This code has been drawn up as a response to: ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ July 2015 document by the department of education. And ‘Guidance for safer working practice for those working with children and young people in education settings’ October 2015 by the Safer Recruitment Consortium from an original IRSC/DfE document.
The Children Act 1989 defines a child as anyone who has not reached their 18th Birthday
Our policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school. Safeguarding young people is the legal responsibility of us all. BIGS is determined to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect the young people in our community.
There are four main elements to our policy:
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all young people in our community
- Child Protection policy and procedures
- Safe recruitment and selection
- Dealing with allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff
The aims of this Code are :-
- to provide the safest possible environment for young people to enjoy their learning and develop safe practices
- to ensure that young people who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm are identified and appropriate action is taken to make sure they are kept safe.
- to prevent unsuitable people from working with our young people
- to ensure that safe practice is rigorously promoted and any poor practice is investigated and challenged
We will ensure that:
- The welfare of the child remains paramount
- All our students, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to be protected from harm.
- All staff (paid or unpaid) have a duty to keep students safe and to protect them from physical and emotional harm.
- All staff have a duty to report without delay any concerns about a person’s safety to the Deputy Headteacher who is the designated person for child protection or the Headteacher. Staff also have a duty to take care of themselves. (Health & Safety At Work Act 1974).
- Where no specific guidance exists, staff make professional judgements about their behaviour in order to secure the best interests and welfare of students and, in so doing, will be deemed to be acting REASONABLY.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all young people in our community Confidentiality
- We recognise that all matters relating to child protection are confidential.
- The Deputy Headteacher named as designated person for child protection (DPCP) and/or the Headteacher will disclose any information about a student to other members of staff on a need to know basis only.
- All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard young people.
- All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets.
We recognise that children who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. The school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at school their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn. The School will endeavour to support the student through;
- The content of the curriculum;
- The school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives students a sense of being valued;
- Personalised learning provision;
- The school behaviour policy which is aimed at supporting vulnerable students in the school. The school will ensure that the student knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred;
- Liaison with other agencies that support the student such as Children’s Services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), education welfare service and educational psychology service and those agencies involved in the safeguarding of children;
- Notifying Children’s Social Care immediately if there is a significant concern;
- Providing continuing support to a student about whom there have been concerns who leaves the school by ensuring that appropriate information is forwarded under confidential cover to the student’s new school.
We recognise that staff working in the school who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm, may find the situation stressful and upsetting. We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the DCPC and to seek further support as appropriate.
Professional Conduct for all staff to ensure and promote safe practice
Positions of Power and Trust must use the following code of practices:
- Don’t use your position to gain access to information for your own advantage or to a student’s or family’s detriment.
- Do not use your position of trust to take advantage of a student in any way
- Don’t use your power to intimidate, threaten, coerce or undermine students.
- Don’t engage in sexual activity with any student, 6th form included, or cause or invite a student to engage in or watch any kind of sexual activity. Their consent is irrelevant.
- Be aware how your action may be viewed by others. Do not be seen to be paying special attention to a particular student. Always ask yourself, ‘Are my actions fair, reasonable, warranted, proportionate, measured, safe and applied equitably?’
- Don’t behave in such a manner that would lead any reasonable person to question your suitability to work with children or to act as a role model. This can also include out of school activities.
- Don’t make sexual remarks to a student (including e-mail, text messages, phone and letter), or behave in any way, which could be interpreted as sexually suggestive or provocative.
- Don’t discuss your own sexual preferences or sexual relationships with or in the presence of students.
- Don’t discuss a student’s individual sexual relationships in full class or in other inappropriate contexts or settings.
- Don’t make unprofessional personal comments that scapegoat, demean or humiliate students.
• Report immediately to a senior member of staff any indications (verbal, written or physical) that suggest a student may be infatuated with you, or with a colleague.
- A person’s dress & appearance are a matter of personal choice and self-expression. However, staff should consider the manner of dress and appearance appropriate to their professional role. This may be different from that adopted in their personal life.
- Dress decently, safely and appropriately.
- Don’t accept any gift that might be construed by others as a bribe, or lead the giver to expect preferential treatment.
- Small ‘thank yous’ are OK, but don’t receive gifts on a regular basis or of any significant value. Refer to SLT if this is happening.
- Generally only give gifts to a student as part of our agreed reward systems.
- In any other context, ensure that any gifts given are of insignificant value and given to all children equally (e.g. chocolate bars to all in an end of term tutor period).
- Don’t try to establish social contact with students for friendships or a relationship.
- Don’t give personal details to students, e.g. home / mobile phone numbers, home, e-mail address, or any social media details unless checked with and agreed by senior staff.
- Any contact with parents or students by e-mail must be by School e-mail.
- Any unwelcome communications to staff, be they written or visual, from students or parents should be reported immediately.
- As a general rule, do not touch students.
- Physical contact should never be – Secretive or for personal gratification. Of a type which may be considered indecent.
- There are occasions when it is appropriate and proper for staff to have physical contact with students, but you should only touch when it is appropriate and proper to do so in your professional judgement. Physical contact should be in response to a child’s needs at the time, of limited duration, and appropriate given their age, stage of development, gender, ethnicity and background.
- Some staff (e.g. PE, Technology, Music, Drama & SEN staff) may need to initiate physical contact, e.g. in order to support a child so they can perform a task safely, to demonstrate a particular piece of equipment / instrument or assist them with an exercise. This should be done with the student’s understanding of the reason and their consent, and in an ‘open’ environment.
- Physical contact that occurs regularly with an individual child or young person, e.g. with physical or medical needs should follow the agreed plan and be subject to review. Where feasible, staff should seek the child’s permission before initiating contact. Staff should listen, observe and take note of the child’s reaction and/or feelings and, so far as is possible, use a level of contact that is acceptable to the child and for the minimum time necessary.
- Don’t indulge in horseplay, tickling or fun fights.
- Use extra caution when it is known that a student has suffered previous abuse or neglect.
- Report immediately any physical contact which concerns you or which you believe may have been misconstrued.
Students in Distress
- There may be rare occasions when a very distressed student needs comfort and reassurance, including limited age-appropriate physical contact, principally with our youngest students.
- Be self-aware; avoid any contact that may be intrusive or open to misinterpretation.
- Tell a colleague if you have offered comfort to a distressed student.
Control and Physical Intervention
- Always try to defuse situations without physical intervention. As a member of staff you only have a duty to shout stop and request further support if there is any form of fight or physical violence.
- We do not expect staff to put themselves at physical risk, but you may intervene to prevent a student from injuring him/herself or others. You may use only REASONABLE force. There is no legal definition of reasonable force, but you must be sure that any physical intervention is warranted by the circumstances of the particular incident (i.e. not in response to a trivial action) and that the degree of force used is in proportion to the seriousness of the behaviour, or the consequences it is intended to prevent. Any force used should be the minimum to achieve the desired result.
Showers and Changing
- Don’t touch a student in a state of undress. (see comments above relating to physically disabled students)
- Regarding changing rooms; students are of course entitled to privacy and therefore –
o Announce your intention of entering.
o Avoid visually intrusive behaviour.
o Don’t remain there unless student needs require it.
o Don’t change or shower in the same place.
- Be particularly careful about gender issues.
- Don’t use physical intimidation or invade a student’s space.
- Don’t use force as a form of punishment.
- Don’t use sarcasm, demeaning or insensitive comments.
- Always try to remain calm and to defuse situations before they escalate.
- Never try to bar a student’s ‘way’ or to physically prevent a student from leaving a room or a situation, unless of course they may constitute a very serious threat to themselves or others. Calmly advise them that leaving against your instructions constitutes defiance.
- Apply the School’s Behaviour Management system fairly and consistently so as to minimise the risk of students perceiving injustice or victimisation.
One to One Situations
- Avoid meeting in remote, secluded areas of the School.
- Ensure there is visual access and / or an open door wherever possible.
- Try to ensure that there are other staff around or at least aware of the meeting.
- Don’t use ‘engaged’ or equivalent signs.
- If you have reason to be concerned about a one to one meeting in advance, because of a student’s previous behaviour or vulnerability, arrange for a colleague to be present, especially where there is a gender difference.
- Don’t pre-arrange meetings with students away from the School premises, except (exceptionally) with the approval of the parent and the Headteacher.
Overnight Supervision During Exam Periods
- This should never be undertaken without prior arrangement with the exam board and with senior staff.
- Only staff volunteers would be used and they would be fully briefed about appropriate and safe practice (see Section 20 of IRSC).
- You should not transport students in your own vehicle, especially one to one, without the consent of the student, parent and a senior manager.
- You must always have valid business insurance for this purpose.
- Never transport a student to hospital in your own vehicle following an accident. Always call an ambulance.
Educational Visits and after School Activities
- Observe all aspects of the School policy on educational visits. (Refer to the school policy).
- Always have another adult present in out of school/school activities, unless otherwise agreed by a senior manager.
- Check with students that there is parental consent to the activity.
- Remember that in these less formal contexts you are still in a legal position of trust and need to ensure that your behaviour is professional at all times and cannot be interpreted as seeking to establish an inappropriate relationship or friendship.
First Aid and the Administration of Medicines
- No medicine should be given by School staff without written parental consent. This includes aspirin, ibuprofen etc.
- Staff are not expected to administer or to supervise the taking of medicines unless specifically authorised and trained to do so.
- Students needing medication regularly should have a health care plan in place.
- Wherever possible, first aid should only be given by our trained staff and by staff of the same gender if possible. Try to ensure that another adult is present, or at least aware, when first aid is administered. In exceptional emergency circumstances it may be necessary for an untrained member of staff to intervene. If so, do the minimum required whilst awaiting specialist support.
- Always report any accident or first aid administration to the Medical Room Welfare Officer, as parents must be informed.
- A member of staff should always accompany a child taken to hospital by ambulance, and should stay until the parent arrives.
- Care should be taken that resource materials are appropriate and relate to the planned learning objectives.
- Sensitive issues (e.g. relating to sex, race, religion, gender, disability) should be handled with care, especially where unplanned discussion arises.
- Do not enter into or encourage inappropriate or offensive discussion about sexual activity.
- Remember that parents have a legal right to withdraw children from all or any part of sex education (but not from the biological aspects of human growth and reproduction integral to the science curriculum).
- Don’t show visual material that is inappropriate for the age of the students concerned, taking special care over the use of videos and DVDs.
Photographic or Video Images
- It is very good practice at times to record photographic and video images of students, or to allow students to record such images of each other, e.g. to assist teaching and learning, to celebrate achievement, for publicity. It is advisable to use school equipment, not your own for this purpose. All images should be disposed of when no longer in use, including class photos lists.
- Because of the potential for images of children to be misused for pornographic or grooming purposes, staff should follow this code –
record images when there is a justifiable need. Never store images on home
- Be clear to students about why the images are being recorded and what will happen to them.
- Ensure that a more senior colleague is aware that you are recording images. o Ensure that all images recorded are available for scrutiny, in order to screen for acceptability.
- Avoid making images in one to one situations. o Images of students should not be displayed on websites, in publications or in a public place without the consent of the student and parent / carer. Existing parents are consulted to allow them to indicate that they do not wish their child to be photographed. Unless they so indicate, we will deem that it is acceptable to record images for legitimate purposes. In future, parents of new intakes / new admissions will routinely be asked to give such general consent.
the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) advice about
- If a photo is used, don’t name the student, unless you have direct parental consent.
- If a student is named, don’t use the photo, unless you have direct parental consent.
- Where the school has decided that images should be retained for further use, they should be securely stored and used only by those authorised to do so.
- Staff should report to SLT any concerns they have relating to adults taking photos or making videos of students around the School or at School events.
- Staff must follow the School policy on the use of IT equipment and the Internet (see Staff Handbook).
- Accessing child pornography, or making, storing or disseminating such materials is illegal and, if proven, will lead to a bar from teaching / working with children.
- Staff must not use school IT equipment to access adult pornography, on or off site.
This section of the policy has been written to support staff and students by being as clear as possible about safe conduct. Inevitably, situations will arise that the Code does not cover, and staff should feel free to seek further advice from the SLT in such circumstances
Child Protection Policy and Procedures
All staff should be alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and know to whom they should report concerns or suspicions.
The school/school follows the DFCS Child Protection Procedures.
The policy outlines those procedures for this school.
The term ‘abuse’ is intended to include any situation where there is grave concern regarding the well being of a student, including neglect as well as physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
It is part of the school’s responsibility of care to be alert to signs of abuse. This may include:-
- sudden changes in behaviour
- withdrawal from social relationships
- sudden change in attendance patterns and other causes of concern about attendance
- change in working patterns
- loss of concentration
- lack of homework
- lack of motivation
- tearfulness, listlessness
- physical bruising
Staff should be receptive to any attempt a student may make to report that s/he, or another student is being or has been abused.
- They should also be observant.
someone discloses to you that they are being abused either physically,
emotionally or sexually you should:
- React calmly
the child that they were right to tell and that they are not to blame and take
what the child say seriously.
- Be careful not to be deemed as putting words into their mouths. It is better not to ask questions – leave that to the child protection team.
- REMEMBER not to promise confidentiality right from the beginning. You should advise the child that you will have to pass information on if there is any suggestion of harm to themselves or somebody else.
- Inform the child what you will do next
- Make a full and written record of what has been said as soon as possible and do not delay in passing on the information.
- All suspicious observations of staff should be immediately reported to the Designated Person Responsible for Child Protection or in her absence to the Headteacher.
- The Designated Person for Child Protection will, if student does not dispel suspicions, refer the student to the Child Protection Team. It is not our responsibility to decide whether abuse has taken place or not, however it is our responsibility to pass on any concerns to the appropriate authority immediately.
- The designated Teacher for Child Protection will inform the parents or guardians, if appropriate, and record responses, statements and observations in connection with the alleged abuse.
- The Education Welfare Officer or Bolton Council child welfare officer will be informed.
- Staff, if appropriate, will be informed of the need to monitor a student in his/her tutor group.
- Emergency action – In some cases you may need to protect a child immediately – in these situations dial 999. The police are the only agency with statutory powers for the immediate protection of children.
- The Child Protection Procedure is available in the staff office and the Headteacher’s office.
The designated Teacher for Child Protection will hold a whole school register of students ”at risk” and students will be discussed at Inclusion Meetings as appropriate to assist the monitoring of their well being.
Referrals will be recorded and documented in appropriate templates, forms and meeting minutes.
- Staff involved cannot promise confidentiality and a student should always be warned that the information will need to be shared with the designated Teacher for Child Protection.
- Although staff will feel considerable sympathy for students when disclosing sensitive information, it is inadvisable to touch a student at any time.
- Staff will receive training during their Induction programme and yearly follow up INSET as part of the school/school’s twilight CPD offer.
- Staff must report to a member of the Senior Leadership Team any behaviour by colleagues that gives cause for concern in relation to safeguarding the wellbeing of students.
- If any incident occurs which may result in an action being misinterpreted and / or an allegation being made against a member of staff, then the relevant information should be recorded promptly and reported to senior staff.
Parents will be informed of the school/school Policy via the website and hard copies will be available on request from the school administrator.
Safe Recruitment and Selection
Safe recruitment, selection and employment procedures apply to every person who works in our academy – paid, direct or indirect contact with our young people.
Where the school/school sub contracts out work or uses external agencies we require the contractor to adopt and implement the measures described in our policy and government guidance. Contractor’s compliance will be monitored by the School.
Volunteers – if unknown to the school will go through the same recruitment measures as paid staff. If known to the school and offering one off type support with a member of staff present a more streamlined process will be adopted.
Statement of Intent
BIGS fully adopts recruitment and selection procedures and other HR management processes that aim to deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children, or are otherwise unsuited to working with them. All members of our staff will have an enhanced DBS Check carried out prior to appointment.
Safe Practice in Recruitment:
The Chair of Governors, an additional named Governor and the Headteacher have all taken the ‘Safer Recruitment’ training and assessment.
Child protection and safeguarding issues will be promoted at every stage of the recruitment process from the planning, advertisement, collection and checking of information gathered.
- Advertisements will include our Statement of Intent (see above)
- Job descriptions and person specifications will make reference to the responsibility for safeguarding, promoting the welfare of young people and suitability to work with young people.
- The Application Form will be used for all applicants and comprehensive information from candidates scrutinised. Any gaps or inconsistencies will be followed up with the candidate.
- Two references will be taken up prior to the interview after short listing. A specific safeguarding and child protection reference will be used.
- At interview questions will be designed to explore the candidate’s suitability to work with children as well as their suitability for the post. Candidates will be required to bring to the interview original proof of their identity, the necessary qualification original certificates. These will be checked and a photocopy taken.
- The successful candidate will be required to complete an enhanced DBS disclosure form and provide the necessary documentation. An offer of appointment will be conditional upon:
- receipt of two satisfactory references
- verification of identity
- a satisfactory DBS disclosure and Child Barred list must be checked before allowing anyone to work.
- verification of the candidates medical fitness
- verification of qualifications and professional status if not verified at the interview
- verification of successful completion of statutory induction period for teachers
- for non teaching posts verification of completion of the probationary period
- for overseas candidates DBS Disclosures must be completed and Child Barred list checked. In addition, criminal records information will be sought from countries where the individual has worked or lived.
Where the School has any concerns about an applicant’s suitability to work with children, the facts must be reported to the police and / or the DCFS Children’s Safeguarding Operations Unit
Post Appointment Induction
– There is an induction programme for all staff newly appointed to BIGS, including teaching staff with previous experience. All new members of staff have an Induction Handbook and have an allocated Line Manager and/or Mentor.
Maintaining a Safer Culture
All staff will have appropriate training so that they understand their roles and responsibilities and are confident in carrying them out.
Procedures and a clear reporting system for students, staff, parents to raise concerns will be shared and publicised. All members of our community must feel they can raise any concerns about the safety and welfare of our members and that they will be listened to.
The Recruitment process and Induction arrangements will be monitored yearly to ensure future best practice. Staff turnover and reasons for leaving will be monitored and exit interviews carried out.
Attendance at child protection training will be tracked for all staff.
Dealing with allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff
It is essential that any allegations of abuse made against a teacher or other member of staff or volunteer in an education setting is dealt with fairly quickly and consistently, in a way that provides effective protection to the child, and at the same time supports the person who is the subject of the allegation.
This section of the policy sets out how we would manage cases of allegations that a member of staff 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
- Behaved towards a child/children in way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children
If such an allegation is made, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Headteacher or the appropriate nominated person (which could be staff member or governor).
If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the Headteacher, the nominated person responsible for Child Protection will immediately inform the Chair of Governors who will consult with the LA’s Senior Adviser for Safeguarding Children in Education.
The Headteacher will use her common sense and professional judgement. In rare cases allegations will be so serious as to require immediate intervention by children’s social services and or the police.
Less serious allegations will be followed up and will be taken seriously. They will be referred to the LA’s Senior Adviser for Safeguarding Children in Education for an objective discussion and course of response. The allegation will not be investigated by the Headteacher at this initial stage. The discussion will consider whether there is evidence or information that establishes that the allegation is false or unfounded.
If the allegation is deemed not to be false and there is reason to believe that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer harm, the DCP nominated person designated officer will immediately refer to children’s social services and ask for a strategy discussion in accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children to be convened straight away.
If there is no cause to suspect that ‘significant harm’ is an issue, but a criminal offence might have been committed, the local authority designated officer will immediately inform the police and convene a similar discussion to decide whether a police investigation is needed.
The Headteacher will inform the accused person about the allegation as soon as possible after consulting the Local Authority designated officer. However, where a strategy discussion is needed, or police or children’s social care may need to be involved, the Head should not do that until those agencies have been consulted, and have agreed what information can be disclosed to the person.
If the person is a member of a union or professional body s/he should be advised to contact that organisation at the outset.
Action following initial consideration
If it has been decided that the allegation does not involve a possible criminal offence it will be for the school to deal with it. If the nature of the allegation does not require formal disciplinary action, the Headteacher will institute appropriate action within three working days. If a disciplinary hearing is required and can be held without further investigation, the hearing should be held within 15 working days.
If further investigation is required to inform consideration of disciplinary action, the Headteacher will discuss who is most appropriate to carry this out. In any case a report should be produced within 10 working days.
On receipt of the report the Headteacher and Chair of Governors will consult the Local Authority designated officer, and decide whether a disciplinary hearing is needed within two working days. If a hearing is needed it should be held within 15 working days.
Cases subject to police investigation should be reviewed no later than 4 weeks after the initial action meeting and dates for subsequent reviews set if necessary.
If the police and/or the CPS decide not to charge the individual with an offence, or decide to administer a caution or the person is acquitted by a Court, the police should pass on all their information to the School and the same procedure will be followed as was demonstrated above after receipt of report.
Referral to DCFS
If the School ceases to use the person’s services then the institution will consult with the Local Authority about whether a referral to the DCFS is required. If required the report should be made within one month.
Suspension should be considered in any case where there is cause to suspect a child is at risk of significant harm, or the allegation warrants investigation by the police, or is serious that it might be grounds for dismissal. However, a person will not be suspended automatically or without careful thought.
The designated officer will regularly monitor the progress of cases
The school will follow the LA procedures, as close as possible, for managing allegations against staff, a copy of which will be readily available in the school.
We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.
All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the attitude or actions of colleagues. Any such concern should be made to your line manager or a member of the Senior Leadership team.
Complaints or Concerns expressed by Students, Parents, Staff or Volunteers
We recognise that listening to children is an important and essential part of safeguarding them against abuse and neglect. To this end any expression of dissatisfaction or disquiet in relation to an individual child will be listened to and acted upon in order to safeguard his/her welfare.
We will also seek to ensure that the child or adult who makes a complaint is informed not only about the action the school will take but also the length of time that will be required to resolve the complaint. The school will also endeavour to keep the child or adult regularly informed as to the progress of his/her complaint.