Safeguarding Policy 2019
This policy is for all staff and services users at Clyde Early Childhood Centre. Children’s Centre Workers will adhere to the Early Years Alliance policies and procedures which includes sharing information with the Designated Safeguarding team at Clyde.References to parents throughout this policy also covers carers, foster and adoptive parents, special guardianship arrangements and anyone with parental responsibility for a child.
As part of our ethos we aim to provide a happy, secure environment where children, parents, carers, service users and staff feel safe, welcomed and valued. We expect adults and children to show respect and concern for each other and to work co-operatively in supporting the development of each other.
At Clyde we believe that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everybody’s responsibility, and that everyone has a role to play. At Clyde we adopt an approach of “it could happen here” and this ensures that we are vigilant and responsive to concerns about children and vulnerable adults.
At all times the needs of the child or vulnerable adult will be considered above all else.
At Clyde safeguarding and child protection is overseen by a trained and experienced team.
The adults named below lead on safeguarding and have a responsibility to ensure that safeguarding procedures are followed by Clyde staff at all times;
Designated Person: Cathryn Kinsey-Head of Centre
Deputy Designated Persons: Dimitrios Kontozisis-Deputy Head teacher and Rachel Tambini – Assistant Head Teacher
Lead Governor: Peter Wood - Chair of Governors
Our Statement of Commitment to Safeguarding
Every member of the Clyde Early Childhood Centre staff team has a “Duty of Care” in relation to the health, development, safety and welfare of all children and vulnerable adults. We recognise that the community of children and families to whom we provide a service in Lewisham is diverse in culture, racial background, religion, social class, financial resources and ability. Whilst individual family differences will be respected, they will not be viewed as a valid explanation for clear harm to any child or adult. When concerns arise regarding the protection of children and vulnerable adults or in relation to their welfare or safety, the responsible person at Clyde Early Childhood Centre will consider making a referral to Social Care in all instances. Information from a variety of sources may be considered in order to gain the widest possible picture (context) of what may be happening for a child, vulnerable adult or family. This may include previous information known about the family, assessments and information from other professionals such as other schools, health professionals etc
Our first responsibility is towards the child as laid down in the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance (September 2018), although we will always aim to work closely in partnership with parents wherever possible.
In the case of vulnerable adults, we would endeavour to work with the family and other professional partners, including Social Care as appropriate.
This Statement forms the basis of this policy, which sets out in more detail our procedures in managing child protection.
The Clyde Early Childhood Centre staff team receive regular training in child protection and is familiar with their child protection responsibilities, including the procedure should an allegation be made against a member of staff. Staff members have refresher training every three years and all new members to the team (including students, support staff and volunteers) are informed of their role and responsibilities in keeping children safe during the induction process. Updates are shared with staff on an annual basis or more regularly as appropriate.
Our key responsibilities are to:
- be alert to possible signs of abuse, neglect or concern for a child or vulnerable adult’s welfare (Please see appendix 1.1 for additional information including the four categories of abuse)
- Be aware of the child protection procedure at Clyde and follow this at all times, keeping the child’s welfare at the centre
- Report any concerns of a child protection or safeguarding nature to the Designated Person (Cathryn Kinsey), or in their absence a Deputy.
- Keep clear and accurate records on child protection or welfare concerns – these confidential records should include clearly signed and dated entries and be stored securely by the Designated Person.
- Inform parents/carers of the setting’s child protection and safeguarding responsibilities by ensuring access to the policy, when the child starts at Clyde Early Childhood Centre and if appropriate, at the time a child protection referral is made. It is also good practice to remind parents of this responsibility at frequent intervals.
- Provide ongoing support and advice to parents, including help in developing capacity to meet their child’s needs or assistance in accessing a range of services in the area. Support may also consist of in-house support from members of the Family Support team, or attendance at a parenting course.
- Provide appropriate activities for children and their parents in helping them to gain understanding of what and who might be harmful or dangerous to children and their rights to protection.
- Establish and maintain professional relationships with children and their families. Clyde Early Childhood Centre operates a key worker system and this is central to our work with children and families (see key worker policy).
- Adopt consistent safe work practices across a whole staff team that reflect a pro-active attitude towards avoiding allegations against staff and promote high standards in childcare (see policies on Intimate Care, Key Working, Complaints and Whistleblowing).
- Ensure that the environment is safe for both children and adults to be in.
- Ensure that confidential and sensitive information about parents and children is securely stored at all times
- Maintain close relationships with our professional partners in order to develop a network of support for children, families and vulnerable adults, attending meetings as appropriate.
Designated Person with Responsibility for Safeguarding
Clyde Early Childhood Centre has a Designated Person for Safeguarding who is a member of the staff team.
This person is Cathryn Kinsey (or in her absence the Deputy or Senior Manager on duty).
The Designated Person has attended Safeguarding Children training, as has the School Governor responsible for Safeguarding Children.
The School Governor with who oversees safeguarding is Peter Wood.
The Designated Person will liaise with the governor on any issues, concerns and referrals regarding the protection, welfare or safety of children and/or their families as appropriate.
The key responsibilities for the Designated Person are to
- Ensure that their Designated Lead training is kept up to date and attend all training as required
- Be a key point for liaison across professional services including child protection agencies
- Ensure that records of children are detailed and kept securely and that “live” concerns have been followed up appropriately and that this has also been recorded.
- Ensure that information is shared with other professionals and records are transferred to schools or other settings when a child moves from Clyde.
- Seek advice from other professionals such as the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) as appropriate when deciding whether to escalate a case to Children’s Social Care or Early Help.
- Provide information on children, families and vulnerable families when requested to by other agencies such as MASH and Children’s Social Care, and to attend all meetings as required.
- Ensure that the governing body and Designated Governor are kept up to date with developments and concerns as appropriate.
- Ensure that concerns about the inaction or decisions of other agencies are raised using the Resolution of Professional Disagreement Policy and the local authority Escalation Policy.
- Develop a strategy for practitioner training, professional development and support and ensure that information is kept on site for staff to refer to should they need additional information.
- Ensure that all members of staff working at Clyde Early Childhood Centre, including Children Centre staff and members of the governing body have a current police check (DBS), and that an up to date list of these checks is kept on the premises in the form of a Single Central Register.
- Ensure the Single Central Register is accurate and up to date, and has been checked by the Governor with responsibility for Safeguarding on a regular basis.
- Ensure all policies and procedures are followed and implemented by staff, students, volunteers and visitors at all times
- Ensure that students, volunteers and trainees are supervised by permanent members of staff, and have a valid DBS check prior to starting placement at Clyde.
- Review and update guidelines every year or more frequently based on findings from local or national enquiries or local authority instructions.
- Provide support for staff with regard to the emotional impact that child protection and safeguarding may have upon them including ensuring that supervision of staff happens regularly and is appropriate for the role they are employed in. This must also include the members of the Safeguarding/Senior Leadership team
- Ensure that the provision and environment is safe and secure for both children and adults, and that risks assessments are undertaken and updated regularly, to minimise risks both on and off the premises (see Health and Safety Policy).
- Ensure that visitors are signed in and out of the building and are clearly identified to staff and parents by wearing a clearly displayed badge.
- Ensure that staff, students, volunteers and visitors do not carry or have access to their mobile phones whilst they are working with children, unless they are on an outing when they would carry a nursery phone in case of emergencies.
Key Responsibilities of the Designated Governor is to
- Ensure that their training is up to date and that they are aware of any updates
- Ensure that the Designated Lead has reviewed the policy and procedures each year and that they are in accordance with any updated information
- Have an oversight of the approach to safeguarding and child protection across the school and within children’s centre sessions and to ensure that safer recruitment practices are followed at all times.
- Lead on the proceedings regarding any allegations about staff members including the Head Teacher in accordance with the local authority Disciplinary and Whistleblowing policies.
Steps Taken when a Safeguarding Concern Arises
Clyde Early Childhood Centre recognises that a concern for a child’s and/or parent/carer’s protection, welfare or safety can arise at any time and can come to the practitioners notice through;
- A change in the child’s or adult’s behaviour, including signs of discomfort or distress or over-compliance
- Physical signs of harm or neglect
- What a child or parent might say
- Information received from a third party
- Behaviour witnessed off site by either a member of staff, parent or concerned member of the public
- Disengagement with professionals and increased isolation
- Sudden change in finances or living arrangements
- Avoidance or withdrawal of the child from nursery or older children from school
- Something a professional, parent, visitor or colleague has said or done
There wider context of what is also known about the family will also be considered when considering the plan of action following a concern being raised. This may include other information known about the family or situation, services that have already been accessed, local events, information shared by other schools and professionals.
There is more information in Appendix One on different signs and symptoms of potential abuse.
Working from a basis of “it could happen here” and having identified the concern for the child or adult, it will be necessary to assess the level of seriousness and consider the most appropriate course of action. Such decisions should be made in consultation with Cathryn Kinsey, the Designated Person (or the Deputy in her absence) and an appropriate course of action taken such as a discussion with the parents or carers, monitoring of a situation, referral to Social Care, or referral to another agency.
Details of the concerns for the child and/or their siblings and parents should be recorded on a yellow concerns form as soon after the observation was made, as possible.
These written records should contain as much detail as possible and be signed (with printed name in brackets), and dated. These should either be given to the Designated Lead (or Deputy) or placed in the drawer in the office which is used for this purpose. Once addressed these yellow forms will be stored securely by the Designated Person (Cathryn Kinsey) or her Deputy.
Copies of these notes will be shared with other relevant professionals as appropriate.
It is the responsibility of the staff member to follow up what has happened as a result of their concern with the Designated Officer and to alert another member of the Safeguarding team if they do not think that the course of action has been appropriate or relevant.
If the situation or incident is serious then a referral may be made to Children’s Social Care, Children’s Centre Family Support or another professional agency. If the child or vulnerable adult is in imminent danger then the police should be contacted in the first instance.
The Designated Lead will discuss the concerns with the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) Education Lead (Lisa Thornley 0208 314 6829) before referring to Children’s Social Care.
The Designated Lead will also use the local authority Continuum of Need to establish the most appropriate agency to refer the family to and complete the appropriate referral form. In the case of Children’s Social Care and Early Help an Early Help Assessment should be completed and emailed to MASHagency@lewisham.gov.uk. Referrals for family support should be done using the children’s centre referral form or Early Help assessment and emailed to email@example.com
Wherever possible the family should be informed of a referral in advance of it happening and consent gained. However, if the situation is likely to deteriorate by doing this, or if the Designated Lead has been advised not to inform the family then a referral may still be made if it is felt to be in the best interests of the child.
Any member of staff has the authority to contact Children’s Social Care, MASH or the police and should do so if they feel that the appropriate action has not been taken by the Designated Lead or Safeguarding team.
If this happens then the Designated Governor (Peter Wood) should be informed by the member of staff making the referral as soon as possible.
Working in Partnership
In relation to children the Clyde Early Childhood Centre staff team will inform parents of their child protection duties from the time a parent takes up a place within the setting and a leaflet about this is given to parents. There is also a copy of the full policy on the school website (www.clydenurseryschool.co.uk).
Information on what to do if a parent or visitor has concerns about a child are on display around the centre and parents and staff are encouraged to discuss anything they are worried about.
When we have concerns for a child’s protection, welfare or safety, our aim will always be to provide ongoing support and advice to parents. However, if the concern is serious a referral to Children’s Social Care is made and wherever possible the parents will be contacted before to discuss the nature of the concerns. The Designated Person will ensure that the parents are approached with respect and sensitivity throughout any discussions.
However, if there is an immediate concern about the child’s welfare or safety, or if there is a possibility that the police may need to be involved in an investigation, then we may need to contact Children’s Social Care first to decide who is the best person to talk with the parents.
All concerns are recorded by staff using a yellow Concerns form and shared with the Designated Person. At Clyde this is the Head of Centre Cathryn Kinsey, or a Deputy Designated Officer in her absence.
Concerns of a child protection nature will not be made public knowledge within the setting; they will however need to be shared with other relevant professional services.
With regards to a vulnerable adult, concerns would be discussed within the Senior Leadership Team and family support would be offered. However, if this would not be appropriate or if the adult had already been in receipt of support, then a referral to external agencies would be considered.
Staff must ensure that their relationships with families, parents and carers are on a strictly professional basis and that their personal feelings, emotions or experiences must not interfere with the way in which they safeguard children and vulnerable adults.
Mobile Phones and Social Media
Staff, governors, students and visitors are not permitted to carry their personal mobile phones or have access to them when working with children.
In the case of Stay and Play and crèche sessions staff should not have access to their personal mobiles phones for the duration of the session.
Photos of staff, children, parents and the centre are not permitted to be shared on social media without full agreement and prior knowledge of the Head of Centre or Deputy as well as agreement from the families/individuals concerned. Photos of children and families can be taken by staff out in the community eg on a home visit, but only with consent and only using a work camera or phone. These must deleted or uploaded onto a school computer as soon as possible and deleted once used.
Members of staff, governors, volunteers, students and visitors are not permitted to discuss work issues, families or colleagues using social media. Confidential information must not be discussed at any time outside of accepted forums such as reviews, meetings, Team Around the Family meetings etc
All breaches of this will be taken very seriously and will be subject to disciplinary procedures where applicable.
Allegations Made Against a Member of Staff
Clyde Early Childhood Centre will always consider an allegation made against a practitioner or volunteer as a serious Safeguarding matter in the first instance. Allegations may be made by a child, parent, and another member of staff or member of the public, volunteer, student or visitor to Clyde including Governors. An allegation may relate to something that has happened recently or some time ago, but must be taken seriously at any event. Allegations will not be minimised or ignored.
If an allegation is made then,
- The Designated Person (Cathryn Kinsey or her Deputy) must be informed immediately.
- Where the allegation concerns the Designated Person, the Deputy must be informed at once.
- The Designated Person or Deputy will collect information to ascertain facts and to decide on the best course of action
- The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) must be contacted for advice and guidance regarding the allegation – Finola Owens 0208 314 3114
- Any information gathering must be carried out discreetly (This will not take the form of formal interviews or statements as this may form part of any later investigation). The information gathering may also include whether the person involved was in work at that time, whether the allegation may have arisen as the result of any conflict, whether there were any witnesses and their opinion of what may have taken place and whether the member of staff is known to have any particular beliefs. Open ended questions will be used by the Designated Person or Deputy, simply to establish as to whether the incident could have happened.
- A referral will be made to Social Care if appropriate and Clyde Early Childhood Centre will co-operate fully in the investigation process. The Governor with responsibility for Safeguarding (Peter Wood) must also be informed. OFSTED will be informed of all allegations made against practitioners (including agency staff, students and volunteers) by the registered person (Cathryn Kinsey, Head of Centre) or their nominee for Safeguarding.
- The centre’s disciplinary procedure will only be initiated in agreement with the local authority Lewisham Schools HR, Safeguarding Children Partnership, Children’s Social Care or other agencies. The Designated Person will follow advice, guidance and instructions provided regarding the member of staff whom the allegation has been made against.
- Where the allegation concerns an agency member of staff, the agency would be informed immediately.
- A member of staff will not be allowed to leave to avoid an investigation, and it is the responsibility of the Designated Person (or their Deputy) to ensure that the process is completed.
- The results of any investigations should be kept on the member of staff’s individual confidential Personnel file and the information shared with Human Resources.
Allegations made against practitioners should not be made public knowledge within the provision. It is recognised however that those who need to know that a suspension has been made, if appropriate, will not need to know the nature of the suspension. This should be kept confidential.
The appropriate professional body and/or the vetting and barring board will be informed, should any practitioner, student or volunteer be dismissed on the grounds of misconduct.
Recruitment and Selection
Members of the Senior Leadership Team and Governing body have been trained on Safer Recruitment and ensure that the protocols are followed at all times (see Safer Recruitment protocols).
All members of the Clyde Early Childhood team are carefully recruited, for their suitability to work with children and their families. Child protection forms part of the Person Specification and therefore short listing criteria. Prior to interview, two references are sought for each short listed candidate and the individual candidate’s knowledge and experience is also tested at interview level.
The centre routinely conducts checks, inducts and trains all members of the team in high standards of safeguarding practice and works to the provision professional code of practice.
All members of the team have been DBS checked prior to taking up employment at Clyde Early Childhood Centre, and a list of these checks is kept onsite as part of the Single Central Register. This document is kept securely and contains details of staff, governors and other people who may come into contact with the children at the centre such as therapists, students and agency staff. The register is checked for accuracy and up to date details on a regular basis by both the Designated Person and the Governor with responsibility for Safeguarding.
- Intimate Care Policy
- Health and Safety
- Whistleblowing Policy
- ICT and Use of the Internet Policy
- Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures
- Outings Policy
- Risk Assessments Folder
- Protocol for the Management of Allegations Against Adults who Work with Children
- Safer Recruitment protocol
Date to be reviewed October 2019
There are four categories of abuse although children and vulnerable adults may be subjected to more than one type as a time.
Abuse and harm are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm.
Physical abuse - these include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child which is now known as fabricated or induced illness.
Emotional abuse – persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse affects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only in so far that they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability as well as over protection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another, it may involve serious bullying, causing children to feel frequently frightened or in danger or the exploitation of corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse - involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non penetrative acts. They may include non contact activities, such as children looking at, or in the production of, sexual on line images, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexual inappropriate ways.
Neglect – the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy, as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born it may involve a parent failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical or emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care givers); ensure access to appropriate care or treatment. It may also include neglect of or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
These definitions are taken from the Working Together to Safeguard Children document
Indicators of abuse and what you might see
Physical signs define some types of abuse such as bruising or bleeding from physical or sexual abuse or injuries a child might arrive with from injuries sustained whilst they have not been adequately supervised. The identification of injuries can be complicated as some children and families will take care to hide them.
At Clyde when a child arrives with a pre-existing injury, parents are required to complete a form with a member of staff explaining what has happened. These forms are kept and reviewed and may be further explored with the family by the Designated Lead if it felt that the injury could have been prevented or if there is a pattern emerging.
Changes in behaviour and well-being for children, parents and vulnerable adults must also be noted as this can be a sign that someone is being abused.
All concerns, no matter how small they appear to be, should be raised with the Designated Lead or Deputy.
It is also recognised that there are additional factors which may cause harm to children and vulnerable adults including;
Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adults
Female Genital Mutilation
Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage/Spirit Based Possession
Peer on Peer Abuse
More information on these can be found from a member of the safeguarding team or online.
Whilst the children at Clyde may be too young to be directly involved in some of these behaviours they can nevertheless be witness to and experience the impact of these types of abuse. They may also disclose information about things that are happening within their families or communities and staff should be aware of these types of abuse and what to look out for.