (everyone under the age of 18) is defined in Keeping Children Safe in Education as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
1. Statutory Framework
There is government guidance set out in Working Together (DfE, 2018) on how agencies must work in partnership to keep children safe. This guidance places a shared and equal duty on three Safeguarding Partners (the Local Authority, Police and Health) to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area under multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. These arrangements sit under the Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB). In Essex, the statutory partners are Essex County Council, Essex Police and five of the seven Clinical Commissioning Groups covering the county.
Section 157 of the Education Act 2002 places a statutory responsibility on the governing body to have policies and procedures in place that safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are students of the School.
In Essex, all professionals must work in accordance with the SET Procedures. The School works in accordance with the following legislation and guidance (this is not an exhaustive list):
This policy has been prepared in accordance with the following legislation and guidance (this is not an exhaustive list):
- keeping Children Safe in Education 2022
- Working Together (DfE, 2018)
- Education Act (2002)
- Effective Support for Children and Families in Essex (ESCB)
- Counterterrorism and Security Act (HMG, 2015)
- Serious Crime Act 2015 (Home Office, 2015)
- Children and Social Work Act (2017)
- Children Missing Education – statutory guidance for local authorities (DfE, 2016)
- Sexual Offences Act (2003) ∙ Education (Pupil Registration) Regulations 2006
- Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners (HMG, 2018)
- Data Protection Act (2018)
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (HMG, 2015)
- Searching, screening and confiscation (DfE, 2018)
- Children Act (1989)
- Children Act (2004)
- Preventing and Tackling Bullying (DfE, 2017)
- Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (S. 74 – Serious Crime Act 2015)
- Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges (DfE, 2021)
- Promoting positive emotional well-being and reducing the risk of suicide (ESCB, 2018)
- Preventing youth violence and gang involvement (Home Office, 2015)
- Criminal Exploitation of children and vulnerable adult – county lines guidance (Home Office, 2018)
- Teaching on-line safety in schools (DfE, 2019)
- Education Access Team CME / Home Education policy and practice (ECC, 2018)
- Understanding and Supporting Behaviour – good practice for schools (ECC, 2021)
This policy is available to parents on request and is on the college website. It can be made available in large print or another accessible format if required. It is a whole-college policy and applies wherever staff or volunteers are working with students even where this is away from the college, for example on an educational visit.
The School safeguarding arrangements will be monitored by the Principal and College governors.
2. Roles and Responsibilities
All adults working with or on behalf of children have a responsibility to protect them and to provide a safe environment in which they can learn and achieve their full potential. However, there are key people within the School and the Local Authority who have specific responsibilities under child protection procedures.
The names of those in our college with these specific responsibilities:
The Designated Safeguarding Lead – Bronwen Patching
Deputy Designated Safeguarding leads Roger Davinson/Paul Crick
are shown on the cover sheet of this document. However, to be clear safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and all those who meet children has a role to play.
1. The Governing Body
- The Governing Body ensures that the policies, procedures and training are effective and always comply with the law. It ensures that all required policies relating to safeguarding are in place, that the child protection policy reflects statutory and local guidance and is reviewed at least annually.
- The governor for safeguarding arrangements Paul Crick. This governor takes leadership responsibility for safeguarding arrangements. The governing body ensures there is a named Designated Safeguarding Lead and at least one deputy safeguarding lead in place.
- The Governing Body ensures the School contributes to inter-agency working, in line with statutory and local guidance. It ensures that information is shared and stored appropriately and in accordance with statutory requirements.
- The governing body ensures that all adults who work with children undergo safeguarding and child protection training at induction as appropriate and that it is regularly updated. All staff members receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates, at least annually, to provide them with the relevant skills and knowledge to keep our children safe.
- The Governing Body ensures our students are taught how to keep themselves safe (including online safety) through teaching and learning opportunities as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. We work in accordance with government regulations which make the subject of Relationships and Sex Education mandatory.
- The Governing Body and Principal are responsible for ensuring ACPA follows recruitment procedures that help to deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children. It adheres to statutory responsibilities to check adults working with children and has recruitment and selection procedures in place. It ensures that volunteers are appropriately supervised in the School.
2. The Principal
The Principal will ensure that:
- staff are aware of their responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn
- all safeguarding policies and procedures adopted by the governing body are followed by all staff.
- staff are fully aware of the School safeguarding and child protection policies and systems (including the policies on Safeguarding and Child Protection, Code of Conduct, Appointment of Staff, and Whistleblowing Policy) and that these policies and systems are fully implemented
- all staff have a good understanding of their role in the identification and referral of safeguarding concerns and to work with other services as needed
- the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is given sufficient time and resources to carry out their responsibilities
- there will always be cover provided on site for the DSL role in our College, in the form of a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL)
- staff are released to attend child protection conferences, core group meetings and other meetings held to discuss safeguarding issues concerning students.
- safer recruitment practice is followed whenever recruiting to posts or welcoming volunteers
- the School offers a safe environment for staff, students, parents or carers, visitors or volunteers or students to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice
- appropriate action is taken whenever an allegation is made against a member of staff; and Safeguarding issues are referred in line with local authority guidance and protocols
3. Designated Safeguarding Lead (and Deputy DSLs)
The Designated Safeguarding Lead has ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. Their role includes managing child protection referrals, working with other agencies, ensuring all staff are appropriately trained and raising awareness of all safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures. They ensure that everyone in the School (including temporary staff, volunteers and contractors) is aware of these procedures and that they are always followed. They act as a source of advice and support for other staff (on child protection matters) and ensure that timely referrals to Essex Children’s Social Care (Children and Families Hub) are made in accordance with current SET procedures. They work with the local authority and the ESCB as required and ensure that information is shared appropriately.
- The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads are trained to the same standard as the Designated Safeguarding Lead. If for any reason the Designated Safeguarding Lead is unavailable, the deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads will act in their absence.
4. All School staff
Everyone has a responsibility to provide a safe learning environment in which our children can learn. Any child may benefit from early help and all staff members are aware of the local early help process and our role in it. They are aware of signs of abuse and neglect so they are able to identify children who may be in need of help or protection.
All staff members are aware of and follow School processes (as set out in this policy) and are aware of how to make a referral to Social Care if there is a need to do so. If staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they must act on them immediately, report the concern, and speak with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or Deputy) – they do not assume that others have taken action.
3. Types of Abuse / specific safeguarding issues
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 describes abuse in the following way: “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 can 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” The four main types of abuse referred to in Keeping Children Safe in Education are:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Staff will always reassure children who report abuse/victims of abuse that they are taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. We will never make a child feel ashamed for reporting abuse, nor make them feel they are causing a problem. All staff are aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so we can identify children who may need help or protection. All staff are aware of environmental factors which may impact on a child’s welfare and safety and understand safeguarding in the wider context (contextual safeguarding). We understand that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely ‘stand-alone’ events and that, in most cases, multiple issues will overlap. In addition, staff are aware of other types of abuse and safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm. We understand that behaviours linked to issues such as drug taking and/or alcohol misuse, deliberately missing education and consensual/non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi nudes’ images can be signs that children are at risk.
1. Child on child abuse
The School may be the only stable, secure and safe element in the lives of children at risk of, or who have suffered harm. Nevertheless, their behaviour may be challenging and defiant, or they may instead be withdrawn, or display abusive behaviours towards other children.
As a school we do not tolerate abuse of any kind and do not tolerate or pass off abuse as mere “banter” or “having a laugh” and it is important that all staff challenge abusive behaviours between peers and should flag cases of child-on-child abuse to the DSL/Deputy DSL, whether the abuse has taken place inside or outside school or online. We recognise that even if there are no reported cases of child-on-child abuse, such abuse may still be taking place and is simply not being reported. As well as being alert to possible child-on-child abuse when in the classroom or on duty round the site, all staff play an important part in preventing it and should intervene whenever they come across such abuse both in school or when they see pupils coming to and from school, when taking children off site on trips and visits.
The School recognises that some children may abuse their peers and that this may happen in School, or outside of it. Any incidents of child of child abuse will be managed in the same way as any other child protection concern and will follow the same procedures. We will seek advice and support from other agencies as appropriate.
The School recognises that, even though child of child abuse/harmful sexual abuse may not reported it is likely that it is occurring and we are clear there is a zero tolerance to inappropriate or abusive behaviour. We understand the barriers which may prevent a child from reporting abuse and work actively to remove these. Child of child abuse can manifest itself in many ways. This may include bullying (including cyber bullying), physical abuse, sexual violence/sexual harassment, ‘up-skirting’, ‘sexting’ or initiation / hazing type violence and rituals. We do not tolerate any harmful behaviour and will take swift action to intervene where this occurs, challenging inappropriate behaviours when they occur – we do not normalise abuse, nor allow a culture where it is tolerated.
We use lessons and assemblies to help children understand, in an age-appropriate way, what abuse is and we encourage them to tell a trusted adult if someone is behaving in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
The School understands the different gender issues that can be prevalent when dealing with child of child abuse. We will never make a child feel ashamed for reporting abuse, nor that they are creating a problem by doing so (please see the School’s Anti-Bullying Policy).
2. Serious violence
All staff are aware of the risk factors and indicators which may signal that children are at risk from or involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in well-being, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that a child has been approached by, or is involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs.
3. Children missing from education
All children, regardless of their age, ability, aptitude and any special education needs they may have, are entitled to a full-time education. The school recognises that a child missing education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect and will follow the procedures for unauthorised absence and for children missing education. It is also recognised that, when not at the School, children may be vulnerable to or exposed to other risks, so we work with parents and other partners to keep children in school whenever possible. Parents should always inform us of the reason for any absence. Where contact is not made, a referral may be made to another appropriate agency (Education Access Team, Social Care or Police). Parents are required to provide at least two emergency contact numbers to the school, to enable us to communicate with someone if we need to. The School must inform the local authority of any student who has been absent without school permission for a continuous period of 10 days or more. We work in accordance with the Essex Protocol for children who go missing during the school day, to ensure that there is an appropriate response to children who go missing.
4. Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Both CCE and CSE are forms of abuse that occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into taking part in sexual or criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or through violence or the threat of violence. CSE and CCE can affect children, both male and female and can include children who have been moved (commonly referred to as trafficking) for the purpose of exploitation. Some specific forms of CCE can include children being forced or manipulated into transporting drugs or money through county lines, working in cannabis factories, shoplifting or pickpocketing. They can also be forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others. Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of child abuse, which can happen to boys and girls from any background or community. It may occur over time or be a one-off occurrence.
In Essex, the definition of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) from the Department of Education (DfE, 2017) has been adopted: “Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs when an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.
The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology”.
It is understood that a significant number of children who are victims of CSE go missing from home, care and education at some point. Our School is alert to the signs and indicators of a child becoming at risk of, or subject to, CSE and will take appropriate action to respond to any concerns.
The designated safeguarding lead will lead on these issues and work with other agencies as appropriate. This one-page process map sets out the arrangements for CSE in Essex. See appendix 1.
5. So-called ‘honour-based violence’ (including Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage)
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse. As of October 2015, the Serious Crime Act 2015 (Home Office, 2015) introduced a duty on teachers (and other professionals) to notify the police of known cases of female genital mutilation where it appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18.
ACPA will operate in accordance with the statutory requirements relating to this issue, and in line with local safeguarding procedures. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full consent of one or both parties. It is where violence, threats or other forms of coercion is used and is a crime. Our staff understand how to report concerns where this may be an issue.
6. Mental health
Staff are aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. We understand that, where children have suffered abuse or other potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Where we have concerns, this may impact on mental health, we will seek advice and work with other agencies as appropriate to support a child and ensure they receive the help they need. Positive mental health is the concern of the whole community and we recognise that colleges play a key part in this.
The School aims to develop the emotional wellbeing and resilience of all students and staff, as well as provide specific support for those with additional needs. We understand that there are risk factors which increase someone’s vulnerability and protective factors that can promote or strengthen resiliency. The more risk factors present in an individual’s life, the more protective factors or supportive interventions are required to counter-balance and promote further growth of resilience. It is vital that we work in partnership with parents to support the well-being of our students.
Parents should share any concerns about the well-being of their child with college, so appropriate support and interventions can be identified and implemented.
7. Online safety
We recognise that our children are growing up in an increasingly complex world, living their lives on and offline. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but we recognise it also presents challenges and risks. Any student can be vulnerable online, and their vulnerability can fluctuate depending on their age, developmental stage and personal circumstance. We want to equip our students with the knowledge needed to make the best use of the internet and technology in a safe, considered and respectful way, so they are able to reap the benefits of the online world.
The range of online risks could be categorised as:
- content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material; for example, pornography, fake news, suicide, racist or radical and extremist views.
- contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; for example, peer to peer pressure, commercial advertising as well as adults posing as children or young adults with the intention to groom or exploit them for sexual, criminal, financial or other purposes.
- conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; for example, making, sending and receiving explicit images, or online bullying
- commerce: risks such as online gambling, inappropriate advertising, phishing and / or financial scams.
All staff in our college are aware of the risks to children online and we seek to help children keep themselves safe online in a range of ways – further information about our approach to online safety is available in our Online Safety Policy
8. Contextual safeguarding
Safeguarding incidents and behaviours can be associated with factors outside of the School. All staff are aware of contextual safeguarding and the fact they should consider whether wider environmental factors present in a child’s life are a threat to their safety and / or welfare. To this end, we will consider relevant information when assessing any risk to a child and share it with other agencies to support better understanding of a child and their family.
9. Domestic abuse
Domestic abuse can encompass a wide range of behaviours and may be a single incident or a pattern of incidents. Domestic abuse is not limited to physical acts of violence or threatening behaviour, and can include emotional, psychological, controlling or coercive behaviour, sexual and/or economic abuse. The School recognises that exposure to domestic abuse can have a serious, long-term emotional and psychological impact on children. We work with other key partners and will share relevant information where there are concerns that domestic abuse may be an issue for a child or family or be placing a child at risk of harm.
10. Prevention of radicalisation
As of July 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (HMG, 2015) placed a new duty on schools and other education providers. Under section 26 of the Act, schools are required, in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty. It requires schools to:
- teach a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life and must promote community cohesion
- be safe spaces in which children/young people can understand and discuss sensitive topics, including terrorism and the extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology, and learn how to challenge these ideas
- be mindful of their existing duties to forbid political indoctrination and secure a balanced presentation of political issues CHANNEL is a national programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people identified as vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.
ACPA operates in accordance with local procedures for PREVENT and with other agencies, sharing information and concerns as appropriate. Where we have concerns about extremism or radicalisation, we will seek advice from appropriate agencies and, if necessary, refer to Social Care and/or the Channel Panel.
4. Children potentially at risk of greater harm
We recognise that some children may potentially be at risk of greater harm and require additional help and support. These may be children with a Child in Need or Child Protection Plan, those in Care or previously in Care or those requiring mental health support. We work with Social Care, have engaged with CHAT 1st and other appropriate agencies to ensure there is a joined-up approach to planning for these children and that they receive the right help at the right time. The School understands that children with special educational needs (SEN) and / or disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children.
These can include:
- Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability, without further exploration
- That they may be more prone to peer group isolation than others
- The potential to be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying, without outwardly showing signs
- Communication difficulties in overcoming these barriers
The School works with key local partners to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. This includes providing a co-ordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified and contributing to inter-agency plans which provide additional support (through a Child in Need or a Child Protection plan).
All staff members have a duty to identify and respond to suspected/actual abuse or disclosures of abuse. Any member of staff, volunteer or visitor who receives a disclosure or allegation of abuse, or suspects that abuse may have occurred must report it immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or, in their absence, the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads).
All action is taken in accordance with the following guidance:
- Essex Safeguarding Children Board guidelines – the SET (Southend, Essex and Thurrock) Child Protection Procedures (ESCB, 2019)
- Essex Effective Support
- keeping Children Safe in Education 2022
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE, 2018)
- ‘Effective Support for Children and Families in Essex’ (ESCB)
- PREVENT Duty – Counterterrorism and Security Act (HMG, 2015)
Any staff member or visitor to the school must refer any concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads. Where there is risk of immediate harm, concerns will be referred by telephone to the Children and Families Hub and/or the Police. Less urgent concerns or requests for support will be sent to the Children and Families Hub via Essex Effective Support. The School may also seek advice from Social Care or another appropriate agency about a concern, if we are unsure how to respond to it. Wherever possible, we will share any safeguarding concerns, or an intention to refer a child to Children’s Social Care, with parents or carers. However, we will not do so where it is felt that to do so could place a child at greater risk of harm or impede a criminal investigation.
If it is necessary for another agency to meet with a child in school, we will always seek to inform parents or carers, unless we are advised not to by that agency.
On occasions, it may be necessary to consult with the Children and Families Hub and/or Essex Police for advice on when to share information with parents/carers.
If a member of staff continues to have concerns about a child and feels the situation is not being addressed or does not appear to be improving, all staff understand they should press for reconsideration of the case with the designated safeguarding lead. If, for any reason, the DSL (or DDSL) is not available, this will not delay appropriate action being taken. Safeguarding contact details are displayed in the College to ensure that all staff members have unfettered access to safeguarding support, should it be required.
Any individual may refer to Social Care where there is suspected or actual risk of harm to a child. When new staff, volunteers or regular visitors join our School they are informed of the safeguarding arrangements in place, the name of the DSL (and DDSL) and how to share concerns with them.
The DSK (and DDSLs) undertake Level 3 Child Protection training at least every two years. The Principal, all staff members and governors receive appropriate child protection training, which is regularly updated and in line with advice from the Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB).
In addition, all staff members receive safeguarding and child protection updates as required, but least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.
Records of any child protection training undertaken is kept for all staff and governors.
The School ensures that the DSL (and DDSLs) also undertake training in inter-agency working and other matters as appropriate.
An important aspect of keeping children safe is the maintenance of a positive culture within the School which supports early identification of abuse and neglect. All staff members are aware of the signs so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection. Staff are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’.
All staff are provided with a business card with a reminder of our safeguarding aims and the contacts of the DSL and DDSL/s for quick access. They are also provided with a quick reference ‘what if’ card which they should have for easy access in their office or classrooms.
7. Professional Confidentiality
Confidentiality is an issue, which needs to be discussed and fully understood by all those working with children, particularly in the context of child protection. A member of staff must never guarantee confidentiality to anyone about a safeguarding concern (including parents/carers or students), or promise to keep a secret. In accordance with statutory requirements, where there is a child protection concern, this must be reported to the DSL and may require further referral to and subsequent investigation by appropriate authorities. Information on individual child protection cases may be shared by the DSL (or DDSLs) with other relevant staff members. This will be on a ‘need to know’ basis only and where it is in the child’s best interests to do so.
8. Records and Information Sharing
The School is clear about the need to record any concern held about a child or children within it, the status of such records and when these records should be shared with other agencies. Where there are concerns about the safety of a child, the sharing of information in a timely and effective manner between organisations can reduce the risk of harm. Whilst the Data Protection Act 2018 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 or vulnerable adult being placed at risk of harm. Similarly, human rights concerns, such as respecting the right to a private and family life would not prevent sharing where there are real safeguarding concerns. Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at risk of abuse or neglect. Generic data flows related to child protection are recorded in our Records of Processing Activity and regularly reviewed; and our online School privacy notices accurately reflect our use of data for child protection purposes.
Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse or noticing signs or indicators of abuse, will record it on SAFEGUARD as soon as possible, noting what was said (using the words said) or seen, giving the date, time and location. All records will be dated and signed and will include the action taken. This is then triaged by the DSL (or DDSLs), who will decide on appropriate action and record this accordingly.
Any records related to child protection are kept on SAFEGUARD (which is separate to the student file).
All child protection records are stored securely and confidentially and will be retained for 25 years after the student’s date of birth, or until they transfer to another School/educational setting. In line with statutory guidance, where a student transfers from ACPA to another School/educational setting (including colleges), their child protection records will be forwarded to the new educational setting. These will be marked ‘Confidential’ and for the attention of the receiving School’s Lead DSL, with a return address on the envelope so it can be returned to us if it goes astray. ACPA will obtain evidence that the paperwork has been received by the new School and then destroy any copies the School holds. Where appropriate, the DSL may also make contact with the new educational setting in advance of the child’s move there, to enable planning so appropriate support is in place when the child arrives.
Where a student joins the School we will request child protection records from the previous educational establishment (if none are received).
9. Interagency Working
It is the responsibility of the Lead DSL to ensure that the School is represented at, and that a report is submitted to, any child protection conference called for children on the College roll or previously known to them. Where possible and appropriate, any report will be shared in advance with the parent(s)/carer(s). The member of staff attending the meeting will be fully briefed on any issues or concerns the College has and be prepared to contribute to the discussions.
If a child is subject to a Child Protection or a Child in Need plan, the DSL will ensure the child is monitored regarding their College attendance, emotional well-being, academic progress, welfare and presentation.
If the School is part of the core group, the DSL will ensure the College is represented, provides appropriate information and contributes to the plan at these meetings.
Any concerns about the Child Protection plan and/or the child’s welfare will be discussed and recorded at the core group meeting, unless to do so would place the child at further risk of significant harm. In this case the Designated Safeguarding Lead will inform the child’s key worker immediately and then record that they have done so and the actions agreed.
10. Allegations about members of the workforce
All staff members are made aware of the boundaries of appropriate behaviour and conduct. These matters form part of staff induction and are outlined in the Staff Code of Conduct. ACPA works in accordance with statutory guidance and the SET procedures (ESCB, 2019) in respect of allegations against an adult working with children (in a paid or voluntary capacity). Section 7 of the current SET procedures provides detailed information on this.
The school has processes in place for reporting any concerns about a member of staff (or any adult working with children). Staff should refer to the College’s Whistleblowing policy to report any perceived failing with regard to safeguarding practice either in individual cases or concerning more general circumstances.
Any concerns about the conduct of a member of staff will be referred to the Principal (or the Deputy Principal in their absence). This role is distinct from the Designated Safeguarding Lead as the named person should have sufficient status and authority in the College to manage employment procedures.
Staffing matters are confidential and the School operates within statutory guidance around Data Protection. Where appropriate, the Principal (or Deputy Principal) will notify the Chair of Governors.)
Where the concern involves the Principal, it should be reported direct to the Chair of Governors. SET procedures (ESCB, 2019) require that, where an allegation against a member of staff is received, the Principal, senior named person or the Chair of Governors must inform the duty Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) in the Children’s Workforce Allegations Management Team on 03330 139 797 within one working day. However, wherever possible, contact with the Jo Barclay (Essex LADO) will be made immediately as they will then advise on how to proceed and whether the matter requires Police involvement. This will include advice on speaking to students and parents and HR.
The School does not carry out any investigation before speaking to the LADO. Staffing matters are confidential and will operate within a statutory framework around Data Protection.
The School also has a legal duty to make a referral to the DBS in circumstances where an individual has applied for a position at the School despite being barred from working with children; or has been removed by the School from working in regulated activity (whether paid or unpaid), or has resigned prior to being removed, because they have harmed, or pose a risk of harm to, a child.
If the individual referred to the DBS is a teacher, the School may also decide to make a referral to the Teachers Regulation Agency (TRA).
HR staff will be trained in procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers and to make a referral to the DBS and consider a referral to the Teachers Regulation Agency (TRA) if a person has been dismissed or removed due to safeguarding concerns or would have been had they not resigned or otherwise left.
11. Promoting positive mental health and resilience in School
Positive mental health is the concern of the whole community, and we recognise that ACPA plays a key part in this. The School aims to develop the emotional wellbeing and resilience of all students and staff, as well as provide specific support for those with additional needs with their Pastoral Care partners CHAT 1st. We understand that there are risk factors which increase someone’s vulnerability and protective factors that can promote or strengthen resiliency. The more risk factors present in an individual’s life, the more protective factors or supportive interventions are required to counterbalance and promote further growth of resilience. It is vital that we work in partnership with parents to support the well-being of our students. Parents should share any concerns about the well-being of their child with College, so appropriate support and interventions can be identified and implemented.
12. Use of reasonable force
The term ‘reasonable force’ covers a broad range of actions used by staff that involve a degree of physical contact to control or restrain children. There are circumstances when it is appropriate for staff to use reasonable force to safeguard children and young people, such as guiding a child to safety or breaking up a fight. ‘Reasonable’ means using no more force than is needed.
The School works in accordance with statutory and local guidance on the use of reasonable force (see section 2) and recognises that where intervention is required, it should always be considered in a safeguarding context.
All members of staff and the wider school community should be able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and feel confident any concern will be taken seriously by the school leadership team. We have ‘whistleblowing’ procedures in place and these are available in the school Whistleblowing Policy. However, for any member of staff who feels unable to raise concerns internally, or where they feel their concerns have not been addressed, they may contact the NSPCC whistleblowing helpline on: 0800 028 0285 (line is available from 8.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday) or by email at: email@example.com.
Parents or others in the wider school community with concerns can contact the NSPCC general helpline on 0808 800 5000 (24-hour helpline) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children and Family Services Map and key contacts
All partners working with children, young people and their families will offer support as soon as we are aware of any additional needs. ACPA will always seek to work together to provide support to children, young people and their families at the lowest level possible in accordance with their needs. Children with Additional needs are best supported by those who already work with them, such as Family Hubs or schools, organising additional support with local partners as needed. When an agency is supporting these children, an Early Help Plan and a Lead Professional are helpful to share information and co-ordinate work alongside the child and family.
For children whose needs are Intensive, a coordinated multi-disciplinary approach is usually best, involving either an Early Help Plan or a Shared Family Assessment (SFA), with a Lead Professional to work closely with the child and family to ensure they receive all the support they require. Examples of intensive services are children’s mental health services and Family Solutions.
Specialist services are where the needs of the child are so great that statutory and/or specialist intervention is required to keep them safe or to ensure their continued development. Examples of specialist services are Children’s Social Care or Youth Offending Service. The School will also seek advice from CHAT 1st to signpost where necessary to any specialist services.
By working together effectively with children that have additional needs and by providing coordinated multidisciplinary/agency support and services for those with intensive needs, we seek to prevent more children and young people requiring statutory interventions and reactive specialist services.