SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN POLICY
Statement of intent
We recognise that the welfare of all children is paramount and that all children and young people; regardless of ability or culture, have equal rights of protection. We have a duty of care when they are in our charge and will do everything we can to provide a safe and caring environment whilst they attend our setting.
Our aims are to:
- create an environment in our setting which encourages children to develop a positive self-image, regardless of race, language, religion, culture or home background;
- help children to establish and sustain satisfying relationships within their families, with peers, and with other adults;
- encourage children to develop a sense of autonomy and independence;
- enable children to have the self-confidence and the vocabulary to resist inappropriate approaches; and work with parents to build their understanding of and commitment to the welfare of all our children.
The legal framework for this work is:
- The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974 & 2001)
- The Children Act (1989, 2004 & 2006)
- Human Rights Act (1998)
- Data Protection Act (1998)
- The Protection of Children Act (2004)
- Disability Discrimination Act (1995 & 2005)
- Race Relations Amendment Act (2000)
- Prevent Duty Act (2014)
- Working together to Safeguard children (2015)
- Disclosure and Barring service (DBS) and safer recruitment
- Family law act (1996)
- Violence, crime and victims act (2005) which also include The female genital mutilation act (2003) (FGM) Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Forced marriage (2007)
Links with other policies
- Code of conduct
- Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
- Behaviour management
- Health and safety
- Camera mobile phone use
- Nappy changing
- Arrivals and departure
- Non-collection of children
Liaison with other bodies
- We work within the Reading Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB)
- We notify the registration authority (Ofsted) of any incident or accident that has occurred in the setting and any changes in our arrangements which affect the wellbeing of children.
- We have procedures for contacting the local authority on safeguarding issues.
- If a report is to be made to the authorities, we act within the Reading Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures in deciding whether we must inform the child's parents at the same time.
- The Reading Safeguarding Children’s Board (LADO) Jeremy Curtis 0118 9373555 or for email referrals LADO@reading.gov.uk
- Children’s single point of access 0118 9373641 www.reading.gov.uk/childrenreferralform Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm out of hours Emergency Duty team 01344 786543
- Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH):
- Ofsted Telephone 0300 1231231
- Prevent Duty Thames Valley Police:
- The named safeguarding officers for this setting are Alison Bennett and deputy lead is Marie Nolan.
- We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children.
- Applicants for posts within the Pre-school are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 & 2001. Candidates are informed of the need to carry out checks before posts can be confirmed. 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 an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unfit person works at the Pre-School or has access to the children.
- Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
- We abide by the Protection of Children Act 1999 requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of child protection concern.
- We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the setting.
- We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the setting so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
- Photographs of children are taken on the setting camera with the permission from parents and carers if they are to be displayed outside of the setting or on the Pre-School walls. The permission is recorded on the Registration Form.
- We request that parents and carers tell us if someone else is collecting. The collection of children by unknown persons is operated with a password system - please refer to our Arrivals and Departure Policy.
- Non-Collection of children. When Pre-School staff have followed the Non-Collection of children policy and have been unable to contact named persons on the child’s registration form, then the Police will be informed and advice as to how to proceed next.
- Staff are required to keep all personal items including mobile phones in the office. If staff need to use their mobile phone for emergencies whilst at work, it will be kept in the Pre-School manager’s office and not used in the Pre-School where the children are. Camera, mobile phone policy
- Nappy changing for children is carried out in accordance with the Nappy Changing Procedures.
- Children who need a change of clothing are encouraged to do this independently, however, a member of staff will help the child to undress or dress. The staff ensure that the child’s privacy is maintained whilst the staff member is within sight and hearing distance of another member of staff.
Where a member of staff or a volunteer is dismissed from the setting or internally disciplined because of misconduct relating to a child, we notify the Department of Health administrators so that the name may be included on the List for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
We seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the setting to ensure that they are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and so that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals. 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. Where children need to spend time away from the rest of the group, quiet soft areas are provided.
Planning for Learning
- We introduce key elements of child protection into our Early Years Foundation Stage, so that children can develop understanding of why and how to keep safe.
- We create within the Pre-School a culture of value and respect for the individual.
- We ensure that this is carried out in a way that is appropriate for the ages and stages of our children.
Complaints and Whistleblowing
- We ensure that all parents know how to complain about staff or volunteers actions within the Pre-School, which may include an allegation of abuse.
- We follow the procedures of Reading Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) when investigating any complaint that a member of staff or volunteer has abused a child.
- We follow all the disclosure and recording procedures when investigating an allegation that a member of staff or volunteer has abused a child as if it were an allegation of abuse by any other person.
Responding to suspicions of abuse
- We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms - physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.
- When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, this may be demonstrated through changes in their behaviour, or in their play. Where such changes in behaviour occur, or where children's play gives cause for concern, the Pre-school will investigate.
- All investigations are carried out with sensitivity. Staff in the Pre-School take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to children or ask questions of children.
- Where a child shows signs and symptoms of 'failure to thrive' or neglect, we make appropriate referrals.
Assurance for those raising concerns or reporting child abuse
Any employee, or child using this procedure is assured that their concerns will be treated seriously and sensitively. Every effort will be made to ensure the anonymity of the person raising the concern. However, it is not possible to give absolute guarantees of confidentiality, especially if the matter raised results in action being taken by one or more legal authority.
The Pre-School will not tolerate harassment of any employee, or child who raises a concern and such harassment will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedures.
For monitoring and recording purposes the manager will maintain a register of concerns raised and the resolution reached.
Misuse of the procedure
Malicious complaints about an employee and or the serious and persistent abuse of the procedures available to raise concerns of child abuse will not be tolerated and will be dealt with through a disciplinary procedure.
Employees are forbidden to discuss any suspected or proven allegation of child abuse with;
- Anyone within the provision other than in the course of the official reporting procedures as set out in this policy.
- A member of any external agency or authority other than as part of the formal reporting procedure as set out in this policy or in relation to a formal investigation into the case.
- Any other interested party including parents, relatives and or carers of the child, without the express permission of the management to do so.
- All enquiries from the media concerning an alleged or proven allegation of child abuse should be referred to the management. Any direct question should be answered with the words "No Comment".
Where a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff:
- offers reassurance to the child;
- listens to the child; and
- gives reassurance that she or he will take action.
The member of staff does not question the child
Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures
Staff make a record of:
- The child's name;
- The child's address;
- The age of the child;
- The date and time of the observation or the disclosure;
- An objective record of the observation or disclosure;
- The exact words spoken by the child;
- 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 a separate confidential file.
All members of staff know the procedures for recording and reporting to the designated person or deputy.
Parents are normally the first point of contact. If a suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, except where the procedures of the Reading Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) does not allow this. This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the investigating officers will inform parents.
All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the procedures of the Reading Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
Support to families
- The Pre-School takes every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relations among families, staff and volunteers in the group.
- The Pre-School continues to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to abuse in the home situation.
- Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child's parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child only if appropriate under the procedures of the Reading Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
- With the proviso that the care and safety of the child is paramount, we do all in our power to support and work with the child's family.
Allegations Made Against Staff or Volunteers
If an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff or volunteer, the manager will be informed as soon as possible. All concerns and allegations will be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality. Please refer to the procedures above.
OFSTED will be informed of any allegations of abuse against a member of staff or volunteer, or any abuse that is alleged to have taken place on the premises or during a visit or outing. We will follow any guidelines or advice given to us.
Support will be provided to all those involved in an allegation throughout the external investigation. This will be in line with support and advice from LADO. All enquires, external investigations and interviews will be documented and kept in a locked file for access by the relevant authorities. The setting retains the right to suspend any member of staff in connection with any allegations made, following the advice of LADO and OFSTED. The setting retains the right to dismiss any member of staff in connection with founded allegations following an inquiry. Support will be available for any member of staff in the setting who has been affected by an allegation, as well as their colleagues in the setting and the parents and carers.