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Safeguarding

& Child Protection Policy

Introduction

At Concord College we believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognise that safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people is everyone’s responsibility. We follow Shropshire Safeguarding Partnership (SSP) procedures and acknowledge that the welfare of the child is paramount. This policy and procedure document is based on a model provided by the SSP (-formerly the SSCB).

The College believes that it has a central role and responsibility in caring for the welfare of its students and in both preventing and protecting our students from abuse. Given that the majority of students at Concord are full-time boarders from overseas, most Concord students can be deemed “vulnerable” to possible abuse due to living and working away from their previous support networks of families and friends. For this reason, all adults (i.e. staff, trustees & volunteers) working at Concord College should be particularly conscious of the importance of maintaining caring, but professional relationships with students. All members of the College community should seek to: listen to others’ views; respect their views and differences; be open about their feelings; share their concerns promptly; behave appropriately at all times. (For more information, see the “Staff Code of Conduct Policy” in the Staff Handbook – document 6.19.) Concord College staff should be prepared to “think the unthinkable” and be vigilant to the risk that abuse “could happen here”.

In addition, given the age range of Concord’s students and its co-educational and diverse student body, there is also the potential for students to experience peer-on-peer abuse (or bullying, cyberbullying, gender based violence, sexual assaults, sexting) at the hands of their peers. Farrer & Co published (Dec 2017) a useful “Peer-on-peer abuse toolkit” document which has been saved in the Staff Handbook as document 11.3.1. (Page 9 usefully distinguishes between types of Harmful Sexual Behaviours or HSB: normal, inappropriate, problematic, abusive & violent. Page 11 contains a useful list of potential signs of peer-on-peer abuse.) A definition of peer-on-peer abuse is offered as follows on p.7: “…any sign of physical, sexual, emotional & financial abuse, and coercive control between children and within children’s relationships”.  For these reasons, particular vigilance is needed by all adults who work at Concord College and they should be prepared to deter, detect, share information about and act upon any concerns about possible abuse in a timely manner. Emotional reactions should not be ignored. Incidents and concerns should not be dismissed as “banter” or “a normal part of growing up”. Worries about students should be acted upon and raised as “initial concerns” which require early help from internal and/or external agencies. (-See below for procedures and Appendix K for possible signs of Peer-on-peer abuse.) The safeguarding of students and all members of the College community should be a priority for and the responsibility of every member of staff whenever and wherever they are covered by the College’s duty of care (-including when they are on a school trip or visit). In addition, every member of staff should be aware of the possible safeguarding issues presented by drug taking, alcohol abuse, truanting, sexting.

The procedures below relate to the care of all students who are under 18 years of age. Many welfare needs of students can be met by the pastoral structures within the College in terms of its listeners & medical staff, but some students’ problems are more complex & serious and can originate beyond the limits of the College. The College also recognises that it has a “duty of care” to all of its students (& including who are 18 and above ). Some students at Concord aged 18 or over could still be referred to Adult Social Services due to being “vulnerable” (-as outlined above).

At Concord College it is our duty to respond promptly and appropriately to all concerns, incidents or allegations of abuse or neglect of a child. All concerns and allegations will be taken seriously by the College and we will work in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies.  (This policy and procedure document is published on our College website and available to all our partners.)

Under this policy the College will: operate safe recruitment, selection & vetting procedures for all staff, trustees and volunteers; require the DSL (“Designated Safeguarding Lead”) & DDSLs to receive training in child protection and inter-agency working, which shall be updated every two years; require the Principal and all staff to receive training in child protection, which shall be updated regularly (& at least annually), as well as receiving regular safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins, staff meetings; require that any deficiencies or weaknesses in safeguarding & child protection arrangements be remedied without delay.

Our statutory duties and supporting guidance are set out in “Working Together to Safeguard Children” (Feb 2019) and “Keeping Children Safe in Education” (Jan 2021). This policy is also compliant with current relevant legislation as follows:

  • The Children Act 1989 and 2004 – Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as; protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children’s health or development, ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.

Section 3 (5) of the Children Act 1989 states that the law empowers anyone who has care of a child to do all that is reasonable in the circumstances to safeguard his/her welfare.

  • Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015 – preventing people being drawn into terrorism and promotion of British values to ensure children are kept safe from radicalisation
  • Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 Serious Crime Act 2015 – mandatory reporting of FGM from 31st October 2015 

Adult Roles

All staff (including students and volunteers) at Concord College are familiar with the definitions and signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect stated in “Working Together to Safeguard Children” as set out in SSP Contacts and Definitions Handout which can be found in the Concord College Staff Handbook (document 11.17.4). 

All staff are aware of their individual roles in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children including their responsibility to be alert to any issues for concern in the child’s life at home or elsewhere. We ensure that all staff (including students and volunteers) undergo an induction process where they are given copies of the procedures they must follow if they suspect abuse or neglect. Safeguarding training is delivered face-to-face by the DSL as part of induction and INSET each September. For new staff joining the College after September, there is another session provided in the Summer term. Online training (provided by Educare) is also required of staff with access to the College network. On-going support is provided through regular supervision and appraisals to ensure these policies and procedures are put into practice to protect children.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) who will take the lead for safeguarding and child protection issues is:

Jeremy Kerslake

Vice-Principal (Pastoral)

&

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

Internal ‘phone numbers:

Office = 227

Home = 128 (The Lodge)

Or via e-mail: [email protected]

The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSLs) are:

Rachel Coward

Head of Lower School, PTM & Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL)

Internal ‘phone numbers:

Office = 190

Home = 199

Or via e-mail: [email protected]

Daniel Wilson

Assistant Principal, PTM & Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL)

Internal ‘phone numbers:

Office = 109

Home = 628

Or via e-mail: [email protected]

The Trustee who oversees this work is the Chairperson of the Welfare Committee:

Mr Brian Yates

Chair of the Trustees’ Welfare Committee

Via e-mail: [email protected]

 

During Summer Courses, concerns should be reported to the:

The Summer Course Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)  

[email protected]

 

Our Designated Safeguarding Lead will update their child protection/safeguarding training every two years (for schools settings) and has specific responsibilities as listed in Appendices A and B.

Record Keeping

When a concern about a child’s welfare or safety is raised it will be discussed with the designated lead and recorded. If a serious concern or allegation is raised, the DSL will call a meeting of the Safeguarding Incident Team (or SIT – consisting of the DSL and two DSLs). If Rachel Coward is unavailable, Kari Butler will deputise for her. If Daniel Wilson is unavailable, Phil Outram will deputise for him. All SIT members (& their deputies) will receive level 3 safeguarding training every two years. If a serious concern is raised, Barnado’s and/or the NSPCC are also likely to be consulted for advice. They will discuss the concern and make a decision about whether the concern should be shared with another agency (see decision making below) or kept on record in case future concerns arise. The reason for the decision will be noted alongside the record. The Principal will be informed of decisions taken by the SIT.

If a serious incident is under consideration, contact will be made with the College’s legal advisers (Farrer & Co) & key areas for discussion will be: steps needed to safeguard the individual (or individuals) involved; actions needed to safeguard other members of the community; any issues involving requests for confidentiality & whether these should be overridden; any risk assessments and action plans needed.

All records will be stored in a separate confidential file in a locked, secure place with restricted access.  When a child/pupil transfers to another school/setting within this or another authority, the confidential information held is forwarded under confidential cover and separate from the child’s/pupil’s main file to the DSL for child protection in the receiving school/setting immediately.

This should be transferred separately from the main pupil file, ensuring secure transit and confirmation of receipt should be obtained (Appendix C).

Information is shared as necessary to protect children from harm.  We follow the guidance in the HMG 2015 guide ‘Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers’ and the HMG 2015 guide ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’. 

When information is being accumulated prior to possible referral we will start a chronology of events – see Appendix D.  The designated lead will regularly review all child protection chronologies to decide if the accumulation of events is having a detrimental impact on a child and must be referred to Compass.  If the designated lead decides not to refer, the reason will be noted on the child’s chronology.

Decision making – ‘Accessing the right service at the right time’

We take a holistic approach to safeguarding all children in our care and recognise that different families need a different level of support at different times.  To enable us to recognise at which level a family might require support; we use the Shropshire Safeguarding Partnership’s Multi-agency Guidance on Threshold Criteria to help support Children, Young People and their Families in Shropshire. Shropshire Threshold Document. – This can be found in the Concord Staff Handbook (- document 11.17.5). 

This guidance identifies four levels to ensure all children receive the support and intervention they need to achieve a positive life experience.  Of central importance in understanding where a child’s needs might lie on this continuum, is the cooperation and engagement of parents and carers and we aim to develop good, professional relationships to ensure that we have a shared understanding of each child’s needs.

It should be noted that if parents demonstrate a lack of co-operation or appreciation about the concerns we identify this may, in itself, raise the level of the need and required level of action. 

Level 1 – Universal

Children with no additional needs and where there are no concerns. Typically, these children are likely to live in a resilient and protective environment where their needs are met. These children will require no additional support beyond that which is universally available.

We anticipate that by working closely with parents and sign-posting families to other universal services within our community that we can meet the needs of children and families at this level.

At this level parents will always be consulted before any action is taken.

Level 2 – Children in need of Early Help

These children can be defined as needing some additional support without which they would be at risk of not meeting their full potential. Their identified needs may relate to their health, educational, or social development, and are likely to be short term needs. If ignored these issues may develop into more worrying concerns for the child or young person. These children will be living in greater adversity than most other children or have a greater degree of vulnerability than most if their needs are not clear, not known or not being met a lead professional will coordinate a whole family assessment and plan around the child.

Sometimes in discussion with parents and carers and through our observations and records we may think a child and their family could benefit from additional support from outside agencies to ensure he/she reaches his/her full potential. This process is known as Early Help.  We have knowledge of the different agencies which may be able to offer support and we will work with parents and carers to decide which support would be most appropriate for their family.  We will work with parents to complete any Early Help referral forms required to access this support.  If we are unsure of where to access support we will contact Compass for advice.

Further information about Early Help can be found at:  http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/early-help/

At this level parents will always be consulted before we contact another agency and their written consent gained before any action is taken.

Level 3 –children with complex needs

This level applies to those children identified as requiring targeted support. It is likely that for these children their needs and care are compromised. Only a small fraction of children will fall within this band. These children will be those who are vulnerable or experiencing the greatest level of adversity.

Children with additional needs: These children are potentially at risk of developing acute/ complex needs if they do not receive early targeted intervention.

Sometimes in discussion with parents and carers and through our observations and records we realise that a child and their family have a number of needs which are preventing a child from reaching his/her full potential.  In this case we will discuss the situation with parents and carers and try to identify each area of concern so that a range of other agencies can come together to offer support to the family.

With parental consent we will complete an Early Help assessment and contact Compass to help us identify and co-ordinate a range of other agencies. This multi-agency response will require a lead professional who may be a member of our staff.

At this level parents will always be consulted before we contact another agency and their written consent gained before any action is taken. 

Level 4 – children with acute specialist needs/ child protection

These are children whose needs and care at the present time are likely to be significantly compromised thereby requiring assessment under Section 47 or Section 17 of the Children Act 1989. These children may become subject to a child protection plan and need to be accommodated (taken into care) by Children’s Social Care either on a voluntary basis or by way of Court Order. Section 17- 1989 Children Act states a child shall be taken to be in need if: (a) He is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by

a local authority under this Part; (b) His health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services; or (c) He is disabled.

Sometimes in discussion with parents and carers and through our observations and records we realise that a child is at risk of significant harm (see below) and we must take emergency action to ensure that a child is kept safe. If the Designated Lead is unsure whether or not the concern meets this threshold he/she may discuss the case with an Early Help Social Worker.

There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Sometimes a single violent episode may constitute significant harm but more often it is an accumulation of significant events, both acute and longstanding, which interrupt damage or change the child’s development.

It may be:

  • the child is at risk of serious harm from others or themselves and requires skilled risk assessment and protection;
  • the child or young person is likely to put others at risk or harm, distress or loss and a response needs to take account of the individual’s interests and wellbeing of others;
  • the child’s circumstances, including their health, finances, living conditions or social situation, are likely to cause them or others serious harm, social exclusion or reduction of life chances;
  • the situation requires assessment of, and intervention in unpredictable emotional, psychological, intra-family or social factors and responses;
  • the circumstances are such that there are significant risks in both intervening and not intervening, when a fine judgement is required. 

Careful analysis and interpretation of information will enable practitioners and families to:

  • think about what is important and identify needs or difficulties;
  • explain why these have come about;
  • understand the impact of strengths and pressures on the child or young person;
  • reach agreement about what needs to be improved;
  • agree the priority issues, aims and goals in terms of improving the child’s wellbeing;
  • agree desired outcomes. 

Consider:

  • What is the lived experience of the child?
  • When and how are the child’s needs not being met?
  • What are the effects on the child’s current development and long term effects?
  • What are the child’s needs, wishes and feelings regarding intervention and likely outcomes?

(Taken from:  Multi-agency Guidance on Threshold Criteria to help support Children, Young People and their Families in Shropshire 2017) Shropshire Threshold Document.  – This can be found in the Concord Staff Handbook (- document 11.17.5).

Partnership with families 

A copy of this policy is made available to all parents via the College website as well as details of the complaints procedure. (-For more information about complaints, see Staff Handbook documents 11.6, 11.6.1 & 11.7.)  In general any concerns will be discussed with parents and we will offer support.

All conversations, whatever the outcome, should be recorded appropriately in order to show that they took place, identify what was agreed and evaluate how effectively they enabled needs to be met. In this way quality conversations can demonstrate their impact on successful practice, including improvements in decision making and joint working. Conversations should continue in order to inform the on-going planning and reviewing.

Practitioners working with families at a Universal, Early Help or Targeted level will need to get the consent of the family before any information is held or shared with other agencies. If the practitioner does not gain the family’s consent and in future has ongoing concerns, they should consider contacting Compass for advice and guidance.

With the exception of child protection matters, referrals to Compass cannot be accepted without parents having been consulted first. 

Consent is not required for child protection referrals where it is suspected that a child may be suffering or be at risk of suffering significant harm; however, the referring practitioner, would need to inform parents or carers that you are making a referral, unless to do so may:

  • Place the child at increased risk of Significant Harm; or
  • Place any other person at risk of injury; or
  • Obstruct or interfere with any potential Police investigation; or
  • Lead to unjustified delay in making enquiries about allegations of significant harm.

The child’s interest must be the overriding consideration in making such decisions. Decisions should be recorded.

If consent is withheld by the parent:

  • If it is felt that the child’s needs can be met through Early Help, then discussion with the family should take place about the completion of an Early Help Assessment and provision of services through an Early Help Plan. Early help consultations are available from the Early Help Advisors for support in managing these situations.
  • For another agency familiar with the child and family to make the approach about information sharing to the family.
  • No assessment should take place. The rational for this decision will be recorded on the concerns form.
  • The combination of the concerns and the refusal to consent to enquiries being made may result in the concerns being defined as child protection concerns. In this case, information sharing may proceed without parental consent. The consultation and the decision to proceed without consent must be recorded on the case papers. 

If a child has actually been injured or is in imminent danger of being injured then we will contact the emergency services, medical or police, immediately on 999.

When making a level 4 referral to Compass we will ensure we have a record of all details required detailed on a Shropshire Multi-Agency Referral Form. This form can be found in the Concord Staff Handbook (- document 11.17.6).

Specific legal duties to report 

New legislation has recognised and criminalised the following types of abuse and placed duties on education settings to report offences to the authorities:

  • Radicalisation and the Prevent Duty

The government set out its definition of British values in the 2015 Prevent Strategy – this promotes the values of:

  • Democracy
  • the rule of law
  • individual liberty
  • mutual respect
  • tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs

Our College promotes these values to ensure that children build resilience in respect of the Prevent Duty and promotes tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions. For more information, please refer to Staff Handbook documents 11.17.1.a & 11.17.1.b for further details. Concord College provides a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral and cultural development of students and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.

Concord recognises its duty to promote fundamental British values and protect all members of its community from extremism and being drawn into both violent and non-violent forms of terrorism. The College aims to provide a safe place in which young people can understand and discuss sensitive topics, including terrorism and extremist ideas that are a part of terrorist ideology. The College has filters in place to ensure that students are safe from terrorist and extremist material on the internet as well as educating its students about internet safety. (Education about internet safety is delivered via the College’s PSHE programme as well as assemblies using “TUC” training materials.)

If a member of staff has a concern about a particular pupil/s they should follow the school’s/settings normal safeguarding procedures, including discussing with the school’s/settings designated safeguarding lead as set out in the Child Protection/safeguarding policy.

The designated lead should contact West Mercia Prevent Team:

DS Phillip Colley

01386 591835

DC Jamma Greenow

01386 591825

DC Gary Shepheard

01386 591816

PC Manjit Sidhu

01386 591815

The Prevent Team email is: [email protected]

For further information, Concord staff should refer to Staff Handbook on Preventing Radicalisation & Extremism Policy document 11.17.1.a & 11.17.1.b for our Prevent Duty Risk Assessment.

  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

If we become aware of any cases where girls are at risk of FGM or have actually been harmed, We will contact the Police immediately and follow up with a referral to Compass to ensure that we are meeting our reporting duties. From October 2015, there is a statutory duty placed upon all teachers, along with social workers and healthcare professionals, to report to the police where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18 (- as set out in Section 5B of the FGM Act 2003 and by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, KCSIE Jan 2021 p.10). Please refer to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/female-genital-mutilation-leaflet. We may not seek parental consent if this may put the girl at increased risk.

College staff should be aware of possible indicators that FGM is likely to occur, or has occurred. Please refer to Appendix K at the end of this document for a list of possible signs that FGM is likely to occur, or has occurred. 

  • Domestic abuse and honour based violence (HBV)

Children living in households where there is domestic abuse which could be coercion or violence, including honour based violence, could be at significant risk of harm.  We will seek support for victims and their children through Compass.

Depending on the level of risk, we may or may not consult parents before contacting Compass. 

Specific safeguarding issues

To ensure that our children and young people are protected from harm, we need to understand what types of behaviour constitute abuse and neglect. For further information on types of abuse & signs of abuse, Concord staff should refer to Staff Handbook documents 11.17.3 (“Types & Signs of Abuse”) and/or KCSIE (Jan 2021) which can also be found in the Staff Handbook as document 11.16.

Staff are made aware of specific safeguarding issues (listed below) through child protection training, reading up to date guidance such as Keeping Children Safe in Education Sept 2019 and accessing SSP procedures at http://www.safeguardingshropshireschildren.org.uk. Schools and settings are to ensure that the DSL is continually updated in all areas below. They must be familiar with the referral pathways and specific toolkits and guidance available on the SSP website.

Expert and professional organisations are best placed to provide up-to-date guidance and practical support on specific safeguarding issues. For example information for schools, colleges and early years settings can be found on the TES, MindEd and the NSPCC websites. Staff can access government guidance as required on the issues listed below via GOV.UK and other government websites.

  • Bullying including cyberbullying (& our Anti-Bullying policy doc. 11.3 in the Staff Handbook)
  • Children missing education
  • Child missing from home or care
  • Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
  • Domestic violence
  • Drugs
  • Fabricated or induced illness
  • Faith abuse
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Forced marriage
  • Gangs and youth violence
  • Gender-based violence/violence against women and girls (VAWG)
  • Hate
  • Mental health
  • Missing children and adults strategy
  • Private fostering
  • Preventing radicalisation
  • Relationship abuse
  • Sexting (& the guidance documents contained as documents 11.3.2 & 11.3.3 in the Staff Handbook)
  • Trafficking

Peer on Peer Abuse 

Staff should recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. Abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as “banter” or “part of growing up”. Victims of peer abuse should be supported as they would be if they were the victim of any other form of abuse, in accordance with this policy. However, perpetrators of peer-on-peer abuse are likely to need support as well. While much peer-on-peer abuse is gendered, all such abuse is treated as a serious matter. (- For more detailed guidance, see the College’s Anti-Bullying Policy in the Staff Handbook doc. 11.3 and Farrer & Co’s “Peer-on-peer abuse toolkit” in the Staff Handbook doc. 11.3.1.)

As Concord College is a member of the BSA (or Boarding Schools’ Association), it is required to inform the BSA of any allegation of peer on peer abuse. Under the BSA’s Commitment to Care Charter (v.2 published Sept 2017), the BSA will be informed that an incident has occurred and which statutory agencies are involved. Contacts are as follows:

Dale Wilkins, Head of Safeguarding and Standards at the BSA: [email protected] (Tel. no. 07905 127 650) or e-mail [email protected].

Peer on peer abuse occurs when a young person is exploited, bullied and/or harmed by their peers who are the same age or similar age. Peer-on-peer abuse can relate to various forms of abuse (not just sexual abuse and exploitation, some forms of peer on peer abuse can occur online as well as in the real world.

Some types of Peer-on-peer abuse are: sexual violence and harassment; physical abuse; sexting; initiation/ hazing; prejudiced behaviour; online abuse and/or cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying

Fresh challenges are presented by young people’s use, misuse, or abuse of new technologies. Cyberbullying can be unintentional – as with other forms of bullying. However, the perpetrator can share electronic bullying materials and thus the bullying can be aggravated by the involvement of bystanders or “accessories”.

Cyberbullying is a particularly pernicious form of bullying because it can be so pervasive and anonymous.  There can be no safe haven for the victim who can be targeted at any time or place.  The College’s Anti-bullying policy (Staff Handbook 11.3 – with copies available on request) describes the preventative measures and the procedures that will be followed when the College discovers cases of bullying/ cyberbullying.

Students who experience cyberbullying are encouraged to store examples of abusive messages or images for use as evidence against the perpetrators. In addition, students should be aware of the means of stopping or limiting the spread of bullying material (e.g. blocking, contacting network managers/internet service providers and/or police).

Concord College values all of its pupils equally.  It is part of the College’s ethos to promote considerate behaviour and to value diversity. Concord students are expected to maintain the same good manners online as in their face-to-face dealings in the real world.

Bullying (including cyberbullying) and harassment in any form should always be reported to a member of staff.  It is never the victim’s fault, and he or she should not be afraid to come forward.

Sexting 

Sexting is when someone sends or receives a sexually explicit text, image or video. This includes sending ‘nude pics’, ‘rude pics’ or ‘nude selfies’. Pressuring someone into sending a nude picture can happen in any relationship and to anyone, whatever their age, gender or sexual preference.

However, once the image is taken and sent, the sender has lost control of the image and these images could end up anywhere. By having in their possession, or distributing, indecent images of a person under 18 on to someone else, young people are not even aware that they could be breaking the law as stated as these are offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Initiation/Hazing 

Hazing is a form of initiation ceremony which is used to induct newcomers into an organisation such as a private school, sports team etc. There are a number of different forms, from relatively mild rituals to severe and sometimes violent ceremonies.

The idea behind this practice is that it welcomes newcomers by subjecting them to a series of trials which promote a bond between them. After the hazing is over, the newcomers also have something in common with older members of the organisation, because they all experienced it as part of a rite of passage. Many rituals involve humiliation, embarrassment, abuse, and harassment.

Prejudiced Behaviour 

The term prejudice-related bullying refers to a range of hurtful behaviour, physical or emotional or both, which causes someone to feel powerless, worthless, excluded or marginalised, and which is connected with prejudices around belonging, identity and equality in wider society – in particular, prejudices to do with disabilities and special educational needs, race/ ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, gender, home life, (for example in relation to issues of care, parental occupation, poverty and social class) and sexual identity (homosexual, bisexual, transsexual), pregnancy/ maternity.

Teenage relationship abuse 

Teenage relationship abuse is defined as a pattern of actual or threatened acts of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, perpetrated by an adolescent (between the ages of 13 and 18) against a current or former partner. Abuse may include insults, coercion, social sabotage, sexual harassment, threats and/or acts of physical or sexual abuse. The abusive teen uses this pattern of violent and coercive behaviour, in a heterosexual or same gender relationship, in order to gain power and maintain control over the partner.

It is vital that staff at Concord College understand that the child who is perpetrating the abuse may also be risk of harm. Staff should make every effort to ensure that the perpetrator is also treated as a victim and undertake assessments to conclude this.  Sensitive work must be undertaken with the child who is perpetrating, by helping them to understand the nature of their behaviour and the effect it has on others may prevent abuse as a whole.

Staff must be able to use their professional judgement in identifying when what may be perceived as “normal developmental childhood behaviour” becomes abusive, dangerous and harmful to others. Designated leads may need to consult with the SSP Threshold document to help with their decision making.

Safeguarding children with special educational needs and disabilities 

It is recognised that children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) can present additional safeguarding challenges. Additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. These can include: assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury, relate to the child’s impairment without further exploration; children with SEND can be disproportionately impacted by issues such as bullying, without necessarily showing outward signs; communication barriers. It is important, therefore, to be particularly sensitive to these issues when considering any aspect of the welfare and safety of such children, and to seek professional advice where necessary. 

Children Missing Education

All children, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to a full time education, which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have. Local authorities have a duty to establish, as far as it is possible to do so, the identity of children of compulsory school age who are missing education in their area. Effective information sharing between parents, schools, colleges and local authorities is critical to ensuring that all children are safe and receiving suitable education.

A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect and such children are at risk of being victims of harm, exploitation or radicalisation. School and college staff should follow their procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children that go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect, including sexual exploitation, and to help prevent the risks of going missing in future.

Schools and colleges should put in place appropriate safeguarding policies, procedures and responses for children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions. It is essential that all staff are alert to signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns such as travelling to conflict zones, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Further information about children at risk of missing education can be found in the Children Missing Education guidance.

There are many reasons why we want young children to have regular attendance at our setting. As well as supporting their learning and development, we want to try to make sure that children are kept safe, their wellbeing is promoted and they do not miss out on their entitlements and opportunities. In a small minority of cases, good attendance practice may also lead to the earlier identification of more serious concerns for a child or family and may have a vital part to play in keeping a child or other family members safe from harm.

In our setting, we have procedures for recording and following up any unexplained non-attendance and know how to respond to different problems and where to access advice, support or whom to alert if concerns arise.

For further information, Concord staff should refer to the Staff Handbook document 11.1 – Policy & Procedure on Attendance (which includes a form for use when reporting – as required – the removal of a child from the roll during the course of an academic year). 

Injuries

At the beginning of each session or school day parents are requested to notify us of any accidents, incidents or injuries which may affect their child before leaving him/her at the setting/school.  A note will be made of any existing injuries and how the injury was received will be recorded. A body map may be used to indicate any marks/bruises (See Appendix E) 

Injuries to students who are involved in an accident at school or on an activity organised by the school are only reportable to the Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR if the accident results in:

  • the death of the student, and arose out of or in connection with a work activity;
  • or an injury that arose out of or in connection with a work activity and the student is taken directly from the scene of the accident to hospital for treatment (examinations and diagnostic tests do not constitute treatment).

For further information refer to HSE Information Sheet ‘Incident reporting in schools (accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences).

Safe use of ICT and mobile phones

The use of mobile phones and other electronic devices such as computers, tablets, and game devices is commonplace.  However, as a society, we are beginning to recognise that although these devices have brought great benefit we also need to ensure that we help children to understand there are dangers and how to keep themselves safe.  This includes:

  • Keeping personal details secure
  • Understanding that not all content is appropriate, truthful or legal
  • What to do if they do accidentally access inappropriate or illegal content
  • What to do if they are upset by something they receive
  • What to do if they are going to meet someone they have met on-line in the real world 

Appropriate use of mobile phones is essential by all members of the staff and student community here at Concord College. Staff accompanying students on trips off campus should make use of College mobile ‘phones instead of their personal mobile ‘phones since the latter should not be shared with students. Any student mobile numbers which are on College mobile ‘phones should be deleted after use.

College staff are able to use their personal mobile phones during their break times. All staff are made aware of their duty to follow the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) procedure with regard to computers and other portable devices (document 5.1 in the Staff Handbook), and to challenge anyone not adhering to it. Staff are required to read and confirm their compliance with the policy each academic year.

Visitors to the College should be monitored in terms of their mobile ‘phone use by accompanying staff who should keep in mind the potential for inappropriate use – especially in terms of the capturing and consequent sharing of images.

We believe that photographs validate children’s experiences and achievements and are a valuable way of recording milestones in a child’s life. Parental permission for the different ways in which we use photographs is gained as part of the initial registration process in completing the parent contract with Concord College. We take a mixture of photos that reflect the College environment, sometimes this will be when children are engrossed in an activity either on their own or with their peers. In order to safeguard children and adults and to maintain privacy, cameras are not to be used during intimate care situations by adults or children.

Through induction, staff and volunteers are made aware of our ‘acceptable use of technology’ policy both at home and in the workplace.  If any staff or volunteers breach this policy then we will take disciplinary action which may result in a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Students are allowed to use and own their own mobile phones, tablets, computers whilst in the care of the College. However, they must comply with the provisions of both the Student Computer & Network Access policy and the separate Mobile Telephones Policy contained in the Student Handbook (documents 9 and 26) held on the O drive. Students are required to read and confirm their understanding and compliance with both policies each academic year. College staff have a duty to monitor and help students understand the importance of keeping themselves safe on line and when using their portable devices.

Escalating / de-escalating concerns 

Just because a child is assessed at a point in time as meeting a certain threshold criteria does not mean that they always will. An assessment is an on-going process, not an event; children’s needs often change over time.  The Designated Lead for Safeguarding will maintain an overview of all children with a plan to ensure children’s needs are being met at the right level of intervention.  Of central importance in understanding where a child’s needs might lie on this continuum, is the cooperation and engagement of the parents and carers – a lack of co-operation or appreciation about the concern may of itself raise the level of the need and required response.

Children’s Social Work and Safeguarding Step Down Guidance Step Down Guidance

The impact of abuse 

The impact of child abuse should not be underestimated. Many children do recover well and go on to lead healthy, happy and productive lives, although most adult survivors agree that the emotional scars remain, however well buried. For some children, full recovery is beyond their reach, and the rest of their childhood and their adulthood may be characterised by anxiety or depression, self-harm, eating disorders, alcohol and substance misuse, unequal and destructive relationships and long-term medical or psychiatric difficulties.

Taking action

Key points to remember for taking action are:

  • In an emergency take the action necessary to help the child. For example, call 999. Consider moving the child to a safe place.
  • Report your concern to the DSL immediately.
  • If the DSL is not able to be contacted, then contact one of the DDSLs or ensure action is taken to report the concern to children’s social care.
  • Do not start your own investigation.
  • Share information on a need-to-know basis only – do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family.
  • Complete a record of concern & pass a copy to the DSL as soon as possible. (– See Appendix G)
  • Seek support for yourself if you are distressed.
  • Consider contacting the NSPCC Helpline to discuss any concerns about a child. Tel. no. 0808 800 5000

If you suspect a child is at risk of harm

There will be occasions when you suspect that a child may be at serious risk, but you have no ‘real’ evidence. The child’s behaviour may have changed, their artwork could be bizarre or you may have noticed other physical but inconclusive signs. In these circumstances, you should try to give the child the opportunity to talk. The signs you have noticed may be due to a variety of factors and it is fine to ask the child if they are alright or if you can help in any way. Report any concerns to the DSL.

If the child does begin to reveal that they are being harmed you should follow the advice in the section ‘If a child discloses to you’.

If, following your conversation, you remain concerned, you should discuss your concerns with the designated person.

If a child discloses information to you

It takes a lot of courage for a child to disclose that they are being neglected and or abused. They may feel ashamed, particularly if the abuse is sexual, their abuser may have threatened what will happen if they tell, they may have lost all trust in adults, or they may believe, or have been told, that the abuse is their own fault.

If a child talks to you about any risks to their safety or wellbeing you must not promise confidentiality. You will need to let them know that you must pass the information on – you are not allowed to keep secrets. The point at which you do this is a matter for professional judgement. If you jump in immediately the child may think that you do not want to listen, if you leave it till the very end of the conversation, the child may feel that you have misled them into revealing more than they would have otherwise.

During your conversation with the child:

  • Allow them to speak freely.
  • Remain calm and do not over react – the child may stop talking if they feel they are upsetting you.
  • Give reassuring nods or words of comfort – ‘I’m so sorry this has happened’, ‘I want to help’, ‘This isn’t your fault’, ‘You are doing the right thing in talking to me’.
  • Do not be afraid of silences – remember how hard this must be for the child.
  • Under no circumstances ask investigative questions – such as how many times this has happened, whether it happens to siblings too, or what does the child’s mother thinks about all this.
  • At an appropriate time tell the child that in order to help them you must pass the information on.
  • Do not automatically offer any physical touch as comfort. It may be anything but comforting to a child who has been abused.
  • Avoid admonishing the child for not disclosing earlier. Saying ‘I do wish you had told me about this when it started’ or ‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing’ may be your way of being supportive but the child may interpret it that they have done something wrong.
  • Tell the child what will happen next. The child may agree to go with you to see the designated person. Otherwise let them know that someone will come to see them before the end of the day.
  • Report verbally to the designated person.
  • Write up your conversation as soon as possible on the record of concern form and hand it to the designated person.
  • Seek support if you feel distressed.

Refer to Appendix G for NSPCC record of concern.

Prevention in the Curriculum

Concord College recognises the importance of developing pupils’ awareness of behaviour that is unacceptable towards them and others, and how they can help keep themselves and others safe.  Assemblies often focus on enhancing children’s understanding and awareness of safeguarding issues.

The PSHE programme at Concord College provides personal development opportunities for pupils to learn about keeping safe and who to ask for help if their safety is threatened.  As part of developing a healthy, safer lifestyle, pupils are taught to, for example:

  • Safely explore their own and others’ attitudes.
  • Recognise and manage risks in different situations and how to behave responsibly.
  • Judge what kind of physical contact is acceptable and unacceptable.
  • Recognise when pressure from others (including people they know) threatens their personal safety and wellbeing and develop effective ways of resisting pressure; including knowing when and where to get help.
  • Use assertiveness techniques to resist unhelpful pressure.
  • The importance of Internet safety

Managing allegations of abuse made against staff (this includes apprentices), students or volunteers (see Appendix H) 

Allegations which might indicate that a person would pose a risk of harm to children if they continue to work in regular or close contact with children in their present position will be taken seriously.  We have a duty to inform the ISI and BSA of any serious allegations made against a person which suggests he or she 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 he or she would pose a risk of harm to children.

We also have a duty of care towards our staff. We provide support for anyone facing an allegation and provide employees with a named contact if they are suspended. It is essential that any allegations of abuse made against members of staff or volunteers are dealt with very quickly, in a fair and consistent way that provides effective protection for the child and at the same time supports the person who is the subject of the allegation.

Members of staff likely to receive allegations against members of staff are: the Principal, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the DSL or Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). They must contact the LADO immediately.

The DO (or Designated Officer)

or

LADO

Ellie Jones Via the First Point of Contact Team (or FPOC) on 0345 678 9021 or via her e-mail address: [email protected]

If there are concerns about a staff member, including the DSL or Deputy DSL, then these should be referred to the Principal.

The Principal Neil Hawkins Internal ‘phone numbers:

Office = 123 (Principal’s PA)

Home = 601

Where there are concerns about the Principal, these should be referred to the Chair of the Trustees who can be contacted as follows:

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr Iain Bride Via his e-mail address: [email protected]

As Concord College is a member of the BSA (or Boarding Schools’ Association), it is required to inform the BSA, as soon as it is possible and permissible to do so, of any allegation against a member of staff which the school has referred to the LADO, Police or Children’s Services. Under the BSA’s Commitment to Care Charter (v.2 published Sept 2017), the BSA will be informed that an incident has occurred and which statutory agencies are involved. Contacts are as follows:

Dale Wilkins, Head of Safeguarding and Standards at the BSA: [email protected] (Tel. no. 07905 127 650) or e-mail [email protected].

Alternatively, staff could choose to follow the Whistleblowing procedure set out below.

The LADO may ask for additional information, such as previous history, whether the child or their family have made similar allegations previously and the individual’s current contact with children. There may be situations when the LADO will want to involve the police immediately, for example if the person is deemed to be an immediate risk to children or there is evidence of a possible criminal offence.

The initial sharing of information and evaluation may lead to a decision that no further action is to be taken in regard to the individual facing the allegation or concern; in which case this decision and a justification for it will be recorded by both the DSL/ College Principal and the LADO, and agreement reached on what information should be put in writing to the individuals concerned and by whom. The DSL/ Principal will then consider with the LADO what action should follow both in respect of the individual and those who made the initial allegation.

If further action is required we will follow the advice of the LADO and co-operate with any investigations.  We will follow instructions about what can be disclosed to the accused and whether he/she should be suspended whilst further investigations take place. This is not an indication of admission that the alleged incident has taken place, but is to protect the staff as well as children and families throughout the process. Clear advice will be given to workers on the process of investigation by other agencies.  We will follow advice about how to inform families about the allegation.

In order for the College to meet its statutory obligations in dealing with Child Protection issues in cases of serious allegations against teachers and/or head teachers, referrals/ reports will be sent to the following:

  • the DBS (or Disclosure & Barring Service) – in cases where the school dispenses with a person’s services because of unsuitability to work with children, or would have done so had the person not resigned.
  • the TRA (Teaching Regulation Agency) – in cases where a teacher has been dismissed (or would have been dismissed had he or she not resigned) and a prohibition order may be appropriate, because of “unacceptable professional conduct”, “conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”, or a “conviction at any time for a relevant offence”.

If we are aware of the details of a child who has or may have been harmed by a member of staff or volunteer will contact Compass to make a referral to seek support for the child.

There is a legal requirement for employers to make a referral to the DBS where they think that an individual has engaged in conduct that harmed (or is likely to harm) a child; or if a person otherwise poses a risk of harm to a child. SAFEGUARDING VULNERABLE GROUPS ACT 2006 

Whistleblowing

Whistle blowing is a mechanism by which adults can voice their concerns in good faith, without fear of repercussion. Any behaviour by colleagues that raises concern regardless of source will be recorded and reported to the designated practitioner or appropriate agency. However, anyone has the option of directly contacting external agencies themselves and “blowing the whistle” but, where possible, a conversation should normally take place with the DSL first.  If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made to Social Services via the contact ‘phone numbers show in the table below. Anybody can make such a referral directly to children’s social care. The DSL should normally be informed as soon as possible after a referral is made.

(Further information can be found in the separate Staff Handbook policy on Whistle Blowing – document 6.23) 

Social Services

(-see point 6.i. below)

The First Point of Contact Team (or FPOC) External tel. no.

0345 678 9021 (weekdays)

 

Emergency Social Work Duty Team (after office hours & at weekends) External tel. no.

08456 789040 (after office hours & at weekends)

 Recruiting Staff

We provide appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children. (More information can be found in our Staff Handbook documents 6.14 and following).

Job adverts and application packs make reference to our safeguarding policy and procedures.

Applicants for posts are clearly informed that positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. We ensure that we meet our responsibilities under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

Where applicants are rejected because of information that has been disclosed, we will inform the applicant about their right to know and to challenge incorrect information.

We comply with the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements in Keeping Children Safe In Education 2019 in respect of references and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks for staff, trustees and volunteers to ensure that no disqualified or unsuitable person works with or has access to the children. This includes disqualification by association, where a registered provider or a childcare worker may also be disqualified because they live in the same household as another person who is disqualified, or because they live in the same household where a disqualified person is employed.

We have procedures for recording the details of visitors, including prospective candidates, to the setting and ensure that we have control over who comes in to the premises so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.

Staff Supervision (including students and volunteers) 

In order to ensure that all staff are alert to any issues for concern, staff receive regular training and updates in safeguarding and child protection through a range of training and supervision activities. This includes both formal and informal supervision, professional reviews, staff meetings and access to SSP approved training.  Individual supervision offers staff an opportunity to improve their practice with children and address any issues resulting in poor performance. Individual supervision also provides a safe space in which to raise any concerns they may have about the conduct of other adults connected with the setting. (For more information, see the “Staff Code of Conduct Policy” in the Staff Handbook – document 6.19.)

Staff supervision is also used to ensure that all staff remain suitable to work with children.  This means staff are required to inform their manager of any medication they are taking and provide medical evidence that this will not impair their ability to look after children properly.  Staff are also required to disclose any information, which may lead to their disqualification.

Updating this document

All staff should discuss promptly with the College’s DSL or DDSL any concerns about this policy, its effective implementation, poor/unsafe practice & potential failures in the College’s safeguarding regime.  This policy and procedure is a “living document” which responds to and reflects the changing welfare needs of students.

This document will be approved, endorsed and reviewed by the Board of Trustees annually. The DSL will meet with the Trustee responsible for reviewing safeguarding arrangements (i.e. the Chair of the Welfare Committee) at least once per academic term.

The Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy & Procedure will also be reviewed when legislation changes and/or after any safeguarding incident occurs.

The College will arrange for annual visits by an external agency specialising in Safeguarding (-such as Barnado’s) to “stress test” all aspects of the provision.

The College’s SIT (or Safeguarding Incident Team) will meet once each half-term, or more frequently if necessary, to review safeguarding arrangements.

Author: Jeremy Kerslake

 

Date Policy adopted: August 2017. Updated 03/10/17 with BSA contacts. Reviewed & updated 07/05/18 to include points from the Charity Commission’s checklist. Updated again on 15/06/18 to include Barnado’s guidance from training received. Updated & reviewed 15/08/18, 28/08/18, 26/02/19, 29/08/18 & again on 27/02/19 to include ISI recommendations. Last reviewed & updated 17/04/20 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and again on 20/08/20 in preparation for reopening the College and again in Jan 2021 with the updated edition of  KCSIE Jan 2021 (post-Brexit).

 

Position: Vice-Principal (Pastoral) & DSL

 

Review Date: Ongoing
Reviewed by the Welfare Committee of the Board of Trustees Nov 2017 & 07/12/18 & 06/12/19 & 21/04/21