Our Lady's School is founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the life of the school community is centred on His presence.
The school aims therefore to
worship God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
value each person as a child of God our Father;
create a caring, supportive and ordered environment;
offer a broad and balanced education;
foster relationships of affection, trust and forgiveness;
co-operate with the home, parish and the wider community in order that each child is enabled to realise his or her potential as a sensitive responsible person.
The purpose of Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School’s safeguarding policy is to ensure every child who is a registered pupil at our school is safe and protected. This policy will give clear direction to staff, volunteers, visitors and parents about the expected behaviour and responsibility when managing safeguarding concerns.
Our school fully recognises the contribution it can make to protect children from harm and supporting and promoting the welfare of all children who are registered pupils at our school. The elements of our policy are prevention, protection and support. Our policy applies to all Staff, Parents, Governors, volunteers, visitors and
Our aims are to
create an environment in our setting which is safe and secure for all children
encourage children to establish and sustain satisfying relationships within their families, with peers, and with other adults
encourage children to develop a sense of autonomy and independence
work with parents to build their understanding of and commitment to the welfare of all our children
ensure we practise safer recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children
raise awareness of child protection issues and equipping children with the skills needed to keep them safe
develop and then implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse
support pupils who have been abused in accordance with his/her agreed child protection plan.
We will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education (DFE)
The school will
ensure it has a Designated Child protection co-ordinator (DCPC) who is a member of the senior leadership team who will undertake regular, appropriate training for this role. This is the head teacher of the school
ensure it has a member of staff who will act in the absence of the DCPC. This is the deputy head teacher of the school
ensure it has a nominated governor responsible for safeguarding children
ensure every member of staff (including temporary and supply staff and volunteers) and the governing body knows the name of the DCPC and their role
ensure all staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the DCPC
ensure that parents have an understanding of the responsibility placed on the school and staff for child protection by setting out its obligations in the school prospectus
develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding safeguarding matters including attendance at strategy meetings, initial case conferences, core group and child in need review meetings
nsure that the duty of care towards its pupils and staff is promoted by raising awareness of illegal, unsafe and unwise behaviour and assist staff to monitor their own standards and practice
be aware of and follow procedures set out by Children’s Services and the LSCB where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer
ensure safer recruitment practices are always followed.
When staff join our school they will be informed of the safeguarding children arrangements in place. They will be given a copy of this policy and told who the DCPC is and who acts in their absence.
The induction programme will include basic safeguarding information relating to signs and symptoms of abuse, how to manage a disclosure from a child, when and how to record a concern about the welfare of a child.
All volunteers and regular visitors to our school will be told where our policy is kept and given the name of the DCPC.
When new pupils join our school, all parents and carers will be informed that we have a safeguarding policy. This will be offered to parents should they request a copy. Parents and carers will be informed of our legal duty to assist our colleagues in other agencies with child protection enquiries and what happens should we have cause to make a referral to Children’s Services. All parents will receive a leaflet Safeguarding Children in Education.
The Governing Body will nominate a member to be responsible for Safeguarding Children and liaise with the DCPC in matters relating to Safeguarding. It will ensure that Safeguarding Policies and procedures are in place, available to parents and reviewed annually. This is currently Fr. Stephen Boyle.
The Head teacher will ensure that the Safeguarding Policies and procedures are fully implemented and followed by all staff and that sufficient resources are allocated to enable the DCPC and other staff to discharge their responsibilities with regard to Safeguarding.
The DCPC will co-ordinate action on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within the school ensuring that all staff, volunteers and visitors to the school know who the DCPC is and who acts in her absence, they are aware of their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and of their responsibility to report and record any concerns.
Every member of staff, volunteers and members of the governing body will be expected to undertake training in school every two years; this may be more frequent if there are changes to legislation or to local requirements. Different areas of responsibility will require additional training. The people who are required to undertake this are the Headteacher, and any alternate members of staff, the Chair of Governors and the governor with responsibility for child protection. The Safeguarding Children’s Board termly newsletter from Kent will be shared with staff. Staff can find the most up to date safeguarding information on www.teachernet.com The Headteacher will provide up to date information and should be used as a first point of contact for concerns and queries regarding any safeguarding concern.
Managing a Disclosure
Teachers and other staff in schools are in a unique position to observe children’s behaviour over time and often develop close and trusting relationships with pupils. If a child discloses directly to a member of staff, the following procedures will be followed.
Listen carefully to what is said.
Ask only open questions such as ‘How did that happen?’; ‘What was happening at the time?’; ‘Anything else you want to tell me?’
Do not ask questions which may be considered to suggest what might have happened, or who has perpetrated the abuse, e.g. ‘Did your Dad hit you?’
Do not force the child to repeat what he/she said in front of another person.
Do not promise not to tell anyone else.
Following a disclosure, the member of staff should talk immediately to the DCPC and complete a written record.
Information Sharing & Confidentiality
We recognise that all matters relating to Child Protection are confidential.
The Headteacher or DCPC will disclose any information about a pupil to other members of staff on a need to know basis only. All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children. All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets.
Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse from a child or young person, or noticing signs or symptoms of possible abuse, will make notes as soon as possible (within the hour, if possible) writing down exactly what was said, using the child’s own words as far as possible. All notes should be completed using a green incident form. All records of a child protection nature should be passed to the DCPC including case conference minutes and written records of any concerns.
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
the school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued
the school behaviour policy which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils in the school. The school will ensure that the pupil knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred
liaison with other agencies that support the pupil such as Children’s Services, Child and Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS), education welfare service and educational psychology service and those agencies involved in the safeguarding of children
notifying Children’s Social Care immediately there is a significant concern
providing continuing support to a pupil about whom there have been concerns, who leaves the school, by ensuring that appropriate information is forwarded under confidential cover to the pupil’s new school.
We recognise that staff working in the school that have become involved with a child who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm, may find the situation stressful and upsetting. We will support such staff by providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the DCPC and to seek further support as appropriate.
Safer Recruitment and Selection of Staff
The school has a written recruitment and selection policy statement and procedures linking explicitly to this policy. The statement is included in all job advertisements, publicity material, recruitment websites, and candidate information packs.
The recruitment process is robust in seeking to establish the commitment of candidates to support the school’s measures to safeguard children and to deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children or are otherwise unsuited to work with them.
All staff that are appointed to work in school have a criminal records search called a CRB check. This search highlights people who have a criminal record or if previous allegations have been made them. If staff are found to have a criminal record the appointment will be reconsidered by the Headteacher and the Personnel committee of the Governing Body. The LA is informed directly by the Criminal Records Bureau. The Headteacher sits on all appointment panels.
New staff are inducted into safeguarding practices. Newly appointed staff are assigned a mentor for the induction period. It is the responsibility of the mentors to familiarise new staff with procedures and policy, which affect the health and safety of all at school but especially the children.
Induction of volunteers
Volunteers must also have Criminal Records Bureau clearance. For a brief activity, such as a school visit, which does not involve the supervision or close contact of children the school may telephone for a list “99” check. For extended contact with children, when children may be left alone with an adult, or when an adult visitor may be in and around the school building a full CRB search will be conducted. The office performs this. Visitors who do not yet have clearance will under no circumstance be left alone with a child or group of children.
It is assumed that visitors with a professional role i.e. the School Nurse, LA professionals such as advisors and inspectors or support staff, social workers or members of the police already have relevant clearance. If there is any doubt then the office will require proof. (Please see PESS guidance for sporting coaches for in-school and after school clubs.)
Allegations against staff
We understand that a pupil may make an allegation against a member of staff. If such an allegation is made, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Head teacher. The Head teacher on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the LA’s Senior Adviser for Safeguarding Children in Education.
If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the Head teacher, the designated teacher will immediately inform the Chair of Governors who will consult with the LA’s Senior Adviser for Safeguarding Children in Education.
The school will follow the LA procedures for managing allegations against staff, a copy of which will be readily available in the school.
RECORDS AND MONITORING
Staff make a record of
the child's name; address, date of birth
the date and time of the observation or the disclosure
an objective record of the observation or disclosure
the exact words spoken by the child
the name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time
the names of any other person present at the time.
These records are signed and dated and kept in a separate confidential file.
The member of staff will discuss the incident with the DCPC and a decision will be made about who should be notified. If a child’s safety is at risk the Intake and assessment team will be contacted immediately. We will take advice from them regarding information then given to parents.
In a case where a child is not in immediate danger we try to discuss the matter with parents before making any referrals. However it is the welfare of the child which is paramount and this is at the forefront of all our actions. We are aware that many children have suffered because of lack of communication between agencies, and that government guidance now encourages the full sharing of information. We shall therefore use our professional judgement in sharing information with the agencies that ‘need to know’, being open and honest with parents and children as to why we feel we need to share the information.
Full records of conversations will be maintained when any referrals or discussions are held with any other agencies or with parents prior to a referral. These records will include dates and times of the conversation, who we speak to, and the advice we were given.
We will always aim to involve parents in any referrals before they are made. However if a suspicion of abuse is recorded, and the child is considered at risk an immediate referral will be made to the social service referral team and we will take their advice on informing parents.
All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. If there are concerns within a setting it is important that the Supervisor is made aware of them. However children will work with a number of different adults in a setting and they should also be made aware that there are concerns about an aspect of well-being of the child in question. Any information shared with external agencies is done under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so. All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the attitude or actions of colleagues.
We recognise that listening to children is an important and essential part of safeguarding them against abuse and neglect. To this end any expression of dissatisfaction or disquiet in relation to an individual child will be listened to and acted upon in order to safeguard his/her welfare.
We will also seek to ensure that the child or adult who makes a complaint is informed not only about the action the school will take but also the length of time that will be required to resolve the complaint. The school will also endeavour to keep the child or adult regularly informed as to the progress of his/her complaint.
We recognise that the school plays a significant part in the prevention of harm to our pupils by providing them with good lines of communication with trusted adults, supportive friends and an ethos of protection.
The school will therefore
establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are always listened to;
ensure children know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty;
include in the curriculum opportunities that equip children with the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.
Our policy on positive handling is set out in a separate policy and acknowledges that staff must only ever use physical intervention as a last resort, and that at all times it must be the minimal force necessary to prevent injury or damage to property.
We understand that physical intervention of a nature that causes injury or distress to a child may be considered under safeguarding children or disciplinary procedures.
Abuse of Trust
We recognise that as adults working in the school, we are in a relationship of trust with the pupils in our care and acknowledge that it is a criminal offence to abuse that trust.
We acknowledge that the principle of equality embedded in the legislation of the Sexual Offenders Act 2003 applies irrespective of sexual orientation: neither homosexual nor heterosexual relationships are acceptable within a position of trust.
We recognise that the legislation is intended to protect young people in education who are over the age of consent but under 18 years of age.
Our policy on racist incidents is set out in a separate policy and acknowledges that repeated racist incidents or a single serious incident may lead to consideration under safeguarding children procedures.
Our policy on bullying is set out in a separate policy and acknowledges that to allow or condone bullying may lead to consideration under safeguarding children procedures.
We have an e-safety policy and our Acceptable Use policy recognises that internet safety is a whole school responsibility (staff, pupils, parents).
Children and young people may expose themselves to danger, whether knowingly or unknowingly, when using the internet and other technologies. Additionally, some young people may find themselves involved in activities which are inappropriate or possibly illegal.
We therefore recognise our responsibility to educate our pupils, teaching them the appropriate behaviours and critical thinking skills to enable them to remain both safe and legal when using the internet and related technologies.
Health & Safety
Our Health & Safety policy, set out in a separate document, reflects the consideration we give to the safeguarding of our children both within the school environment and when away from the school when undertaking school trips and visits.
In school there are always trained members of staff who oversee first aid. There are first aid kits in the staffroom and in each classroom. When a child is poorly, or has suffered an accident in school or on the playground there is a protocol for staff to follow:
• A trained first aider is consulted.
• The incident is logged in the accident book – all head bumps must be recorded and a bumped head note should be given to the child to take home.
• If there is any doubt at all a parent is contacted.
The policy is that members of staff can give medicines, (prescribed or not), though it is a practice we seek to discourage as we would rather that parents made themselves available to administer the medicines to their child or the children took the medicine themselves. We will not administer topical medicines such as creams or sun cream.
We will only administer medicines if the parents have provided written authorisation that absolves the school (or individuals giving the medication) from any liability.
For matters of an intimate nature staff are informed to deal with a child with utmost sensitivity and always to seek guidance from the Headteacher or Deputy. In almost all situations the parents will be asked to come into school immediately so that they are part of the decision making process for such matters. In rare circumstances the school nurse will be contacted as a matter of utmost urgency before the parent.
The Design of the Curriculum
The curriculum deals with safeguarding in two ways.
Firstly, the curriculum, in subjects such as Personal, Social and Health Education discusses relevant issues with the children. Topics include such themes as Drugs, Sex and Relationships and Stranger Danger. Children are encouraged to explore and discuss these issues. Secondly, the curriculum is designed so that safety issues within the subject are discussed and safe practices taught, such as using equipment properly in PE and Design and Technology.
Our Lady’s provides a secure site, which is controlled by precise management directives, but the site is only as secure as the people who use it. Therefore all people on the site have to adhere to the rules, which govern it. Laxity can cause potential problems to safeguarding.
Doors should be closed to prevent intruders; all staff know the security code to get into the school. Visitors, volunteers and students must enter through the main entrance and sign in at the office counter and wear a name badge at all times.
Children will only be allowed home with adults with parental responsibility or confirmed permission, which should be provided in advance. Children should never be allowed to leave school alone during school hours, unless this has been expressly condoned by parents or guardians and if collected by an adult, they should be signed out. Should a child leave the school premises without permission then staff have been informed never to chase after a child, but rather to report the event immediately to the office. Then parents and police will be informed of the circumstances. Empty classrooms should have closed windows; doors should not be propped open unless it is to facilitate entry to a major school event.
At all times there has to be appropriate staffing levels and when the curriculum is taking out of school appropriate and agreed pupil/adult ratios are maintained.
The lead adult always should fill in a risk assessment for trips or make available any provided by the institution being visited. All trips should be authorised by the Headteacher or Deputy or the EVC.
Excellent attendance is expected of all children, but when children are unwell parents are expected to confirm absence by telephone or a letter on return to school.
The school works closely with the Local Education Welfare officer whenever a child’s attendance and punctuality causes concern. Positive measures are in place to encourage children to attend regularly and punctually and the school is aware of its right to take legal action against parents who do not ensure good attendance and punctuality.
Other Relevant Policies
The Governing Body’s legal responsibility for safeguarding the welfare of children goes beyond basic child protection procedures.
The duty is now to ensure that safeguarding permeates all activity and functions. This policy therefore complements and supports a range of other policies, for instance:
Special Educational Needs
Trips and visits
Health and Safety
Education in Personal Relationship
Attendance and Punctuality
The above list is not exhaustive but when undertaking development or planning of any kind the school will need to consider safeguarding matters.
Person who acts in the absence of the Designated Senior Member of Staff
Fr. Stephen Boyle
Governor responsible for safeguarding children