English Martyrs Pre-School work with children, parents and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. Our safeguarding policy is based on the three key commitments of the Pre-school Learning Alliance Safeguarding Children Policy.
The Prevent Duty came into force on 1 July 2015. It places duties on registered childcare providers around keeping children safe and promoting their welfare. Providers are required to ‘have due regard to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’.
To be both effective and lawful, we must meet specific legal duties including those arising from the Prevent Duty. This sets out the need for ‘British Values’ to help everyone live in safe and welcoming communities where they feel they belong. These ‘British Values’ are defined as:
- the rule of law
- individual liberty and mutual respect
- tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs not unique to Britain.
These values are universal aspirations for equality. As such they are fundamental to helping all children become compassionate, considerate adults who form part of a fair and equal society.
Safeguarding children and child protection procedures
English Martyrs Pre-School carry out the following procedures to ensure we meet the three key commitments of the Alliance Safeguarding Children Policy.
Key commitment 1
The Alliance is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which children are protected from abuse and harm in all areas of its service delivery.
Staff and volunteers
Our Lead Designated officer is Carlene McMahon. We also have designated officers: Louise Collieu, Rebecca Williams & Tracy Mulholland.
Our designated officer on the committee is: Peter Lawman, Chair of English Martyrs Pre-School.
- We ensure all staff are trained to understand our safeguarding policies and procedures and parents are made aware of them too.
- All staff have an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding issues.
- We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children.
- Applicants for posts within the provision are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
- Candidates are informed of the need to carry out ‘enhanced disclosure’ checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service before posts can be confirmed. All staff sign must sign up to the update service.
- Where applications are rejected because of information that has been disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.
- We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and Criminal Record Bureau checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at the provision or has access to the children.
- We record information about staff qualifications, and the identity checks and vetting processes that have been completed including:
- the DBS reference number;
- the date the disclosure was obtained; and
- details of who obtained it.
- We inform all staff that they are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders or reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children (whether received before or during their employment with us). All staff are requested to fill out a disclosure form in supervisions every half term.
- Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
- We abide by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have lead to dismissal for reasons of child protection concern.
- We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the Pre-School. All visitors are asked to read our safeguarding leaflet, sign and date to ensure they understand who the officers are and understand the procedure for any disclosures made to them.
- We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the pre-school so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
- We take steps to ensure children are not photographed or filmed on video for any other purpose than to record their development or their participation in events organised by us. Parents sign a consent form regarding pictures being taken for early learning journeys, website etc and have access to records holding visual images of their child.
Key commitment 2
The Alliance is committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns of abuse that may occur and to work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (HMG 2006).
Responding to suspicions of abuse
- We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms – physical, emotional, and sexual, as well as neglect.
- When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or may be experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through:
- significant changes in their behaviour;
- deterioration in their general well-being;
- their comments which may give cause for concern, or the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure);
- changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their play;
- unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect; and
- any reason to suspect neglect or abuse outside the pre-school.
- We take into account factors affecting parental capacity, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, parent’s drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent’s learning disability.
- We are aware of other factors that affect children’s vulnerability such as abuse of disabled children, fabricated or induced illness, child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession, sexual exploitation of children such as through internet abuse and Female Genital Mutilation that may affect or may have affected children and young people using our provision.
- We also make ourselves aware that some children and young people are affected by gang activity, by complex, multiple or organised abuse, through forced marriage or honour based violence or may be victims of child trafficking. While this may be less likely to affect young children in our care we may become aware of any of these factors affecting older children and young people who we may come into contact with.
- Where we believe a child in our care or known to us may be affected by any of these factors we follow the procedure for reporting child protection concerns.
- Where such evidence is apparent, the child’s key person makes a dated record of the details of the concern and discusses what to do with member of staff who is acting as the ‘designated person’. The information is stored in the cause for concern file.
- We refer concerns to Children’s Single Point of Access and co-operate fully in any subsequent investigation.
NB In some cases this may mean the police or another agency identified by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.
- We take care not to influence the outcome either through the way we speak to children or by asking questions of children.
- We take account of the need to protect young people aged 16-19 as defined by the Children Act 1989. This may include students or school children on work placement, young employees or young parents. Where abuse is suspected we follow the procedure for reporting any other child protection concerns. The views of the young person will always be taken into account, but the pre-school may override the young person’s refusal to consent to share information if it feels that it is necessary to prevent a crime from being committed or intervene where one may have been or to prevent harm to a child or adult. Sharing confidential information without consent is done only where not sharing it could be worse than the outcome of having shared it.
Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures
- Where a child makes comments to a member of staff that gives cause for concern (disclosure), observes signs or signals that gives cause for concern, such as significant changes in behaviour; deterioration in general well-being; unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect, that member of staff:
- listens to the child, offers reassurance and gives assurance that she or he will take action;
- does not question the child;
- makes a written record that forms an objective record of the observation or disclosure that includes:
- the date and time of the observation or the disclosure;
- the exact words spoken by the child as far as possible;
- the name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time; and
- the names of any other person present at the time.
- These records are signed and dated and kept in the ‘Cause for Concern’ file which is kept securely and confidentially. This file is checked weekly to note any patterns that may be occurring including attendance.
- The Lead Designated Person is informed of the issue at the earliest opportunity.
- Where the Local Safeguarding Children Board stipulates the process for recording and sharing concerns, we include those procedures alongside this procedure and follow the steps set down by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.Making a referral to Children’s Single Point of Access)
- The Designated Officers will use our template form for recording concerns and making a referral to our Children’s Single Point of Access and keep a log of all details, times, dates and contacts of names to keep a timeline of all correspondence.
- The Chair must be made aware as soon as possible. If the Chair is not available e.g. due to holiday then Treasurer must be made aware.
- We keep a copy of the ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’ alongside procedures set down by our Local Safeguarding Children Board which we follow where local procedures differ from those of the Pre-school Learning Alliance
Children’s Single Point of Access : 0118 937 3641
- Parents are normally the first point of contact. We discuss concerns with parents to gain their view of events. We inform parents when we make a record of concerns in their child’s file and that we also make a note of any discussion we have with them regarding a concern unless we feel this may put the child in greater danger.
- If a suspicion of abuse warrants referral to social care, parents are informed at the same time that the referral will be made, except where the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board does not allow this, for example, where it is believed that the child may be placed in greater danger.
- This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the social workers will inform parents.
Liaison with other agencies
- We work within the Local Safeguarding Children Board guidelines.
- We have the current version of ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ for parents and staff and all staff are familiar with what to do if they have concerns.
- We have procedures for contacting the Children’s Single Point of Access on child protection issues.
- The Chairperson will notify the registration authority (Ofsted) of any incident or accident and any changes in our arrangements which may affect the well-being of children or where an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on our premises or elsewhere). If the Chairperson is unable e.g. due to holiday, then the Financial Administrator must do this on their behalf. Notifications to Ofsted are made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made.
- Contact details for the local National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are also kept.
Allegations against staff
- We ensure that all parents know how to complain about the behaviour or actions of staff or volunteers within the provision, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the pre-school, which may include an allegation of abuse.
- We respond to any inappropriate behaviour displayed by members of staff, or any other person working with the children, which includes:
- inappropriate sexual comments;
- excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibilities, or
- inappropriate sharing of images.
- We follow the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board when responding to any complaint that a member of staff, or volunteer within the provision, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the pre-school, has abused a child.
- We respond to any disclosure by children or staff that abuse by a member of staff or volunteer within the pre-school, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the pre-school, may have taken, or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
- The Supervisor, and/or Business Manager will refer any such complaint immediately to the Children’s Single Point of Access in the first instance and they will refer them onto our Appointed Designed Person (Children) to investigate.
Reading Local Safeguarding Children Board
RBC LADO contact : Victoria Lawson-Jack
0118 9374 555
- The committee chair will be informed as soon as possible. If they are not available, e.g. due to holiday, then one of the other officers must be informed.
- The committee chair will report any such alleged incident to Ofsted within 14 days and inform them of what measures we have taken. If they are not available, e.g. due to holiday, then the financial administrator must do so on their behalf. We are aware that it is an offence not to inform Ofsted.
- We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police.
- Where the committee and children’s social care agree it is appropriate in the circumstances, the chair will suspend the member of staff on full pay, or the volunteer, for the duration of the investigation. This is not an indication of admission that the alleged incident has taken place, but is to protect the staff as well as children and families throughout the process
Whistleblowing Advice Line
Support for professionals who are worried about children in the workplace.If you think an organisation is putting children at risk, even if you’re not certain, call us today to talk through your concerns.Disciplinary action
Contact the Whistleblowing Advice Line:
Call 0800 028 0285
- The Whistleblowing Advice Line offers free advice and support to professionals with concerns about how child protection issues are being handled in their own or another organisation
- Where a member of staff or volunteer has been dismissed due to engaging in activities that caused concern for the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults, the chair will notify the Disclosure and Barring Serviceof relevant information so that individuals who pose a threat to children (and vulnerable groups), can be identified and barred from working with these groups
Key commitment 3
The Alliance is committed to promoting awareness of child abuse issues throughout its training and learning programmes for adults. It is also committed to empowering young children, through its early childhood curriculum, promoting their right to be strong, resilient and listened to.
- We seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the pre-school to ensure that they are able to recognise the signs and signals of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals.
- We ensure that designated persons receive training in accordance with that recommended by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
- We ensure that all staff know the procedures for reporting and recording their concerns in the pre-school.
- The layout of the rooms allows for constant supervision. Our bathroom allows for independent toileting but a member of staff is always aware of children going to the toilet.
- We introduce key elements of keeping children safe into our programme to promote the personal, social and emotional development of all children, so that they may grow to be strong, resilient and listened to and that they develop an understanding of why and how to keep safe.
- We create within the pre-school a culture of value and respect for the individual, having positive regard for children’s heritage arising from their colour, ethnicity, languages spoken at home, cultural and social background.
- We ensure that this is carried out in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the children.
- All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
- Support to families
- We believe in building trusting and supportive relationships with families, staff and volunteers in the group.
- We make clear to parents our role and responsibilities in relation to child protection, such as for the reporting of concerns, providing information, monitoring of the child, and liaising at all times with the local children’s social care team.
- We will continue to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to any alleged abuse.
- We follow the Child Protection Plan as set by the child’s social care worker in relation to the pre-school’s designated role and tasks in supporting that child and their family, subsequent to any investigation.
- Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child in accordance with the Confidentiality and Client Access to Records procedure and only if appropriate under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.