Safeguarding And Child Protection Policy
SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Plymouth Grove Primary School
The Headteacher who has the ultimate responsibility for safeguarding is Michael Cooke
In their absence, the authorised member of staff is Lynda Smith (Deputy Headteacher)
KEY SCHOOL STAFF & ROLES
Location and/or Contact Phone Number
Deputy Headteacher and SENDCo, LAC DP, Attendance lead
Senior Safeguarding Officer
Parent Support and Multi-Agency Liaison Officer
NAMED GOVERNOR * for Safeguarding & Prevent
Contact Phone Number/Email
Our procedure if there is a concern about child welfare or safeguarding is:-
All staff, volunteers and visitors have a responsibility to report any concerns about the welfare and safety of a child and all such concerns must be taken seriously. If a concern arises all staff, volunteers and visitors must:
If necessary contact:
Our procedure if there is an allegation that an adult has harmed a child, or that a child is at risk from a named adult is;
Our Whistleblowing procedure if staff and volunteers wish to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in our safeguarding regime internally or externally is as follow:
This policy will be reviewed at annually unless an incident or new legislation or guidance suggests the need for an interim review
Ratification by Governing Body
Date of ratification
Chair of Governors
2. Roles & Responsibilities
3. Training & Awareness Raising
4. Safeguarding/Child Protection Policy & Procedures
5. Case Management, Record Keeping & Multi-agency
6. The Curriculum
8. Safer Recruitment
9. Managing Allegations
10. Safety On & Off-Site
- Part 1 of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE), statutory guidance to be read by all staff *
- Legislation, Statutory Guidance & Ofsted Framework *
- Non-Statutory Guidance
- MCC & MSP *
- Other Relevant School Policies/Procedures
- Other Relevant LA Education Department
This Policy covers the following Rights in respect of UNICEF’s The Convention On The
Rights Of The Child:
- Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.
- Article 15 (Freedom of association): Children have the right to meet together and to join groups and organisations, as long as it does not stop other people from enjoying their rights. In exercising their rights, children have the responsibility to respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others.
- Article 16 (Right to privacy): Children have a right to privacy. The law should protect them from attacks against their way of life, their good name, their families and their homes
- Article 19 (Protection from all forms of violence): Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally.
- Article 28: (Right to education): All children have the right to a primary education, which should be free. Discipline in schools should respect children’s dignity. For children to benefit from education, schools must be run in an orderly way. Any form of school discipline should take into account the child's human dignity.
- Article 29 (Goals of education): Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. It should encourage children to respect others, human rights and their own and other cultures. It should also help them learn to live peacefully, protect the environment and respect other people.
- Article 31 (Leisure, play and culture): Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.
- Article 37 (Detention and punishment): No one is allowed to punish children in a cruel or harmful way.
Through this policy we aim to create and maintain a safe learning environment where all children and adults feel safe, secure and valued and know they will be listened to and taken seriously.
This policy has been developed to ensure that all adults in our school are working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to identify and address any safeguarding concerns and to ensure consistent good practice.
Our approach is child-centred.
‘Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.’ (KCSIE)
See Appendix A, Part 1 of KCSIE, for definitions of Significant Harm, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse and Neglect from and further information about Complex Safeguarding Issues including Child Sexual Exploitation, Peer on Peer Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Radicalisation, Forced Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, Modern Slavery, Knife Crime, County Lines in the full statutory guidance.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children goes beyond implementing basic child protection procedures. The aims of this policy are in accordance with both our Vision and our Equal Opportunities Policy and it is an integral part of all of our activities and functions.
‘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 grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.’ (KCSIE draft update, p 5, September 2019)
All adults and children treat each other with mutual respect and consideration, relating to the 42 rights of the UNICEF ‘Children’s Rights Convention’.
- Under the Education Act 2002, schools have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils and are committed to the guidance set out in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’ and ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education.’ Our policy ensures that we comply with our Statutory Duties (Appendix A & B)
- Our policy takes account of non-statutory guidance issued by the DfE and other relevant organisations (Appendix C)
- Our policy ensures that we work in partnership with other organisations, where appropriate, to identify any concerns about child welfare and take action to address them and that we comply with local policies, procedures and arrangements (Appendices D & F)
- Our policy complements and supports other relevant school policies (Appendix E).
2. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT
2.1 Our Headteacher will ensure that:-
- The policies and procedures adopted by the Governing Body to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils are fully implemented and followed by all staff, including volunteers and that they are regularly updated in response to local practice or national changes in legislation.
- All staff and volunteers understand and comply with our Code of Conduct.
- We evaluate our safeguarding policies & procedures at least on an annual basis and return our completed Safeguarding and SEF online audit to the LA as requested
- A Designated Senior Member of staff, known as the DSL, for child protection is identified and receives appropriate on-going training, support and supervision as well as sufficient time and resources to enable them to discharge their responsibilities.
- Parents/carers are aware of and have an understanding of our responsibilities to promote the safety and welfare of its pupils by making our statutory obligations clear in our prospectus.
- The Safeguarding policy is available on our website and is included in the staff handbook and volunteers’ handbook.
- Child friendly information of how to raise a concern/make a disclosure has been developed through pupil voice with Plymouth Grove Parliament and is accessible to all children in the classrooms, all shared areas and in the toilets.
- We cooperate fully with MCC and MSCB multi-agency safeguarding procedures and arrangements are in place to monitor the quality of referrals and interventions. All CPOMs entries are monitored by all four designated safeguarding leads.
- We create a culture whereby all staff, volunteers and visitors feel confident and have knowledge of how to raise a concern about poor or unsafe practice in regard to the safeguarding and welfare of the children and such concerns are addressed sensitively and effectively. All visitors will receive a summary of our safeguarding policy. Any staff from supply agencies will be informs of safeguarding arrangements by year group or phase leads.
- Any staff commissioned from external agencies/ organisations have been DBS checked and their employing organisations have safeguarding policies in place, including safer recruitment and annual safeguarding training appropriate to roles.
- We have appropriate procedures to ensure that there is no risk to children from visitors and we exercise diligence and prevent any organisation or speaker from using our facilities to disseminate extremist views or radicalise pupils and staff. We have an external speaker’s policy.
2.2 Our Governing Body will ensure that:-
- All policies, procedures and training in our school are effective and comply with the law at all times.
- Named members are identified as the designated governors for Safeguarding and Prevent and receive appropriate training.
- The identified Safeguarding governor will provide the governing body with appropriate information about safeguarding and will liaise with the team of designated safeguarding leads.
- Our safeguarding policy and our staff Code of Conduct are reviewed at least annually. In the autumn term.
- We operate safer recruitment and selection practices, including appropriate use of references and checks on new staff and volunteers. All adverts will be reviewed by te safeguarding governor.
- We have procedures in place for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers and these are in line with Local Authority procedures.
- All staff and volunteers who have regular contact with children receive appropriate training and information about the safeguarding processes. Safeguarding training will be completed in September during staff INSET. Any staff unable to attend will receive safeguarding training by the designated safeguarding leads.
- There is appropriate challenge and QA of the safeguarding policies and procedures. The policy and procedures will be shared during the safeguarding training and are in line with MSCB procedures.
2.3 The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) has a specific responsibility for championing the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. The DSL team will:
- Act as the first point of contact with regards to all safeguarding matters.
- Attend specialist DSL training every two years.
- Keep up to date with changes in local policy and procedures, be aware of any guidance issued by the DfE concerning safeguarding and update school procedures/policies as necessary
- Provide support and training for staff and volunteers. Impact will be monitored through the use of CPOMs and safeguarding reports to governors.
- Ensure that all referrals made to Children’s Services are effective and in line with MSCB procedures. This will be monitored through the annual section 11 safeguarding audit and through attendance at LA designated safeguarding lead training events.
- Ensure that all staff with specific responsibility for safeguarding children, receive the appropriate supervision to undertake this role. This will be facilitated through monthly designated safeguarding lead training.
- Ensure that all staff and volunteers understand and are aware of our reporting and recording procedures and are clear about what to do if they have a concern about a child.
- Always be available during school hours during term-time, and at other times as designated by the Headteacher. The designated safeguarding team will monitor emails and CPOMs for any safeguarding issues that arise during holidays.
2.4 All staff in the school, including supply staff and volunteers have responsibility for safeguarding, according to their roles and under the guidance of the DSL.
All staff will:-
- Follow our agreed Code of Conduct
- Attend training sessions/briefings as required to ensure that they are aware of the
signs of Abuse, Neglect, Complex Safeguarding Concerns and key LA
approaches including Early Help and Signs of Safety
- Attend training sessions/briefings as required to ensure that they follow relevant
- Provide a safe environment where children can learn
- Ensure that the behaviour policy is not used to demean or impact on a child’s dignity.
- Be approachable to children and respond appropriately to any disclosures
- Never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about an allegation, as this
may not ultimately be in the best interest of the child
- Know what to do if they have a concern and follow our agreed procedures for
recording concerns, sharing information and making referrals
- Attend multi-agency meetings as required, if appropriate to their role
- Contribute to the teaching of safeguarding in the curriculum as required, if
appropriate to their role
- Provide targeted support for individuals and groups of children as required, if
appropriate to their role
Teaching staff have additional statutory duties, including to report any cases of known or suspected Female Genital Mutilation.
3.TRAINING AND AWARENESS RAISING
- All new staff and regular volunteers will receive appropriate safeguarding information during induction. The team of designated leaders has specialisms in different areas including autism, FGM, Domestic violence. There is a team approach to safeguarding training including face to face training and training through the virtual college and Educare.
- All staff must ensure that they have read and understood ‘KCSIE’ part one (Appendix A). as part of the safeguarding training , any updates to KCSIE are shared with staff through the policy updates.
- All staff will receive annual child protection training/refresher which includes basic safeguarding information about our policies and procedures, signs and symptoms of abuse (emotional and physical), indicators of vulnerability to radicalisation, how to manage a disclosure from a child as well as when and how to record a concern about the welfare of a child. Safeguarding training is delivered by the designated safeguarding lead team.
- All staff members will receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates in relation to local and national changes, but at least annually, providing them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively. Staff briefings are used to update staff on any local and national changes.
- - SAFEGUARDING/CHILD PROTECTION POLICY & PROCEDURES
- PUPIL VOICE
Children are encouraged to contribute to the development of policies and share their views. Plymouth Grove School has its own parliament that meet weekly. Policy developments are shared with school parliament.
Classrooms will contain a listening box so that children are able to record concerns.
4.2.1 We view poor attendance as a safeguarding issue and in accordance with our Attendance Policy, absences are rigorously pursued and recorded. In partnership with the appropriate agencies, we take action to pursue and address all unauthorised absences in order to safeguard the welfare of children in our care.
- Our Attendance Policy identifies how individual cases are managed and how we work proactively with parents/carers to ensure that they understand why attendance is important. In certain cases. This may form part of an Early Help Assessment (EHA) or a Parenting Contract.
- We implement the statutory requirements in terms of monitoring and reporting children missing education (CME) and off-rolling and understand how important this practice is in safeguarding children and young people. A member of the designated safeguarding team has a CME role.
4.3.1 The DSL will be involved when a fixed term or permanent exclusion is being discussed and any safeguarding issues will be considered. Where it is felt that a child or young person is likely to be permanently excluded a multi-agency assessment will be instigated to ensure that there is improved understanding of the needs of the young person and their family and that the key agencies are involved.
4.4 VULNERABLE GROUPS
4.4.1 We ensure all key staff work together to safeguard vulnerable children. Any referrals to CPOMS include the four designated leads so that the most appropriate person can be allocated a case.
4.4.2 Any child may benefit from early help at times, but all staff will be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
- is disabled and has specific additional needs;
- has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory education, health and care plan);
- is a young carer;
- is misusing drugs or alcohol;
- is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as substance abuse, adult mental health problems or domestic abuse
- is an international new arrival, refugee or asylum seeker
- is looked after, previously looked after or under a special guardianship order. (see further information in paragraph 4.4.4
4.4.3 Children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. All staff are aware that 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, and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration, being more prone to peer group isolation the potential for being disproportionately impacted by behaviours such as bullying without outwardly showing any signs; and communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
4.4.4 We ensure that all staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep looked after and previously looked after children safe. This will include:
- Appropriate staff having information they need in relation to a child’s looked after legal status. (whether they are looked after under voluntary arrangements with consent of parents or on an interim or full care order) and contact arrangements with birth parents or those with parental responsibility.
- Information about the child’s care arrangements and the levels of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after him/her. The designated safeguarding lead should have details of the child’s social worker and the name of the virtual school head in the authority that looks after the child.
5 - CASE MANAGEMENT, RECORD KEEPING & MULTI-AGENCY WORKING
- KEEPING RECORDS
We use CPOMS for recording all safeguarding concerns. All designated safeguarding leads are copied into every CPOMS referral. Records are kept in line with our school records management policy.
- We keep and maintain up to date information on children on the school roll including where and with whom the child is living, attainment, attendance, referrals to and support from other agencies. The record will also include a chronology of any other significant event in a child’s life.
- We keep copies of all referrals to Children and Families Services, the Early Help Hub and any other agencies related to safeguarding children.
- We keep secure the safeguarding records.
- We send a pupil’s child protection or safeguarding file separately from the main file to a new establishment if a pupil leaves the school and keep a copy of the file in accordance with our Transfer of Records Policy (See Appendix E) and LA Guidance (See Appendix F)
- RECORDING AND REPORTING CONCERNS
- All staff, volunteers and visitors have a responsibility to report any concerns about the welfare and safety of a child and all such concerns must be taken seriously (Appendix A). If a concern arises all staff, volunteers and visitors must:
- Speak to the DSL or the person who acts in their absence
- Agree with this person what action should be taken, by whom and when it will be reviewed
- Record the concern using our safeguarding recording system CPOMS
- INFORMING PARENTS/CARERS
- Our responsibility is to safeguard and promote the welfare of all the children in our care. We aim to do this in partnership with our parents/carers and would expect them to provide up to date contact details.
- In most cases parents/carers will be informed when concerns are raised about the safety and welfare of their child and given the opportunity to address any concerns raised. We will aim to engage with parents/carers through the LA Early Help processes, including carrying out an Early Help Assessment (EHA).
5.3.3 We will inform, and gain consent, from parents/carers if possible, if a referral is to be made to the Children’s Social Care Service or any other agency unless it is believed that doing so would put the child at risk, eg in cases of suspected domestic abuse. We will record the reasons, if consent is not gained.
- MULTI-AGENCY WORKING
- We will develop effective links with other relevant agencies and co-operate as required with any enquiries regarding child protection issues.
- We will notify Children’s Social Care if:
- a child subject to a child protection plan is at risk of permanent exclusion.
- there is an unexplained absence of a child who is subject to a child protection plan of more than two days from school.
- it has been agreed as part of any child protection plan or core group plan.
- CONFIDENTIALITY & INFORMATION SHARING
We have a confidentiality policy that provides greater detail relating to confidentiality and information sharing.
- Staff will ensure that confidentiality protocols are followed and under no circumstances will they disclose any information about children outside of their professional role.
- Information about children will only be shared with other members of staff on a need to know basis.
- All staff and volunteers understand that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies, if in the child’s best interests, in order to safeguard them.
- CHILD PROTECTION (CP), CHILD IN NEED (CiN) & TEAM AROUND THE
CHILD/FAMILY (TAC/TAF) MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES
- Members of staff who are asked to attend a CP conference or other core group meetings about an individual pupil/family will need to have as much relevant updated information about the child as possible.
- A CP conference will be held if it is considered that the child is suffering or at risk of significant harm.
- Every effort will be made to ensure that we contribute to and attend CP and CiN conferences and reviews. Attendance at meetings during school holidays will be based on the availability of the team.
- We aim to comply with local arrangements to prepare and submit reports for CP conferences within the required timescales. Attempts will be made to discuss and share reports with the parents/carers. We will use the most up to date proforma.
- CONCERNS/DISCLOSURES BY CHILDREN, STAFF & VOLUNTEERS
5.7.1 Any concern, disclosure or expression of disquiet made by a child will be listened
to seriously and acted upon as quickly as possible to safeguard his or her welfare.
- All staff and volunteers must be clear with children that they cannot promise to keep secrets.
- We will make sure that the child or adult who has expressed the concern or made the complaint will be informed not only about the action to be taken but also where possible about the length of time required to resolve the complaint.
- We will endeavour to keep the child or adult informed about the progress of the complaint/expression of concern.
- SERIOUS CASE REVIEWS
5.8.1 The MSP will always undertake a serious case review when a child dies (including death by suicide) and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor in their death. If required, we will cooperate fully with the review process.
Our DSL will keep up to date with the findings from SCRs in Manchester and share the learning and review our safeguarding procedures if relevant. This will include attendance at SCR meetings held by MSP and updates provided by the LA’s safeguarding newsletter.
- THE CURRICULUM
We are committed to promoting emotional health and well-being and to supporting the development of the skills needed to help children keep themselves safe and healthy, develop their self-esteem, develop resilience and understand the responsibilities of adult life, particularly in regard to child care and parenting skills. The school’s curriculum is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We also base our curriculum on Manchester’s curriculum for life.
- All children have access to an appropriate curriculum, differentiated to meet their needs. They are encouraged to express and discuss their ideas, thoughts and feelings through a variety of activities and have access to a range of cultural opportunities which promote the fundamental British values of tolerance, respect and empathy for others.
- This enables them to learn to develop the necessary skills to build self-esteem, respect others, defend those in need, resolve conflict without resorting to violence, question and challenge and to make informed choices in later life.
- There is access to a range of extra-curricular activities which promotes these values and supports the social, spiritual, moral well-being and physical and mental health of the pupils.
- Personal Health and Social Education and Citizenship lessons provide opportunities for children and young people to discuss and debate a range of subjects including lifestyles, knowing and understanding how to keep themselves safe and different family patterns.
- We take account of the latest advice and guidance provided to help address specific vulnerabilities, risks and forms of exploitation e.g. CSE, Radicalisation and Extremism, Modern Slavery, County Lines, Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage.
7 . E-SAFETY
7.1 E-safety is a safeguarding issue not an ICT issue. The purpose of Internet use in our school/setting/college is to help raise educational standards, promote children's’ achievement, and support the professional work of staff, as well as enhance our management information and business administration.
7.2 The internet is an essential element in 21st century life for education, business and social interaction and we have a duty to provide children with quality access to it as part of their learning experience.
7.4 We will ensure that appropriate filtering methods are in place to ensure that children are safe from all types of inappropriate and unacceptable materials, including terrorist and extremist material.
7.5 We have separate acceptable use policies (AUPs) for both staff and children. This covers the use of all technologies used, both on and offsite.
7.6 We follow the MSP guidelines ‘Safeguarding online guidelines for minimum standards’ and the Teaching Online Safety in Schools
7.7 We work with children and parents to promote good practice in keeping children safe online.
8. SAFER RECRUITMENT & SELECTION OF STAFF
8.1 Our recruitment and selection policies and processes adhere to the DfE guidance
8.2 The Headteacher and governing body will ensure that all external staff and
volunteers using our site have been DBS checked.
8.3 Written notification will be requested from any agency or third party organisation
used by us to confirm that the organisation has carried out the statutory recruitment
8.4 At least one member of each recruitment panel will have attended safer recruitment
8.5 Trainee teachers will be checked either by the school or by the training provider,
from whom written confirmation will be obtained.
8.6 The school maintains a single central record of recruitment checks undertaken.
- MANAGING ALLEGATIONS AND CONCERNS AGAINST STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
We have a separate policy for dealing with allegations made against a member of staff.
9.1 We adhere to DfE guidance ‘KCSIE, Section 4’, when dealing with allegations made against staff and volunteers. We also follow the MSP procedures for dealing with allegations.
9.2 All allegations made against a member of staff and volunteers, including contractors or security staff working on site, will be dealt with quickly and fairly and in a way that provides effective protection for the child while at the same time providing support for the person against whom the allegation is made.
9.3 Allegations will be referred to the LA Designated Officer for investigation if they meet the threshold. (See link to guidance in Appendix D)
9.4 We ensure that all staff are aware of how to raise a concern, including anonymously as a whistleblower. Details can be found in the school’s whistleblowing policy.
10.SAFETY ON & OFF SITE
10.1 Our site is secure with safeguards in place to prevent any unauthorised access
and also to prevent children leaving the site unsupervised.
10.2 All visitors, including visiting speakers, are subject to our safeguarding protocols
whilst on site and will be supervised at all times, if no checks have been obtained.
We have an additional visiting speaker’s policy.
10.3. We will ensure that any contractor, or any employee of the contractor, who is to
work at the school or college, has been subject to the appropriate level of DBS
check. We are responsible for determining the appropriate level of supervision
depending on the circumstances. We will always check the identity of contractors
and their staff on arrival at the school or college.
10.4 We operate a responsible booking protocol and will carry out appropriate checks
on all organisations which request to hire our facilities. See our lettings policy.
10.5 We will only place children in alternative educational provision (AP) which is a
Registered provider and has been quality assured. Children who require access to
AP will have a personalised learning plan designed to meet their needs. Our DSL
will liaise with the AP DSL to ensure a consistent approach and that relevant
Information is shared. Their attendance will be monitored by us in accordance
with the School Register Regulations.
- All school trips are fully risk assessed and no child will be taken offsite without parental permission
- We have a Health & Safety policy for contacting parents, and for reporting to the emergency services, including Police & Hospital.
APPENDIX A - ‘Keeping Children Safe In Education’ Part 1 - to be read by all staff and governors.
For ease of reference Part one is set out here as a standalone document.
Keeping Children Safe in Education is statutory guidance that schools and colleges in England must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
- Governing bodies of maintained schools (including maintained nursery schools) and colleges;
- Proprietors of independent schools (including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies) and non-maintained special schools. In the case of academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, the proprietor will be the academy trust; and
- Management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs)
are asked to ensure that all staff in their school or college read at least Part one of the guidance.
Part one: Safeguarding information for all staff
What school and college staff should know and do
A child centred and coordinated approach to safeguarding
- Schools and colleges and their staff are an important part of the wider safeguarding system for children. This system is described in statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all practitioners should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.
- No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. If children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance as:
- protecting children from maltreatment;
- preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
- ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
- Children includes everyone under the age of 18.
The role of school and college staff
- School and college staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early, provide help for children, and prevent concerns from escalating.
- All staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.
- All staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help.1 Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.
- Any staff member who has a concern about a child’s welfare should follow the referral processes set out in paragraphs 36-47. Staff should expect to support social workers and other agencies following any referral.
- Every school and college should have a designated safeguarding lead who will provide support to staff to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely with other services such as children’s social care.
- The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) are most likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate person to advise on the response to safeguarding concerns.
- The Teachers’ Standards 2012 state that teachers (which includes headteachers) should safeguard children’s wellbeing and maintain public trust in the teaching profession as part of their professional duties.2
What school and college staff need to know
- All staff should be aware of systems within their school or college which support safeguarding and these should be explained to them as part of staff induction. This should include:
- the child protection policy;
- the behaviour policy;
- the staff behaviour policy (sometimes called a code of conduct);
- the role of the designated safeguarding lead (including the identity of the designated safeguarding lead and any deputies).
Copies of policies and a copy of Part one of this document should be provided to staff at induction.
1 Detailed information on early help can be found in Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children.
2 The Teachers' Standards apply to: trainees working towards QTS; all teachers completing their statutory induction period (newly qualified teachers [NQTs]); and teachers in maintained schools, including maintained special schools, who are subject to the Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012.
3 All schools are required to have a behaviour policy (read Behaviour and school discipline in schools). If a college chooses to have a behaviour policy it should be provided to staff as described above.
- All staff should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which is regularly updated. In addition, all staff should receive safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings), as required, and at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.
- All staff should be aware of their local early help4 process and understand their role in it.
- All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to children’s social care and for statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989, especially section 17 (children in need) and section 47 (a child suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm) that may follow a referral, along with the role they might be expected to play in such assessments.5
- All staff should know what to do if a child tells them he/she is being abused or neglected. Staff should know how to manage the requirement to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality. This means only involving those who need to be involved, such as the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) and children’s social care. Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of abuse, as this may ultimately not be in the best interests of the child.
What school and college staff should look out for
- Any child may benefit from early help, but all school and college staff should be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
- is disabled and has specific additional needs;
- has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan);
- is a young carer;
- is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups;
- is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home;
- is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation;
4 Detailed information on early help can be found in Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children. 5 More information on statutory assessments is included at paragraph 42. Detailed information on statutory assessments can be found in Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children.
- is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
- is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse;
- is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves;
- has returned home to their family from care; and
- is a privately fostered child.
Abuse and neglect
- Knowing what to look for is vital to the early identification of abuse and neglect. All staff should be aware of indicators of abuse and neglect so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection. If staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).
- All school and college staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another.
Indicators of abuse and neglect
- Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
- Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve 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.
Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
- Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education (see paragraph 27).
- 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, for example, as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
- All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm. Behaviours linked to issues such as drug taking, alcohol abuse, deliberately missing education and sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery) put children in danger.
Peer on peer abuse
- All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to as peer on peer abuse). This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:
- bullying (including cyberbullying);
- physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;
- sexual violence,6 such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault;
- sexual harassment,7 such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse;
- upskirting,8 which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm;
- sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); and
- initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.
- All staff should be clear as to the school’s or college’s policy and procedures with regards to peer on peer abuse.
- All staff should be aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendship or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs.
All staff should be aware of the associated risks and understand the measures in place to manage these. Advice for schools and colleges is provided in the Home Office’s Preventing youth violence and gang involvement and its Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines guidance.9
Female Genital Mutilation
- Whilst all staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) with regard to any concerns about female genital mutilation (FGM), there is a specific legal duty on teachers.10 If a teacher, in the course of their work in the profession, discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, the teacher must report this to the police. See Annex A for further details.
6 For further information about sexual violence see Annex A.
7 For further information about sexual harassment see Annex A.
8 For further information about ‘upskirting’ see Annex A.
9 For further information about violent crime see Annex A.
10 Under Section 5B(11) (a) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, “teacher” means, in relation to England, a person within section 141A(1) of the Education Act 2002 (persons employed or engaged to carry out teaching work at schools and other institutions in England).
- Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school or college and/or can occur between children outside the school or college. All staff, but especially the designated safeguarding lead (and deputies) should be considering the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. This is known as contextual safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare. Children’s social care assessments should consider such factors so it is important that schools and colleges provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and the full context of any abuse. Additional information regarding contextual safeguarding is available here: Contextual Safeguarding.
Additional information and support
- Departmental advice What to Do if You Are Worried a Child is Being Abused - Advice for Practitioners provides more information on understanding and identifying abuse and neglect. Examples of potential indicators of abuse and neglect are highlighted throughout the advice and will be particularly helpful for school and college staff. The NSPCC website also provides useful additional information on abuse and neglect and what to look out for.
- Annex A contains important additional information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues. School and college leaders and those staff who work directly with children should read the annex.
What school and college staff should do if they have concerns about a child
- Staff working with children are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff should always act in the best interests of the child.
- If staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them immediately. See page 15 for a flow chart setting out the process for staff when they have concerns about a child.
- If staff have a concern, they should follow their own organisation’s child protection policy and speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).
- Options will then include:
- The designated safeguarding lead or a deputy should always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns. If in exceptional circumstances, the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. Staff should consider speaking to a member of the senior leadership team and/or take advice from local children’s social care. In these circumstances, any action taken should be shared with the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) as soon as is practically possible.
- Staff should not assume a colleague or another professional will take action and share information that might be critical in keeping children safe. They should be mindful that early information sharing is vital for effective identification, assessment and allocation of appropriate service provision. Information Sharing: Advice for Practitioners Providing Safeguarding Services to Children, Young People, Parents and Carers supports staff who have to make decisions about sharing information. This advice includes the seven golden rules for sharing information and considerations with regard to the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If in any doubt about sharing information, staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare, and protect the safety, of children.
- If early help is appropriate, the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment as appropriate. Staff may be required to support other agencies and professionals in an early help assessment, in some cases acting as the lead practitioner. Any such cases should be kept under constant review and consideration given to a referral to children’s
11 Further information on early help assessments, provision of early help services and accessing services is in Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children.
12 Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children sets out that the safeguarding partners should publish a threshold document that should include the criteria, including the level of need, for when a case should be referred to local authority children’s social care for assessment and for statutory services under section 17 and 47.
Local authorities, with their partners, should develop and publish local protocols for assessment. A local protocol should set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a child is referred into local authority children’s social care.
social care for assessment for statutory services, if the child’s situation does not appear to be improving or is getting worse.
- Where a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from harm, it is important that a referral to children’s social care (and if appropriate the police) is made immediately. Referrals should follow the local referral process.
Children in need
A child in need is defined under the Children Act 1989 as a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable level of health or development, or whose health and development is likely to be significantly or further impaired, without the provision of services; or a child who is disabled. Local authorities are required to provide services for children in need for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting their welfare. Children in need may be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Children suffering or likely to suffer significant harm
Local authorities, with the help of other organisations as appropriate, have a duty to make enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. Such enquiries enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare and must be initiated where there are concerns about maltreatment, including all forms of abuse and neglect, female genital mutilation or other so-called honour based violence, and extra-familial threats like radicalisation and sexual exploitation.
- The online tool Report Child Abuse to Your Local Council directs to the relevant local children’s social care contact number.
What will the local authority do?
- Within one working day of a referral being made, a local authority social worker should acknowledge receipt to the referrer and make a decision about the next steps and the type of response that is required. This will include determining whether:
- the child requires immediate protection and urgent action is required;
- the child is in need, and should be assessed under section 17 of the Children Act 1989;
- there is reasonable cause to suspect the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, and whether enquiries must be made and the child assessed under section 47 of the Children Act 1989;
- any services are required by the child and family and what type of services
- further specialist assessments are required to help the local authority to decide what further action to take;
- to see the child as soon as possible if the decision is taken that the referral requires further assessment.
- The referrer should follow up if this information is not forthcoming.
- If social workers decide to carry out a statutory assessment, staff should do everything they can to support that assessment (supported by the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) as required).
- If, after a referral, the child’s situation does not appear to be improving, the referrer should consider following local escalation procedures to ensure their concerns have been addressed and, most importantly, that the child’s situation improves.
- All concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions, should be recorded in writing. If in doubt about recording requirements, staff should discuss with the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).
Why is all of this important?
- It is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating. Research and serious case reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action.13 Examples of poor practice include:
- failing to act on and refer the early signs of abuse and neglect;
- poor record keeping;
- failing to listen to the views of the child;
- failing to re-assess concerns when situations do not improve;
- not sharing information;
- sharing information too slowly; and
- a lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action
13 An analysis of serious case reviews can be found at Serious case reviews, 2011 to 2014.
What school and college staff should do if they have concerns about another staff member who may pose a risk of harm to children
- If staff have safeguarding concerns, or an allegation is made about another member of staff (including volunteers) posing a risk of harm to children, then:
- this should be referred to the headteacher or principal;
- where there are concerns/allegations about the headteacher or principal, this should be referred to the chair of governors, chair of the management committee or proprietor of an independent school; and
- in the event of concerns/allegations about the headteacher, where the headteacher is also the sole proprietor of an independent school, allegations should be reported directly to the designated officer(s) at the local authority. (Further details can be found in Part four of this guidance).
What school or college staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding practices within the school or college
- All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school’s or college’s safeguarding regime and know that such concerns will be taken seriously by the senior leadership team.
- Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, should be put in place for such concerns to be raised with the school’s or college’s senior leadership team.
- Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with their employer, or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels may be open to them:
- General guidance on whistleblowing can be found via: Advice on Whistleblowing.
- The NSPCC’s what you can do to report abuse dedicated helpline is available as an alternative route for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally or have concerns about the way a concern is being handled by their school or college. Staff can call 0800 028 0285 – line is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Monday to Friday and email: email@example.com
14 Alternatively, staff can write to: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Weston House, 42 Curtain, Road, London EC2A 3NH.
Annex A - Further information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues
Annex A contains important additional information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues. School and college leaders and those staff who work directly with children should read this annex.
As per Part one of this guidance, if staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them immediately. They should follow their own organisation’s child protection policy and speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).
Where a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from harm, it is important that a referral to children’s social care (and if appropriate the police) is made immediately.
Annex A Index
Children and the court system
Children are sometimes required to give evidence in criminal courts, either for crimes committed against them or for crimes they have witnessed. There are two age appropriate guides to support children 5-11-year olds and 12-17 year olds.
The guides explain each step of the process and support and special measures that are available. There are diagrams illustrating the courtroom structure and the use of video links is explained.
Making child arrangements via the family courts following separation can be stressful and entrench conflict in families. This can be stressful for children. The Ministry of Justice has launched an online child arrangements information tool with clear and concise information on the dispute resolution service. This may be useful for some parents and carers.
Children missing from education
All staff should be aware that children going missing, particularly repeatedly, can act as a vital warning sign of a range of safeguarding possibilities. This may include abuse and neglect, which may include sexual abuse or exploitation and child criminal exploitation. It may indicate mental health problems, risk of substance abuse, risk of travelling to conflict zones, risk of female genital mutilation or risk of forced marriage. Early intervention is necessary to identify the existence of any underlying safeguarding risk and to help prevent the risks of a child going missing in future. Staff should be aware of their school’s or college’s unauthorised absence and children missing from education procedures.
Children with family members in prison
Approximately 200,000 children in England and Wales have a parent sent to prison each year. These children are at risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health. NICCO provides information designed to support professionals working with offenders and their children, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children.
Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the
sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact: it can also occur through the use of technology. Like all forms of child sex abuse, child sexual exploitation:
- can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex;
- can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual;
- can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity;
- can take place in person or via technology, or a combination of both;
- can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
- may occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (e.g. through others copying videos or images they have created and posted on social media);
- can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse; and
- is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the abuse. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
Some of the following signs may be indicators of child sexual exploitation:
- children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions;
- children who associate with other young people involved in exploitation;
- children who have older boyfriends or girlfriends;
- children who suffer from sexually transmitted infections or become pregnant;
- children who suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
- children who misuse drugs and alcohol;
- children who go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
- children who regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education.
Child criminal exploitation: county lines
Criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns. Key to identifying potential involvement in county lines are missing episodes, when the victim may have been trafficked for the purpose of transporting drugs and a referral to the National Referral Mechanism15 should be considered. Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation:
- can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years;
- can affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years;
- can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual;
- can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
- can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults; and
- is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
- financial; and
Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result. Domestic abuse affecting young people can also occur within their personal relationships, as well as in the context of their home life.
Advice on identifying children who are affected by domestic abuse and how they can be helped is available at:
Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should be aware of contact details and referral routes in to the Local Housing Authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity. Indicators that a family may be at risk of homelessness include household debt, rent arrears, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour, as well as the family being asked to leave a property. Whilst referrals and or discussion with the Local Housing Authority should be progressed as appropriate, and in accordance with local procedures, this does not, and should not, replace a referral into children’s social care where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm.
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places a new legal duty on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help including an assessment of their needs and circumstances, the development of a personalised housing plan, and work to help them retain their accommodation or find a new place to live. The following factsheets usefully summarise the new duties: Homeless Reduction Act Factsheets. The new duties shift focus to early intervention and encourage those at risk to seek support as soon as possible, before they are facing a homelessness crisis.
In most cases school and college staff will be considering homelessness in the context of children who live with their families, and intervention will be on that basis. However, it should also be recognised in some cases 16 and 17 year olds could be living independently from their parents or guardians, for example through their exclusion from the family home, and will require a different level of intervention and support. Children’s services will be the lead agency for these young people and the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should ensure appropriate referrals are made based on the child’s
circumstances. The department and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have published joint statutory guidance on the provision of accommodation for 16 and 17 year olds who may be homeless and/ or require accommodation.
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (including Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage)
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. It is important to be aware of this dynamic and additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take. All forms of HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. Professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBV, or already having suffered HBV.
If staff have a concern regarding a child that might be at risk of HBV or who has suffered from HBV, they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy). As appropriate, they will activate local safeguarding procedures, using existing national and local protocols for multi-agency liaison with police and children’s social care. Where FGM has taken place, since 31 October 2015 there has been a mandatory reporting duty placed on teachers16 that requires a different approach (see following section).
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.
FGM mandatory reporting duty for teachers
Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) places a statutory duty upon teachers along with regulated
16 Under Section 5B(11)(a) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, “teacher” means, in relation to England, a person within section 141A(1) of the Education Act 2002 (persons employed or engaged to carry out teaching work at schools and other institutions in England).
health and social care professionals in England and Wales, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions. It will be rare for teachers to see visual evidence, and they should not be examining pupils or students, but the same definition of what is meant by “to discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out” is used for all professionals to whom this mandatory reporting duty applies. Information on when and how to make a report can be found at: Mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation procedural information.
Teachers must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out.17 Unless the teacher has good reason not to, they should still consider and discuss any such case with the school’s or college’s designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) and involve children’s social care as appropriate. The duty does not apply in relation to at risk or suspected cases (i.e. where the teacher does not discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out, either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) or in cases where the woman is 18 or over. In these cases, teachers should follow local safeguarding procedures. The following is a useful summary of the FGM mandatory reporting duty: FGM Fact Sheet.
Forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological. A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities, for example). Nevertheless, some communities use religion and culture as a way to coerce a person into marriage. Schools and colleges can play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.
The Forced Marriage Unit has published statutory guidance and Multi-agency guidelines, pages 35-36 of which focus on the role of schools and colleges. School and college staff can contact the Forced Marriage Unit if they need advice or information: Contact: 020 7008 0151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
17 Section 5B(6) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 states teachers need not report a case to the police if they have reason to believe that another teacher has already reported the case.
Children are vulnerable to extremist ideology and radicalisation. Similar to protecting children from other forms of harms and abuse, protecting children from this risk should be a part of a schools’ or colleges’ safeguarding approach.
Extremism18 is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces. Radicalisation19 refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.
There is no single way of identifying whether a child is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Background factors combined with specific influences such as family and friends may contribute to a child’s vulnerability. Similarly, radicalisation can occur through many different methods (such as social media) and settings (such as the internet).
However, it is possible to protect vulnerable people from extremist ideology and intervene to prevent those at risk of radicalisation being radicalised. As with other safeguarding risks, staff should be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Staff should use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) making a referral to the Channel programme.
The Prevent duty
All schools and colleges are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CTSA 2015), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard20 to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.21 This duty is known as the Prevent duty.
The Prevent duty should be seen as part of schools’ and colleges’ wider safeguarding obligations. Designated safeguarding leads and other senior leaders should familiarise themselves with the revised Prevent duty guidance: for England and Wales, especially paragraphs 57-76, which are specifically concerned with schools (and also covers
childcare). The guidance is set out in terms of four general themes: Risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training, and IT policies.
18 As defined in the Government’s Counter Extremism Strategy.
19 As defined in the Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales.
20 According to the Prevent duty guidance ‘having due regard’ means that the authorities should place an appropriate amount of weight on the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism when they consider all the other factors relevant to how they carry out their usual functions.
21 “Terrorism” for these purposes has the same meaning as for the Terrorism Act 2000 (section 1(1) to (4) of that Act).
There is additional guidance: Prevent duty guidance: for further education institutions in England and Wales that applies to colleges.
Educate Against Hate, a website launched by the Her Majesty’s Government has been developed to support and equip school and college leaders, teachers, and parents with information, tools and resources (including on the promotion of fundamental British values) to help recognise and address extremism and radicalisation in young people. The platform provides information on and access to training resources for teachers, staff and school and college leaders, some of which are free such as Prevent e-learning, via the Prevent Training catalogue.
Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for schools to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation. An individual’s engagement with the programme is entirely voluntary at all stages. Guidance on Channel is available at: Channel guidance, and a Channel awareness e-learning programme is available for staff at: Channel General Awareness.
The school’s or college’s designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should be aware of local procedures for making a Channel referral. As a Channel partner, the school or college may be asked to attend a Channel panel to discuss the individual referred to determine whether they are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and consider the appropriate support required.
Peer on peer abuse
Children can abuse other children. This is generally referred to as peer on peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to) bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting and initiating/hazing type violence and rituals.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physical and verbal) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support. Staff should be aware that some groups are potentially more at risk. Evidence shows girls, children with SEND and LGBT children are at greater risk.
Staff should be aware of the importance of:
- making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up;
- not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”; and
- challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, flicking bras and lifting up skirts, . Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.
What is Sexual violence and sexual harassment?
It is important that school and college staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact children can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way. When referring to sexual violence we are referring to sexual violence offences under the Sexual Offences Act 200322 as described below:
Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
What is consent?23 Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if s/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.24
When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child on child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment.
Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:
- sexual comments, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names;
- sexual “jokes” or taunting;
- physical behaviour, such as: deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes (schools and colleges should be considering when any of this crosses a line into sexual violence - it is important to talk to and consider the experience of the victim) and displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature; an
- online sexual harassment. This may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos;
- sexualised online bullying;
- unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media;
- sexual exploitation; coercion and threats; and
- harassment and/or sexual violence.25 It may include:
23 It is important school and college staff (and especially designated safeguarding leads and their deputies) understand consent. This will be especially important if a child is reporting they have been raped. More information: What is consent?.
24 PSHE Teaching about consent from the PSHE association provides advice and lesson plans to teach consent at Key stage 3 and 4
‘Upskirting’ typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. It is now a criminal offence.
The response to a report of sexual violence or sexual harassment
The initial response to a report from a child is important. It is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
If staff have a concern about a child or a child makes a report to them, they should follow the referral process as set out from paragraph 22 in Part one of this guidance. As is always the case, if staff are in any doubt as to what to do they should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy).
25 Project deSHAME from Childnet provides useful research, advice and resources regarding online sexual harassment.
26Additional information about the upskirting law is available.
Hyperlinks to other relevant guidance
- What to do if you are worried a child is being abused – DfE advice
- Faith based abuse: National Action Plan – DfE advice
- Domestic abuse: Various information / guidance – Home Office
- Relationship abuse: disrespect nobody – Home Office
- Preventing bullying including cyberbullying – DfE advice
Children and the courts
- Advice for 5 to 11 year olds witnesses in criminal courts – Ministry of Justice
- Advice for 12 to 17 year olds witnesses in criminal courts – Ministry of Justice
Children missing from education, home or care
Children with family members in prison
- National Information Centre on Children of Offenders – Barnardo’s in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS)
- Child sexual exploitation: guide for practitioners – DfE guide
- Trafficking: safeguarding children – DfE and Home Office Advice
- County Lines: criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults – Home Office
- Drugs: advice for schools – DfE and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) advice
- Drugs strategy 2017 – Home Office
- Information and advice on drugs – Talk to Frank website
- ADEPIS platform sharing information and resources for schools: covering drug (and alcohol) prevention – Website developed by Mentor UK
(so called) Honour Based Violence
- Female genital mutilation: information and resources – Home Office
- Female genital mutilation: multi agency statutory guidance – DfE, Department of Health and Social Care (DH) and Home Office
- Forced marriage: statutory guidance and government advice – Foreign Commonwealth Office and Home Office
Health and wellbeing
- Fabricated or induced illness: safeguarding children – DfE, Department for Health and Social Care (DH) and Home Office
- Rise Above: Free PSHE resources on health, wellbeing and resilience – Public Health England
- Sexting: responding to incidents and safeguarding children – UK council for Internet Safety
- Private fostering: local authorities – DfE statutory guidance
– DfE advice
- Serious violence strategy – Home Office
APPENDIX B Legislation, Statutory Guidance & Ofsted Framework
- Keeping Children Safe in Education’ - latest update, currently September 2019
- Ofsted School Inspection Handbook for Schools, November 2019
- Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings September 2019
- ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ , July 2018
- Prevent Duty, Section 26 Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015
- The Safer Recruitment Consortium, Guidance for Safer Working Practice, May 2019
- National FGM Centre, Female Genital Mutilation: Guidance for schools, June 2019
- DfE, Teaching online safety in schools, June 2019
- DfE Statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care (2014)
- Serious Case Reviews & Domestic Homicide Reviews (SCRs & DHRs)
- DFE Statutory Policies for Schools, Sept 2014,
- DFE Children Missing Education, Stat Guidance, Sept 2016
- DfE, The Designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children (2018)
- DFE Supervision of Regulated Activity, Jan 2013
- Alternative Provision, Stat guidance, Jan 2013
- Teachers’ Standards, updated June 2013
- Governors’ Handbook, March 2019
- ‘Listening to & involving children & young people’, stat guidance, Jan 2014
- Health & Safety Legislation
- HM Government, Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services (July 2018)
APPENDIX C - Non-statutory Guidance
- DFE ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused - Advice for
- The Safer Recruitment Consortium, Guidance for Safer Working Practice, May 2019
- ‘Safer Working Practices’, Safer Recruitment Consortium, Oct 2015
- DFE National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers, Jan 2015
- DFE ‘Use of Reasonable Force in Schools’, July 2013
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 2,3 6 & 12
- NSPCC Whistleblowing Adviceline
APPENDIX D - MCC & MSP Policies, Procedures &
- MSCB Website:-
- MSCB Policies
- MSCB Multi-agency Levels of Need & Response Framework, April 2015
- Safeguarding Concerns, Guidance & Proformas
- MSCB LADO Referral Process
- MSCB Learning From Serious Case Reviews
- Help & Support Manchester Website:-
- Early Help Strategy, Guidance, Assessments & Referrals
- Signs of Safety Strategy, Guidance & Resources
APPENDIX E - Links to Other Relevant School/EY
- Health and Safety
- Safer recruitment
- Physical Interventions/Restraint
- Work Experience and Extended work placements
- Sex and Relationships Education
- Equal Opportunities
- Extended Schools Activities
- Behaviour Management including fixed and short term exclusions
- Trips and Visit
- Special Educational Needs
- Toileting and Intimate Care
- Disability Discrimination
- Looked After Children
- Administration of Medicines
- Letting to external organisations
- External visitors/speakers
- Peer on Peer abuse
- Acceptable use policy
- Attendance policy
APPENDIX F - Other Relevant Education Department
All these are available on the Manchester Schools Hub Website.
- ‘Transfer of Safeguarding Information’ model policy & guidance
- ‘Safeguarding’ model policy & guidance
- ‘Safer Recruitment’ model policy
- Safeguarding Children with SEND
- Manchester Governors’ Handbook MCC
- ‘A Good Safeguarding School’
APPENDIX G - Abbreviations
- AP Alternative Provision
- CiN Child in Need
- CP Child Protection
- CPOMS Electronic record keeping systems
- CSC Children’s Social Care
- DFE Department for Education
- DO Designate Officer (formerly LADO)
- DSL Designated Safeguarding Lead
- EH Early Help
- EHA Early Help Assessment
- LA Local Authority
- LAC Looked After Child
- LAC DP Designated Teacher for LAC
- LADO Local Authority Designated Officer
- MASH Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub
- MCC Manchester City Council
- MSP Manchester Safeguarding Partnership
- SEN Special Educational Needs
- SENCO/SENDCO SEN Co-ordinator
- SG SEF Safeguarding Self Evaluation Framework
SOS Signs of safety