- Important Contacts
Role/organisation Name Contact details Designated safeguarding lead (DSL) Secondary Rachel Day
Primary Stephen Warrell
Deputy DSL Secondary Russell Jones
Primary Sarah Wallace
Local authority designated officer (LADO) Note: LADO is parents at school and therefore has a conflict of interest LADO office contacted when needed. 01432 261739 Chair of governors Paul Avery 01544 318159 Channel helpline 020 7340 7264
The school aims to ensure that:
Appropriate action is taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote children’s welfare
All staff and governors are aware of their statutory responsibilities with respect to safeguarding
Staff are properly trained in recognising and reporting safeguarding issues
- Legislation and Statutory Guidance
This policy is based on the Department for Education’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), and the Governance Handbook. We comply with this guidance and the arrangements agreed and published by our 3 local safeguarding partners.
This policy is also based on the following legislation:
Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, which places a duty on schools and local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils
The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009, which set out what must be recorded on the single central record and the requirement for at least one person conducting an interview to be trained in safer recruitment techniques
Section 5B(11) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, which places a statutory duty on teachers to report to the police where they discover that female genital mutilation (FGM) appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18
Statutory guidance on FGM, which sets out responsibilities with regards to safeguarding and supporting girls affected by FGM
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which outlines when people with criminal convictions can work with children
Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which defines what ‘regulated activity’ is in relation to children
Statutory guidance on the Prevent duty, which explains schools’ duties under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 with respect to protecting people from the risk of radicalisation and extremism
Weobley Primary only:
The Childcare (Disqualification) and Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (referred to in this policy as the “2018 Childcare Disqualification Regulations”) and Childcare Act 2006, which set out who is disqualified from working with children
Weobley Schools Federation
This policy also meets requirements relating to safeguarding and welfare in the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children means:
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
Child protection is part of this definition and refers to activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or being likely to suffer, significant harm.
Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child, and may involve inflicting harm or failing to act to prevent harm. Appendix 1 explains the different types of abuse.
Neglect is a form of abuse and is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Appendix 1 defines neglect in more detail.
Sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery) is the sharing of sexual imagery (photos or videos) by children
Children includes everyone under the age of 18.
The following 3 safeguarding partners are identified in Keeping Children Safe in Education (and defined in the Children Act 2004, as amended by chapter 2 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017). They will make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children, including identifying and responding to their needs:
The local authority (LA)
A clinical commissioning group for an area within the LA
The chief officer of police for a police area in the LA area
- Equality Statement
Some children have an increased risk of abuse, and additional barriers can exist for some children with respect to recognising or disclosing it. We are committed to anti-discriminatory practice and recognise children’s diverse circumstances. We ensure that all children have the same protection, regardless of any barriers they may face.
We give special consideration to children who:
Have special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities (see section 9)
Are young carers
May experience discrimination due to their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification or sexuality
Have English as an additional language
Are known to be living in difficult situations – for example, temporary accommodation or where there are issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence or poverty
Are at risk of FGM, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, or radicalisation
Are asylum seekers
Are at risk due to either their own or a family member’s mental health needs
Are looked after or previously looked after (see section 11)
- Roles and Responsibilities
Safeguarding and child protection is everyone’s responsibility. This policy applies to all staff, volunteers and governors in the school and is consistent with the procedures of the 3 safeguarding partners. Our policy and procedures also apply to extended school and off-site activities.
5.1 All staff
All staff will read and understand part 1 and Annex A of the Department for Education’s statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and review this guidance at least annually.
All staff will be aware of:
Our systems which support safeguarding, including this child protection and safeguarding policy, the staff code of conduct, the role and identity of the designated safeguarding leads secondary and primay (DSL) and deputies, the behaviour policy, and the safeguarding response to children who go missing from education
The early help process (sometimes known as the common assessment framework) and their role in it, including identifying emerging problems, liaising with the DSL, and sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment
The process for making referrals to local authority children’s social care and for statutory assessments that may follow a referral, including the role they might be expected to play
What to do if they identify a safeguarding issue or a child tells them they are being abused or neglected, including specific issues such as FGM, and how to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality while liaising with relevant professionals
The signs of different types of abuse and neglect, as well as specific safeguarding issues, such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), indicators of being at risk from or involved with serious violent crime, FGM and radicalisation
Section 15 and appendix 4 of this policy outline in more detail how staff are supported to do this.
5.2 The designated safeguarding lead (DSL)
The DSL is a member of the senior leadership team. Our DSL is
- Rachel Day at the secondary school
- Steven Warrell at the primary school
When the DSL is absent, the deputies will act as cover
- Russell Jones at the secondary
- Sarah Wallace at the primary
The DSL takes lead responsibility for child protection and wider safeguarding.
During term time, the DSL will be available during school hours for staff to discuss any safeguarding concerns.
Secondary DSL out of hours contact email@example.com or via CPOMS
Primary DSL out of hours contact firstname.lastname@example.org or via CPOMS
If the DSL and deputies are not available, Dean Williams, Executive Head Teacher will act as cover (for example, during out-of-hours/out-of-term activities).
The DSL will be given the time, funding, training, resources and support to:
- Provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters
- Take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings and/or support other staff to do so
- Contribute to the assessment of children
- Refer suspected cases, as appropriate, to the relevant body (local authority children’s social care, Channel programme, Disclosure and Barring Service, and/or police), and support staff who make such referrals directly
The DSL will also keep the headteacher informed of any issues, and liaise with local authority case managers and designated officers for child protection concerns as appropriate.
The full responsibilities of the DSL and deputies are set out in their job description.
5.3 The governing board
The governing board will approve this policy at each review, ensure it complies with the law and hold the headteacher to account for its implementation.
The governing board will appoint a senior board level (or equivalent) link governor to monitor the effectiveness of this policy in conjunction with the full governing board. This is always a different person from the DSL.
The chair of governors will act as the ‘case manager’ in the event that an allegation of abuse is made against the headteacher, where appropriate (see appendix 3).
All governors will read Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Section 15 of this policy has information on how governors are supported to fulfil their role.
5.4 The headteacher
The headteacher is responsible for the implementation of this policy, including:
Ensuring that staff (including temporary staff) and volunteers are informed of our systems which support safeguarding, including this policy, as part of their induction
Communicating this policy to parents when their child joins the school and via the school website
Ensuring that the DSL has appropriate time, funding, training and resources, and that there is always adequate cover if the DSL is absent
Ensuring that all staff undertake appropriate safeguarding and child protection training and update this regularly
Acting as the ‘case manager’ in the event of an allegation of abuse made against another member of staff or volunteer, where appropriate (see appendix 3)
Weobley primary specifically:
Ensuring the relevant staffing ratios are met, where applicable
Making sure each child in the Early Years Foundation Stage is assigned a key person
Weobley Schools Federations data protection policy is available for full details on request however the basic principles encompassed within is are outlined below.
Timely information sharing is essential to effective safeguarding
Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare, and protect the safety, of children
The Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and GDPR do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe
If staff need to share ‘special category personal data’, the DPA 2018 contains ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ as a processing condition that allows practitioners to share information without consent if it is not possible to gain consent, it cannot be reasonably expected that a practitioner gains consent, or if to gain consent would place a child at risk
Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of abuse, as this may not be in the child’s best interests
The government’s information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners includes 7 ‘golden rules’ for sharing information, and will support staff who have to make decisions about sharing information
If staff are in any doubt about sharing information, they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy)
Confidentiality is also addressed in this policy with respect to record-keeping in section 14, and allegations of abuse against staff in appendix 3
- Recognising Abuse and Taking Action
Staff, volunteers and governors must follow the procedures set out below in the event of a safeguarding issue.
Please note – in this and subsequent sections, you should take any references to the DSL to mean “the DSL (or deputy DSL)”.
7.1 If a child is suffering or likely to suffer harm, or in immediate danger
Make a referral to children’s social care and/or the police immediately if you believe a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger. Anyone can make a referral.
Tell the DSL (see section 5.2) as soon as possible if you make a referral directly.
All referrals to the MASH team via anycomms. Phone number for advice 01432 260800
7.2 If a child makes a disclosure to you
If a child discloses a safeguarding issue to you, you should:
Listen to and believe them. Allow them time to talk freely and do not ask leading questions
Stay calm and do not show that you are shocked or upset
Tell the child they have done the right thing in telling you. Do not tell them they should have told you sooner
Explain what will happen next and that you will have to pass this information on. Do not promise to keep it a secret
Write up your conversation as soon as possible in the child’s own words. Stick to the facts, and do not put your own judgement on it
Sign and date the write-up and pass it on to the DSL. Alternatively, if appropriate, make a referral to children’s social care and/or the police directly (see 7.1), and tell the DSL as soon as possible that you have done so
7.3 If you discover that FGM has taken place or a pupil is at risk of FGM
The Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education explains that FGM comprises “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs”.
FGM is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting, harmful consequences. It is also known as ‘female genital cutting’, ‘circumcision’ or ‘initiation’.
Possible indicators that a pupil has already been subjected to FGM, and factors that suggest a pupil may be at risk, are set out in appendix 4.
Any teacher who discovers (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a pupil under 18 must immediately report this to the police, personally. This is a statutory duty, and teachers will face disciplinary sanctions for failing to meet it.
Unless they have been specifically told not to disclose, they should also discuss the case with the DSL and involve children’s social care as appropriate.
Any other member of staff who discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a pupil under 18 must speak to the DSL and follow our local safeguarding procedures.
The duty for teachers mentioned above does not apply in cases where a pupil is at risk of FGM or FGM is suspected but is not known to have been carried out. Staff should not examine pupils.
Any member of staff who suspects a pupil is at risk of FGM or suspects that FGM has been carried out must speak to the DSL and follow our local safeguarding procedures.
If you have any concerns about a child at risk of FGM, please contact West Mercia Police on 101 or the Herefordshire MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) on 01432 260800.7.4 If you have concerns about a child (as opposed to believing a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or is in immediate danger)
7.4 If you have concerns about a child (as opposed to believing a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or is in immediate danger)
Figure 1 on page 10 illustrates the procedure to follow if you have any concerns about a child’s welfare.
Where possible, speak to the DSL first to agree a course of action.
If in exceptional circumstances the DSL is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. Speak to a member of the senior leadership team and/or take advice from local authority children’s social care. You can also seek advice at any time from the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Share details of any actions you take with the DSL as soon as practically possible.
Make a referral to local authority children’s social care directly, if appropriate (see ‘Referral’ below). Share any action taken with the DSL as soon as possible.
If early help is appropriate, the DSL will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment as appropriate. Staff may be required to support other agencies and professionals in an early help assessment, in some cases acting as the lead practitioner.
The DSL will keep the case under constant review and the school will consider a referral to local authority children’s social care if the situation does not seem to be improving. Timelines of interventions will be monitored and reviewed.
Information with regard to the early help assessment in Herefordshire can be accessed via this link
If it is appropriate to refer the case to local authority children’s social care or the police, the DSL will make the referral or support you to do so.
If you make a referral directly (see section 7.1), you must tell the DSL as soon as possible.
The local authority will make a decision within 1 working day of a referral about what course of action to take and will let the person who made the referral know the outcome. The DSL or person who made the referral must follow up with the local authority if this information is not made available, and ensure outcomes are properly recorded.
If the child’s situation does not seem to be improving after the referral, the DSL or person who made the referral must follow local escalation procedures to ensure their concerns have been addressed and that the child’s situation improves.
Information on how to make a referral is available on the following link
To escalate a concern, the document ‘Resolution of professional disagreement about a safeguarding children response’ can be found on the following link.
7.5 If you have concerns about extremism
If a child is not suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger, where possible speak to the DSL first to agree a course of action.
If in exceptional circumstances the DSL is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. Speak to a member of the senior leadership team and/or seek advice from local authority children’s social care. Make a referral to local authority children’s social care directly, if appropriate (see ‘Referral’ above). Inform the DSL or deputy as soon as practically possible after the referral.
Where there is a concern, the DSL will consider the level of risk and decide which agency to make a referral to. This could include Channel, the government’s programme for identifying and supporting individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism, or the local authority children’s social care team.
The Department for Education also has a dedicated telephone helpline, 020 7340 7264, which school staff and governors can call to raise concerns about extremism with respect to a pupil. You can also email email@example.com. Note that this is not for use in emergency situations.
In an emergency, call 999 or the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 if you:
Think someone is in immediate danger
Think someone may be planning to travel to join an extremist group
See or hear something that may be terrorist-related
7.6 If you have a mental health concern
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.
Staff will be alert to behavioural signs that suggest a child may be experiencing a mental health problem or be at risk of developing one.
If you have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, take immediate action by following the steps in section 7.4.
If you have a mental health concern that is not also a safeguarding concern, speak to the DSL to agree a course of action.
Weobley Schools federation policy on SEND support outlines procedures for identifying and supporting students with poor mental health. Please also refer to the Department for Education guidance on mental health and behaviour in schools for more information.
Figure 1: procedure if you have concerns about a child’s welfare (as opposed to believing a child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger)
(Note – if the DSL is unavailable, this should not delay action. See section 7.4 for what to do.)
7.7 Concerns about a staff member, supply teacher, governor, volunteer or a regular visitor
If you have concerns about a member of staff (including a supply teacher, governor, volunteer or regular visitor), or an allegation is made about a member of staff (including a supply teacher, governor, volunteer or regular visitor) posing a risk of harm to children, speak to the headteacher. If the concerns/allegations are about the headteacher, speak to the chair of governors.
The headteacher/chair of governors will then follow the procedures set out in appendix 3, if appropriate.
For Early years:
Where appropriate, the school will inform Ofsted of the allegation and actions taken, within the necessary timescale (see appendix 3 for more detail).
7.8 Allegations of abuse made against other pupils
We recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. Abuse will never be tolerated or passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”.
We also recognise the gendered nature of peer-on-peer abuse. However, all peer-on-peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously.
Most cases of pupils hurting other pupils will be dealt with under our school’s behaviour policy, but this child protection and safeguarding policy will apply to any allegations that raise safeguarding concerns. This might include where the alleged behaviour:
Is serious, and potentially a criminal offence
Could put pupils in the school at risk
Involves pupils being forced to use drugs or alcohol
Involves sexual exploitation, sexual abuse or sexual harassment, such as indecent exposure, sexual assault, upskirting or sexually inappropriate pictures or videos (including sexting)
If a pupil makes an allegation of abuse against another pupil:
You must record the allegation and tell the DSL, but do not investigate it
The DSL will contact the local authority children’s social care team and follow its advice, as well as the police if the allegation involves a potential criminal offence
The DSL will put a risk assessment and support plan into place for all children involved (including the victim(s), the child(ren) against whom the allegation has been made and any others affected) with a named person they can talk to if needed
The DSL will contact the children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), if appropriate
We will minimise the risk of peer-on-peer abuse by:
Challenging any form of derogatory or sexualised language or behaviour, including requesting or sending sexual images
Being vigilant to issues that particularly affect different genders – for example, sexualised or aggressive touching or grabbing towards female pupils, and initiation or hazing type violence with respect to boys
Ensuring our curriculum helps to educate pupils about appropriate behaviour and consent
Ensuring staff are trained to understand that a pupil harming a peer could be a sign that the child is being abused themselves, and that this would fall under the scope of this policy
Your responsibilities when responding to an incident
If you are made aware of an incident involving sexting (also known as ‘youth produced sexual imagery’), you must report it to the DSL immediately.
You must not:
View, download or share the imagery yourself, or ask a pupil to share or download it. If you have already viewed the imagery by accident, you must report this to the DSL
Delete the imagery or ask the pupil to delete it
Ask the pupil(s) who are involved in the incident to disclose information regarding the imagery (this is the DSL’s responsibility)
Share information about the incident with other members of staff, the pupil(s) it involves or their, or other, parents and/or carers
Say or do anything to blame or shame any young people involved
You should explain that you need to report the incident, and reassure the pupil(s) that they will receive support and help from the DSL.
Initial review meeting
Following a report of an incident, the DSL will hold an initial review meeting with appropriate school staff. This meeting will consider the initial evidence and aim to determine:
Whether there is an immediate risk to pupil(s)
If a referral needs to be made to the police and/or children’s social care
If it is necessary to view the imagery in order to safeguard the young person (in most cases, imagery should not be viewed)
What further information is required to decide on the best response
Whether the imagery has been shared widely and via what services and/or platforms (this may be unknown)
Whether immediate action should be taken to delete or remove images from devices or online services
Any relevant facts about the pupils involved which would influence risk assessment
If there is a need to contact another school, college, setting or individual
Whether to contact parents or carers of the pupils involved (in most cases parents should be involved)
The DSL will make an immediate referral to police and/or children’s social care if:
The incident involves an adult
There is reason to believe that a young person has been coerced, blackmailed or groomed, or if there are concerns about their capacity to consent (for example owing to special educational needs)
What the DSL knows about the imagery suggests the content depicts sexual acts which are unusual for the young person’s developmental stage, or are violent
The imagery involves sexual acts and any pupil in the imagery is under 13
The DSL has reason to believe a pupil is at immediate risk of harm owing to the sharing of the imagery (for example, the young person is presenting as suicidal or self-harming)
If none of the above apply then the DSL, in consultation with the headteacher and other members of staff as appropriate, may decide to respond to the incident without involving the police or children’s social care.
Further review by the DSL
If at the initial review stage a decision has been made not to refer to police and/or children’s social care, the DSL will conduct a further review.
They will hold interviews with the pupils involved (if appropriate) to establish the facts and assess the risks.
If at any point in the process there is a concern that a pupil has been harmed or is at risk of harm, a referral will be made to children’s social care and/or the police immediately.
The DSL will inform parents at an early stage and keep them involved in the process, unless there is a good reason to believe that involving them would put the pupil at risk of harm.
Referring to the police
If it is necessary to refer an incident to the police, this will be done through contacting 101 in the first instance then through a safer schools officer, a police community support officer or a local neighbourhood police officer,
All sexting incidents and the decisions made in responding to them will be recorded. The record-keeping arrangements set out in section 14 of this policy also apply to recording incidents of sexting.
Pupils are taught about the issues surrounding sexting as part of our RSE education.Teaching covers the following in relation to sexting:
What it is
How it is most likely to be encountered
The consequences of requesting, forwarding or providing such images, including when it is and is not abusive
Issues of legality
The risk of damage to people’s feelings and reputation
Pupils also learn the strategies and skills needed to manage:
Specific requests or pressure to provide (or forward) such images
The receipt of such images
This policy on sexting is also shared with pupils so they are aware of the processes the school will follow in the event of an incident.
- Notifying Parents
Where appropriate, we will discuss any concerns about a child with the child’s parents. The DSL will normally do this in the event of a suspicion or disclosure.
Other staff will only talk to parents about any such concerns following consultation with the DSL.
If we believe that notifying the parents would increase the risk to the child, we will discuss this with the local authority children’s social care team before doing so.
In the case of allegations of abuse made against other children, we will normally notify the parents of all the children involved.
- Pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
We recognise that pupils with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group, including:
Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration
Pupils being more prone to peer group isolation than other pupils
The potential for pupils with SEN and disabilities being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs
Communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers
We offer extra pastoral support for pupils with SEN and disabilities. This includes:
- A linked member of staff
- Support through ELSA mentoring (Emotional well-being)
- Regular contact with parents including, EHCP and other specialist meetings.
Details of the pastoral support you offer for pupils with SEN and disabilities can be found in the Weobley School Federations SEND policy.
- Pupils with a Social Worker
Pupils may need a social worker due to safeguarding or welfare needs. We recognise that a child’s experiences of adversity and trauma can leave them vulnerable to further harm as well as potentially creating barriers to attendance, learning, behaviour and mental health.
The DSL and all members of staff will work with and support social workers to help protect vulnerable children.
Where we are aware that a pupil has a social worker, the DSL will always consider this fact to ensure any decisions are made in the best interests of the pupil’s safety, welfare and educational outcomes. For example, it will inform decisions about:
Responding to unauthorised absence or missing education where there are known safeguarding risks
The provision of pastoral and/or academic support
- Looked-after and Previously Looked-after Children
We will ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep looked-after children and previously looked-after children safe. In particular, we will ensure that:
Appropriate staff have relevant information about children’s looked after legal status, contact arrangements with birth parents or those with parental responsibility, and care arrangements
The DSL has details of children’s social workers and relevant virtual school heads
We have appointed a designated teacher, (Secondary Rachel Day, Primary Sarah Wallace) who is responsible for promoting the educational achievement of looked-after children and previously looked-after children in line with statutory guidance.
The designated teacher is appropriately trained and has the relevant qualifications and experience to perform the role.
As part of their role, the designated teacher will:
Work closely with the DSL to ensure that any safeguarding concerns regarding looked-after and previously looked-after children are quickly and effectively responded to
Work with virtual school heads to promote the educational achievement of looked-after and previously looked-after children, including discussing how pupil premium plus funding can be best used to support looked-after children and meet the needs identified in their personal education plans
- Mobile Phones and Cameras
Staff are allowed to bring their personal phones to school for their own use, but will limit such use to non-contact time when pupils are not present. Staff members’ personal phones will remain in their bags or cupboards during contact time with pupils.
Staff will not take pictures or recordings of pupils on their personal phones or cameras.
We will follow the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018 when taking and storing photos and recordings for use in the school.
Weobley Schools Federation do not permit the use of mobile phones whilst in school by students.
- Complaints and Concerns about School Safeguarding Policies
13.1 Complaints against staff
Complaints against staff that are likely to require a child protection investigation will be handled in accordance with our procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse made against staff (see appendix 3).
13.2 Other complaints
For all other complaints Weobley Schools Federation follows the procedures outlined in Herefordshire local authority complaints procedure (available on request).
Weobley Schools Federation follow Herefordshire local authority Whistleblowing policy and procedures. The basic principles of which are outlined here:
What areas of malpractice or wrongdoing are covered by the procedures
The options available for reporting a concern, including who to approach within the school and externally
How the school will respond to such concerns
What protection is available to staff who report another member of staff
We will hold records in line with our records retention schedule.
All safeguarding concerns, discussions, decisions made and the reasons for those decisions, must be recorded in writing. If you are in any doubt about whether to record something, discuss it with the DSL.
Non-confidential records will be easily accessible and available. Confidential information and records will be held securely and only available to those who have a right or professional need to see them.
Safeguarding records relating to individual children will be retained for a reasonable period of time after they have left the school.
If a child for whom the school has, or has had, safeguarding concerns moves to another school, the DSL will ensure that their child protection file is forwarded promptly and securely, and separately from the main pupil file. In addition, if the concerns are significant or complex, and/or social services are involved, the DSL will speak to the DSL of the receiving school and provide information to enable them to have time to make any necessary preparations to ensure the safety of the child.
Records are held both in paper form and electronically at the secondary school as paper based files are still provided from some primary schools on transition. From 2020 both the Primary and Secondary schools will be storing safeguarding information on CPOMS (prior to this electronic files from the Secondary school were stored on SIMS.
Any paper files are held in a lockable room and are separate from the main files.
Appendix 2 sets out our policy on record-keeping specifically with respect to recruitment and pre-employment checks
Appendix 3 sets out our policy on record-keeping with respect to allegations of abuse made against staff
15.1 All staff
All staff members will undertake safeguarding and child protection training at induction, including on whistle-blowing procedures, to ensure they understand the school’s safeguarding systems and their responsibilities, and can identify signs of possible abuse or neglect. This training will be regularly updated and will be in line with advice from the 3 safeguarding partners.
All staff will have training on the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, Prevent, to enable them to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas.
Staff will also receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, through emails, e-bulletins and staff meetings) as required, but at least annually.
Contractors who are provided through a private finance initiative (PFI) or similar contract will also receive safeguarding training.
Volunteers and governors will receive appropriate training, when applicable.
15.2 The DSL and deputies
The DSL and deputies will undertake child protection and safeguarding training at least every 2 years.
In addition, they will update their knowledge and skills at regular intervals and at least annually (for example, through e-bulletins, meeting other DSLs, or taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments).
They will also undertake Prevent awareness training.
All governors receive training about safeguarding, to make sure they have the knowledge and information needed to perform their functions and understand their responsibilities.
As the chair of governors may be required to act as the ‘case manager’ in the event that an allegation of abuse is made against the headteacher, they receive training in managing allegations for this purpose.
15.4 Recruitment – interview panels
At least one person conducting any interview for a post at the school will have undertaken safer recruitment training. This will cover, as a minimum, the contents of the Department for Education’s statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, and will be in line with local safeguarding procedures.
15.5 Staff who have contact with pupils and families
All staff who have contact with children and families will have supervisions which will provide them with support, coaching and training, promote the interests of children and allow for confidential discussions of sensitive issues.
- Monitoring Arrangements
This policy will be reviewed annually by Rachel Day Assistant Head teacher/ DSL secondary and Steven Warrell Head teacher and DSL primary. At every review, it will be approved by the full governing board.
- Links with other Policies
This policy links to the following policies and procedures:
Staff code of conduct
Health and safety
Sex and relationship education
Designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children
IT Acceptable use
Approved by: Governing Board Date: September 2020 Last reviewed on: September 2020 Next review due by: September 2021
- Appendix 1: types of abuse
Abuse, including neglect, and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap.
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.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
Emotional abuse may involve:
Conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person
Not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate
Age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction
Seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another
Serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve:
Physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing
Non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet)
Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.
Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
- Appendix 2: Safer Recruitment and DBS Checks – Policy and Procedures
We will record all information on the checks carried out in the school’s single central record (SCR). Copies of these checks, where appropriate, will be held in individuals’ personnel files. We follow requirements and best practice in retaining copies of these checks, as set out below.
When appointing new staff, we will:
Verify their identity
Obtain (via the applicant) an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, including barred list information for those who will be engaging in regulated activity (see definition below). We will not keep a copy of this for longer than 6 months
Obtain a separate barred list check if they will start work in regulated activity before the DBS certificate is available
Verify their mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities
Verify their right to work in the UK. We will keep a copy of this verification for the duration of the member of staff’s employment and for 2 years afterwards
Verify their professional qualifications, as appropriate
Ensure they are not subject to a prohibition order if they are employed to be a teacher
Carry out further additional checks, as appropriate, on candidates who have lived or worked outside of the UK, including (where relevant) any teacher sanctions or restrictions imposed by a European Economic Area professional regulating authority, and criminal records checks or their equivalent
We will ensure that appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that individuals are not disqualified under the 2018 Childcare Disqualification Regulations and Childcare Act 2006. Where we take a decision that an individual falls outside of the scope of these regulations and we do not carry out such checks, we will retain a record of our assessment on the individual’s personnel file. This will include our evaluation of any risks and control measures put in place, and any advice sought.
We will ask for written information about previous employment history and check that information is not contradictory or incomplete.
We will seek references on all short-listed candidates, including internal candidates, before interview. We will scrutinise these and resolve any concerns before confirming appointments. The references requested will ask specific questions about the suitability of the applicant to work with children.
Regulated activity means a person who will be:
Responsible, on a regular basis in a school or college, for teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children; or
Carrying out paid, or unsupervised unpaid, work regularly in a school or college where that work provides an opportunity for contact with children; or
Engaging in intimate or personal care or overnight activity, even if this happens only once and regardless of whether they are supervised or not
If we have concerns about an existing member of staff’s suitability to work with children, we will carry out all the relevant checks as if the individual was a new member of staff. We will also do this if an individual moves from a post that is not regulated activity to one that is.
We will refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed, or poses a risk of harm, to a child or vulnerable adult where:
We believe the individual has engaged in relevant conduct; or
The individual has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence, or there is reason to believe the individual has committed a listed relevant offence, under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (Prescribed Criteria and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2009; or
The ‘harm test’ is satisfied in respect of the individual (i.e. they may harm a child or vulnerable adult or put them at risk of harm); and
The individual has been removed from working in regulated activity (paid or unpaid) or would have been removed if they had not left
Agency and third-party staff
We will obtain written notification from any agency or third-party organisation that it has carried out the necessary safer recruitment checks that we would otherwise perform. We will also check that the person presenting themselves for work is the same person on whom the checks have been made.
We will ensure that any contractor, or any employee of the contractor, who is to work at the school has had the appropriate level of DBS check (this includes contractors who are provided through a PFI or similar contract). This will be:
An enhanced DBS check with barred list information for contractors engaging in regulated activity
An enhanced DBS check, not including barred list information, for all other contractors who are not in regulated activity but whose work provides them with an opportunity for regular contact with children
We will obtain the DBS check for self-employed contractors.
We will not keep copies of such checks for longer than 6 months.
Contractors who have not had any checks will not be allowed to work unsupervised or engage in regulated activity under any circumstances.
We will check the identity of all contractors and their staff on arrival at the school.
Primary specific: For self-employed contractors such as music teachers or sports coaches, we will ensure that appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that individuals are not disqualified under the 2018 Childcare Disqualification Regulations and Childcare Act 2006. Where we decide that an individual falls outside of the scope of these regulations and we do not carry out such checks, we will retain a record of our assessment. This will include our evaluation of any risks and control measures put in place, and any advice sought.
Where applicants for initial teacher training are salaried by us, we will ensure that all necessary checks are carried out.
Where trainee teachers are fee-funded, we will obtain written confirmation from the training provider that necessary checks have been carried out and that the trainee has been judged by the provider to be suitable to work with children.
Primary specific: In both cases, this includes checks to ensure that individuals are not disqualified under the 2018 Childcare Disqualification Regulations and Childcare Act 2006.
Never leave an unchecked volunteer unsupervised or allow them to work in regulated activity
Obtain an enhanced DBS check with barred list information for all volunteers who are new to working in regulated activity
Carry out a risk assessment when deciding whether to seek an enhanced DBS check without barred list information for any volunteers not engaging in regulated activity. We will retain a record of this risk assessment
Ensure that appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that individuals are not disqualified under the 2018 Childcare Disqualification Regulations and Childcare Act 2006. Where we decide that an individual falls outside of the scope of these regulations and we do not carry out such checks, we will retain a record of our assessment. This will include our evaluation of any risks and control measures put in place, and any advice sought
All governors will have an enhanced DBS check without barred list information.
They will have an enhanced DBS check with barred list information if working in regulated activity.
All governors will also have a section 128 check (as a section 128 direction disqualifies an individual from being a maintained school governor).
Staff working in alternative provision settings
Where we place a pupil with an alternative provision provider, we obtain written confirmation from the provider that they have carried out the appropriate safeguarding checks on individuals working there that we would otherwise perform.
Adults who supervise pupils on work experience
When organising work experience, we will ensure that policies and procedures are in place to protect children from harm.
We will also consider whether it is necessary for barred list checks to be carried out on the individuals who supervise a pupil under 16 on work experience. This will depend on the specific circumstances of the work experience, including the nature of the supervision, the frequency of the activity being supervised, and whether the work is regulated activity.
Pupils staying with host families
Where the school makes arrangements for pupils to be provided with care and accommodation by a host family to which they are not related (for example, during a foreign exchange visit), we will request enhanced DBS checks with barred list information on those people.
Where the school is organising such hosting arrangements overseas and host families cannot be checked in the same way, we will work with our partner schools abroad to ensure that similar assurances are undertaken prior to the visit.
- Appendix 3: Allegations of Abuse Made against Staff
This section of this policy applies to all cases in which it is alleged that a current member of staff, including a supply teacher or volunteer, has:
Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child, or
Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or
Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children, or
Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children
It applies regardless of whether the alleged abuse took place in the school. Allegations against a teacher who is no longer teaching and historical allegations of abuse will be referred to the police.
We will deal with any allegation of abuse against a member of staff or volunteer very quickly, in a fair and consistent way that provides effective child protection while also supporting the individual who is the subject of the allegation.
Our procedures for dealing with allegations will be applied with common sense and judgement.
Suspension of the accused until the case is resolved
Suspension will not be the default position, and will only be considered in cases where there is reason to suspect that a child or other children is/are at risk of harm, or the case is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal. In such cases, we will only suspend an individual if we have considered all other options available and there is no reasonable alternative.
Based on an assessment of risk, we will consider alternatives such as:
Redeployment within the school so that the individual does not have direct contact with the child or children concerned
Providing an assistant to be present when the individual has contact with children
Redeploying the individual to alternative work in the school so that they do not have unsupervised access to children
Moving the child or children to classes where they will not come into contact with the individual, making it clear that this is not a punishment and parents have been consulted
Temporarily redeploying the individual to another role in a different location, for example to an alternative school or other work for the local authority
Definitions for outcomes of allegation investigations
Substantiated: there is sufficient evidence to prove the allegation
Malicious: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive
False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation
Unsubstantiated: there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation (this does not imply guilt or innocence)
Unfounded: to reflect cases where there is no evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made
Procedure for dealing with allegations
In the event of an allegation that meets the criteria above, the headteacher (or chair of governors where the headteacher is the subject of the allegation) – the ‘case manager’ – will take the following steps:
Immediately discuss the allegation with the designated officer at the local authority. This is to consider the nature, content and context of the allegation and agree a course of action, including whether further enquiries are necessary to enable a decision on how to proceed, and whether it is necessary to involve the police and/or children’s social care services. (The case manager may, on occasion, consider it necessary to involve the police before consulting the designated officer – for example, if the accused individual is deemed to be an immediate risk to children or there is evidence of a possible criminal offence. In such cases, the case manager will notify the designated officer as soon as practicably possible after contacting the police)
Inform the accused individual of the concerns or allegations and likely course of action as soon as possible after speaking to the designated officer (and the police or children’s social care services, where necessary). Where the police and/or children’s social care services are involved, the case manager will only share such information with the individual as has been agreed with those agencies
Where appropriate (in the circumstances described above), carefully consider whether suspension of the individual from contact with children at the school is justified or whether alternative arrangements such as those outlined above can be put in place. Advice will be sought from the designated officer, police and/or children’s social care services, as appropriate
If immediate suspension is considered necessary, agree and record the rationale for this with the designated officer. The record will include information about the alternatives to suspension that have been considered, and why they were rejected. Written confirmation of the suspension will be provided to the individual facing the allegation or concern within 1 working day, and the individual will be given a named contact at the school and their contact details
If it is decided that no further action is to be taken in regard to the subject of the allegation or concern, record this decision and the justification for it and agree with the designated officer what information should be put in writing to the individual and by whom, as well as what action should follow both in respect of the individual and those who made the initial allegation
If it is decided that further action is needed, take steps as agreed with the designated officer to initiate the appropriate action in school and/or liaise with the police and/or children’s social care services as appropriate
Provide effective support for the individual facing the allegation or concern, including appointing a named representative to keep them informed of the progress of the case and considering what other support is appropriate. Staff may also seek support from trade union representatives, a colleague or may be offered counselling or an occupational therapy assessment through the school.
Inform the parents or carers of the child/children involved about the allegation as soon as possible if they do not already know (following agreement with children’s social care services and/or the police, if applicable). The case manager will also inform the parents or carers of the requirement to maintain confidentiality about any allegations made against teachers (where this applies) while investigations are ongoing. Any parent or carer who wishes to have the confidentiality restrictions removed in respect of a teacher will be advised to seek legal advice
Keep the parents or carers of the child/children involved informed of the progress of the case and the outcome, where there is not a criminal prosecution, including the outcome of any disciplinary process (in confidence)
Make a referral to the DBS where it is thought that the individual facing the allegation or concern has engaged in conduct that harmed or is likely to harm a child, or if the individual otherwise poses a risk of harm to a child
Early years providers
We will inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere), and any action taken in respect of the allegations. This notification will be made as soon as reasonably possible and always within 14 days of the allegations being made.
If the school is made aware that the secretary of state has made an interim prohibition order in respect of an individual, we will immediately suspend that individual from teaching, pending the findings of the investigation by the Teaching Regulation Agency.
Where the police are involved, wherever possible the local authority will ask the police at the start of the investigation to obtain consent from the individuals involved to share their statements and evidence for use in the school’s disciplinary process, should this be required at a later point.
Additional considerations for supply staff
If there are concerns or an allegation is made against someone not directly employed by the school, such as supply staff provided by an agency, we will take the actions below in addition to our standard procedures.
We will not decide to stop using a supply teacher due to safeguarding concerns without finding out the facts and liaising with our local authority designated officer to determine a suitable outcome
The governing board will discuss with the agency whether it is appropriate to suspend the supply teacher, or redeploy them to another part of the school, while the school carries out the investigation
We will involve the agency fully, but the school will take the lead in collecting the necessary information and providing it to the local authority designated officer as required
We will address issues such as information sharing, to ensure any previous concerns or allegations known to the agency are taken into account (we will do this, for example, as part of the allegations management meeting or by liaising directly with the agency where necessary)
When using an agency, we will inform them of our process for managing allegations, and keep them updated about our policies as necessary, and will invite the agency’s HR manager or equivalent to meetings as appropriate.
- Any cases where it is clear immediately that the allegation is unsubstantiated or malicious will be resolved within 1 week
- If the nature of an allegation does not require formal disciplinary action, we will institute appropriate action within 3 working days
- If a disciplinary hearing is required and can be held without further investigation, we will hold this within 15 working days
Action following a criminal investigation or prosecution
The case manager will discuss with the local authority’s designated officer whether any further action, including disciplinary action, is appropriate and, if so, how to proceed, taking into account information provided by the police and/or children’s social care services.
Conclusion of a case where the allegation is substantiated
If the allegation is substantiated and the individual is dismissed or the school ceases to use their services, or the individual resigns or otherwise ceases to provide their services, the case manager and the school’s personnel adviser will discuss with the designated officer whether to make a referral to the DBS for consideration of whether inclusion on the barred lists is required. If they think that the individual has engaged in conduct that has harmed (or is likely to harm) a child, or if they think the person otherwise poses a risk of harm to a child, they must make a referral to the DBS.
If the individual concerned is a member of teaching staff, the case manager and personnel adviser will discuss with the designated officer whether to refer the matter to the Teaching Regulation Agency to consider prohibiting the individual from teaching.
Individuals returning to work after suspension
If it is decided on the conclusion of a case that an individual who has been suspended can return to work, the case manager will consider how best to facilitate this.
The case manager will also consider how best to manage the individual’s contact with the child or children who made the allegation, if they are still attending the school.
Unsubstantiated or malicious allegations
If an allegation is shown to be deliberately invented, or malicious, the headteacher, or other appropriate person in the case of an allegation against the headteacher, will consider whether any disciplinary action is appropriate against the pupil(s) who made it, or whether the police should be asked to consider whether action against those who made the allegation might be appropriate, even if they are not a pupil.
The school will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered.
The case manager will take advice from the local authority’s designated officer, police and children’s social care services, as appropriate, to agree:
- Who needs to know about the allegation and what information can be shared
- How to manage speculation, leaks and gossip, including how to make parents or carers of a child/children involved aware of their obligations with respect to confidentiality
- What, if any, information can be reasonably given to the wider community to reduce speculation
- How to manage press interest if, and when, it arises
The case manager will maintain clear records about any case where the allegation or concern meets the criteria above and store them on the individual’s confidential personnel file for the duration of the case. Such records will include:
- A clear and comprehensive summary of the allegation
- Details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved
- Notes of any action taken and decisions reached (and justification for these, as stated above)
If an allegation or concern is not found to have been malicious, the school will retain the records of the case on the individual’s confidential personnel file, and provide a copy to the individual.
Where records contain information about allegations of sexual abuse, we will preserve these for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), for the term of the inquiry. We will retain all other records at least until the individual has reached normal pension age, or for 10 years from the date of the allegation if that is longer.
The records of any allegation that is found to be malicious will be deleted from the individual’s personnel file.
When providing employer references, we will not refer to any allegation that has been proven to be false, unsubstantiated or malicious, or any history of allegations where all such allegations have been proven to be false, unsubstantiated or malicious.
After any cases where the allegations are substantiated, we will review the circumstances of the case with the local authority’s designated officer to determine whether there are any improvements that we can make to the school’s procedures or practice to help prevent similar events in the future.
This will include consideration of (as applicable):
- Issues arising from the decision to suspend the member of staff
- The duration of the suspension
- Whether or not the suspension was justified
- The use of suspension when the individual is subsequently reinstated. We will consider how future investigations of a similar nature could be carried out without suspending the individual
- Appendix 4: Specific Safeguarding Issues
The following should be read in conjunction with Keeping Children Safe in Education Annex A
Children missing from education
A child going missing from education, particularly repeatedly, can be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding issues. This might include abuse or neglect, such as sexual abuse or exploitation or child criminal exploitation, or issues such as mental health problems, substance abuse, radicalisation, FGM or forced marriage.
There are many circumstances where a child may become missing from education, but some children are particularly at risk. These include children who:
- Are at risk of harm or neglect
- Are at risk of forced marriage or FGM
- Come from Gypsy, Roma, or Traveller families
- Come from the families of service personnel
- Go missing or run away from home or care
- Are supervised by the youth justice system
- Cease to attend a school
- Come from new migrant families
We will follow our procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect, including sexual exploitation, and to help prevent the risks of going missing in future. This includes informing the local authority if a child leaves the school without a new school being named, and adhering to requirements with respect to sharing information with the local authority, when applicable, when removing a child’s name from the admission register at non-standard transition points.
Staff will be trained in signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns which may be related to being missing, such as travelling to conflict zones, FGM and forced marriage.
If a staff member suspects that a child is suffering from harm or neglect, we will follow local child protection procedures, including with respect to making reasonable enquiries. We will make an immediate referral to the local authority children’s social care team, and the police, if the child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger.
Child criminal exploitation
Child criminal exploitation (CCE) is a form of abuse where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child into criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator, and/or through violence or the threat of violence.
The abuse can be perpetrated by males or females, and children or adults. It can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse.
The victim can be exploited even when the activity appears to be consensual. It does not always involve physical contact and can happen online. For example, young people may be forced to work in cannabis factories, coerced into moving drugs or money across the country (county lines), forced to shoplift or pickpocket, or to threaten other young people.
Indicators of CCE can include a child:
Appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions
Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
Suffering from changes in emotional wellbeing
Misusing drugs and alcohol
Going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late
Regularly missing school or education
Not taking part in education
If a member of staff suspects CCE, they will discuss this with the DSL. The DSL will trigger the local safeguarding procedures, including a referral to the local authority’s children’s social care team and the police, if appropriate.
Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of abuse where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. It may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence.
The abuse can be perpetrated by males or females, and children or adults. It can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse.
The victim can be exploited even when the activity appears to be consensual. Children or young people who are being sexually exploited may not understand that they are being abused. They often trust their abuser and may be tricked into believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship.
CSE can include both physical contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity. It can also happen online. For example, young people may be persuaded or forced to share sexually explicit images of themselves, have sexual conversations by text, or take part in sexual activities using a webcam. CSE may also occur without the victim’s immediate knowledge, for example through others copying videos or images.
In addition to the CCE indicators above, indicators of CSE can include a child:
Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
Suffering from sexually transmitted infections or becoming pregnant
If a member of staff suspects CSE, they will discuss this with the DSL. The DSL will trigger the local safeguarding procedures, including a referral to the local authority’s children’s social care team and the police, if appropriate.
Children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse and/or violence at home where it occurs between family members. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.
Secondary school: Older children may also experience domestic abuse and/or violence in their own personal relationships.
Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long-lasting emotional and psychological impact on children.
If police are called to an incident of domestic abuse and any children in the household have experienced the incident, the police will inform the key adult in school (usually the designated safeguarding lead) before the child or children arrive at school the following day. This is the procedure in Herefordshire as the local police forces is part of Operation Encompass
The DSL will provide support according to the child’s needs and update records about their circumstances.
Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare.
The DSL deputies will be aware of contact details and referral routes in to the local housing authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity (where appropriate and in accordance with local procedures).
Where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm, the DSL will also make a referral to children’s social care.
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (including FGM and forced marriage)
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) encompasses incidents or crimes committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community, including FGM, forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing.
Abuse committed in this context often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators.
All forms of HBA are abuse and will be handled and escalated as such. All staff will be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBA or already having suffered it. If staff have a concern, they will speak to the DSL, who will activate local safeguarding procedures.
The DSL will make sure that staff have access to appropriate training to equip them to be alert to children affected by FGM or at risk of FGM.
Section 7.3 of this policy sets out the procedures to be followed if a staff member discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out or suspects that a pupil is at risk of FGM.
Indicators that FGM has already occurred include:
- A pupil confiding in a professional that FGM has taken place
- A mother/family member disclosing that FGM has been carried out
- A family/pupil already being known to social services in relation to other safeguarding issues
- A girl:
- Having difficulty walking, sitting or standing, or looking uncomfortable
- Finding it hard to sit still for long periods of time (where this was not a problem previously)
- Spending longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet due to difficulties urinating
- Having frequent urinary, menstrual or stomach problems
- Avoiding physical exercise or missing PE
- Being repeatedly absent from school, or absent for a prolonged period
- Demonstrating increased emotional and psychological needs – for example, withdrawal or depression, or significant change in behaviour
- Being reluctant to undergo any medical examinations
- Asking for help, but not being explicit about the problem
- Talking about pain or discomfort between her legs
Potential signs that a pupil may be at risk of FGM include:
- The girl’s family having a history of practising FGM (this is the biggest risk factor to consider)
- FGM being known to be practised in the girl’s community or country of origin
- A parent or family member expressing concern that FGM may be carried out
- A family not engaging with professionals (health, education or other) or already being known to social care in relation to other safeguarding issues
- A girl:
- Having a mother, older sibling or cousin who has undergone FGM
- Having limited level of integration within UK society
- Confiding to a professional that she is to have a “special procedure” or to attend a special occasion to “become a woman”
- Talking about a long holiday to her country of origin or another country where the practice is prevalent, or parents stating that they or a relative will take the girl out of the country for a prolonged period
- Requesting help from a teacher or another adult because she is aware or suspects that she is at immediate risk of FGM
- Talking about FGM in conversation – for example, a girl may tell other children about it (although it is important to take into account the context of the discussion)
- Being unexpectedly absent from school
- Having sections missing from her ‘red book’ (child health record) and/or attending a travel clinic or equivalent for vaccinations/anti-malarial medication
The above indicators and risk factors are not intended to be exhaustive.
Forcing a person into marriage is a crime. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats, or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological.
Staff will receive training around forced marriage and the presenting symptoms. We are aware of the ‘one chance’ rule, i.e. we may only have one chance to speak to the potential victim and only one chance to save them.
If a member of staff suspects that a pupil is being forced into marriage, they will speak to the pupil about their concerns in a secure and private place. They will then report this to the DSL.
The DSL will:
- Speak to the pupil about the concerns in a secure and private place
- Activate the local safeguarding procedures and refer the case to the local authority’s designated officer
- Seek advice from the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Refer the pupil to an education welfare officer, pastoral tutor, learning mentor, or school counsellor, as appropriate
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups
Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces
Terrorism is an action that:
- Endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people;
- Causes serious damage to property; or
- Seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system
The use or threat of terrorism must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
Schools have a duty to prevent children from being drawn into terrorism. The DSL will undertake Prevent awareness training and make sure that staff have access to appropriate training to equip them to identify children at risk.
We will assess the risk of children in our school being drawn into terrorism. This assessment will be based on an understanding of the potential risk in our local area, in collaboration with our local safeguarding partners and local police force.
We will ensure that suitable internet filtering is in place, and equip our pupils to stay safe online at school and at home.
There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Radicalisation can occur quickly or over a long period.
Staff will be alert to changes in pupils’ behaviour.
- Refusal to engage with, or becoming abusive to, peers who are different from themselves
- Becoming susceptible to conspiracy theories and feelings of persecution
- Changes in friendship groups and appearance
- Rejecting activities they used to enjoy
- Converting to a new religion
- Isolating themselves from family and friends
- Talking as if from a scripted speech
- An unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
- A sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
- Increased levels of anger
- Increased secretiveness, especially around internet use
- Expressions of sympathy for extremist ideologies and groups, or justification of their actions
- Accessing extremist material online, including on Facebook or Twitter
- Possessing extremist literature
- Being in contact with extremist recruiters and joining, or seeking to join, extremist organisations
Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. It is important to note that these signs can also be part of normal teenage behaviour – staff should have confidence in their instincts and seek advice if something feels wrong.
If staff are concerned about a pupil, they will follow our procedures set out in section 7.5 of this policy, including discussing their concerns with the DSL.
Staff should always take action if they are worried.
Checking the identity and suitability of visitors
All visitors will be required to verify their identity to the satisfaction of staff and to keep their belongings with them, including their mobile phone(s), in a safe place during their visit.
If the visitor is unknown to the setting, we will check their credentials and reason for visiting before allowing them to enter the setting. Visitors should be ready to produce identification including photo ID if requested.
Visitors are expected to sign the visitors’ book and wear a visitor’s badge.
Visitors to the school who are visiting for a professional purpose, such as educational psychologists and school improvement officers, will be asked to show photo ID and:
- Will be asked to show their DBS certificate, which will be checked alongside their photo ID; or
- The organisation sending the professional, such as the LA or educational psychology service, will provide prior written confirmation that an enhanced DBS check with barred list information has been carried out
All other visitors, including visiting speakers, will be accompanied by a member of staff at all times. We will not invite into the school any speaker who is known to disseminate extremist views, and will carry out appropriate checks to ensure that any individual or organisation using school facilities is not seeking to disseminate extremist views or radicalise pupils or staff.
Non-collection of children
If a child is not collected at the end of the session/day, we will:
- Parents will be contacted to find out there whereabouts.
- The child will remain supervised in school
- If parents cannot be contacted, we will attempt to make contact with another member of the child’s family.
- Police and MASH to be contacted as a last resort and the DSL to be notified. We would then work with these agencies to advise further.
In the event of child being missing from class:
- Staff will conduct a search of the school premises
- Parents will be contacted to ascertain if they have returned home or if they may know where they may have gone or they can make contact with them directly
- Staff will conduct a search of the surrounding area
- If none of the above identify the whereabouts of the child, police will be called via the 999 service and the DSL will be notified.