Ashcombe KMAT Safeguarding Policy
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Ashcombe Primary School
We are part of: Kaleidoscope Academy Trust
Child Protection Policy
This policy will be reviewed annually.
This policy is based upon the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSSCP) Model Policy
Approved by: Kaleidoscope Trust Board
Date: September 2021
Next Review: September 2022
North Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership
In North Somerset, the three key partners are:
- North Somerset Council
- Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group
- Avon and Somerset Constabulary
Schools and educational settings, including early years (Section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006), are vital safeguarding partners. The North Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership builds on the existing strong relationships with schools, college and early years settings to ensure educational settings contribute to making the voices of children and young people heard within an educational safeguarding context.
The North Somerset Safeguarding Children partnership have agreed on key principles:
- The voice of children, young people and families will be heard and responded to in a meaningful way;
- Being cognisant of arrangements in neighbouring areas and ensuring links are maintained to promote the safety of children and families who move between new safeguarding arrangements and LA areas. This is especially important in areas such as county lines and exploitation;
- The need to work more effectively and efficiently and ensure that resources are used to their optimum to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and families in North Somerset.
Full published arrangements can be found here.
Kaleidoscope MAT Designated Safeguarding Leads and Safeguarding Governors 2021 - 2022
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL)
Designated Safeguarding Governor/Trustee
Designated Teacher for Looked After Children
Kaleidoscope Central Office
Mr Simon Marriott (CEO)
Dr Tristan Cogan
Ashcombe Primary School
Mr John Clark
Mrs Kathie Light
Ms Katie Robertson
Mr John Clark
Becket Primary School
Mrs Zoe Bembridge
Ms Louise Graham,
Mrs Rachel Bradley &
Ms Dee Wilkes
Miss Heidi Read
Mrs Zoe Bembridge
Christ Church CE VA Primary School
Mrs Emma Bray
Mrs Rachael Clarke,
Mr Aaron Rogers
& Mrs Colette Bagnall
Mr Ray Pilgrim
Mrs Colette Bagnall
Crockerne C of E Primary School
Mrs Tanya Slatter
Mrs Geeta Verrell &
Mrs Lara Furmidge
Mrs Sarah Spencer
Mrs Geeta Verrell
Hutton CE Primary School
Mrs Alayna Smith
Mrs Helen McCollum,
Mrs Rachel Whiting &
Mrs Jane Storer
Mrs Veronika Chidemo
Mrs Alayna Smith
(Mrs Helen McCollum Maternity Cover)
St Martin’s C of E Primary School
Ms Yvonne Barnes
Mrs Tracey Thomas
Mrs Georgia Prentice
Miss Deborah Crandon
Worle Village Primary School
Mrs Susan Elliott
Mr Kerry James
Mr Stuart Mottram
Mrs Susan Elliott
(Information correct as of September 2021)
Part 1: Policy
Professional expectations, role and responsibilities
Safeguarding training for staff
Safeguarding in the curriculum
Safer Recruitment and Safer Working Practice
Key Safeguarding areas
Part 2: Procedures
Identifying and monitoring the needs of vulnerable learners
Suspensions, permanent exclusions, and commissioning of Alternative Provisions
Children missing from education
Responding to incidents of peer on peer harm
Responding to allegations of abuse made against professionals
Mental health and wellbeing
Appendix A- Types of abuse and neglect
Appendix B- Reporting a concern
Appendix C- Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
Appendix D- Dealing with a disclosure of abuse
Appendix E- Local contacts
Appendix F- COVID-19 (See separate school policy)
PART 1: Policy
Safeguarding is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development.
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Child Protection is defined in the Children Act 1989 (s.47) as when a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm. Under statutory guidance and legislation action must be taken to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.
At Ashcombe Primary & All Kaleidoscope Multi-Academy Trust (KMAT) Schools,
- Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children, their families and carers, has a role to play.
- In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should always consider what is in the best interests of the child.
- We take an ‘it can happen here’ approach where safeguarding is concerned.
- Everyone who comes into contact with children has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.
- Victims of harm should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting abuse, sexual violence, or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
Ashcombe/KMAT is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children by:
- The provision of a safe environment in which children and young people can learn.
- Acting on concerns about a child’s welfare immediately.
- Fulfilling our legal responsibilities to identify children who may need early help or who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.
All action taken by ASHCOMBE/KMAT Schools will be in accordance with:
- Current legislation (these are summarised within Working Together to Safeguard Children: statutory framework)
- Statutory, national, and local guidance – this includes:
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), which sets out the multiagency working arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and protect them from harm; in addition, it sets out the statutory roles and responsibilities of schools.
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021) is statutory guidance issued by the Department for Education which all schools and colleges must have regard to when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
- Local Guidance from the Local Safeguarding Partnership: Information on arrangements can be found on the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership Website
- Government guidance in relation to:
- COVID19: The full collection is available on the government website. Each KMAT Schools have created an addendum to this document to reflect changes made during lockdown or in the event of a further lockdown. These are accessible via each school’s website.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:
- Recruitment and Selection
- Whistleblowing and Public Interest Disclosure
- Code of Conduct for Staff/ Staff Behaviour Policy
- Behaviour (which should include measures to prevent bullying, including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying)
- Online/ E-Safety
- Policy on Supporting Children in Care
- Attendance (including the safeguarding response to children who go missing from education)
- Health and Safety
Head teachers should ensure that the above policies and procedures, adopted by the Trust Board and Governors (for school level policies) are accessible, understood and followed by all staff, parents and where appropriate, children.
- Equalities Statement
With regards to safeguarding we will consider our duties under the Equality Act 2010 and our general and specific duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty. General duties include:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010.
- Advance equality of opportunity and good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Details of our specific duties are published under KMAT’s equality statement, this can be found on the Kaleidoscope website – www.kaleidoscopemat.co.uk
Staff are aware of the additional barriers to recognising abuse and neglect in children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). This will be addressed in line with our Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Policy. http://www.kaleidoscopemat.co.uk/uploads/9/4/7/2/94728976/kmat_send_and_inclusion_policy_2020.pdf
KMAT also adheres to the principals of and promotes anti-oppressive practice in line of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Human Rights Act 1998.
- Overall Aims
This policy will contribute to the safeguarding of children at KMAT School’s by:
- Clarifying safeguarding expectations for members of the school community, staff, trustees, governing body, learners, and their families.
- Contributing to the establishment of a safe, resilient, and robust safeguarding culture in the schools built upon shared values; that learners are treated with respect and dignity, taught to treat each other and staff with respect, feel safe, have a voice and are listened to.
- Supporting contextual safeguarding practice recognising that the school sites can be a location where harm can occur.
- Setting expectations for developing knowledge and skills within the school community (staff, learners, parents/carers) to the signs and indicators of safeguarding issues and how to respond to them.
- Early identification of need for vulnerable learners and provision of proportionate interventions to promote their welfare and safety.
- Working in partnership with learners, parents, and other agencies in the Local Safeguarding Partnership.
- Professional expectations, roles, and responsibilities
1.5.1 Role of all staff
- All staff will read and understand Part 1 of statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021). Those working directly with children will also read Annex B. Those who do not work directly with children will have the option of reading Annex A instead
- In addition to this all staff will be aware of the systems in place which support safeguarding including reading the Safeguarding/Child Protection Policy; the Behaviour Policy; the Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct); safeguarding response to children who go missing from education; and the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
- Know who and how to contact the DSL and any deputies, the Chair of Governors, and the Governor responsible for safeguarding.
- All staff will be able to identify vulnerable learners and take action to keep them safe. Information or concerns about learners will be shared with the DSL where it includes those:
- who may need a social worker and may be experiencing abuse or neglect;
- requiring mental health support;
- may benefit from early help;
- where there is a radicalisation concern;
- where a crime may have been committed.
- Be clear as to the setting’s policy and procedures about peer on peer abuse, online safety, children missing education and those requiring mental health support.
- Be involved where appropriate, in the implementation of individual
plans to further safeguard vulnerable learners and understand their academic progress and attainment and maintain a culture of high aspirations for this cohort.
- Record concerns appropriately and in a timely manner by using the Safeguard online system used in all ASHCOMBE/KMAT Schools.
- To be aware of the need to raise to the senior leadership team any concerns they have about safeguarding practices within the school.
1.5.2 - Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
Duties are further outlined in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021, Annex C)
DSL – Ashcombe Primary School –
DSL – John Clark
Deputy DSL – Kathie Light
Pastoral Team in absence of above Lorraine Francis, Karen Low & Karen Selway
Governor responsible for Safeguarding - Katie Robertson
Chair of Governors – Kevin Roberts
All Details of all KMATs DSL and Deputy DSL are available on each KMAT School’s website, newsletters, or on display in each school’s Reception.
- The DSL is a senior member of staff who undertakes lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection within the setting.
- The DSL works with the headteacher, SENCO, Designated Teacher and other relevant strategic leads to support the educational attainment and wellbeing of pupils in school
- The DSL is also responsible for any work undertaken by any Deputy DSLs.
DSL main duties:
- Providing advice and support to staff on child welfare, safeguarding and child protection matters
- Refer children and families who have been identified in need of early intervention or where suspected or known abuse is taking place to Children’s Social Care (with consideration to consent)
- Risk assessment of children and environments
- Act as a point of contact for outside agencies about safeguarding, liaising with the partnership and police where required.
- Coordinate safeguarding training for staff and raise awareness in the school community of policies and practice in relation to safeguarding.
- Help promote educational outcomes by sharing information about vulnerable learners with relevant staff.
- Ensure appropriate safeguarding cover and availability during term time/ any out of hours/out of term activities managed by the school.
1.5.3 - Role of the Trust Board and Governing Body
Duties are further outlined in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021, Part 2)
The Trust Board will ensure that policies and procedures linked to Safeguarding are up to date and in place across all KMAT Schools. The Trust also provides centralised online systems for all KMAT schools to raise and record safeguarding concerns and Single Central Record checks and records. The Trust ensures that training follows statutory requirements. This is delivered using the online National College system. The CEO is responsible for ensuring these systems are in place and reports to the Trust Board. A member of the Trust Board is responsible for monitoring this. Schools must keep a record of safeguarding training undertaken by staff and reports the number of safeguarding cases to the CEO 3x per year.
Headteacher’s, Governors and the DSL are responsible for ensuring that ASHCOMBE/KMAT, national and North Somerset policy and procedures are carried out at school level.
Each schools has a Governor lead who takes responsibility for the setting’s safeguarding responsibility to ensure that safeguarding and child protection practice, process, and policy (including online safety) is effective and follows KMAT Policy – and therefore is in line with legislation, statutory guidance, and Local Safeguarding Partnership arrangements.
- The appointed Safeguarding Governor will liaise with the Head Teacher/Executive Headteacher and the DSL to produce an annual report for governors and complete the S.175 (annual safeguarding) audit
- Ensure that the school remedies any deficiencies or weaknesses brought to its attention without delay;
- Ensure that this document is updated annually (or when there are significant updates)
- Ensure that the DSL is an appropriate senior member of setting’s senior leadership team and ensure that they have adequate time, funding, training, resources, and support to carry out their role effectively.
- Ensure that the training and learning for the school community is robust and effective.
- Ensure that learners are taught about safeguarding on the curriculum including online safety and Relationships and Sex Education in compliance with statutory guidance
- To ensure that teachers, including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers, and contractors have appropriate checks carried out in line with statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021, Part 3).
- Ensure that there are procedures in place to manage safeguarding concerns or allegations against teachers, including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers, and contractors who may not be suitable to work with or pose a risk to learners, this includes having a process to manage low level concerns.
- Ensure that systems are in place for learners to effectively share a concern about a safeguarding issue they are experiencing, express their views and give feedback.
- Ensure that the setting has systems in place to prevent, identify and respond to peer on peer harm (including sexual abuse and sexual harassment) and mental health concerns, and review the effectiveness of the setting’s online safety practices.
- Appoint a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement for children in care and other care arrangements.
- Safeguarding training for staff
1.6.1 - All staff:
- KMAT will ensure that all staff members undergo safeguarding and child protection (including online safety) training at induction.
- Will receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection (including online safety) refresher training at least annually (via formal training, email e-bulletins and staff meetings).
- All staff must understand their legal duty under the Mandatory FGM Reporting Duty.
- All staff must complete Prevent awareness training. This is to ensure that they can comply with the legal expectations under the Prevent duty.
- Staff training includes clear reference to internal whistleblowing policy and guidance for escalating concerns.
1.6.2 - Designated Safeguarding Lead and deputies:
- Will undergo formal training to provide them with the knowledge and skills (including online safety) required to carry out the role. The training will be updated every two years.
- Deputies will be trained to the same level as the DSL.
- The DSL and any deputies will liaise with the Local Safeguarding Partnership to ensure that their knowledge and skills are updated via e-bulletins, attend DSL network meetings, and take time to read and digest safeguarding bulletins.
1.6.3 - Other training considerations:
- The governing body will ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel will have undertaken safer recruitment training, in line with School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009.
- Members of the Senior Leadership Team will make themselves aware of and understand their role within the local safeguarding arrangements. This will ensure that those who have responsibility for the management of behaviour, inclusion, Special Educational Needs, attendance, and exclusions will carry out their duties with a safeguarding consideration.
- The Designated Teacher for Children in Care will undergo appropriate training to fulfil their role to promote the educational achievement of registered pupils who are in care.
- The mental health lead has access to appropriate training.
- Training around safeguarding topics in Annex B (including online safety) will be integrated, aligned, and considered as part of a whole school safeguarding approach.
- Appropriate colleagues have received training in relation to use of reasonable force and positive handling.
- Safeguarding in the curriculum
ASHCOMBE/KMAT is dedicated to ensuring that learners are taught about safeguarding, including online safety. We recognise that a one size fits all approach may not be appropriate for all learners, and a more personalised or contextualised approach for more vulnerable learners, victims of abuse and some SEND children might be needed. This is part of a broad and balanced curriculum.
- Working within statutory guidance to deliver appropriate Relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education
- Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, to explore key areas such as self-esteem, emotional literacy, assertiveness, power, building resilience to radicalisation, e-safety and bullying.
- Appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place to ensure that ‘over- blocking’ does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what learners can be taught about online safety and safeguarding.
- The curriculum will be shaped to respond to safeguarding incident patterns in the setting identified by the Designated Safeguarding Lead and safeguarding team (e.g., to respond to an increase in bullying incidents).
- Providing engagement opportunities with parents and carers to consult on key aspects of the curriculum.
- Learners can inform the curriculum via discussions with the school council.
- Safer recruitment and safer working practice
1.8.1 - Safer recruitment
KMAT pays full regard to the safer recruitment practices detailed in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2021; Part 3)
- This includes scrutinising applicants, verifying identity and academic or vocational qualifications, obtaining professional and character references, checking previous employment history, and ensuring that a candidate has the health and physical capacity for the job. References are always obtained, scrutinised and concerns resolved satisfactorily before appointment is confirmed.
- It also includes undertaking appropriate checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), the barred list checks and prohibition checks (and overseas checks if appropriate), dependent on the role and duties performed, including regulated and non-regulated activity.
- All recruitment materials will include reference to KMAT’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of learners.
1.8.2 - Use of reasonable force
‘Reasonable force’ refers to the physical contact to restrain and control children using no more force than is needed.’ The Department believes that the adoption of a ‘no contact’ policy at a school or college can leave staff unable to fully support and protect their pupils and students. It encourages headteachers, principals, governing bodies, and proprietors to adopt sensible policies, which allow and support their staff to make appropriate physical contact. The use of reasonable force is down to the professional judgement of the staff member concerned and will be determined by individual circumstances and the vulnerability of any child with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) will be considered.
- The use of reasonable force will be minimised through positive and proactive behaviour support and de-escalation and will follow government guidance (Use of Reasonable Force in Schools 2013; Reducing the need for restraint and restrictive intervention, 2019).
- There is robust recording of any incident where positive handling or restraint has been used. Further review of the incident is carried out to reflect on how the incident could be avoided, this will involve the child and their family.
Any concerns about a staff member’s handling of a child should be discussed with the Headteacher.
1.8.3 - Whistleblowing procedures
Staff are aware that any concerns around staff and volunteers should be addressed with the Headteacher, or the safeguarding governor. Staff are also aware of the details of the LADO should they feel that they cannot raise concerns internally.
Further guidance can be found at:
Advice on whistleblowing https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing.
- The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is available here for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. 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.
- The above channels are clearly accessible to all staff (in the staff handbook, code of conduct and staff notice boards).
- Parents and carers should also have access to this policy and know the channels they can use if they have a concern about a staff member.
The CEO must be notified if concerns about staff or volunteers are raised and if this is reported to the LADO.
1.9 Key safeguarding areas
These topics are themes that can impact on children and families, there are specific areas of safeguarding that the setting has statutory responsibilities to address which are hyperlinked:
- Children in the court system
- Children affected by parental offending/imprisonment.
- Children missing from education – including persistent absence.
- Child Exploitation (including both Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation and county lines, modern day slavery and trafficking)
- Domestic Abuse
- So-called Honour based Abuse (including Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage),
- Online Safety
- Mental health
- Peer on Peer/ child on child abuse:
- Bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying).
- Abuse in intimate personal relationships between peers.
- Physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse).
- Sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault;(this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence).
- Sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse.
- Causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party.
- Consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nude images and or videos
- Upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress, or alarm; and
- Initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group and may also include an online element).
- Preventing Radicalisation (The Prevent Duty)
- Serious Youth Violence
- Substance Misuse
- Private Fostering
- Young Carers
Additional information about key safeguarding areas can also be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021; Annex B); and the NSPCC website - Types of Abuse;
PART 2: Procedures
- Reporting concerns
All staff are clear about recording and reporting concerns to the DSL/DSL deputies in a timely way. In the case a learner is in immediate danger, staff should phone the police.
All staff are aware of and follow the procedures to respond to a concern about a child detailed in Appendix B. This includes responses to peer on peer harm and learners who present with a mental health need.
At ASHCOMBE/KMAT School’s learners can raise their concerns by reporting them to a key member of staff e.g. their teacher, support staff, pastoral team, senior leaders and they will be treated seriously. Children are made aware of this in class and in assemblies.
2.2 Information Sharing
KMAT is committed to have due regard to relevant data protection principles which allow for sharing (and withholding) personal information as provided for in the Data protection Act 2018 and UK General Data Protection Regulations. This includes how to store and share information for safeguarding purposes, including information which is sensitive and personal and should be treated as ‘special category personal data’.
Staff at the setting are aware that:
- ‘Safeguarding’ and ‘individuals at risk’ is a processing condition that allows practitioners to share special category personal data.
- Practitioners will seek consent to share data where possible in line with Information Sharing for Safeguarding Practitioners 2018.
There may be times when it is necessary to share information without consent such as:
- To gain consent would place the child at risk,
- By doing so will compromise a criminal investigation,
- It cannot be reasonably expected that a practitioner gains consent,
- or, if by sharing information it will enhance the safeguarding of a child in a timely manner, but it is not possible to gain consent.
There are also times when ASHCOMBE/KMAT Schools will not provide pupil’s personal data where the serious harm test under legislation is met, (by sharing the information the child may be at further risk). When in doubt the school will seek legal advice.
The Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR do not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.
- Identifying and monitoring the needs of vulnerable learners.
The DSL and Deputy DSL will regularly review and monitor those students who have been identified as vulnerable. This can include reviewing attendance data, behaviour data, attainment data and safeguarding records. This is to ensure that:
- Proportionate and early interventions can be taken to promote the safety and welfare of the child and prevent escalation of harm.
- Information about vulnerable learners is shared with teachers and school and college leadership staff to promote educational outcomes.
- Learners who currently have, or have had, a social worker will have their academic progress and attainment reviewed and additional academic support will be provided to help them reach their full potential.
- Reasonable adjustments are made in relation to school-based interventions – for example responding to behaviour.
2.4 Multi-agency working
KMAT school’s are a relevant agency in the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership and will work with appropriate agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children to identify and respond to their needs. This is in compliance with statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.
Occasions that warrant a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989:
- If the child is in need under s.17 of the Children Act 1989 (including when a child is a young carer and or subject to a private fostering arrangement).
- Or if the child needs protection under s.47 of the Children Act 1989 where they are experiencing significant harm, or likely to experience significant harm.
Referrals in these cases should be made by the DSL (or Deputy DSLs) to Children’s Social Care in the local authority in which that child resides.
Where the child already has a social worker, the request for service should go immediately to the social worker involved or, in their absence, to their team manager. If the child is a child in care, notification should also be made to the Virtual School.
ASHCOMBE/KMAT School’s will co-operate with any statutory safeguarding assessments conducted by children’s social care: this includes ensuring representation at appropriate inter-agency meetings such as Team around the Family (TAF) initial and review child protection conferences and core group meetings.
2.4.1 Additional considerations:
- Where a learner and/or their family is subject to an child protection plan or a multiagency risk assessment conference (MARAC) meeting, the setting will contribute to the preparation, implementation, and review of the plan as appropriate.
- In situations where a child in care may be put on to part time timetable, the school will consult with the Virtual School following local procedures.
- If there is a risk of harm, the police should be called via 999. For other concerns of criminality, Avon and Somerset Police have produced a helpful guide When to Contact the Police or schools can contact the local PCSO/School Police Beat Officer/School Officer for advice.
- In the rare event that a child death occurs, or a child is seriously harmed, the school will notify the North Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership as soon as is reasonably possible. They will also notify the CEO.
- Suspensions, permanent exclusions, and commissioning of Alternative Provisions
(To be read in conjunction with the Behaviour Policy)
When the setting is considering suspending or permanently excluding a learner where additional vulnerability is identified it is important that the learner’s welfare is a paramount consideration. The headteacher/Executive Headteacher will consider their legal duty of care when sending a learner home.
KMAT School’s will exercise their legal duties in relation to their interventions. This includes:
- whether a statutory assessment should be considered in line with the principles of Children Act 1989,
- that decisions are made in an anti-discriminatory manner in line with the Equality Act 2010 (including having regard to the SEND Code of Practice)
- and takes into consideration the learner’s rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.
- Interventions will be consistent with statutory guidance School suspensions and permanent exclusions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
2.5.1 - Actions to take
- An assessment of need should be undertaken with multi-agency partners with a view to mitigate any identified risk of harm in line with 2.3 Identifying and monitoring the needs of vulnerable learners.
- If the child is subject to a child protection plan or where there is an existing child protection file, we will call a multiagency risk-assessment meeting prior to making the decision to exclude.
- In the event of a one-off serious incident resulting in an immediate decision to exclude, the risk assessment must be completed prior to convening a meeting of the governing body.
2.5.2 - Commissioning Alternative Provisions
In the event that a ASHCOMBE/KMAT School commissions an Alternative Provision, the commissioning school should carefully consider what providers are available that can meet the needs of their pupils, including the quality and safety of the provision, costs and value for money. A personalised plan for intervention should be prepared by the commissioner setting clear objectives for improvement and attainment, timeframes, arrangements for assessment and monitoring progress, and a baseline of the current position against which to measure progress. Plans should be linked to other relevant information or activities such as EHCPs for children with SEND. The school commissioning the placement should maintain on-going contact with the provider and pupil, with clear procedures in place to exchange information, monitor progress and provide pastoral support. The school commissioning the placement should maintain a full record of all placements they make, including a pupil’s progress, achievements and destination following the placement. This should also include the pupil’s own assessment of their placement
The school will continue to be responsible for the safeguarding of that learner and will make necessary checks on the provider to meet the needs of the learner. Written confirmation from the Alternative provider will be obtained of the checks on staff that we would otherwise perform for our own staff.
2.6 Children Missing from Education
(To be read in conjunction with the Attendance Policy)
A learner missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect, or maybe an indicator of need for early help support. Staff should follow procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children that go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions. These should be reported to the DSL and reviewed in line with 2.3 Identifying and monitoring the needs of vulnerable learners.
KMAT School’s will follow the guidance detailed in Children Missing Education (2016) Government guidance and Children Missing Education North Somerset Policy
This will include notifying the local authority in which the child lives:
- of any pupil who fails to attend school regularly,
- or has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 school days or more, at such intervals as are agreed between the school and the local authority.
2.6.1 - Elective Home Education
ASHCOMBE/KMAT School’s will notify the Local Authority of every learner where a parent has exercised their right to educate their child at home. The School will complete an EHE referral form and send it with a copy of the parent/ carers letter or email. Safeguarding files should be shared with the Local Authority Elective Home Education service and consideration of whether additional support from children’s social care should be made in line with the Children Act 1989.
- Respond to incidents of peer on peer harm.
All staff should recognise that children can abuse their peers (including online). Incidents of abuse and harm should be dealt with in reference to the safeguarding and behaviour policies.
Examples of peer on peer harm this can be found under section 1.9 Key Safeguarding Areas.
- We have a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to abuse. Incidents are taken seriously. These will never be tolerated or passed off as ‘banter,’ just having a laugh’ or ‘part of growing up.’ Banter and teasing can and should be acknowledged and recognised as bullying behaviour and may require proportionate intervention.
- Even with a zero-tolerance approach, we take steps to educate and take action to mitigate the risk of contributing to a culture of unacceptable behaviours or a culture that normalises abuse.
- It is understood that peer on peer harm may reflect equality issues, those who may be targeted are more likely to have protected characteristics.
There are clear systems in place (which are well promoted, easily understood and easily accessible) for learners to confidently report abuse. Our schools have taken steps to ensure students know how their concerns will be dealt with as detailed in section 2.1 Reporting a concern of this policy. KMAT School’s will handle initial reports of harm by:
- Ensuring the immediate safety of learners involved in an incident and sourcing support for other young people affected.
- Listening carefully to the child, being non-judgmental, being clear about boundaries and how the report will be progressed, not asking leading questions and only prompting the child where necessary with open questions using the Tell, Explain, Describe (TED) method.
- Ensuring that victims will never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting abuse, sexual violence, or sexual harassment. They will never be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
- Ensuring the child’s wishes are taken into consideration in any intervention and any action is taken to ensure safety of the target and other members of the wider peer cohort.
- Not promising confidentiality as it is highly likely that information will need to be shared with others.
2.7.1 Actions to take in relation to sexual violence and sexual harassment.
Reference to Keeping Children Safe In Education (2021, Part 5) and guidance Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges 2021 should be made in relation to taking protective action. ASHCOMBE/KMAT School’s will take the following actions when responding to incidents of sexual violence and sexual harassment:
- Incidents will be reported immediately to the DSL/ Deputy DSL who will undertake further assessment of what action should be taken proportionate to the factors that have been identified. The Brook - Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Assessment Tool should be utilised by trained staff to inform assessment of risk and actions to subsequently take. This may include seeking additional advice from Children’s Social Care
- When an incident involves an act of sexual violence (rape, assault by penetration, or sexual assault) the age and wishes of the victim should be taken into consideration. Victims should be given as much control as is reasonably possible over decisions regarding how any investigation will be progressed and any support that they will be offered.
- Immediate consideration should be given as to how best to support and protect the victim and the alleged perpetrator (and any other children involved/impacted).
There are 4 different pathways schools may wish to take based on a case-by-case basis
- Manage internally
- Early help
- Referral to children’s social care
- Report to the police
- Schools should refer to the guidance as set out in KCSIE 2021 and Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges when considering next steps.
- Where the report includes an online element, the setting will follow Searching, screening and confiscation at school - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The key consideration is for staff not to view or forward illegal images of a child. The highlighted advice provides more details on what to do when viewing an image is unavoidable.
- Risk assessments and or safety plans will be developed for individual children who have been involved in an incident. This should be reviewed every 3 months or every time there is an occurrence of an incident. These should involve the child and parents/carers and address contextual risks.
2.7.2 - Contextual safeguarding approach to peer on peer harm:
ASHCOMBE/KMAT School’s will minimise the risk of peer on peer abuse by taking a contextual approach to safeguarding by increasing safety in the contexts of which harm can occur – this can include the school environment itself, peer groups and the neighbourhood.
Following any incidents of peer on peer harm, the DSL/Deputies will review and consider whether any practice or environmental changes can be made in relation to any lessons learned. This can include making changes to staffing and supervision, making changes to the physical environment and considering the utilisation and delivery of safeguarding topics on the curriculum.
- Responding to allegations of abuse made against professionals.
Staff must report any concerns or allegations about a professional’s behaviour (including supply staff, volunteers, and contractors) where they may have:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child.
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child.
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children; or
- behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.
2.8.1 - Immediate action must be taken:
- Do not speak to the individual it concerns.
- Allegations or concerns about colleagues and visitors must be reported directly to the Head Teacher/Executive Headteacher who will follow guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021, Part four: Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff).
- If the concern relates to Head Teacher/Executive Headteacherl it should be reported to the Chair of Governors, who notify the CEO. They will liaise with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and they will decide on any action required.
- If there is a conflict of interest which inhibits this process of reporting, staff can report directly to the CEO or LADO.
- If allegations are regarding a member of supply staff, the school will take the lead and progress enquiries with the LADO, whilst continuing to engage and work with the employment agency.
- Allegations regarding foster carers or anyone in a position of trust working or volunteering with children should be referred to the LADO on the day that the allegation is reported. The allocated social worker should also be informed on the day. The school should not undertake any investigation unless the LADO advises this.
2.8.2 - Low level concerns
This should be read in conjunction with the staff code of conduct and Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021, Part 4). A low-level concern is not insignificant. This process should be used in events where a concern about professional conduct does not met the threshold set out at the beginning of this section.
- Reports should be made to the headteacher/Executive Headteacher. KMAT school’s create an environment where staff are encouraged and feel confident to self-refer where they have found themselves in a situation.
- The Head will address unprofessional behaviour and support the individual to correct it at an early stage providing a responsive, sensitive, and proportionate handling of such concerns when they are raised.
- Review and correct any deficits in the setting’s safeguarding system.
2.9 Mental health and wellbeing
Schools and colleges have an important role to play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their learners. Mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation, and or may require early help support.
KMAT School’s will commit to undertake the following.
- The appointment of a senior mental health lead who can support the development of knowledge and act as a point of expertise to promote the wellbeing and mental health of learners. This colleague will have sufficient training in mental health and safeguarding for them to carry out their role effectively.
- Ensure that learners can report and share concerns in line with section 2.1 Reporting a concern of this policy.
- Staff will follow a safeguarding process in terms of reporting concerns so the DSL/Deputy DSLs (and wider members of the safeguarding team such as the SENDCo) can assess whether there are any other vulnerabilities can be identified and proportionate support considered.
- Staff will ensure the immediate health and safety of a learner who is displaying acute mental health distress. This may require support from emergency services via 999 if the leaner is at risk of immediate harm.
- DSLs/Deputies will consider whether a case can be managed internally, through early help, or should involve other agencies as required in line with section 2.4 - Multi-Agency Working.
- The setting will communicate and work with the learner and parents/carers to ensure that interventions are in the best interests of the child.
- DSLs will liaise with staff to ensure reasonable adjustments are made and develop ways to support positive educational outcomes.
- Only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem – DSLs and the senior leadership team should be able to access specialist advice through targeted services or through their locality. The North Somerset Emotional Health for Children and Young People guide highlights services in our area.
2.9.1 - Contextual safeguarding approach to mental health
KMAT School’s will ensure that preventative measures in terms of providing safeguarding on the curriculum will provide opportunities for learners to identify when they may need help, and to develop resilience.
The setting will take a ‘whole school approach’ to:
- deliver high quality teaching around mental health and wellbeing on the curriculum.
- having a culture and environment that promotes mental health and wellbeing;
- making sure pupils and staff are aware of and able to access a range of mental health services;
- supporting staff wellbeing
- being committed to pupil and parent participation
2.10 Online Safety
Online safety is an integrated and interwoven theme with other safeguarding considerations. It is essential that the DSL takes a lead on ensuring that interventions are effective. This means coordinating support and engaging with other colleagues in the setting who may have more technological expertise such as the IT manager.
ASHCOMBE/KMAT is committed to addressing online safety issues around content, contact and conduct. This includes:
- Ensuring that online safety is included in relevant policies and procedures.
- Online safety is interwoven in safeguarding training for staff and safeguarding on the curriculum for learners.
- Acknowledging that peer on peer abuse can happen via mobile and smart technology between individuals and groups. This should be approached in the same process outlined in section 2.7 Responding to incidents of peer on peer harm and read in conjunction of ASHCOMBE/KMAT’s policy on the use of mobile smart technology is available via
- Provision of education via remote learning will comply with governmental advice Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- The effectiveness of the setting’s ability to protect learners through filtering and monitoring. Information security and access management alongside the above will be reviewed annually.
Approved by the Trustee Board and signed by:
Trustee Board Chair 8/9/21
Types of abuse and neglect
Abuse is defined as the maltreatment of a child or young person whereby someone may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
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. For children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) additional barriers can exist when identifying abuse and neglect, these include:
- assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
- being more prone to peer group isolation than other children;
- the potential for children with SEN and disabilities being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs; and
- communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
To address these additional challenges, schools and colleges should consider extra pastoral support for children with SEND (KCSIE 2021).
The following are the definition of abuse and neglect as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) however, the ultimate responsibility to assess and define the type of abuse a child or young person may be subject to is that of the Police and Children's Services – our responsibility is to understand what each category of abuse is and how this can impact on the welfare and development of our children and where we have concerns that a child or young person may be at risk of abuse and neglect (one or more categories can apply) to take appropriate action as early as possible.
Physical abuse is 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 is 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 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 the child is aware of what is happening or not. 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 (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect is 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 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, an unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs, failing to ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers) or ensure access to appropriate medical care, treatment or attend or receive an education.
Reporting a concern
All concerns about children or families whether big or small will be shared with the DSL (or deputy if the DSL is unavailable) in a timely matter. In ASHCOMBE/KMAT School’s, this is recorded via the Safeguard online system.
Staff will be mindful that they should write the concern in the child’s own words as much as possible, being careful to maintain fact rather than personal opinion or interpretation. Where injuries are observed this will be recorded on a body map, staff know they must not take photographs of injuries.
Any cause for concern will be shared only with those who need to know.
The DSL will ultimately decide next steps and where a referral is required liaise with the Front Door to Children’s Services for next steps. This will be done with consent of the parents unless by doing so would put the child at further risk.
When reporting concerns about staff, the Headteacher, or Chair of Governors will be contacted. Where this is not possible, staff will contact the LADO.
Staff should refer to the whistleblowing policy for more information.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
Both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse. Both occur 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 or criminal activity.
The abuse may be perpetrated by an individual or groups, males or females, adults or children.
It can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence. Victims can be exploited even when activity appears consensual and can be facilitated in-person or wholly online.
Gangs and youth violence
Teachers and designated staff have a range of powers to discipline and tackle problems, including violence, in the school environment. Such powers include the power to restrain violent pupils, and the power to search pupils for prohibited items.
All staff should be aware of the signs that indicate a child is at risk of, or involved with serious violence, this includes: absence from school, changes of friendship group, unexplained injuries, self- harm, unexplained gifts or possessions. Staff should also be aware of relevant guidance: Preventing youth violence and gang involvement
As part of school’s duty to promote pupils’ wellbeing, we have a role to play in preventing drug misuse as part of our pastoral responsibilities (health and wellbeing/Healthy Schools) and to support the Government’s drug strategy (2017). Our school will support students by providing information, advice and support via the curriculum and give students the confidence, resilience and risk management skills to resist risky behaviours and recover.
The Department of Education and Association of Chief Police Officers have provided Drug Advice for Schools to support this aim.
Schools also have the power to search pupils for drugs where there is a belief this student is in possession of criminal property.
Extremism 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.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.
Terrorism is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
Our school is aware of its responsibilities under the Prevent Statutory Duty through the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The duty requires schools to consider the need to safeguard children from being drawn into terrorism. The duty is designed to help ensure that vulnerable individuals who are at risk of radicalisation are supported. We provide a safe environment for our pupils to explore, understand and discuss sensitive topics including terrorism and extremist ideology. We use the curriculum and pastoral care to educate our pupils and to enable them to challenge these ideas and build their resilience to radicalisation. Staff are aware of the risk posed by other students and adults who may have been radicalised and the impact of radicalisation via social media. Staff have received appropriate training and have the knowledge and confidence to identify pupils at risk of being drawn into supporting terrorism and extremism and challenge extremist ideals. Our IT filters are regularly reviewed and monitored in order to prevent and identify access to terrorist and extremist materials on line at the school.
For advice and guidance in making a referral or about a student causing concern: Tel. 01278 647466.
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.
The school or college’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (and any deputies) should be aware that 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.
Educate Against Hate, a website launched by 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.
Honour Based Abuse
So-called ‘honour-based’ Abuse (HBA) 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 HBA (regardless of the motivation) 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 HBA, or already having suffered HBA.
If you have concerns about an individual, the following helplines will be able to support you
Honour Network (Karma Nirvana): 0800 5999 247 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm)
Government Forced Marriage Unit 0207 008 0151 or 0207 008 1500 (out of hours)
In emergencies, dial 999.
Further details from the home office on force marriage can be found here
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.
Professionals in all agencies, individuals and groups from the wider communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a girl being at risk of FGM, or already having suffered FGM. There are a range of potential risk indicators which are detailed in the Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation issued by the home office.
Whilst all staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) in regard to any concerns about female genital mutilation (FGM), there is a specific legal duty on teachers. 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 via 101 (KCSIE 2021). This should be completed in consultation with the DSL but the responsibility of reporting lies with the staff member who identified the concern.
Peer on Peer Abuse
Peer or Peer Abuse includes:
- Bullying, including cyber bullying
- Physical Abuse including intimate partner abuse
- Sexual Violence including CSE, Sexual Harassment, Sending nudes and upskirting
- Initiation and Hazing type violence including rituals, challenges, and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation as a way of initiating a person into a group
- Gang violence, threats or coercion
All schools are required to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010. Schools should tackle prejudice and promote understanding between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not, as set out in the Equality Act 2010. The definition that has been adopted by the government and should be used when considering prejudice related incidents ‘A prejudice related incident is any incident which is perceived to be prejudice by the victim or any other person’
The National Action Plan to Tackle Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief is intended to help raise awareness of the issue of child abuse linked to faith or belief and to encourage practical steps to be taken to prevent such abuse. Schools should promote equality and awareness around cultural and religious practices and be aware of risk factors such as belief in exorcism and spirit possession and children who are scapegoated or blamed for negative events.
Domestic violence and abuse, Gender-based violence and teenage relationship abuse
Domestic abuse (over 16 years) and teenage relationship abuse (under 16 years) involves any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those who are, or have been in relationships or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. It can impact children greatly who witness domestic abuse at home (children are now seen as victims in their own right as per changes to the Domestic Abuse Bill) as well as those who experience it through their personal relationships.
The curriculum should enable children and adolescents to understand what constitutes a healthy relationship, consent and tackle gendered stereotypes.
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
Sexual Violence and harassment can occur between two children of any sex. They can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment exists 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 children involved are taken seriously and offered appropriate support.
The law says anyone under the age of 13 can never legally give consent. This means that anyone who engages in any sexual activity with a child who is 12 or younger is breaking the law. Sexual activity with a child who is under 13 should always result in a child protection referral.
Sexually harmful incidents should be viewed by professionals as a safeguarding concern and both victim and perpetrator should be supported. The school should have systems in places to support both students in the school setting to feel safe and heard should an incident occur.
School staff should be alert to negative sexualised or gendered language and behaviours and should be robust in tackling these, not brushing them off as ‘part of growing up’, ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘banter’.
All staff should be confident of their response to peer or peer abuse as detailed in each school’s Peer on Peer/ Behaviour/anti-bullying policies
Online Sexual Abuse
Online sexual abuse involves the use of technology to manipulate, exploit, coerce or intimidate a child to (but not limited to) engage in sexual activity, produce sexual material/content, force a child to look at or watch sexual activities, encourage a child to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or groom a child in preparation for sexual abuse (either online or offline). It can also involve directing others to, or coordinating, the abuse of children online. As with other forms of sexual abuse, online abuse can be misunderstood by the child and others as being consensual, occurring without the child’s immediate recognition or understanding of abusive or exploitative conduct. In addition, fear of what might happen if they do not comply can also be a significant influencing factor. No child under the age of 18 can consent to being abused or exploited. Financial gain can be a feature of online child sexual abuse, it can involve serious organised crime and it can be carried out by either adults or peers.
The topic of online safety is considerable and can be linked to issues such as child sexual exploitation, bullying and radicalisation. Issues can be categorised into three areas of risk:
• Content: being exposed to illegal, inappropriate or harmful material; e.g. Pornography, fake news, racist or radical and extremist views;
• Contact: being subjected to harmful online interaction with other users; e.g. commercial advertising as well as adults posing as children or young adults; and
• Conduct: personal online behaviour that increases the likelihood of, or causes, harm; e.g. making, sending and receiving explicit images, or online bullying.
The school will ensure it is proactive in addressing online safety through:
- Education of pupils through the curriculum;
- Keeping parents up to date on how to support their children to keep safe online;
- Reviewing online safety practices as part of a whole school approach to online safety;
- Filtering and monitoring to protect users but not leading to unreasonable restrictions;
- Staff training which is integrated, aligned and considered as part of the overarching safeguarding approach;
- Information sharing to enable the school community to be kept up to date.
For further information see government guidance Teaching online safety in school
Child and Adolescent Mental Health
All staff should also be aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem. Staff however, are well placed to observe children day-to-day and identify those whose behaviour suggests that they may be experiencing a mental health problem or be at risk of developing one.
Where children have suffered abuse and neglect, or other potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. It is key that staff are aware of how these children’s experiences, can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education.
If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following their child protection policy and speaking to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy.
Good mental health and resilience are fundamental to our children’s physical health, relationships, education and to achieving their potential. The school should promote positive self-esteem and tackling behaviours such as bullying that can impact a young person’s self-esteem. Pastoral care should be available to those with mental health concerns as well as staff being aware of pathways for young people to Early Help and CAHMS.
In North Somerset, schools are encouraged to have a designated Mental Health Lead and offers Mental Health First Aid training as part of the 2020-2021 training offer to embed positive mental health practice in schools.
Fabricated or induced illness
This supplementary guidance, Safeguarding Children in whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced (2008), sets out a national framework within which agencies and professionals at local level – individually and jointly – draw up and agree upon their own more detailed ways of working together where illness may be being fabricated or induced in a child by a carer who has parenting responsibilities for them.
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.
Where a school places a pupil with an alternative provision provider, the school continues to be responsible for the safeguarding of that pupil and should be satisfied that the provider meets the needs of the pupil. Schools should obtain written confirmation from the alternative provider that appropriate safeguarding checks have been carried out on individuals working at the establishment, i.e. those checks that the school would otherwise perform in respect of its own staff.
Children and the Court System
A child may at some point experience the court system for a number of different reasons this may include being a witness to a crime or it could be as a result of child care arrangement being made in the Family Court. Whatever the reasons it is important the child is supported through this process.
Children with a Family Member in Prison
Children and young people whereby a family member is in prison are at risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health. The National Information Centre on Children of Offenders (NICCO) provides information designed to support professionals working with offenders and their children, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children.
Dealing with a Disclosure of Abuse
When a child tells me about abuse s/he has suffered, what must I
- Stay calm.
- Do not communicate shock, anger or embarrassment.
- Reassure the child. Tell her/him you are pleased that s/he is speaking to you.
- Never promise confidentiality. Assure her/him that you will try to help but let the child know that you may have to tell other people in order to do this. State who this will be and why.
- Encourage the child to talk but do not ask "leading questions" or press for information.
- Utilise TED questions- Tell, Explain, Describe
- Listen and remember.
- Check that you have understood correctly what the child is trying to tell you.
- Praise the child for telling you. Communicate that s/he has a right to be safe and protected. Ensure the child knows that they are not causing a problem by reporting abuse
- It is inappropriate to make any comments about the alleged offender.
- Be aware that the child may retract what s/he has told you. It is essential to record all you have heard.
- At the end of the conversation, tell the child again who you are going to tell and why that person or those people need to know.
- As soon as you can afterwards, make a detailed record of the conversation using the child’s own language. Include any questions you may have asked. Do not add any opinions or interpretations.
NB It is not education staff’s role to seek disclosures. Their role is to observe that something may be wrong, ask about it, listen, be available and try to make time to talk.
Recognise – Respond – Reassure – Refer – Record
If you have concerns about a child who lives in North Somerset contact:
01275 888 808 – Front Door to Early Help and Children’s Social Care
Monday-Thursday 8.45am-5pm, Friday 8.45am-4.30pm
Out of hours/Weekends
Remember in an emergency please ring 999
For further details on North Somerset policies and procedures, visit their website here
Each KMAT School has a COVID Addendum to this policy. This can be located on each school’s website.