“Because of their day to day contact with individual children during school terms, teachers and other staff are particularly well placed to observe outward signs of abuse, changes in behaviour or failure to develop” (Working together under the Children Act 1989).
The health, safety and well-being of all our children are of paramount importance to all the adults who work in our school. Our children have the right to protection, regardless of age, gender, race, culture or disability. They have a right to be safe in our school.
In our school we respect our children. The atmosphere within our school is one that encourages all children to do their best. We provide opportunities that enable our children to take and make decisions for themselves. We ensure pupils know there are adults in school whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty.
Our teaching of personal, social and health education and citizenship, as part of the National Curriculum and Foundation Phase provision, helps to develop appropriate attitudes in our children and makes them aware of the impact of their decisions on others. We also teach them how to recognise different risks in different situations, and how to behave in response to them.
This policy ensures that all staff, visitors and governors in our school are clear about
the actions necessary with regard to a child protection issue. Its aims are:
1) To protect children;
2) To raise the awareness of all staff and identify responsibility in reporting possible cases of abuse;
3) To ensure effective communication between all staff when dealing with child protection issues.
4) To lay down the correct procedures for those who encounter an issue of child protection;
5) To provide support (to pupils and school staff and to children who may have been abused).
We will follow the procedures set out in the All Wales Child Protection Procedures (2008) and the protocol for schools produced by the L.E.A.
There is a named person in our school who is the Child Protection Co-ordinator. This is Mrs S. Davies, the Head Teacher. In her absence, the Deputy Head Teacher, Gaynor Highcock and the Assistant Head, Sarah Birchall, are the named persons with responsibility for Child Protection. Jane Harrop, LAC co-ordinator is also a named person with responsibility for Child Protection. It is the responsibility of the Child Protection Co-ordinator to ensure Child Protection procedures are followed within school.
If any teacher suspects that a child in his/her class may be a victim of abuse, they immediately inform the named person about their concerns. Abuse can be of a sexual, emotional or physical nature. It can also be the result of neglect.
Any action that the named person takes when dealing with an issue of child protection must be in line with the procedures outlined in the LEA Child Protection guidelines.
The school’s named co-ordinator works closely with the Social Services department when reporting any allegations of abuse. The school does not operate in isolation. All parties involved handle such investigations in a sensitive manner, but the interest of the child is of paramount importance.
If a child alleges abuse, the school usually makes a referral without communicating with parents first. In some circumstances we inform parents first.
We regard all information relating to individual child protection issues as confidential, and we treat this accordingly. We only pass information on to appropriate persons. We do keep a record of all referrals sent and track outcomes.
We require all adults employed in school to have their application vetted through police records in order to ensure that there is no evidence of offences involving children or abuse. All adults working with or on behalf of children have a responsibility to protect children. Staff are kept informed about child protection procedures through induction, briefings and awareness training.
If it is necessary to use physical force to protect a child from injury, to prevent a child from harming others, or if any child is injured accidentally, parents will be informed immediately. Children will not be punished within our school by any form of hitting, slapping or shaking or other degrading treatment.
Training and support
Our school will ensure that the designated teacher attends training relevant to the role. All adults in the school receive training to raise their awareness of abuse and
their knowledge of agreed local child protection procedures. This will also include periodic ‘refresher’ training to update their knowledge and understanding.
Monitoring and Review
The policy is reviewed by the governing body.
The LEA child protection co-ordinator provides advice, support and training to the school.
Confidentiality is an issue, which needs to be discussed and fully understood by all those working with children, particularly in the context of child protection. The only purpose of confidentiality in this respect is to benefit the child. A member of staff must never guarantee confidentiality to a pupil nor should they agree with the pupil to keep a secret, as where there is a child protection concern this must be reported to the named person and may require further investigation by appropriate authorities.
This would lead to a breakdown in trust of adults by the pupil and could potentially compromise their well-being and safety.
The named person will invoke the local agreed guidelines and procedure, where there is a cause for concern.
Staff will be informed of relevant aspects in respect of child protection on a ‘need to know basis’ only. Any information shared with a member of staff in this way must be held confidentially to themselves.
Records and monitoring
Well-kept records are essential to good child protection practice. Our school is clear about the need to record any concerns held about a child or children within our school, the status of such records and when these records should be passed over to other agencies.
Attendance at Child Protection Conferences
The named person would attend a child protection conference called in respect of a
pupil. She may be accompanied by other relevant staff (e.g. the pupil’s pastoral
teacher) if this is of benefit to the pupil.
Supporting pupils at risk
Ysgol Llandrillo–yn-Rhos recognises that children who are abused or who witness
violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth and to view the world in
a positive way. This school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in
the lives of children at risk. Whilst at school their behaviour may still be challenging
and defiant. It is also recognised that some children who have experienced abuse may
in turn abuse others. This requires a considered, sensitive approach in order that the
child can receive appropriate help and support.
This school will endeavour to support pupils through:
a) the curriculum to encourage self-esteem and self-motivation.
b) The school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and which gives all pupils and adults a sense of being respected and valued.
c) The implementation of school behaviour management policies (required under the Code of Practice, 1993 Education Act).
d) A consistent approach, which recognises and separates the cause of behaviour from that which the child displays. This is vital to ensure that all children are supported within the school setting.
e) Regular liaison with other professionals and agencies who support the pupils and their families.
f) A commitment to develop productive, supportive relationships with parents, whenever it is the child’s interests to do so.
g) The development and support of a responsive and knowledgeable staff group, trained to response appropriately in child protection situations.
This policy should be considered alongside other related policies in school. These are the policy for the teaching of PSHE, the policy of sex and relationships education, the behaviour policy and the health and safety policy.
We recognise that, statistically, children with behavioural difficulties and disabilities are most vulnerable to abuse. School staff who work, in any capacity, with such children will need to be particularly sensitive to signs of abuse. It must also be stressed that in a home environment where there is domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, children may also be vulnerable and in need of support or protection.
Safe school, safe staff
Many of our pupils would have difficulty in talking about these issues and most lack the vocabulary for this. Staff will need to be sensitive to the pupil’s preferred style of communication and their individual special needs if we are to be able to provide a safe environment for our pupils
When engaging with pupils all staff must be aware of the potential for misinterpreting our pupils’ efforts to raise a child protection concern or issue.
Staff working in a one-to-one situation with a pupil should ensure that they are positioned so as to be visible and audible to other staff where there may be a possibility of misinterpretation of their interaction with a pupil.
School staff are informed about counselling and/or giving advice to children about sexual matters through the school policy on sex and relationships education.
School staff work hard to maintain effective partnerships with parents and carers, and they should be aware that this policy might affect this working relationship at a given time. However, we will maintain our commitment to working with parents and carers to the benefit of all pupils. Sensitive and supportive handling of these issues, whilst affirming that the pupils in our care are our first priority, will help maintain this working relationship.
All staff and volunteers are required to complete a criminal record bureau (CRB) check, which has replaced the Police Records search, prior to taking up their appointment, and to sign a declaration regarding convictions relating to the harm of children during their application process. Staff who deliberately seek to mislead the school in respect of this will be subject to dismissal.
Where a member of staff is subject of an accusation of abuse, this will be fully investigated under the school’s disciplinary procedures and All Wales Child Protection Procedures (2008).