Such wonderful results from the St Austell Verse S…
Child Protection and Safeguarding
Child abuse manifests itself in a wide variety of ways, e.g. physical, emotional, sexual or through severe neglect. Abuse of all kinds occurs right across the social spectrum. Although the signs of child abuse are well documented, many of the symptoms taken in isolation can occur in situations where no 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 very careful and thoughtful in ascertaining whether abuse is suspected. The large numbers 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 11 but in a 7-year-old, such behaviour may well be cause for concern.
Considering that child protection procedures apply to all children below the age of 18 the Head and Staff must decide if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that child abuse is taking place. If they have, then immediate action must occur. It is safer to act, or to discuss with other agencies than to delay.
Many agencies and support services are able to help identify and assess pupils’ needs and to provide support for those pupils. Co-operation between the school, the health services, Social Services and other agencies is vital for the most effective assessment, intervention and deployment of resources if a child’s safety is to be secured. Indeed, The Children Act 2004 and The Education Act 2002 place statutory duties on these agencies to co-operate. Such agencies and support services include a wide variety of specialist teachers and other professionals. Immediate contact and close liaison between agencies such as the Social Services Department, Local Constabulary, Local Health Authority and NSPCC is essential in cases of child abuse. All agencies are required to understand that in child protection cases they are not only required to carry out their own agency functions but are also making a vital contribution to advising and assisting the local authority to discharge its statutory child protection/child care duties. This policy takes account of the requirements in Keeping Children Safe in Education (April 2014).
Over recent years there have been significant changes to the structure of social services and the systems they use. Here at Roselyon staff will receive update training on Child Protection procedures every three years. If you have any doubt about how Child Protection works or require further information on procedures in Cornwall, you can view the South West Child Protection Procedure on the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board website www.safechildren-cios.co.uk or consult the South West Child Protection Procedures, www.swcpp.org.uk
At Roselyon the Head is the named “responsible person” for Child Protection issues and receives regularly updated training in safeguarding and child protection (the Deputy Head acts in her absence in matters pertaining to Prep I-VI, and the EYFS Co-ordinator in matters pertaining to EYFS and both of these staff members receive regularly updated training in safeguarding and child protection) but all staff must be familiar with the contents of this Child Protection Policy and must be ready to act in situations of need. This Child Protection Policy and the integral process of notification form an integral part of staff pastoral care and our safeguarding responsibilities within the School.
Recent legislation regarding the identification of convicted ‘child sex offenders’ states that their residence addresses and identity will be released to Headteachers on a ‘need to know’ basis. If a Headteacher is informed that a ‘child sex offender’ is in the locality of the school, it is not for the Head to decide upon whether or not parents should be informed – this is the decision of the police.
1 We aim to provide an atmosphere which encourages pupils to feel confident that they can confide in staff about any issues that concern them.
2 To allow staff to become 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:
(a) The signs that may indicate the possibility of abuse.
(b) The procedures to follow if a child discloses abuse, or a member of staff suspects abuse.
3 To monitor children who have been identified ‘at risk’.
4 To contribute, when necessary to an inter-agency approach to child protection by developing effective and supportive liaison with external agencies.
5 To review the School procedures and improve the way child protection issues are managed by considering the implications of any incident and improving procedures as a result; and by the Head and Governors reviewing this policy each year and in the light of any new legislation.
These objectives relate directly to the five aims of this Child Protection Policy at Roselyon and are intended to show how the aims are actually put into practice.
(a) We try to create an environment and ethos in which all children feel secure; their viewpoints are valued. They are encouraged to talk and they are listened to.
(b) We provide support and guidance so that the pupils have a range of appropriate adults whom they feel confident to approach if they are in difficulties.
(c) We use our contact with the children to raise pupils’ awareness and build confidence, so that they have a range of contacts and strategies to ensure their own protection and understand the importance of protecting others.
(d) Staff treat the children with respect and all pupils are expected to treat each other and staff with respect.
(e) We are aware of the role models that the school offers pupils through staffing, materials used, selection of curricular content and other experiences.
(f) We try to impress on pupils the importance of rejecting violence as a means of resolving conflict.
(g) We make the children aware of factors which affect their personal safety.
(h) We operate a system of safe recruitment in accordance with the Independent School Standards Regulations
(i) We provide opportunities for regular training in child protection and safeguarding issues. (The Head and the 2 designated staff members receives inter-agency training biannually, and all other staff are trained on a three yearly cycle)
(j) We provide information on child protection and safeguarding issues to parents
(k) We review and evaluate our school policies and practices on an annual basis.
2 At induction the Head gives each member of staff a complete copy of this Child Protection Policy in their Staff Handbook and is expected to be familiar with its contents. Each member of staff accepts their duty to implement the policy and act upon it when appropriate. INSET on child protection issues is provided through the LSCB (Local Child Safeguarding Board) based in Truro on a three yearly cycle, although at the end of 2013 the system changed – in 2016 when the next training session is required, the LSCB will be contacted to ascertain the current system, if it has not been confirmed before then. The Head gives new staff members and volunteers who attend the school regularly, the guidance in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ and ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ along with the ‘Whistleblowing’ policy.
3 Records of any child protection issue would be kept records in a secure location, away from other child or staff records and sound policies on confidentiality are maintained, providing information to other professionals, submitting reports to case conferences and attending case conferences.
4 Case reviews are conducted as appropriate.
5 Staff should remember the “Seven Golden Rules” of information sharing:
SEVEN GOLDEN RULES
i) Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but provides a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately.
ii) Be open and honest with the person (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
iii) Seek advice if you are in any doubt, without disclosing the identity of the person where possible.
iv) Share with consent where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. You may still share information without consent if, in your judgement, that lack of consent can be overridden in the public interest. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case.
v) Consider safety and well-being: Base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.
vi) Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
vii) Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.
For further information see: “Information Sharing: Guidance for Practitioners and Managers” www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/informationsharing There is a copy in the Head’s study.
TYPES OF ABUSE AND THEIR SYMPTONS
Child abuse can be categorised into specific types:
1 Physical abuse
2 Sexual abuse
3 Emotional abuse
5 Grave concern/at risk. (This is not a distinct category but is dealt with separately. A child can be at risk from any combination of the four categories above).
These different types of abuse require different approaches. A child suffering from physical abuse may be in immediate and serious danger. Action should therefore, be taken immediately. With other forms of abuse there is a need to ensure that adequate information is gathered and that grounds for suspicion have been adequately investigated and recorded. The need to collate information must be balanced against the need for urgent action. If there are reasonable grounds for suspicion then a decision to monitor the situation should only be taken after consultation. A situation that should cause particular concern is that of a child who fails to thrive without any obvious reason. In such a situation a medical investigation will be required to consider the causes.
Physical abuse 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. Physical abuse, as well as being a result of an act of commission, can also be caused through omission or the failure to act to protect.
Typical signs of physical abuse are: -
§ Bruises or abrasions – especially about the face, head or other parts of the body where they would not be expected to occur given the age of the child. Some types of bruising are particularly characteristic of non-accidental injury especially when the child’s explanation of them does not match the injury as it appears.
§ Slap marks – these may be visible on cheeks or buttocks.
§ Twin bruises on either side of the mouth or cheeks – can be caused by pinching or grabbing, sometimes to make a child eat or to stop a child from speaking.
§ Bruising on both sides of the ear – this is often caused by grabbing a child who is trying to run away. It is very painful to be held by the ear, as well as humiliating. This is a common injury in these cases.
§ Grip marks on the arms or trunk – found in smaller/younger children who are handled roughly or thrown in a violent way. Gripping bruises on the arms can be associated with shaking a child. Shaking can cause one of the most serious injuries to a child, i.e. a brain haemorrhage. Grip marks may also be indicative of sexual abuse.
§ Black eyes – most commonly caused by an object coming into direct contact with the eye socket. A heavy bang to the nose may also result in a black eye but a doctor will be able to tell if this is the cause.
§ Damage to the mouth – e.g. bruised/cut lips or torn skin where the upper lip joins the mouth.
§ Bite marks
§ Fractures – particularly in very young children.
§ Poisoning and other misuse of drugs – e.g. overuse of sedatives.
§ Burns or scalds – a round red burn on tender, non-protruding parts like the mouth, inside arms or genitals will almost certainly have been deliberately inflicted. Any burns that appear to be cigarette burns should be an immediate cause for concern.
Some types of scald known as “dipping scalds” are always cause for concern. An experienced person will notice skin splashes caused when a child accidentally knocks over a hot cup of tea. A child who has been deliberately ‘dipped’ in a hot bath will not have splash marks.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Boys and girls can be sexually abused by males and/or females, by adults and by other young people. This includes people from all different walks of life.
Typical signs of Sexual Abuse are:
§ A detailed sexual knowledge inappropriate to the age of the child.
§ Behaviour that is excessively affectionate or sexual towards other children.
§ Attempts to inform by making a disclosure about the sexual abuse often begin by the initial sharing of limited information with an adult. It is also very characteristic of such children that they have an excessive pre-occupation with secrecy and try to bind the adults to secrecy or confidentiality.
§ A fear of medical examinations
§ A fear of being alone – this applies to friends/family/neighbours/babysitters etc.
§ A sudden loss of appetite, compulsive eating.
§ Unusually explicit or detailed sex play in young children.
§ Sexual approaches or assaults on other children or adults.
§ Bruising to the body particularly the lower abdomen, thighs and genital area - bruises may be confined to grip marks where a child may have been held.
§ Discomfort or pain particularly in the genital areas.
§ The drawing of pornographic or sexually explicit images.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the 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 causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing, shelter including exclusion from home or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of adequate care-takers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
Persistent stomach aches, feeling unwell and apparent anorexia can be associated with Physical Neglect. However, typical signs are:
§ Underweight – a child may be frequently hungry or pre-occupied with food, or in the habit of stealing food. There is particular cause for concern where persistently underweight child gains weight when away from home, for example, when in hospital or on a school trip.
§ Inadequately clad – a distinction needs to be made between situations where children are inadequately clad because they come from homes where neatness and cleanliness are unimportant, and those where lack of case is preventing the child from thriving.
Neglect is a difficult category because it involves the making of a judgement about the seriousness of the degree of neglect. Parenting may fall short of the ideal but it may be appropriate to involve child protection procedures in the case of neglect where the child’s development is being adversely affected.
Grave Concern/At Risk
This is not a separate category of child abuse as such but covers a number of situations where a child may be at risk. Children whose situations do not currently fit the above categories but where social and medical assessments indicate that they are at significant risk of abuse.
Grave concern may be felt where a child shows symptoms of stress and distress. These maybe a combination of:
§ A lack of concentration and a fall off in school performance.
§ Aggressive or hostile behaviour
§ Moodiness, depression, irritability, listlessness, fearfulness, tiredness, temper tantrums, short concentration span, acting withdrawn or crying at minor occurrences.
§ Difficulties in relationships with peers
§ Regression to more immature forms of behaviour, e.g. thumb sucking
§ Self harming behaviour
§ Low self esteem
§ Wariness, insecurity
§ Disturbed sleep
§ General personality changes, such as unacceptable behaviour or severe attention seeking behaviour
§ A sudden dramatic change in school performance or behaviour
Parental signs of child abuse
Particular forms of parental behaviour which could raise or reinforce concerns are:
§ Questionable explanations of injuries
§ Unwillingness to seek appropriate medical treatments for injuries
§ Injured child kept away from school until injuries have healed without an adequate reason
§ A high level of hostility expressed to the child
§ Grossly unrealistic assumptions about child
§ General dislike of child-like behaviour
§ Leaving children unsupervised when they are too young to be left unattended
Abuse by pupils against other pupils
Where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm by being abused by one or more other pupils, this will be referred to the local authority (Cornwall & Isles of Scilly) as a child protection concern. Staff and volunteers who are concerned about this form of abuse must follow the procedure for reporting suspected abuse outlined in this policy.
THE ROLES OF DIFFERENT STAFF AND EXTERNAL AGENCIES
1 The Head
The Head is the person responsible for contacting the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Board (01872 254549) to register concern about a child’s welfare and implementing procedures relating to child protection.
When the Head is absent, this responsibility devolves to a member of staff whom the Head has designated. This will usually be the Deputy Head, Mrs Ros McKeown or possibly with EYFS pupils, Mr Kelvin Simms, both of these staff members have received child protection and safeguarding training.
(a) The Head in consultation with staff involved will complete necessary reports detailing signs observed, action taken and outcomes of contacts with other agencies.
(b) The Head and or individual members of staff must be prepared to attend a Case Conference at very short notice, even if it proves to be inconvenient.
(c) The Head will keep the initiating member of staff informed over what action has been taken.
2 School Teaching Staff
Abuse of children in attendance at school is most likely to be first noticed by teaching staff. Teachers bring a number of particular advantages to the recognition of child abuse, i.e.
§ They have regular and frequent opportunities to observe children, including opportunities to observe changes in their behaviour
§ They have an ongoing relationship with children who may confide in them about difficulties they are experiencing
§ They have knowledge of the wide range of behaviour likely to be seen in children of a particular age
§ They have opportunities to observe the response of a group of children to particular situations. They will therefore, be sensitive to surprising or unusual responses.
These opportunities to see children in context give a particular value to the observations of teachers. Their insights need to be complemented by the skills of other relevant disciplines, especially those of social workers and medical practitioners. A teacher may become concerned when a child tells a teacher about events that have happened to them, or to a friend, brother or sister or when other adults claim to be aware of abuse. Teachers value their relationships with parents/guardians and in many situations will share their initial concerns about a child with the parents/guardian.
However, it is possible that the source of abuse may be within the home, and so teachers should be prepared to share their concerns with other professionals at an early stage, without necessarily informing parents of the action they propose to take.
Teachers have a professional duty to:
§ Observe and be alert to signs of abuse
§ Take immediate action in the child’s interest by reporting to the Head any suspicion or evidence of abuse or non-accidental injury
§ Enquire about the progress of individual cases in which they are/have been involved
All teaching staff must understand the importance of reporting suspicious circumstances and be able to report concerns to the Head. Beyond the initial reporting of suspected child abuse, staff have a clearly restricted role as further judgement and action decisions are the responsibility of other agencies with statutory powers to help the child.
3 School Staff (Non Teaching)
As with teaching staff, non-teaching staff have a responsibility to observe and report any suspicion or evidence of abuse or non-accidental injury. All non-teaching staff must understand the importance of reporting suspicious circumstances and be able to report concerns to the Head. Beyond the initial reporting of abuse, non-teaching 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.
4 The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board (CIOS)
The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board (01872 254549) deals with all issues of attendance, admissions/allocations, child employment, child protection, child abuse, exclusions etc. Whilst some of these functions are exclusive to state schools, others clearly encompass children from across the education spectrum.
5 The Social Worker
Once a referral has been made, responsibility for taking appropriate action passes to a social worker. It is the social worker’s responsibility to co-ordinate inter-agency activity. Staff in educational establishments can make a vital contribution in advising and assisting the Social Worker, and have a duty to co-operate fully with them in providing information; preparing assessments, implementing plans and in supporting the child as appropriate. This may involve liaising with other authorities during the school holidays.
A member of staff requires reasonable cause for concern regarding potential child abuse in order to act. Arriving at the point where information and its interpretation give reasonable cause for concern depends upon the source of information. If the information comes from the child, the teacher should act immediately by bringing the matter to be Head’s attention.
One sentence from a child indicating child abuse or non-accidental injury provides you with ‘reasonable grounds’ and is sufficient for you to act. This may also apply if clear information comes from a sibling or other adult etc.
However, considering that many of the signs of child abuse are also commonly associated with other medical, social and psychological problems or simply normal child development, a teacher may naturally discuss some initial concerns about the child’s mental or physical well being with other staff, parents etc. However, in some cases it is possible that parents/guardians may be the abusers, and explanations or comments made by them may be sufficient to give the teacher reasonable grounds to suspect child abuse or non-accidental injury.
Once there are grounds to suspect this, teachers must not contact the parents any further and the following steps should be taken:
1 Tell the Head immediately. When a child has reported what amounts to suspected child abuse or non-accidental injury, this should be brought to the Head even before any written report is made.
§ Remember that the priority is to protect the child
§ Treat the matter seriously
§ Receive the child’s story if appropriate, listen but do not judge
§ React to what the child tells you with belief and tell the child they have done the right thing in telling you
§ Indicate to the child what action you will take and make it clear you will have to tell others (no secrets). Only inform those who need to know
§ Limit any questions bearing in mind the ‘must not’ points below
Staff must not
§ Contact the parents – this is the job of the Social Services
§ Interrogate the child if that child has disclosed information
§ Ask leading questions
§ Speak to anyone about whom allegations are made (including colleagues)
§ Promise to keep secrets/confidentiality
§ Ask a child outright if they or others have suffered abuse
The Head will then ask the member of staff to write a record of what they have seen and /or heard. This should be written on an Incident Form. These are kept in the Office and in Nursery. Accounts should be objective and signed and dated. Completed forms should be handed to the Head.
The teacher may now withdraw from the immediate process but must now remain vigilant.
2 The Head now seeks advice from Children’s Social Care. They will advise whether:
· this is a child protection case requiring a strategy discussion, a core assessment or an initial assessment
· another agency should deal with the matter
· you need to continue to monitor the situation
The Social Worker will discuss our concern with their manager. In deciding what course of action to take, they will consider:
· whether the child is at risk from significant harm
· what, or who, is posing a danger
· how serious the situation is
· how urgent it is
· whether the parents/carers are requesting help
· whether it is possible to work with the parents/carers. If so, what will need to be done to achieve this?
· what are the views of the child or young person
· whether there are others who may also be at risk.
If the social worker decides that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is at risk of significant harm, they will contact other agencies to collect further information.
Any agency accepting a referral must keep children and their parents involved and informed throughout the assessment, planning and implementation stages, unless this would place the child at further risk.
All workers who continue to have a role should keep themselves and other professionals involved and informed throughout.
3 If it is necessary for the child to be taken to hospital, normal school procedures are followed, without contacting parents if necessary. The child is then handed over to the direct care of medical staff informing them that non-accidental injury is suspected. A member of staff must stay with the child (whether the child is taken to hospital or not) until the Social Worker arrives.
4 A Social Worker will arrive at school or at hospital as appropriate. The Head, in collaboration with staff involved in the case must complete a report form, detailing signs observed, action taken and outcomes of contact with external agencies and send it as soon as possible to the appropriate division of Social Services.
If a parent arrives to collect the child before the Social Worker has arrived then the member of staff must remember that we have no right to prevent contact between parents and their children or prevent the removal of a child from the School premises.
However if there are clear signs of physical risk or threat, the Police should be contacted immediately and fully informed. This would be done by the Head or Mrs McKeown in her absence.
5 The Social Worker will decide on what action is to be taken and it is Social Care who will contact parents.
Once a strategy for procuring support has been agreed, all parties should be kept well informed of developments as appropriate. The following procedures need not necessarily imply that further action is inevitable. It is important however, in cases of serious concern that there is ongoing communication between School and social Care.
6 If staff remain concerned about the child after Social Care have taken action, or even after further steps have been taken, then they must ask the Head to inform the Social Worker.
If it is felt that the Social Worker or Head has not taken appropriate action the Register Custodian should be contacted for advice.
Unfortunately some instances of abuse recur and staff must continue to remain vigilant.
It is important that at all stages in the above procedure, staff make detailed written
records of all their reports and actions. This may include a record of telephone
calls made with parents/carers. Before forwarding any of these, copies must be
made. These records will be securely stored separately from the child’s personal
Once the child’s case has been passed on to external agencies, staff may withdraw
from the process. It is not appropriate to talk to the child, or to offer further
support, other than the way in which we deal with any child. However, when a pupil is prepared to disclose, they may feel the desire to return to talk. In such a situation you are not in a position to be able to comment or advise – but you can still listen! Any “discussion” could be misused in Court by defence lawyers as evidence against the teacher and the child.
The tables on the following two pages are taken from the south West Child Protection procedures and show the action steps taken when a member of staff has any serious concern over a child. For further information on any one of these stages, please consult www.swcpp.org.uk
In the very unlikely event of the Head, Mrs McKeown or Mr Simms being unavailable, the following contact numbers may be useful (but please remember that in normal circumstances it is one of the above who will make the contact):
Single Referral Unit - 0300 1231 116
Children’s Social Care – out of hours 01208 251300
Cornwall Safeguarding Children Unit 01872 254549
A Core Assessment will be started at the point when a decision is made to begin an enquiry into suspicions about a child suffering significant harm (a Section 47 enquiry). The core assessment should be completed within 35 working days. However an initial child protection conference will be held within 15 days of the strategy meeting, so the assessment team will need to produce an interim report within that shorter timescale.
If at any point during the Core Assessment it seems that there are grounds for an emergency protection order (or any other emergency legal action), the social worker should consult with the local authority solicitor immediately, to decide what should be done to ensure the child's safety.
Although Children's Social Care is responsible for the coordination and completion of the Core Assessment, other relevant professionals will be actively involved in contributing to the assessment by means of interviews with the family, reports to the Social Worker, telephone discussions and meetings. This clearly could involve School staff. It may be necessary to attend case conferences during the school holidays.
Child protection records are confidential and any held by School would be kept sealed in a secure place. They are not kept in the pupil’s individual file. Information given in case conferences cannot be disclosed without the prior permission of the person who originally supplied the information.
When a pupil transfers school all relevant concerns and/or records must be forwarded to the child’s new Head but not with standard transfer material. It will be sent separately and marked “Private and Confidential. For Addressee Only.”
All Staff are required to record accurately any information that may be required in respect of child protection. If a child makes any kind of disclosure:
· record the precise information as accurately
· record it as soon as possible
· record the date of the event
· any action taken
· sign and date the record.
It is vitally important to distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion.
All staff records should be passed to the Head for storage and action. These will be kept secure and separate form the pupil’s individual file.
In case of alleged child abuse which comes to court, child protection records may be required by the Court. This information should only be given to officers of the Court and not to other persons who may use it as evidence. It is not necessary for other information on the child to be released, and can only be done with parental permission.
Should serious harm occur to a child a swift response from all agencies involved is expected. Records must be made available should there be a case review – this further emphasises the need for precise and secure keeping of records in School.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SCHOOL STAFF
Every member of staff must protect themselves and bear in mind that perfectly innocent actions can sometimes be misconstrued.
If allegations are made by a pupil against a member of staff or volunteer, the following procedures will be followed. This is important for the protection of the member of staff as well as the pupil.
· The member of staff will be suspended form work immediately and kept informed of the progress of the investigation
· Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board (01872 254549) will be informed by the Head (or Chair of Governors)
· OfSTED or Early Years OfSTED will be informed by the Head (or Chair of Governors)
· If necessary the police will be involved. This will be decided by the Head, the Chair of Governors or the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board
· Once the investigation has been completed a decision will be made by the Head in conjunction with the Chair of Governors and the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Board about whether the member of staff or volunteer should be allowed to return to work/duties
The immediate guidance of Head should be sought in these cases, or should that not be appropriate, the Chair of Governors.
Any allegations of serious harm or abuse made against a member of staff in respect of EYFS children (whether the allegation relates to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere) will be reported by the Head to OfSTED within 14 days, along with a report of any action taken as a result of the allegation.
Any allegation against a member of staff or volunteer will be reported by the Head to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) at: PO Box 181, Darlington DL1 9FA (tel. 0300 123 1111). In the case of EYFS children, OfSTED will also be informed: Early Years OfSTED, Freshford House, Redcliff Way, BRISTOL, BS1 6NL (tel. no: 08456 404040).
Roselyon is committed to reporting to the Disclosure & Barring Service within a month of leaving the school, any person (whether employed, volunteer or student) whose services are no longer used because he or she is considered unsuitable to work with children.
ADVICE, ANSWERING QUESTIONS AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Staff often become initially aware of the possibility of abuse occurring when they are asked for advice or questioned by children in a confidential manner.
As stated earlier, the best source for additional guidance is the South West Child Protection Procedures, www.swcpp.org.uk . If you have any questions or concerns you must check these with the Head or another member of staff. It is important however to remember that our function is to provide general guidance rather than individual advice. In certain areas, the law clearly constrains us over this.
If a member of staff has reasonable grounds of suspecting any form of abuse, this must be passed in writing to the Head. Decisions will then be taken over what appropriate steps are to be taken, although there is no legal duty on a teacher or the Head to inform parents of matters which a child has confided to them:
§ Teachers must not promise confidentiality even though they cannot be made to break it once given
§ Pupils must be aware that any incident may be conveyed to the Head and possibly to parents
§ Teachers must use their professional judgement and take into account the Child Protection Policy to decide whether confidence can be maintained having heard the information:
§ Teachers must clearly indicate to pupils when the content of a conversation can no longer be kept confidential – the pupil can then decide whether to proceed or not. When the content of the conversation indicates the possibility of any form of child abuse, the teacher must pass that information on to the Head.
Staff Responsibility to Report Suspicions about other Staff
All staff are made aware of their responsibility to report to the Head if they believe a member of staff is harming or using unacceptable behaviour towards any pupil. Information may come to light about behaviour out of school which could indicate a breech of acceptable professional conduct. Pupils, their parents or carers who report to a member of staff an incident of abuse or harm by a member of staff or anyone working on the premises will be taken seriously and listened to. The concern or allegation will then be reported to the Head and staff are aware that they must not attempt to investigate the allegation but provide a written report of what has been said. If the allegation was against the Head, the chair of Governors would then be informed. The Head would inform the LADO in cases of serious concern.
No member of staff, pupil, parent or governor reporting a suspicion about a member of the school community will be treated adversely as a result of their allegation, unless the allegation proves to be malicious or unfounded.
This policy has been developed to comply with current legislation and good practice and reinforces:
§ The Children Act 1989
§ The Education Act 2002
§ The Children Act 2004
§ “Working Together to Safeguard Children” 2006
§ “What to do if you are worried a child is bring abused” 2006
§ “Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families” 2000
§ “Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education, DfES Guidance September 2007
§ The South West Child Protection Procedures
§ The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which contends that all children have an inalienable right to protection from harm, and the principles of the Children Act (1989) which states that the welfare of the child is of paramount consideration.
LADO (Local Authority Disclosing Officer) 01872 254549
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board (01872 254549)
Single Referral Unit - 0300 1231 116
Children’s Social Care – out of hours 01208 251300
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly safeguarding website: www.safechildren-cios.co.uk
Last reviewed Spring 2014 (after KCSIE). Review: Autumn Term 2014