SAFEGUARDING AND PROMOTING THE WELFARE
OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Reviewed Summer Term 2016
This policy is based on the model Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) Policy.
Saint Sebastian’s Church of England (aided) Primary School recognises its responsibilities for safeguarding children and protecting them from harm.
This Safeguarding Policy will be reviewed by the Staff and Pupil Care Committee of the Governing Body annually or in response to changes in guidance and legislation.
Date of last review: Summer 2016
Date of next review: Summer 2018
Designated Person for Safeguarding
LA Safeguarding Contact/LADO (Local Area Designated Officer)
Referral and Assessment Team – WBC Children’s Social Care
Wokingham Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB)
ARC Information and Counselling Service
Rev. Canon Andrew Marsden
Wokingham Safeguarding Children Board Development Manager
35 Reading Road Wokingham Berkshire RG41 1EG
0118 974 6141
0118 908 8002
All parents/carers are made aware of the school’s responsibilities in regard to safeguarding procedures through publication of the school’s safeguarding policy on the school’s website. Reference is also made to the policy in the school prospectus and home school agreement and a copy can be obtained from the school office.
What is the difference between Safeguarding and Child Protection?
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
- protecting children from maltreatment
- preventing impairment of children’s and learners’ health or development
- ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
Child Protection is a part of Safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.
Effective child protection is essential as part of wider work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. However, all agencies and individuals should aim to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect children from harm is reduced.
There are five main elements to our policy:
- Ensuring we practise safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children;
- Raising awareness of safeguarding children and child protection;
- Equipping children with the skills needed to keep them safe;
- Developing and implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases of abuse;
- Supporting pupils who have been abused in accordance with his/her child protection plan;
- Establishing a safe environment in which children can learn and develop.
1.1 School Commitment
Our school is committed to creating and maintaining a safe learning environment for children and young people, identifying where there are child welfare concerns and taking action to address them, in partnership with other agencies. This policy reflects the policies of the Wokingham Safeguarding Children Board (WSCB) who are responsible for developing policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area of the authority, including policies and procedures in relation to: -
(I) the action to be taken where there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention;
(ii) training of persons who work with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children;
(iii) recruitment and supervision of persons who work with children;
(iv) investigation of allegations concerning persons who work with children;
(v) safety and welfare of children who are privately fostered;
(vi) co-operation with neighbouring children’s services authorities and their Board partners;
- see page 2 for contact details.
The school will contribute, through the curriculum, to developing children’s understanding and awareness and promoting their resilience, by providing a safe and secure environment within the school.
To create this safe environment, the school has certain statutory duties and responsibilities set out within:
- The Education Act, 2002, HM Guidance;
- Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2013
- The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 – see link below
These duties are listed below:
To provide a safe environment the Governing Body, Head Teacher and the Senior Leadership Team of the school will:
- Ensure that everyone from the Designated Safeguarding Governor to the Senior Designated Person for Safeguarding and all members of the school community have appropriate safeguards and supports in place should they choose to raise safeguarding issues, however surprising these may be;
- Cultivate an ethos within the school community where all adults feel confident, competent, comfortable and supported to draw safeguarding issues to the attention of the Head Teacher, the Senior Designated Person for safeguarding or the Designated Safeguarding Governor and are able to pose safeguarding questions with “respectful uncertainty” as part of their shared responsibility to safeguard children;
- Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are listened to;
- Ensure children know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried;
- Ensure that every effort is made to establish effective working relationships with parents and colleagues from other agencies;
- Ensure all adults working with children are aware of the role of the WSCB;
- Include opportunities in the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse;
- Take all reasonable measures to ensure risks of harm to children’s welfare are minimised;
- Take all appropriate actions to address concerns about the welfare of a child, working to local policies and procedures in full working partnership with agencies;
- Ensure robust safeguarding arrangements are in place and embedded in the daily life and practice of the school;
- Promote pupil health and safety;
- Promote safe practice and challenge unsafe practice;
- Ensure that procedures are in place to deal with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers – as per the following:
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 - Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff (also set out within the Local Interagency Procedures);
- Put in place and promote robust anti-bullying, including cyber bullying, strategies;
- Meet the health needs of children with medical conditions;
- Provide first aid;
- Maximise school security;
- Tackle drugs and substance misuse;
- Provide support and planning for young people in custody and their resettlement back into the community;
- Work with all agencies with regard to missing children, anti-social behaviour/gang activity and violence/knife crime in the community.
The school will identify any risks of harm and maintain safety by:
- Everybody having a duty to safeguard children inside and outside the school environment including school trips, extended schools, activities and vocational placements;
- Involving parents and providing advice/guidance regarding safeguarding;
- Maintaining a child focus and listening to children;
- Recognising signs of concern, especially with children who may be vulnerable;
- Documenting and collating information on individual children to support early identification, referral and actions to safeguard;
- Taking appropriate actions to address concerns about a child’s welfare in partnership with other organisations and safeguarding agencies;
- Informing all staff and volunteers who the Senior and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officers are in school.
- Providing PSHE including raising awareness with children in what are and are not acceptable behaviours.
PSHE input will provide opportunities for children and young people to learn how to keep themselves safe, for example, by:
- The availability of advice and support in their local area and online;
- Recognising and managing risks in different situations, including on the internet;
- Judging what kind of physical contact is acceptable and unacceptable;
- Recognising when pressure from others, including people they know, threatens their personal safety and well-being (Reference Prevent Strategy, Safer internet use and CSE, FM, FGM)
- Developing effective ways of resisting pressure;
- Developing healthy relationships, including awareness of unhealthy relationships where domestic violence, bullying and abuse occur;
- Emphasising their personal safety and highlighting the risks of running away.
2.1 The roles and responsibilities of the Senior Designated Person and the Deputy Designated Person
Members of the School’s Leadership Team have been assigned to the roles of Senior Designated Person and Deputy Designated Person for Safeguarding children.
Colin Rouse is the Senior Designated Person.
Brigid Delaney is the Deputy Designated Persons.
They have all received appropriate training and support for the roles.
The Deputy Designated Person will provide additional support to ensure the responsibilities for Safeguarding children are fully embedded within the school ethos and that specific duties are discharged. This will entail supporting the Senior Designated Person in dealing with referrals, attending Case Conferences and supporting the child/children.
We acknowledge the need for effective and appropriate communication between all members of staff in relation to safeguarding pupils. The Designated Person will ensure a structured procedure within the school, which will be followed in cases of suspected abuse.
Alert forms to record any concerns that you may have are available on the CPOMS system at https://saintsebastians.cpoms.net/login These should be completed and discussed with either the Senior or Deputy designated person as soon as possible.
The Senior Designated Person and the Deputy Designated Persons are responsible for the following:
- Referring cases of suspected abuse or allegations to the relevant investigating agencies; Concerns about a child not involving allegations of abuse by a member of staff should be referred to the WBC Referral and Assessment Team at WBC Social Care – see page 1 for contact details.
- The Deputy Designated Person is not responsible for dealing with allegations made against members of staff. This is the responsibility of the Head Teacher who will inform the LA Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
- Acting as a source of support, advice and expertise within the school when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies;
- Ensuring that a systematic means of monitoring children known or thought to be at risk of harm, is in place and that the school contributes to assessments of need and supports multi agency plans for those children;
2.1.2 Raising Awareness
- Working with the governing body to ensure that the School’s Safeguarding Policy is updated and reviewed annually;
- Ensuring that, in order to avoid conflict later, parents are aware that referrals may be made and of the role of the School;
- Ensuring that when children leave the school, their Child Protection File is discussed as soon as possible with the Senior Designated Person at the new school;
- Making sure that the Child Protection File is transferred separately from the main pupil file. It should be posted recorded delivery to the Senior Designated Person at the new school, unless the child is leaving year 11 to go to a further education setting, in which case the file should be retained by the current school for a period stipulated in current statutory guidance.
- Where the new school is not known, alerting the Education Welfare Officer at WBC so that the child’s name can be included on the data base for missing pupils;
- Cascading safeguarding advice and guidance issued by the WSCB which can be found at: org.uk
The Senior Designated Person and the Deputy Designated Person will attend initial two-day Child Protection training and a one-day refresher every 2 years in order to:
- Recognise how to identify signs of abuse and when it is appropriate to make a referral;
- Have a working knowledge of the WSCB - Levels of Need and Intervention Thresholds Document;
- How to make a referral to WBC Referral and Assessment Team and what to include;
- How a child protection case conference in conducted, how to provide a report and be able to attend and contribute effectively to these when required to do so;
- Be able to keep detailed, accurate and secure written records of referrals/concerns.
The Senior and Deputy Designated Persons will ensure staff receive appropriate Safeguarding training, if necessary from an external provider. Safeguarding is a regular agenda item on all staff meetings to ensure that up to date information with regard to strategies such as Prevent are shared and discussed in open forums. On line training is also used to further enhance knowledge and understanding.
All staff will be expected to undergo induction training on Safeguarding and refresher training every 3 years, to enable them to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities effectively:
All staff and volunteers, especially new or part-time staff who may work with different educational settings, will receive basic safeguarding information in accordance with “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” document:
and a copy of part 1 - Keeping Children Safe in Education:
A hard copy is available in the staffroom.
Induction training will ensure that staff
- have an overview of the organisation
- understand its purpose, values, services and structure
- are able to recognise/identify signs of abuse which may include:
- significant changes in children's behaviour;
- deterioration in children’s general well-being;
- unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect;
- children’s comments which give cause for concern;
- any reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting, for example in the child’s home; and/or
- inappropriate behaviour displayed by other members of staff, or any other person working with the children. For example, inappropriate sexual comments; excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibilities; or inappropriate sharing of images.
- know that they must report any concerns immediately they arise
- understand confidentiality issues.
3 Roles and Responsibilities of the Head Teacher
The Head Teacher will ensure that:
- The policies and procedures adopted by the Governing Body are fully implemented, and followed by all staff so that everyone knows what to do if concerned about a child;
- Sufficient resources and time are allocated to enable the Senior and Deputy Designated Persons and other staff to discharge their responsibilities, including taking part in strategy discussions and other inter-agency meetings, and contributing to the assessment of children;
- All staff and volunteers feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice in regard to children, and such concerns are addressed sensitively and effectively in a timely manner in accordance with agreed whistle-blowing policies;
- They personally and other senior leaders undertake safer recruitment training in order to comply with the statutory requirement to have a trained person on every recruitment panel.
- Allegations against a member of staff are investigated and referred to the LADO if appropriate.
4 Roles and Responsibilities of the Governing Body
The Governing body is collectively responsible for the school’s safeguarding arrangements. The Designated Safeguarding Governor, Andrew Marsden, will undertake initial half a day Safeguarding training and refresher training every 3 years. Ideally, all governors will undertake the half day Safeguarding training and have access to on line training via the Governing Body.
Allegations of abuse made against the Head Teacher are reported to the Chair or Vice Chair of Governors, and referred to the LADO.
The Governing Body will ensure that:
- Safeguarding arrangements are fully embedded within the school’s ethos and reflected in the school’s day to day safeguarding practices;
- Sufficient governors are trained in safer recruitment practices that appointments to the senior leadership team can be adequately supported;
- The school has effective policies and procedures in place in accordance with this policy, and school’s compliance with them is monitored;
- There are policies and procedures in place for dealing with complaints and/or allegations against staff and any subsequent staff disciplinary hearings.
- There is a Designated Safeguarding Governor to champion safeguarding issues within the school, to liaise with the Head Teacher, and to provide information and reports to the Governing Body. The Designated Safeguarding Governor is able to confide in and be supported by the Chair of Governors;
- The Head Teacher, and all staff who work with children, will undertake a one-day Safeguarding training course as a minimum and a one-day refresher course every three years;
- The Senior and Deputy Designated Persons are trained and attend a one-day refresher course every two years
- Temporary staff, volunteers and other regular visitors to the school who work with children are made aware of the school’s arrangements for safeguarding and their responsibilities.
5 Identifying Concerns
All members of staff, volunteers and governors must know how to respond to a pupil who discloses abuse, and they must be familiar with procedures to be followed.
Where a child discloses abuse, they must be familiar with procedures to be followed as below:
If a child chooses to tell someone in school about alleged abuse, that person will support the child as follows:
- Establish the key facts in language that the child understands, using the child’s words;
- Clarify that no promises will be made to the child e.g. to keep secrets and inform the child that this information will now have to be passed on;
- Stay calm and be available to listen with the utmost care to what the child is saying;
- Question normally, without pressurising, using only open questions. Leading questions should be avoided. Particularly if it is believed a crime may have been committed any questioning should be limited to establishing whether immediate protection is required and the next course of action to be taken.
- Avoid putting words into the child’s mouth but note the main points carefully;
- Re-assure the child that they were right to inform you;
- Immediately inform the Senior or Deputy Designated Person unless the disclosure has been made to them, following agreed procedures and referrals as appropriate and it should be recorded on Cpoms by the designated lead at https://saintsebastians.cpoms.net/login
While it is recognised that all matters relating to safeguarding individual children are confidential, a member of staff, governor or volunteer, if confided in by a pupil, must never guarantee confidentiality to that pupil.
Where there is a Child Protection concern it will be passed immediately to the Senior Designated Person who will contact the LADO if appropriate – see page 2 for contact details.
The parents of the child should be informed immediately unless it is felt that this would not be in the best interests of the child, would place them at further risk or where it is believed a crime may have been committed.
The Head Teacher or Senior or Deputy Designated Person will disclose personal information about a pupil, including the level of involvement of other agencies, to other members of staff only on a ‘need to know’ basis.
All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
7 Records and Monitoring
Any concerns about a child will be recorded in writing within 24 hours. All records must provide a factual, evidence-based account. Accurate recording of actions should be made. Records will be signed, dated and where appropriate witnessed.
Hard copies of records or reports relating to Child Protection concerns will be kept in a separate, confidential file, securely stored away from the main pupil file. Schools may hold some electronic records, for example, a record of concern log or the multi-agency referral form or a central list of those pupils who have a child protection plan in place. Authorisation to access these electronic records will be controlled by the Senior Designated Officer.
The school will keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately. These records will be kept within the separate confidential file.
Records will be kept up to date and reviewed regularly. Original notes will be retained as evidence if there are criminal proceedings arising from current or historical allegations of abuse or neglect.
Timely and accurate recording will take place when there are any issues regarding a child. A record of each and every episode/incident/concern/activity regarding that child, including telephone calls to other professionals, needs to be recorded in chronological order and kept within the confidential file for that child. Support and advice will be sought from Social Care or the Local Area Designated Officer, whenever necessary.
If the child moves to another setting the Child Protection file should be sent, by registered post immediately to the Senior Designated Person at the new setting, making sure that the Child Protection file is transferred separately from the main pupil file. There must be liaison between the two Senior Designated Persons in order to ensure a smooth and safe transition for the child.
Where the new school is not known the Educational Welfare Officer at WBC should be informed so that the child can be included on the data base for missing pupils.
8 Supporting children
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 pupil through:
- The content of the curriculum;
- A school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued;
- Implementation of the school Behaviour Policy which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils. The school will ensure that the pupil knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but they are nonetheless valued and are not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred;
- School support including 1:1 work with the Nurture assistants, Learning Support Staff and time to talk to a trusted adult in school;
- Liaison with other agencies that support the pupil, such as Social Services, Behaviour Support Service and Education Psychology Service;
- Ensuring that, where a pupil subject to a child protection plan leaves, their information is transferred to the new school immediately and that the child’s social worker is informed.
In order to ensure that children are protected whilst at this school, we will ensure that staff and volunteers are carefully selected, screened, trained and supervised.
We accept that it is our responsibility to follow the guidance set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2014. The link below will direct you to the WBC model Recruitment policies which are aligned to current government guidance:
Senior Leaders and at least one governor will regularly undertake safer recruiting training.
We understand that some people otherwise unsuitable for working with children may use volunteering to gain access to children; for this reason, any volunteers in the school, in whatever capacity, are expected to follow the policies and procedures in the same way as paid staff.
Where a parent or other volunteer helps on a one-off basis, he/she will only work under the direct supervision of a member of staff, and at no time have one to one contact with children. However, if a parent or other volunteer is to be in school regularly or over a longer period then they will be checked to ensure their suitability to work with children and a DBS completed every 3 years. Please refer to the school’s Volunteer Policy.
11 Safe Staff
Checks will be undertaken corresponding to Safer Recruitment procedures on all adults working in the school to establish their suitability to work with children. Records of these checks are kept in accordance with Part 3 – Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015.
All school staff will take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a child. It is always advisable for interviews or work with individual children or parents to be conducted with or in view of other adults.
If an allegation is made against another member of staff, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Head Teacher or the most senior teacher if the Head Teacher is not present. The Head Teacher or most senior teacher will then consult with the Local Area Designated Officer.
Allegations against the Head Teacher are reported to the Chair or Vice Chair of Governors, and referred to the LADO – see page 2 for contact details.
12 Conduct of Staff
The school has a duty to ensure that professional behaviour applies to relationships between staff and children, and that all members of staff are clear about what constitutes appropriate behaviour and professional boundaries. Please refer to the School’s Staff Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Agreement.
At all times, members of staff are required to work in a professional way with children. All staff should be aware of the expectations, inherent risks and possible consequences in:
- Working alone with a child;
- Physical interventions;
- Cultural and gender stereotyping;
- Dealing with sensitive information;
- Giving to, and receiving gifts from, children and parents;
- Contacting children through private telephones (including texting), e-mail, MSN, or social networking websites;
- Disclosing personal details inappropriately;
- Meeting pupils outside school hours or school duties;
- Making inappropriate sexual comments; excessive one to one attention beyond the normal requirements of the role; or inappropriate sharing of images.
If any member of staff has reasonable suspicion that a child is suffering harm, and fails to act in accordance with this policy and WSCB procedures, this will be viewed as misconduct, and appropriate action will be taken.
13 Supporting staff
We recognise that staff working in the school who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or who appears likely to suffer harm, may find this situation stressful and upsetting.
We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through anxieties with the Senior Designated Person or Head Teacher and to seek further support, if necessary.
The Senior and Deputy Designated Person and the Head teacher can seek personal support through ARC counselling services-see page 2 for contact details, or other appropriate counselling services.
Staff will have access to The Guidance for Safer Working Practices for Adults who work with Children and Young People http://www.childrenengland.org.uk/upload/Guidance%20.pdf
This provides advice on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour and the circumstances that should be avoided in order to limit complaints against staff of the abuse of trust and/or allegations of abuse.
14 Images of Children and Young People
The use of digital images in schools is a complex area and it is recommended that schools have a detailed policy and guidelines that set out what is acceptable in their setting. The text below is a brief summary of the key points extracted from the Wokingham Borough Council Children’s Services ‘All in One E-Safety Guidelines’, available at this link: http://wsh.wokingham.gov.uk/learning-and-teaching/ict-e-safety/e-safety/
- School Policy – The school has a clear and sufficiently detailed policy (the online Safety policy) which covers the taking and use of digital images and video of pupils and takes steps to ensure that it is understood and enforced. Particular care will be taken when images of pupils may pass beyond the direct control of the school and into the public domain, e.g. on the school website and on social networking. Guidance includes reference to the storage and deletion of images of pupils, including the policy on the use of devices with a facility to store or transfer data to other locations (e.g. ‘cloud’ storage) to ensure the school is line with ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) guidance.
- Acceptable Use Agreements – Staff and pupils sign ICT Acceptable Use Agreements. This includes a section on the use of digital images and clarifies that personal mobile devices e.g. phones /cameras must not be used for taking pictures of children at school. Volunteers are expected to also sign an acceptable use agreement and abide by its conditions.
- Parental Permission – The online Safety policy sets out that that written permission must be obtained by parents before any photographs or videos are taken. Where parental permission has not been obtained, or it is known that a pupil should not be photographed or filmed, every reasonable effort should be made to ensure that a pupil’s image is not recorded.
- Parents taking photographs or video – We understand that parents like to take photos of or video record their children in the school production, or at sports day, or school presentations. This is a normal part of family life, and we will not discourage parents from celebrating their child’s successes. These photos and videos are only for personal use and can only be shared with immediate family and friends. Images must not be shared on social networking sites or other websites that are accessible by the general public. Parents are informed before performances and other activities that this is the school policy and told to make sure that images are not shared. Written notice is also given in programmes and ticketing information.
- Events/Activities involving multiple schools – The school make reasonable efforts to safeguard the digital images of pupils in events that take place outside the school. We ask that the organisers of such events include a statement asking for people not to share digital images or videos in their programmes. Both the Wokingham Area School Music Association and the District Primary Athletics Association do this. However, neither organisation can guarantee that digital images are not taken and shared.
To ensure that parents are aware of this limitation, the letter inviting children to such events includes a clause notifying parents that we cannot control the distribution of images and if they would like to discuss this they should talk to the Head teacher.
Although the school will make reasonable efforts to safeguard the digital images of pupils, parents are made aware that at some types of event it is not always realistic to strictly enforce image guidelines. The school cannot therefore be held accountable for the use of images taken by parents or members of the public at events.
15 Before and After School Activities and Contracted Services
Where the Governing Body transfers control or otherwise allows the use of school premises to external bodies (such as sports clubs) or service providers during or out of school hours, we will ensure that these bodies or providers have appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures, and that there are arrangements in place to co-ordinate with the school on such matters. Such considerations will be made explicit in any contract or service level agreement with the bodies or providers.
16 Links to other School policies
This Policy will be read in conjunction with other policies regarding the safety and welfare of children. These together make up the suite of policies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in this school.
Policies to refer to include:
- Prevent Strategy and policy
- Behaviour and anti-bullying
- Code of Conduct
- Confidentiality agreement
- Disability Equality
- Children missing in education
- ICT Acceptable use
- Online Safety
- Equal Opportunities
- Physical Intervention
- Volunteers in school
- Safer Recruitment
- Family Care
- Health and safety
- Data Protection
- Pastoral recording and reporting
Listed below are links to some WBC Model Policies.
WBC Model Code of Conduct Policy:
WBC Model Children Missing in Education policy:
WBC Model Equal Opportunities Policy:
Model ICT Acceptable Use Policy:
WBC Model Whistleblowing Policy:
Berkshire Child Protection Procedures
Appendix 1 Safeguarding Children – Key Points
Staff and volunteers in charge of children or young people should know what to do if they suspect that someone is being physically, emotionally or sexually abused, or if someone tells them that this is happening. Ensure that you are familiar with the Safeguarding policy; copies of which are located in the staffroom and on the school’s web-site. On request you will be provided with a printed copy.
In addition, the following key points give you a guide on what to do and not to do.
- Always stop and listen straight away to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse.
- If you can, write brief notes of what they are telling you while they are speaking. These may help later if you have to remember exactly what was said. Keep your original notes, however rough and even if you wrote on the back of something else. It’s what you wrote at the time that may be important later, not a tidier and improved version you wrote up afterwards! If you don’t have the means to write at the time, make notes of what was said or observed as soon as possible afterwards.
- Never make a promise that you will keep what is said confidential or secret. If you are told about abuse you have a responsibility to tell the right people to get something done about it. If asked, explain that if you are going to be told something very important that needs to be sorted out, you will need to tell the people who can sort it out, but that you will only tell the people who absolutely have to know.
- Do not ask leading questions that might give your own ideas of what might have happened, e.g. "did he do X to you?” Just ask, "what do you want to tell me?” or “Is there anything else you want to say?”
- Immediately tell the senior designated person for safeguarding, currently this is the Head Teacher, unless they are the subject of the accusation. Don’t tell other adults or young people what you have been told. If someone has made an accusation to you about the Head Teacher, you should report your concerns to the Chair of Governors.
- Never attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected or alleged abuse by interviewing people etc. The Local Area Designated Officer (LADO) or the Referral and Assessment team, WBC Social Care and police officers are the people trained to do this. You could cause more damage and endanger possible criminal proceedings.
It is your duty to refer concerns on, not investigate.
- As soon as possible (and certainly the same day) the senior designated person for safeguarding or the Chair of Governors where the allegation is against the Head Teacher, should refer the matter to the LADO or the Referral and Assessment Team WBC Social Care (helped by your notes). Follow their instructions about what to do next. They will set up any necessary investigations. That is their statutory job.
- Never think abuse is impossible in your organisation or that an accusation against someone you know well and trust is bound to be wrong.
- Children and young people often tell other young people, rather than staff or other adults about abuse. Therefore, you may hear an allegation from another child.