Safeguarding (Child Protection) Policy
This safeguarding (child protection) policy (the “Policy”) applies to all engagement with students in the course of activities run by Art History Link-Up (“AHLU”).
AHLU is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, along with their protection, and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Everyone who comes into contact with children has a role to protect them from neglect and abuse – this document is an essential read for all adults employed by AHLU. AHLU is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for students, staff and visitors and has measures to deliver this, which include (but are not limited to): designated safeguarding leads; careful governance; safer recruitment procedures; processes for disclosure and referral; codes of conduct for staff and students; first aid and medical plans; and training. This Policy sets out these and other areas in detail.
1. POLICY AIMS
The purpose of this Policy is to:
- Describe what should be done if anyone employed by or connected to AHLU has a concern about the safety and welfare of a student
- Identify the particular attention that should be paid to those students who fall into a category that might be deemed “vulnerable”
- Clarify how students will be kept safe through AHLU activities
- Identify the names of responsible persons and explain the purpose of their roles
- Set out expectations in respect of training
- Set out expectations regarding record keeping
- Outline how the implementation of this Policy will be monitored
This Policy and its related procedures has been prepared in compliance with and having regard to the Education Acts; the Children Act 2004; the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulation 2014; “Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015”; “Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016”; “Protecting children from radicalisation: the prevent duty 2015”; Ofsted guidance; and procedures produced by the London Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). Staff are required to confirm that they have read Part 1 of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ and that mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their role and responsibilities as set out in Part One.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children involves:
- protecting children from maltreatment (including abuse and neglect);
- preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
- ensuring children grow up in safety with effective care; and
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
4. ABUSE AND NEGLECT – types and signs
4.1 There are various forms of abuse and neglect:
- Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.
- Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
- Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
- Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).
- Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE): CSE is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online. Child sexual exploitation is potentially a child protection issue for all children under the age of 18.
- Where it comes to our notice that a child under the age of 13 is, or may be, sexually active, whether or not they are a student taking part in AHLU-led activities, this will result in an immediate referral to Children’s Services. In the case of a young person between the ages of 13 and 16, an individual risk assessment will be conducted in accordance with the London Child Protection Procedures. This will determine how and when information will be shared with parents and the investigating agencies.
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): FGM is a procedure where the female genital organs are injured or changed and there is no medical reason for this. It is frequently a very traumatic and violent act for the victim and can cause harm in many ways. The practice can cause severe pain and there may be immediate and/or long-term health consequences. FGM is an unacceptable practice for which there is no justification. It is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls. FGM is illegal in the UK.
- Neglect: the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
4.2 All staff should be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so that they can identify children who may be in need of help or protection.
4.3 As well as obvious non-accidental injuries, injuries which are not consistent with the explanation given and incidents reported by the child or others, the following signs may be significant in the light of other concerns:
- Physical harm: bruising; scarring; bandages/plasters; rubbing part of the body; cigarette burns; abstains from physical activities.
- Psychological abuse/harm: Apathy; withdrawal from social contact; loss of enthusiasm/energy; seeming to be preoccupied; tearful; misses class or is frequently late.
- Neglect: socially withdrawn; untidy/unkempt; poor time-keeping; infrequent mention of parents/family life; possibly slow to develop emotionally; overly self-reliant.
- Sexual abuse: Delayed or no learning progress, inappropriate sexual behaviour, low self-esteem, unease or unusual behaviour with adults, sexualised drawings, self-injury and distinct changes in behaviour.
- Child sexual exploitation: Going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late; regularly missing class; appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions; associating with other young people involved in exploitation; having older girlfriends or boyfriends; suffering from sexually transmitted infections; mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing; drug and alcohol misuse and displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour. It is important that these factors should not be seen in isolation but considered within the overall context.
5. THE ROLE OF AHLU AND ITS STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS IN SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN
5.1 Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play in safeguarding and welfare of children (including physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse) and neglect.
5.3 Safeguarding students is the responsibility of the all those involved in AHLU.
5.4 Staff and volunteers are advised of the need to be alert for safeguarding issues that may arise in relation to staff or volunteer relationships with students and the potential for bullying and peer abuse.
6. AHLU APPROACH
6.1 AHLU is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for students, staff, and volunteers and promoting a climate where students and adults will feel confident about sharing any concerns which they may have about their or another’s safety or well-being.
6.2 AHLU works in partnership with parents, guardians or carers to secure the best outcomes for its students.
6.3 We provide guidance and training to staff regarding safeguarding matters.
6.4 We communicate as clearly as possible about the aims of AHLU.
6.5 We liaise with agencies in the statutory, voluntary and community sectors that are active in supporting families.
6.6 Where a student needs additional support from one or more agencies, we will contact the student’s school and assist them and any agencies involved.
6.7 We are alert to the needs of parents/carers who do not have English as their first language.
7. DESIGNATED SAFEGUARDING LEADS
7.1 Rose Aidin, CEO of AHLU, is the designated safeguarding lead (the “DSL”). The DSL can be contacted at [email protected]
7.2 The DSL:ensures this Policy is known and used appropriately;
- ensures that all staff and volunteers are aware of this Policy and have read all necessary documentation;
- acts as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of safeguarding;
- liaises with a student’s school to highlight any non-urgent concerns which may require investigation or follow up at a later date;
- provides a termly report to the Trustees (or more frequently ad hoc if deemed required),outlining details of any safeguarding issues that have arisen and the outcome of any cases identified. These reports will respect all issues of confidentiality and will not therefore identify any person(s) by name;
- can refer cases of suspected abuse to Children’s Services and other external agencies (including the Disclosure & Barring Service and the Police), where appropriate;
- will monitor absence patterns of children and will judge if action is required; and
- will log any accidents or injuries that occur during any sessions.
8. RECRUITMENT (Staff, Volunteers and Contractors)
8.1 AHLU is committed to principles of safer recruitment and has adopted procedures and processes (including its recruitment policy and safeguarding checks protocols) that are intended to help deter, reject and/or identify people who might abuse children.
8.2 We have regard to DfE’s statutory guidance for schools and charities about the employment of staff disqualified from childcare “Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006”, which also contains information about ‘disqualification by association’.
9. STAFF AND VOLUNTEER DUTY TO REPORT CONCERNS
All staff and volunteers are instructed that if they have any concerns about a child (including concerns regarding possible peer abuse) they must report the matter straight away to the DSL or direct to Children Services. If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm, a referral will be made to children’s social care and/or the police immediately. Anyone can make a referral. Where referrals are not made by the DSL, the DSL will be informed, as soon as possible, that a referral has been made.
10. MISSING CHILD
A student going missing from an educational setting is a potential indicator of abuse and neglect. Prolonged or repeated absences, or particular patterns of absence (with no satisfactory explanation) are treated by the AHLU as a potential safeguarding issue and action is taken accordingly.
11. VULNERABLE STUDENTS
11.1 Particular vigilance will be exercised in respect of students who are subject to a Child Protection Plan and any incidents or concerns involving these students will be reported immediately to the allocated Social Worker (and confirmed in writing; copied to the DSL). If the student in question is a Looked After Child, this will also be brought to the notice of the DSL.
11.2 We acknowledge that children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. We are aware that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. This can include assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration; children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying without outwardly showing any signs; and communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
11.3 If a child discloses that they have witnessed domestic abuse or it is suspected that they may be living in a household which is affected by family violence, this will be referred to the DSL as a safeguarding issue.
11.4 AHLU also acknowledges the additional need for support and protection of children who are vulnerable by virtue of homelessness, refugee/asylum seeker status, the effects of substance abuse within the family, those who are young carers, students who are excluded from school and students where English is an additional language.
11.5 We will always ascertain the views and feelings of all children. We acknowledge that children who are affected by abuse or neglect may demonstrate their needs and distress through their words, actions, behaviour, demeanour, class work or other children.
11.6 AHLU has a strong commitment to an anti-bullying policy and will consider all coercive acts and peer on peer abuse within a Child Protection context.
12. CHILDREN’S SERVICES REFERRALS
12.1 Any person who has concerns regarding a child may make a referral to Children’s Services (including any parent, student or member of staff).
12.2 When an individual concern/incident is brought to the notice of the DSL, they will decide whether or not this should be reported to Children’s Services as a safeguarding issue. It is important to note however that anybody can make a referral to Children’s Services. There must be an immediate referral to Children’s Services whenever a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm.
12.3 In circumstances where a child has an unexplained or suspicious injury that requires urgent medical attention, the referral process should not delay the administration of first aid or emergency medical assistance.
12.4 If a student is thought to be at immediate risk (e.g. because of parental violence, intoxication, substance abuse, mental illness or threats to remove the child during the school day) urgent Police intervention will be requested. Please note that in emergency situations where immediate intervention is required where a child may need to be removed and taken to a ‘place of safety’ and only the police have the authority to do so.
12.5 In the case of abuse by one or more students against another student, there should be a referral to Children’s Services where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a student is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. In such cases, all the children involved (whether perpetrator or victim) should be treated as at risk.
13. NOTIFYING PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF INJURY
In situations where students sustain injury or are otherwise affected by an accident or incident whilst they are the responsibility of AHLU, parents will be notified of this as soon as possible.
14. PHYSICAL RESTRAINT
Any physical restraint used will comply with DfE guidance. In the exceptional circumstances where it becomes necessary for staff physically to restrain a student for their own protection or others’ safety, this will be appropriately recorded and reported to the DSL and parents.
Where a child sustains a physical injury or is distressed as a result of reported chastisement, or alleges that they have been chastised by the use of an implement or substance, this will immediately be reported for investigation to the appropriate local authority.
16. FIRST AID AND MEDICAL PLANS
16.1 Except in cases of emergency, first aid will only be administered by qualified First Aiders.
16.2 All first aid treatment will be recorded and, where significant, will be shared with parents/carers at the earliest opportunity.
16.3 If it is necessary for the child to remove clothing for first aid treatment, there will, wherever possible, be another adult present.
16.4 If a child needs help with toileting, nappy changing or washing after soiling themselves, another adult should be present or within earshot.
16.5 All first aid treatment and non-routine changing or personal care will be recorded and shared with parents/carers at the earliest opportunity.
17. ALLEGATIONS AGAINST STAFF (including Volunteers)
17.1 AHLU takes seriously all cases that involve allegations against staff.
17.2 When handling any such cases, AHLU follows the guidance given by the DfE in Part Four of “Keeping Children Safe in Education”.
17.3 Where it is alleged that a member of staff (including a Trustee, a volunteer or the DSL) has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child;
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates that he/she would pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children AHLU will immediately seek advice from the LADO. Where a crime may have been committed or serious harm has been suffered, the matter will be reported to the police. AHLU will not undertake its own investigations without prior consultation with the LADO.
17.4 Temporary and visiting staff will be subject to the same procedures in relation to safeguarding complaints and allegations, as permanent staff.
17.5 It is a legal duty to make a report to the DBS, within one month of their leaving AHLU, concerning any person (whether employed, contracted, a volunteer or student) who has harmed, or poses a risk of harm to a child and who has been removed from working (paid or unpaid) with children, or would have been removed had he or she not left earlier.
17.6 Staff who are formally disciplined for the mistreatment of students (or who resign before disciplinary action can be completed) will be notified to Children’s Services and the DfE.
17.7 If an allegation against a member of staff is substantiated, AHLU will work with the LADO to determine whether any improvement should be made to the safeguarding procedures or practices.
18.1 Brief written notes will be kept of all incidents and child protection or child in need concerns relating to individual students. These notes are significant especially if the incident or the concern does not lead to a referral to other agencies. This information may be shared with the student’s schools and other agencies as appropriate. AHLU will take into account the views and wishes of the child who is the subject of the concern but staff will be alert to the dangers of colluding with dangerous “secrets”.
18.2 All Child Protection records are kept securely by the DSL. They may only be accessed by the DSL.
All complaints arising from the operation of this Policy will be considered by the Trustees, with reference to education services as necessary.
20. WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY
Staff and volunteers should be aware that there is a whistle-blowing procedure and should share immediately any disclosure or concern that relates to a member of staff or volunteer and deals with child safety issues with the DSL and nothing should be said to the colleague involved.
21. DBS CERTIFICATION
21.1 Any person/organisation engaged by AHLU to work with children will be subject to all reasonable vetting procedures and Criminal Records Checks.
21.2 Under no circumstances shall a person in respect of whom no checks have been obtained will be left unsupervised or allowed to work in a regulated activity.
21.3 Volunteers or staff who on an unsupervised basis teach or look after children regularly, or provide personal care on a one-off basis in our school are deemed to be involved in a regulated activity. We will obtain an enhanced DBS certificate (which will include barred list information) for all persons who are new to working in a regulated activity. Existing staff and volunteers in a regulated activity do not have to be re-checked if they have already have a portable DBS check (which includes barred list information). However, we may repeat DBS check (which will include barred list information) on any such person should we have any concerns.
21.4 The law has removed supervised volunteers from regulated activity. There is no legal requirement to obtain a DBS certificate for volunteers who are not in a regulated activity and who are supervised regularly and on ongoing day to day basis by a person who is in a regulated activity, but an enhanced DBS check without a barred list check may be requested following a risk assessment.
22. STAFF AND VOLUNTEER CONDUCT
22.1 All staff and volunteers are expected to safeguard children’s wellbeing at all times of their engagement by AHLU, and children will be treated with respect and dignity at all times. Whilst it would be unrealistic and undesirable to preclude all physical contact between adults and children, staff are expected to exercise caution and avoid placing themselves in a position where their actions might be open to criticism or misinterpretation. Where incidents occur which might otherwise be misconstrued, or in the exceptional circumstances where it becomes necessary to physically restrain a student for their own protection or others’ safety, this will be appropriately recorded and reported to the DSL.
22.2 For their own safety and protection, staff should exercise caution in situations where they are alone with students. Other than in formal teaching situations; the door to the room in which the 1:1 coaching, counselling or meeting is taking place should be left open. Where this is not practicable because of the need for confidentiality, another member of staff will be asked to maintain a presence nearby and a record will be kept of the circumstances of the meeting.
22.3 The staff should also be alert to the possible risks that might arise from social contact with students outside of the school. Home visits to students or private tuition of students, telephone calls by students to the homes of staff members should only occur in exceptional circumstances and with the prior knowledge and approval of the DSL. Any unplanned contact of this nature or suspected infatuations or “crushes” will be reported to the DSL.
23. ONLINE DELIVERY
23.1 Online delivery of sessions follow the same safeguarding principles as face to face delivery, and concerns about a young person should be reported in the same way as any concern raised, observed or disclosed in a face to face or group session. Staff should continue to look out for signs a young person may be at risk and report any concerns to the DSL.
23.2 When using emails, or any kind of secondary programme requiring email login, only AHLU registered accounts should be used so far as is practicably possible. This applies to both AHLU staff and to students, and AHLU staff must endeavour to engage students through student’s AHLU accounts (and in any event, staff must always use AHLU accounts in any communications with students, or if exceptionally a personal account be used, all communications should be copied to [email protected]).
23.3 Only group sessions, rather than 1-2-1 sessions, should be held (excluding EPQ mentoring, for which more below). Where exceptionally a 1-2-1 session other than EPQ mentoring is held, the same rules apply as those set out at 23.5 below). Always have 2 members of staff on the group session and let the group know there is another member of staff on-line even if they do not take part in delivery of the session. Google Classroom (or any other programme used to deliver sessions) should only be capable of access with an AHLU staff member present.
23.4 AHLU staff must confirm that all students and their guardians in a class have consented to having sessions recorded by way of completion of the relevant form. If any member of a session has not completed such form, no element of the session may be captured (in video, still, or audio format).
23.5 Where volunteers deliver EPQ mentoring, the nature of that support pre-supposes 1-2-1 communications. As set out above, all email correspondence must be conducted through the student’s AHLU email address so far as practicably possible. All email correspondence should cc [email protected], and any planned calls be notified in advance. All videoconferencing, telephone, or similar calls should be recorded where such functionality exists. When students and EPQ mentors arrange to meet in person, all correspondence should be cc’ed to [email protected], and meetings held in a public place.
24. STATUS OF THE POLICY
AHLU may update or amend this Policy at any time. The Trustees will review this Policy annually.