Safeguarding Policy

Policy Statement

At Helen’s Place, we believe that all children and adults at risk have the right to live free from abuse, neglect or exploitation. At the heart of all we do at Helen’s Place are the welfare, safeguarding and protection of all young people and adults with whom we work. As we are placed in a position of trust when we work with young people and adults, we must do all we can to ensure that these rights are upheld. We take our responsibility towards the safeguarding and protection of those in our care and those who work with them. As part of this responsibility, we have to ensure that certain policies and practices are in place, in the event that we are concerned about the safety of those in our care.

We work closely with schools and parnets/carers as well as other individuals to ensure that our work is undertaken safely; all workers with Helen’s Place have undergone an Enhanced DBS check and training in safeguarding and child protection before working. This training is updated yearly and includes understanding the importance of safeguarding, the identification and accurate reporting of concerns surrounding either a child’s or the welfare of an ‘adult at risk’. Where our work is undertaken in a third party’s setting, their safeguarding and child protection policies are read and understood by our workers prior to any work taking place.

Scope

Safeguarding is defined as:

  • ensuring that children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
  • acting to enable all children to have the best life chances
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development and
  • protecting children and adults at risk from maltreatment.

The term ‘safeguarding children’ covers a range of measures including child protection procedures. It encompasses a preventative approach to keeping children and ‘adults at risk’ safe that incorporates pupil health and safety; school behaviour and preventing bullying; supporting pupils with medical conditions; personal, health, social economic education; providing first aid and site security.

This policy applies to all workers at Helen’s Place.

For the purposes of this policy:

  • Workers refers to all those working for or on behalf of Helen’s Place, full time or part time, in a paid or regular voluntary capacity.
  • A volunteer is a person who performs an activity that involves spending time, unpaid for Helen’s Place (except for approved expenses).
  • Parent refers to birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, for example step-parents, foster carers and adoptive parents.
  • Child refers to all children on our school roll and any child under the age of 18 who comes into contact with our school. This includes unborn babies.
  • Adults at risk refers to any adult who has been identified as at risk of safeguarding issues.

Any safeguarding concerns or disclosures of abuse relating to a child at school or outside of work undertaken by Helen’s Place are within the scope of this policy.

It is expected that all workers are:

  • familiar with this safeguarding policy and have an opportunity to contribute to its review.
  • alert to signs and indicators of possible abuse.
  • able to record and report concerns as set out in this policy.
  • able to deal with a disclosure of abuse from a child.
  • involved in the implementation of individual education programmes, integrated support plans, child in need plans and interagency child protection plans as required.

All workers have also read and understood Part 1 of the latest version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE 2019). All workers working directly with children have also read Annex A.

Conduct/Behaviour

Workers representing Helen’s Place are expected to conduct themselves to the highest professional standards. They should adhere to the Teaching Standards and ethical guidelines from BERA as outlined by central government and maintain public confidence in their role as teachers, researchers and representatives of Helen’s Place. Where this is not the case, complaints should be addressed to Dr Ross and an investigation will take place.

Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.

While the organisation does not have a Designated Safeguarding Officer, we work within Wiltshire and adhere to Wiltshire procedures for supporting young people in our care and adults at risk. Details of these procedures can be found here.

In the event of concerns relating to the welfare of young people or adults at risk within the professional activities of Helen Place, these should be reported to:

Dr Helen Ross, Owner and Founder, Helen’s Place Education Consultancy.

Tel: 07541 557827 or Email: helen@helensplace.co.uk

Where concerns relate to Dr Ross, they should be addressed to the Wiltshire Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456 0108 (08:45am-5pm Mon-Thurs and 8:45am-4pm, Friday). Further information can be found here: http://www.wiltshirescb.org.uk/ . Where concerns relate to events or settings outside of Wiltshire, their Local Authority Designated Safeguarding Team should be contacted for advice.

Identifying signs of abuse

All workers know how to recognised, and are alert to the signs of neglect and abuse. Definitions of abuse, set out in ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused  – Advice for Practitioners’ (2015) and ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2019) along with notes from Safeguarding training, are important reference documents for all workers. Every worker is provided with a copy of Part 1 of KCSiE which they are required to read and which also includes supporting guidance about several specific safeguarding issues. Those who work directly with children are also required to read Annex A of KCSiE (2019).

Responding to Concerns or Disclosures of abuse.

              At Helen’s Place, we adhere to the following Dos and Don’ts when concerned about abuse or when responding to a disclosure of abuse.

Dos:

  • create a safe environment by offering the child a private and safe place if possible.
  • stay calm and reassure the child and stress that he/she is not to blame.
  • tell the child that you know how difficult it must have been to confide in you.
  • listen carefully and tell the child what you are going to do next.
  • use the ‘tell me’, ‘explain’, ‘describe’ and/or mirroring strategy.
  • tell only the Designated or Deputy Safeguarding Lead.
  • record in detail using the Welfare Concern Record without delay, using the child’s own words where possible.

Don’ts:

  • take photographs of any injuries.
  • postpone or delay the opportunity for the pupil to talk.
  • take notes while the pupil is speaking or ask the pupil to write an account.
  • try to investigate the allegation yourself. 
  • promise confidentiality eg say you will keep ‘the secret’.
  • approach or inform the alleged abuser

All reports of abuse or concerns are securely kept by Helen’s Place and reported to the appropriate organisation. Where appropriate, the MASH will contacted for advice on how to proceed. A record will be kept of any contact made.

The voice of the child is central to our safeguarding practice and pupils are encouraged to express and have their views given due weight in all matters affecting them.

Those with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Individuals with additional needs face an increased risk of abuse and neglect. Therefore, we take extra care to interpret correctly apparent signs of abuse or neglect. We never assume that behaviour, mood or injury relates to the individual’s additional needs without further exploration. At Helen’s Place, we understand that additional challenges can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in individuals with SEND, including communication barriers. We recognise that those with SEND are also at a higher risk of peer group isolation and can be disproportionately affected by bullying.

To address those additional challenges, we work with the individuals’ school, parents/carers and those with caring responsibility to identify those with additional communication needs so that whenever possible, these pupils are given the chance to express themselves to a member of staff with appropriate communication skills.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.  We will inform the authorities immediately if we suspect a girl is at risk of FGM.  We will report to the police any ‘known’ cases of FGM to the police as required by law.

Peer on Peer abuse

All individuals have a right to live and learn in a safe environment. All peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously. We recognise that while both boys and girls can abuse their peers, it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys instigators of such abuse. Peer on peer abuse is not tolerated, passed off as “banter” or seen as “part of growing up”. It is likely to include, but not limited to:

  • bullying (including cyber bullying)
  • gender based violence/sexual assaults
  • sexting
  • ‘upskirting’ or any picture taken under a person’s clothing without them knowing to obtain sexual gratification or cause humiliation or distress.
  • initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

Consequently, peer on peer abuse is dealt with as a safeguarding issue, recorded as such. We liaise with other professionals, where concerns or disclosures are recorded.

Preventing radicalisation

Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of our wider safeguarding duties and is similar in nature to protecting individuals from other forms of harm and abuse.

We use our judgement in identifying individual who might be at risk of radicalisation and seek advice from the MASH if we are concerned about an individual..

Serious violence

At Helen’s Place, we are trained to recognise both the early warning signs that individuals may be at risk of getting involved in gangs as well as indicators that a young person is involved in serious violent crime. Where concerns are noted or a disclosure is made, referreal to the MASH will be made and subsequent recommendations adhered to.  

Whistleblowing

All workers can raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school safeguarding regime. If a worker feels unable to raise an issue with the procedures relating to safeguarding and/or child protection at Helen’s Place, or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, whistleblowing channels are open to them:

  • The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline. Individualsf can call: 0800 028 0285 from 08:00 to 20:00, Monday to Friday, or email help@nspcc.org.uk.
  • The Wiltshire MASH on 0300 456 0108 (08:45am-5pm Mon-Thurs and 8:45am-4pm, Friday). Further information can be found here: http://www.wiltshirescb.org.uk/ .

Policy written by Dr Helen Ross 13th November 2019. To be reviewed 13th November 2020

Related legislation and key documents

Children Act 1989 (and 2004 update): The Children Act 1989 gives every child the right to protection from abuse and exploitation and the right to have enquires made to safeguard his or her welfare. The Act place duties on several agencies, including schools, to assist Social Services departments acting on behalf of children and young people in need (s17) or enquiring into allegations of child abuse (s47). 

Education Act 2002 – This requires schools to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Education.

Sexual Offences Act 2003 – This act sets out an offence of ‘abuse of trust’ – a sexual or otherwise inappropriate relationship between an adult who is responsible for young people and a young person in his/her care.

Information Sharing – Department for Education (DfE) Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers 2018 This advice is for all frontline practitioners and senior managers working with children, young people, parents and carers who have to make decisions about sharing personal information on a case by case basis.

Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CTSA 2015), section 26 requires all schools, in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) Section 53(3) and (4) of this applies to schools if they broker student accommodation with host families for which the host family receives a payment from a third party, such as a language school. At a future date, the regulated activity provider will have a duty to carry out a barred list check on any new carer – section 34ZA Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

The Teachers’ Standards (2013) set a clear baseline of expectations for the professional practice and conduct of teachers and define the minimum level of practice expected of teachers in England.

Children Missing Education (2016) Statutory guidance for local authorities and advice for other groups on helping children who are missing education get back into it.

Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges (2017) Advice for schools and colleges on how to prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence and harassment between children.