Child Protection Policy
Purpose The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the school protects and safeguards the children in its care
- This school takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of the children and young people in its care.
“The welfare of the child is paramount”. – Children Act 1989.
1.1 This school follows the Inter-Agency Child Procedures – November 2000, adopted by Dorset LEA, referenced in the ‘Yellow File’.
1.2 Staff and governors in the school are committed to fostering an ethos which:
- Encourages and supports parents/carers and works in partnership with them;
- Listens to and values pupils;
- Ensures all staff, both teaching and support, are aware of signs and symptoms of abuse, know the correct procedure for referring concerns or allegations and receive appropriate training to enable them to carry out these requirements;
- Maintains a safe school environment for all pupils;
- Exercises their duty to work in partnership with other agencies and to share information with them.
1.3 We recognise that staff, because of their contact with and knowledge of the children or young people in their care, are well placed to identify abuse and offer support.
Categories of Abuse:
2.0 The following categories of abuse are recognised for the purposes of the Child Protection Register:
2.1 Neglect: Persistent or severe neglect, or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold or starvation, or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive;
- Physical injury: Actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury (or suffering) to a child including deliberate poisoning, suffocation and Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy;
- Sexual abuse: Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child may be dependent and/or developmentally immature;
2.4 Emotional abuse: Actual or likely severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection.
Procedures for Referral/Principles for Intervention to Protect Children
- All action is taken in line with the following guidance:
- Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Inter-Agency Child Protection Procedures & Guidance
- DfES Circular 10/95 – Protecting Children from Abuse: The Role of the Education Service
- Working together to Safeguard Children – Guidance published by the Department of Health
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused – Children’s Services Guidance
3.1 Any member of staff or visitor to this school who receives a disclosure of abuse or suspects that abuse may have occurred must report it immediately to the designated teacher for Child Protection and then on to the headteacher.
3.2 If appropriate the designated teacher for child protection will immediately inform the Duty Officer at their local Social Care and Health Office (see Section 5.2 for further guidance).
- Local Office Contacts:
- Dorchester 01305 251414
- Bridport 01308 422234
- Sherborne 01935 814104
- Sturminster Newton 01258 472652
- Weymouth 01305 760139
- Portland 01305 827000
- Purbeck 01929 553456
- Ferndown 01202 877445
- Christchurch 01202 474106
- Telephone referrals to Social Care and Health should be confirmed in writing within 24hours, using the inter-agency referral form.
3.4 The designated teacher for child protection and Head teacher will assist Social Care and Health to make enquiries into concerns of child welfare. This will include ensuring this school is represented at Child Protection Conferences and that information about the child is provided as required.
3.5 The designated teacher for child protection will be responsible for co-ordinating action and liaising with other agencies and support services over Child Protection issues.
3.6 Confidentiality must be maintained and information relating to individual pupils/families shared with staff on a strictly need to know basis.
Alleged Abuse by Staff
4.0 Schools should contact the Education Officer for Child Protection (who is the Designated LEA Officer) for consultation 01305 225128. The Designated Officer will record a note of the consultation and will advise on the appropriate action that needs to be taken, which could include a referral to Social Care and Health. Due recognition will be paid to the stress caused by such an allegation and appropriate skills deployed to balance the needs of the child and support for the member of staff.
4.1 Where the allegation is against the Head Teacher, the Designated LEA Officer for Child Protection should be contacted by the Designated Governor for advice on how to proceed.
4.2 In order to minimise the risk of accusations being made against staff as a result of their daily contact with pupils, Governors should ensure, through the Headteacher, that all staff are aware of and follow guidelines on the use of control and physical restraint.
5.0 Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse, or noticing possible abuse, must make an accurate record as soon as possible noting what was said or seen, putting the event into context, and giving the date, time and location. All records must be dated and signed. – Pastoral records kept up to date.
5.1 All hand written records will be retained, even if they are subsequently typed up in a more formal report.
5.2 All records relating to child protection concerns will be kept in a secure place and will remain confidential. They do not form part of the pupil’s educational records and are not required to be disclosed to parents/carers except by agreement.
5.3 Staff must ensure that they monitor closely the welfare, progress and attendance of pupils on the Child Protection Register and that they provide information as required by the Social Care and Health Directorate, the Education Officer for Child Protection and the Education Welfare and Attendance Service. If a child on the Child Protection register is absent from school then a professional judgement needs to be made about when to inform the Social Care and Health Directorate.
5.4 If a child moves from one school to another the designated teacher for child protection should inform the receiving school immediately by telephone that Child Protection records exist. The records must be passed on either by hand or sent by recorded delivery.
6.0 This school is committed to helping parents/carers understand its responsibility for the welfare of all pupils.
- Parents/carers will be made aware of the school’s child protection policy via the school prospectus and initial meetings with parents of new pupils.
6.2 Where possible, concerns should be discussed with parents/carers and the designated teacher should seek agreement to make referrals, unless to do so would place the pupil at increased risk of significant harm.
- Governors recognise the importance of Child Protection Training for the designated teacher.
7.1 The designated teacher will be encouraged to attend training events organised by the LEA or the Area Child Protection Committee.
7.2 All staff, both teaching and support, shall have access to appropriate training on a regular basis.
The Role of the Governing Body
- Governors will ensure that the school has identified a designated Teacher for Child Protection and a designated Governor for Child Protection.
8.1 The designated Governor for Child Protection, in liaison with the designated teacher, will ensure that the school has a child protection policy and procedures in place, and that these are known to all members of staff. All newly appointed staff should receive a copy of the policy and induction training.
8.2 The governors will receive an annual report on changes to child protection policy or procedures; training undertaken by the designated teacher, other staff and governors; the number of child protection incidents/cases (without detail or name); and the place of child protection issues in the curriculum.
8.3 The Governors will review and up-date the child protection policy (if appropriate) on an annual basis.
8.4 Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.
8.5 Through the Headteacher, the Governors must ensure that all visitors to the school who are working with children are ‘badged’ or have had the necessary clearance.
The Curriculum and Child Protection in relation to other school policies
9.0 The Governors place importance on the curriculum in the protection of children. They aim to ensure that curriculum development meets the following objectives:
- Developing pupil self-esteem
- Developing communication skills
- Informing about all aspects of risk
- Developing strategies for self-protection
- Developing a sense of the boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in adults and
- Developing non-abusive behaviour between pupils
9.1 The Child Protection Policy should be read in conjunction with the school’s policies on behaviour and discipline, bullying and physical restraint.
Children with Special Educational Needs
10.0 Governors and Staff recognise that children with special educational needs may be especially vulnerable to abuse and expect staff to take extra care to interpret correctly apparent signs of abuse or neglect.