Safeguarding Policy

SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN POLICY

Introduction

The Company shares an objective to help keep children and young people safe by contributing to providing a safe environment for children and young people to learn in education settings; and identifying children and young people who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, and taking appropriate action with the aim of making sure they are kept safe.

Achieving this objective requires systems designed to:

  • prevent unsuitable people working with children and young people;
  • promote safe practice and challenge poor and unsafe practice;
  • identify instances in which there are grounds for concern about a child’s welfare, and initiate or take appropriate action to keep them safe; and
  • contribute to effective partnership working between all those involved with providing services for children and young people

Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Checks

All staff members including temporary workers who will be in close contact with children and young people during their time at the school will require a Certificate of Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The school will help to facilitate this at the school adminitsration.

DBS checks are a necessary requirement for all staff, regardless of job title due to the nature of the business. Any offer of employment may be withdrawn if the results are found to be unsuitable.

The school reserves the right to deduct from staff salary at any time any charges/payment in respect of r DBS check.

Confidential Information

Members of staff may have access to confidential information about pupils in order to undertake their responsibilities. In some circumstances the information may be highly sensitive. Confidential or personal information about a pupil or his/her family must never be disclosed to anyone other than on a need to know basis. In circumstances where the pupil’s identity does not need to be disclosed the information should be used anonymously. Information must never be used to intimidate, humiliate, or embarrass the student.

There are some circumstances in which a member of staff may be expected to share information about a student, for example when abuse is alleged or suspected. In such cases, individuals have a duty to pass information on without delay to those supervisors.

Sexual abuse

Any sexual behaviour, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by a member of staff, volunteer, helper, supplier or contractor with or towards a child or young person is illegal.

Children and young people are protected by the same laws as adults in relation to non- consensual sexual behaviour. They are additionally protected by specific legal provisions regardless of whether there is consent or not. All adults working in the school who have contact with students are in positions of trust. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 specifically establishes a criminal offence of the abuse of trust in relation to teachers and others who are in relationship of trust with pupils.

Sexual behaviour includes non-contact activities such as a child or young person to engage in or watch sexual activity or the production of indecent images of children.

There are occasions when adults embark on a course of behaviour known as ‘grooming’ where the sole purpose is to gain the trust of a child or young person, and manipulate that relationship so that sexual abuse can take place. Staff and volunteers should be aware that conferring special attention without good reason or favouring a student has the potential to be construed as being part of a ‘grooming’ process, which is a criminal offence.

A relationship between a member of staff, a volunteer and a pupil cannot be a relationship between equals. There is potential for exploitation and harm of pupils and all adults have a responsibility to ensure that the unequal balance of power is not used for personal advantage or gratification. It is important to recognise that women as well as men may abuse a position of trust.

Physical contact

There are occasions when it is entirely appropriate and proper for staff to have physical contact with students, but it is crucial that they only do so in ways appropriate to their professional role. When physical contact is made with students this should be in response to their needs at the time, of limited duration and appropriate given their age, stage of development, gender and background.

Physical contact should never be secretive or casual, or for the gratification of the adult, or represent a misuse of authority. If a member of staff or volunteer believes that an action could be misinterpreted, the incident and circumstances should be reported.

Physical contact, which occurs regularly with a pupil or pupils, is likely to raise questions unless the justification for this is part of a formally agreed plan (for example in relation to learners with SEN or physical disabilities). Any such contact should be the subject of an agreed and open school policy and subject to review. Where feasible, staff should seek the learner’s permission before initiating contact. Staff should listen, observe and take note of the learner’s reaction or feelings and – so far as is possible – use a level of contact which is acceptable to the learner for the minimum time necessary.

Behaviour management and physical intervention

All pupils have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. Corporal punishment is unlawful in all schools and educational institutions. Staff and volunteers must not use any form of degrading treatment to punish a student. The use of sarcasm, demeaning or insensitive comments towards learners is not acceptable in any situation. Shouting aggressively or hectoring is not acceptable in any situation. Deliberately intimidating pupils by overweening physical presence is not acceptable in any situation.

The circumstances in which staff can physically intervene with a pupil are covered by legislation. Staff may legitimately intervene to prevent a pupil from committing a criminal offence, injuring themselves or others, causing damage to property, engaging in behaviour prejudicial to good order and to maintain good order and discipline. Staff should have regard to the health and safety of themselves and others. Under no circumstances should physical force be used as a form of punishment. The use of unwarranted physical force is likely to constitute a criminal offence.

Photography, video and other creative arts

Some activities may involve recording images for publicity or to award achievement. The

Data Protection Act 1998 affects the use of photography. An image of a child is personal data and it is, therefore, a requirement under the Act that consent is obtained from the parent of a child for any images made such as those used for school web sites, productions or other purposes.  Staff need to be aware of the potential for such images to be misused to create indecent images of children and/or for ‘grooming’ purposes. Careful consideration should be given as to how these activities are organised and undertaken. Particular regard needs to be given when they involve young or vulnerable learners who may be unable to question why or how the activities are taking place. Pupils who have been previously abused in this way may feel threatened by the use of photography, filming etc in the teaching environment.

Staff should remain sensitive to any pupil who appears uncomfortable and should recognise the potential for misinterpretation. It is also important to take into account the wishes of the child, remembering that some children do not wish to have their photograph taken.

Using images of pupils for publicity purposes will require the age-appropriate consent of the individual concerned and their legal guardians. Images must not be displayed on websites, in publications or in a public place without such consent. The definition of a public place includes areas where visitors to the school have access.

When using a photograph the following guidance must be followed:

  • if the photograph is used, avoid naming the pupils
  • if the pupil is named, avoid using the photograph
  • images must be securely stored and used only by those authorised to do so
  • be clear about the purpose of the activity and about what will happen to the photographs when the lesson/activity is concluded
  • ensure that a senior member of staff is aware that the photography/image equipment is being used and for what purpose
  • ensure that all images are available for scrutiny in order to screen for acceptability
  • be able to justify the images made
  • do not make images in one to one situations

do not take, display or distribute images of pupils unless there is parental consent