Child Protection Policy
Safeguarding is defined as: protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children’s health or development, ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes (Working Together to Safeguard Children, DfE, 2018, p6).
This Child Protection Policy forms part of a suite of documents and policies which relate to the safeguarding responsibilities of the whole school staff and volunteers. All staff should be aware of systems within their school or college which support safeguarding, and these should be explained to them as part of staff induction. This should include the:
- child protection policy, which should amongst other things also include the policy and procedures to deal with child-on-child abuse;
- behaviour policy which should include measures to prevent bullying, including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying;
- staff behaviour policy (sometimes called a code of conduct) should amongst other things, include low-level concerns, allegations against staff and whistleblowing as well as acceptable use of technologies, staff/pupil relationships and communications including the use of social media;
- safeguarding response to children who go missing from education; and also important that staff determine how best to build trusted relationships with children and young people which facilitates communication;
- role of the DSL including the identity of the DSL and any DDSLs.
- copy of Part One Keeping Children Safe in Education (2022) and should be signed to say it has been read and understood. Annex B Further information
- Annex A, condensed version of Part one of KCSiE (DfE 2022). It can be provided (instead of Part one) to those staff who do not directly work with children.
Purpose of a Child Protection Policy
To inform staff, parents, volunteers and governors about the school's responsibilities for safeguarding children.
To enable everyone to have a clear understanding of how these responsibilities should be carried out.
Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures
The school follows the procedures established by the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP); a guide to procedures and practice for all agencies in Hertfordshire working with children and their families.
School Staff & Volunteers
All school and college staff, including supply staff, volunteers and contract workers have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.
School staff and volunteers are particularly well placed to observe outward signs of abuse, changes in behaviour and failure to develop because they have daily contact with children.
All school staff will receive appropriate safeguarding children training, including online safety (which is updated regularly – Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership advises every three years), so that they are knowledgeable and aware of their role in the early recognition of the indicators of abuse and neglect and of the appropriate procedures to follow. In addition, all staff members should receive safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings), as required, but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.
Supply staff, contractors and volunteers will be made aware of the safeguarding policies and procedures by the DSL, including The Child Protection Policy and Staff Behaviour Policy (code of conduct)
Establish and maintain an ethos and culture where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened and responded to when they have a worry or concern.
Establish and maintain an ethos and culture where school staff and volunteers feel safe, are encouraged to talk and are listened and responded to when they have concerns about the safety and well-being of a child.
Ensure children know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried.
Ensure that children, who have additional/unmet needs are supported appropriately. This could include referrals to Early Help Services or Child Protection Contact Referrals to specialist services if they are a child in need or have been / are at risk of being abused and neglected.
Consider how children may be taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. Refer to KCSiE(DfE 2022), pg.33
Staff members working with children are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ and ‘it could be happening to this child’, where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the best interests of the child.
Implementation, Monitoring and Review of the Child Protection Policy
The policy will be reviewed at least annually by the governing body. It will be implemented through the school’s induction and training programme, and as part of day-to-day practice. Compliance with the policy will be monitored by the DSL and through staff performance measures.
2. STATUTORY FRAMEWORK
In order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, the school will act in accordance with the following legislation and guidance:
- The Children Act 1989
- The Children Act 2004
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
- Education Act 2002 (Section 175/157)
Outlines that Local Authorities and School Governing Bodies have a
responsibility to “ensure that their functions relating to the conduct of school
are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
who are its pupils”.
- Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual (Electronic)
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, September 2022)
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2018)
- The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005
- Sexual Offences Act (2003)
- Section 26, The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (PREVENT duty)
- Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (Section 74, Serious Crime Act 2015)
- Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (makes it a criminal offence to force someone to marry. Includes taking someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the forced marriage takes place).
- Serious Violence Strategy 2018
- Equality Act 2010 (including the Public Sector Equality Duty)
- The Human Rights Act 1998
- Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009
- Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges (DfE 2021)
3. THE DESIGNATED SAFEGUARDING LEAD
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure an appropriate senior member of staff, from the school or college leadership team, is appointed to the role of DSL.
During term time the DSL or a DDSL will always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns and individual arrangement for out of hours/out of term activities will be:
- LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) Paula Hayden Tel: 07788567908 email:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Children’s Services 0300 123 4043
The DSL for Child Protection in this school is:
NAME: Stephen Jess
There should be a Deputy DSL (DDSL) in the absence of the lead DSL.
The Deputy DSL for Child Protection in this school is:
NAME: Emily Richardson and Clare Bugg
The broad areas of responsibility for the DSL are:
- Managing Child Protection Contact Referrals and cases
- Completing Child Protection Contact Referrals for all cases of suspected abuse or neglect where there is a risk of significant harm to the child/young person, Police where a crime may have been committed and to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern
- Liaise with the Head Teacher or Principal to inform him/her of issues, especially ongoing enquiries under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations
- Act as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and when deciding whether to make a Child Protection Contact Referral by liaising with relevant agencies
- Support staff who make Child Protection Contact Referrals and other service referrals
- Share information with appropriate staff in relation to a child’s looked after (CLA) legal status (whether they are looked after under voluntary arrangements with consent of parents or on an Interim Care Order or Care Order) and contact arrangements with birth parents or those with parental responsibility.
- Ensure they have details of the CLA’s social worker and the name of the virtual school Head Teacher in the authority that looks after the child or those currently working with a to social worker.
Training KCSiE (DfE, 2022)
The DSL should undergo formal training specific to their safeguarding role and duties at least every two years. They should also undertake Prevent Awareness training every 3 years and Home Office online training on an annual basis at a minimum.
In-between formal training a DSL/DDSL’s knowledge and skills should be refreshed (for example via e-bulletins, meeting other DSLs, or taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments). This training should provide the DSL with a good understanding of their own role, how to identify, understand and respond to specific needs that can increase vulnerability of children, as well as specific harms that can put children at risk, and the processes, procedures and responsibilities of other agencies, particularly local authority children’s social care, so they:
1) Understand the assessment process for providing early help and statutory intervention, including local criteria for action and local authority children’s social care referral arrangements
2) Have a working knowledge of how Hertfordshire conducts a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so
3) Understand the importance of the role the DSL has in providing information and support to local authority children social care in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
4) Understand the lasting impact that adversity and trauma can have, including on children’s behaviour, mental health and wellbeing, and what is needed in responding to this in promoting educational outcomes
5) Are alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), those with relevant health conditions and young carers
6) Understand the importance of information sharing, both within the school and college, and with the safeguarding partners, other agencies, organisations and practitioners
(Full details in Chapter one of Working Together to Safeguard Children)
7) Understand and support the school or college with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation
8) Are able to understand the unique risks associated with online safety and be confident that they have the relevant knowledge and up to date capability required to keep children safe whilst they are online at school or college
9) Can recognise the additional risks that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) face online, for example, from online bullying, grooming and radicalisation and are confident they have the capability to support children with SEND to stay safe online
10) Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses and
11) encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school or college may put in place to protect them.
Raising Awareness: The DSL (DDSL) should:
- Ensure all staff including part time, contractors, volunteers and supply staff has access to, and understands the school or college’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part-time staff
- Work with the governing bodies or proprietors to ensure that the school’s or college’s child protection policy is reviewed annually, and the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly.
- Ensure the safeguarding and child protection policy is available publicly and that parents know that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school/college in this.
- Link with Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (HSCP) to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local policies on safeguarding arrangements.
- Help promote educational outcomes by sharing the information about the welfare, safeguarding and child protection issues that children who have or have had a social worker are experiencing with teachers and school and college leadership staff. The DSL/DDSL should have details of the child’s social worker and the name of the virtual school’s head in the authority that looks after the child.
4. THE MANAGEMENT OF SAFEGUARDING
Governing bodies and proprietors must ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation. They must also have regard to KCSiE to ensure that the policies, procedures and training in their schools or colleges are always effective and comply with the law.
Governing bodies and proprietors should have a senior board level (or equivalent) lead to take leadership responsibility for their schools or college’s safeguarding arrangements.
All governors and trustees should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection (including online) training at induction. This training should equip them with the knowledge to provide strategic challenge to test and assure themselves that the safeguarding policies and procedures in place in schools and colleges are effective and support the delivery of a robust whole school approach to safeguarding. Their training should be regularly updated.
The nominated governor/ trustee for child protection is:
NAME Sophie Laing
The nominated Chair of governors/ Trustees, management committee for child
NAME Iain Playle
The nominated Vice Chair of governors/ Trustees, management committee for child
NAME Tim Hyams
- Headteachers and principals should ensure that the policies and procedures, adopted by their governing body and proprietors (particularly those concerning referrals of cases of suspected abuse and neglect), are understood and followed by staff.
- Governing bodies and proprietors should be aware of their obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010, (including the Public Sector Equality Duty), and their local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
- According to the Equality Act, schools and colleges must not unlawfully discriminate against pupils because of their sex, race, disability, religion or belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, or sexual orientation (protected characteristics).
- Whilst all of the above protections are important, in the context of safeguarding, this guidance, and the legal duties placed on schools and colleges in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, governing bodies and proprietors should carefully consider how they are supporting their pupils and students with regard to particular protected characteristics - including disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and race.
- The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) is found in the Equality Act. Compliance with the PSED is a legal requirement for state-funded schools and colleges
- The PSED places a general duty on schools and colleges to have, in the exercise of their functions, due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation (and any other conduct prohibited under the Equality Act), to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between those who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. The duty applies to all protected characteristics and means that whenever significant decisions are being made or policies developed, specific consideration must be given to the equality implications of these such as, for example, the need to eliminate unlawful behaviours that relate to them such as sexual violence and sexual harassment, misogyny/misandry and racism.
Whole school and college approach to safeguarding
- Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure they facilitate a whole school or college approach to safeguarding. This means involving everyone in the school or college, and ensuring that safeguarding, and child protection are at the forefront and underpin all relevant aspects of process and policy development. Ultimately, all systems, processes and policies should operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.
- Where there is a safeguarding concern, governing bodies, proprietors and school or college leaders should ensure the child’s wishes and feelings are taken into account when determining what action to take and what services to provide.
- The school’s or college’s safeguarding policies and procedures (some of which are listed below) should be transparent, clear, and easy to understand for staff, pupils, students, parents, and carers. Systems should be in place, and they should be well promoted, easily understood and easily accessible for children to confidently report, any form of abuse or neglect, knowing their concerns will be treated seriously, and knowing they can safely express their views and give feedback.
Safeguarding policies and procedures
These policies should include individual schools and colleges having:
- an effective child protection policy
- a behaviour policy, which includes measures to prevent bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying)
- a staff behaviour policy (sometimes called the code of conduct) which should, amongst other things, include low-level concerns, allegations against staff and whistleblowing, plus acceptable use of technologies (including the use of mobile devices), staff/pupil relationships and communications including the use of social media.
- appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place to respond to children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions
- Governing bodies and proprietors should take a proportionate risk-based approach to the level of information that is provided to temporary staff, volunteers and contractors.
In addition, governing bodies and proprietors should ensure:
- child protection files are maintained as set out in Annex C of KCSiE
- appropriate safer recruitment policies in accordance with Part three of KCSiE are in place, embedded and effective and,
- where reasonably possible, schools and colleges hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil or student. This goes beyond the legal minimum. It is good practice to give the school or college additional options to make contact with a responsible adult when a child missing education is also identified as a welfare and/or safeguarding concern
- Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure an appropriate senior member of staff, from the school or college leadership team, is appointed to the role of DSL. It is not appropriate for the proprietor to be the DSL. The DSL should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety). This should be explicit in the role holder’s job description.
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure the DSL has the appropriate status and authority within the school or college to carry out the duties of the post. The role carries a significant level of responsibility and the postholder should be given the additional time, funding, training, resources, and support needed to carry out the role effectively.
It is for individual schools and colleges to decide whether they choose to have one or more DDSLs. Any DDSLs should be trained to the same standard as the DSL.
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that the school or college contributes to multi-agency working in line with statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children.
Safeguarding partners, the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP) are the 3 organisations responsible for the partnership arrangements for keeping children safe ( Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Constabulary and The Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Board) will make arrangements to work together with appropriate relevant agencies, of which Schools and College are, to safeguard and promote the welfare of local children, including identifying and responding to their needs.
HSCP create a procedures manual which sets out how they will work together and with any relevant agencies.
Working Together to Safeguard Children is very clear that all schools (including those in multi-academy trusts) and colleges in the local area should be fully engaged, involved, and included in safeguarding arrangements. It is expected that, locally, the safeguarding partners (HSCP) will name schools and colleges as relevant agencies. Safeguarding partners (HSCP) will set out in their published arrangements which organisations and agencies they will be working with, and the expectations placed on any agencies and organisations by the arrangements. Once named as a relevant agency, schools, and colleges, in the same way as other relevant agencies, are under a statutory duty to co-operate with the published arrangements. They must act in accordance with the safeguarding arrangements.
It is especially important that schools and colleges understand their role within the local safeguarding arrangements. Governing bodies, proprietors, and their senior leadership teams, especially their DSLs, should make themselves aware of and follow their local arrangements
Governing bodies and proprietors should understand the local criteria for action and the local protocol for assessment and ensure they are reflected in their own policies and procedures. They should also be prepared to supply information as requested by the safeguarding partners.
Schools and colleges should work with local authority children’s social care, the police, health services and other services to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. This includes providing a coordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified and contributing to inter-agency plans to provide additional support to children subject to child protection plans.
All schools and colleges should allow access for local authority children’s social care from the host local authority and, where appropriate, from a placing local authority, for that authority to conduct, or to consider whether to conduct, a section 17 or a section 47 assessment.
As part of meeting a child’s needs, it is important for governing bodies and proprietors to recognise the importance of information sharing between practitioners and local agencies. This should include ensuring arrangements are in place that set out clearly the processes and principles for sharing information within the school or college and with local authority children’s social care, the safeguarding partners and other organisations, agencies, and practitioners as required.
School and college staff should be proactive in sharing information as early as possible to help identify, assess and respond to risks or concerns about the safety and welfare of children, whether this is when problems are first emerging, or where a child is already known to the local authority children’s social care.
It is important that governing bodies and proprietors are aware that among other obligations, the Data Protection Act 2018, and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) place duties on organisations and individuals to process personal information fairly and lawfully and to keep the information they hold safe and secure.
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure relevant staff have due regard to the relevant data protection principles, which allow them to share (and withhold) personal information, as provided for in the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR.
- being confident of the processing conditions which allow them to store and share information for safeguarding purposes, including information, which is sensitive and personal, and should be treated as ‘special category personal data’
- understanding that ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ is a processing condition that allows practitioners to share special category personal data. This includes allowing practitioners to share information without consent where there is good reason to do so, and that the sharing of information will enhance the safeguarding of a child in a timely manner. It would be legitimate to share information without consent where: it is not possible to gain consent; it cannot be reasonably expected that a practitioner gains consent; and, if to gain consent would place a child at risk, and
- for schools, not providing pupils’ personal data where the serious harm test under the legislation is met. For example, in a situation where a child is in a refuge or another form of emergency accommodation, and the serious harm test is met, they must withhold providing the data in compliance with schools’ obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR. Where in doubt schools should seek independent legal advice. 119. 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.
Where children leave the school or college, the designated safeguarding lead should ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible, and within 5 days for an in-year transfer or within the first 5 days of the start of a new term to allow the new school or college to have support in place for when the child arrives. The designated safeguarding lead should ensure secure transit, and confirmation of receipt should be obtained. For schools, this should be transferred separately from the main pupil file. Receiving schools and colleges should ensure key staff such as designated safeguarding leads and special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCO’s) or the named persons with oversight for special educational needs and disability (SEND) in a college, are aware as required.
In addition to the child protection file, the designated safeguarding lead should also consider if it would be appropriate to share any information with the new school or college in advance of a child leaving. For example, information that would allow the new school or college to continue supporting children who have had a social worker and been victims of abuse, or those who are currently receiving support through the ‘Channel’ programme and can have that support in place for when the child arrives.
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that all staff undergo safeguarding and child protection training, including online safety, at induction. The training should be regularly updated. Induction and training should be in line with any advice from the safeguarding partners (HSCP).
All staff should receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins, staff meetings) as required, and at least annually.
Governing bodies and proprietors should recognise the expertise staff build by undertaking safeguarding training and from managing safeguarding concerns on a daily basis. Opportunity should therefore be provided for staff to contribute to, and shape, safeguarding arrangements and the child protection policy.
Opportunities to teach safeguarding
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that children are taught about how to keep themselves and others safe, including online. It should be recognised that effective education will be tailored to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of individual children, including children who are victims of abuse, and children with special educational needs or disabilities.
In schools, relevant topics will be included within Relationships Education (for all primary pupils), and Relationships and Sex Education (for all secondary pupils) and Health Education (for all primary and secondary pupils). In teaching these subjects schools must have regard to the statutory guidance Relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Safeguarding concern or allegations made about another staff member
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure there are procedures in place to manage any safeguarding concerns (no matter how small) or allegations that do not meet the harm threshold, about staff members, including supply staff, volunteers, and contractors. This includes those that are considered to be ‘Low-Level’ concerns.
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure there are procedures in place for staff to report concerns or allegations that may meet the harm threshold about staff members (including supply staff, volunteers, and contractors).
There must be procedures in place to make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) if a person in regulated activity has been dismissed or removed due to safeguarding concerns or would have been had they not resigned. This is a legal duty and failure to refer when the criteria are met is a criminal offence.
Where a teacher’s employer, including an agency, dismisses or ceases to use the 39 Section 35 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. 40 Section 38 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. 39 services of a teacher because of serious misconduct, or might have dismissed them or ceased to use their services had they not left first, they must consider whether to refer the case to the Secretary of State (via the Teaching Regulation Agency). Details about how to make a referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency can be found on Gov.uk
All staff should recognise that children are capable of abusing other children (including online). All staff should be clear about their school’s or college’s policy and procedures with regard to child-on-child abuse.
5. WHEN TO BE CONCERNED
All staff should be aware of indicators of abuse and neglect (see below), understanding that children can be at risk of harm inside and outside of the school/college, inside and outside of home and online. Exercising professional curiosity and knowing what to look for is vital for the early identification of abuse and neglect so that staff are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection.
Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology maybe used to facilitate offline abuse. Children maybe abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
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.
Indicators in a child/ young person
Bruises – shape, grouping, site, repeat or multiple
Withdrawal from physical contact
Bite-marks – site and size
Burns and Scalds – shape, definition, size, depth, scars
Aggression towards others, emotional and behaviour problems
Improbable, conflicting explanations for injuries or unexplained injuries
Frequently absent from school
Admission of punishment which appears excessive
Injuries on parts of body where accidental injury is unlikely
Repeated or multiple injuries
Fabricated or induced illness
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 from 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.
Indicators in a child/ young person
Over-reaction to mistakes / Inappropriate emotional responses
Chronic running away
Abnormal or indiscriminate attachment
Extremes of passivity or aggression
Makes a disclosure
Social isolation – withdrawn, a ‘loner’ Frozen watchfulness particularly pre school
Neurotic behaviour (e.g. rocking, hair twisting, thumb sucking)
Desperate attention-seeking behaviour
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, for example, 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; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Indicators in a child/ young person
Failure to thrive - underweight, small stature
Dirty and unkempt condition
Inadequate social skills and poor socialisation
Frequent lateness or non-attendance at school
Dry sparse hair
Abnormal voracious appetite at school or nursery
Untreated medical problems
Red/purple mottled skin, particularly on the hands and feet, seen in the winter due to cold
Swollen limbs with sores that are slow to heal, usually associated with cold injury
Disturbed peer relationships
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. 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. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue (also known as peer on peer abuse) in education and all staff should be aware of it and of their school or colleges policy and procedures for dealing with it.
Indicators in a child/ young person
Self-harm - eating disorders, self-mutilation and suicide attempts
Poor self-image, self-harm, self-hatred
Running away from home
Inappropriate sexualised conduct
Reluctant to undress for PE
Withdrawal, isolation or excessive worrying
Sexual knowledge or behaviour inappropriate to age/stage of development, or that is unusually explicit
Inexplicable changes in behaviour, such as becoming aggressive or withdrawn
Poor attention / concentration (world of their own)
Pain, bleeding, bruising or itching in genital and /or anal area
Sudden changes in schoolwork habits, become truant
Sexually exploited or indiscriminate choice of sexual partners
If staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them immediately. If staff have a concern, they should follow this policy and speak to the DSL/DDSL. The DSL/DDSL are most likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate person to advise on the response to a safeguarding concern.
Any staff member should be able to make a Child Protection Contact Referral to Children’s Services if necessary.
All staff should be aware of the process for making Child Protection Contact Referrals to Children’s Services for statutory assessments under the Children Act 1989, especially section 17 (children in need) and section 47 (a child suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm - from abuse or neglect) that may follow a Contact Referral, along with the role they might be expected to play in such assessments.
Staff should not assume a colleague, or another professional will take action and share information that might be critical in keeping children safe. They should be mindful that early information sharing is vital for effective identification, assessment and allocation of appropriate service provision.
Options will then include:
- Managing any support for the child internally via the school or college’s own pastoral support processes.
- Completing a Families First Assessment or making a request for early help support.
- A Child Protection Contact Referral for statutory services, as the child suffering / likely to suffer significant harm from abuse or neglect.
Extra Familial Harm/Contextual Safeguarding
Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school or college and/or can occur between children outside the school or college. All staff, but especially the DSLs and their Deputies should be considering the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. This is known as contextual safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare.
A child centred and coordinated approach to safeguarding
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, each professional should make sure their approach is child centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.
Schools and colleges and their staff form part of the wider safeguarding system for children. This system is based on the principle of providing help for families to stay together where it is safe for the children to do so, and looking at alternatives where it is not, whilst acting in the best interests of the child at all times.
Children who may require early help (known as Families First in Hertfordshire)
Families First is Hertfordshire's strategy for early help for families. A directory of early help services is available at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst which will help practitioners and families find information and support to prevent escalation of needs and crisis.
All staff should be aware of the early help process, and understand their role in identifying emerging problems, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment of a child’s needs. It is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating. This also includes staff monitoring the situation and feeding back to the DSL any ongoing/escalation of concerns so that consideration can be given to a Child Protection Contact Referral to Children’s Services if the child’s situation doesn’t appear to be improving.
If early help is appropriate, the DSL or a DDSL will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up a Families First Assessment as appropriate.
Any child may benefit from early help, but all school and college staff should be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
- is disabled or has certain health conditions and has specific additional needs
- has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan)
- has a mental health need
- is a young carer
- is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups or county lines
- is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home
- is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking, sexual or criminal exploitation
- is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
- has a family member in prison, or is affected by parental offending
- is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse
- is misusing alcohol and other drugs themselves
- has returned home to their family from care
- is at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse such as Female Genital Mutilation or Forced Marriage
- is a privately fostered child, and
- is persistently absent from education, including persistent absences for part of the school day.
School and college staff members should be aware of the main categories of maltreatment: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect as well as being aware of the indicators of maltreatment and specific safeguarding issues so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or certain medical or physical health conditions can face additional safeguarding challenges both online and offline. Barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children.
This can include:
- Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s impairment without further exploration
- these children being more prone to peer group isolation or bullying (including prejudice-based bullying) than other children.
- The potential for children with SEND or certain medical conditions being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs and
- Communication barriers and difficulties in managing or reporting these challenges.
- Cognitive understanding – being unable to understand the difference between fact and fiction in online content and then repeating the content/behaviours in school or college or the consequences of doing so.
All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children and that it can happen both inside and outside of school or college and online. All staff should be clear as to the school’s or college’s policy and procedures with regard to child-on-child abuse and the important role they have to play in preventing it and responding where they believe a child may be at risk from it.
All staff should understand that even if there are no reports in their schools or colleges it does not mean it is not happening, it may be the case that it is just not being reported. As such it is important if staff have any concerns regarding child-on-child abuse they should speak to their DSL (or DDSL).
It is essential that all staff understand the importance of challenging inappropriate behaviours between children, many of which are listed below, that are abusive in nature. Downplaying certain behaviours, for example dismissing sexual harassment as “just banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys” can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours, an unsafe environment for children and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to children accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it.
Child-on-child abuse is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:
- Bullying (including cyberbullying,prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying).
- abuse in intimate personal relationships between children (sometimes known as ‘teenage relationship abuse’)
- 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 stand-alone 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 nude and semi-nude images and/or videos11 (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery)
- 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).
In order to minimise the risk of child-on-child abuse the school:
- Provides a developmentally appropriate PSHE and RSE curriculum which develops pupils’ understanding of acceptable behaviour and keeping themselves safe.
- Provides a developmentally appropriate Online Safety Curriculum embedded within the Computing Curriculum supported by Project Evolve which develops pupils’ understanding of acceptable behaviour and keeping themselves safe online.
- Have systems in place for any student to raise concerns with staff, knowing that they will be listened to, believed and valued.
- Ensure victims, perpetrators and any other child affected by child-on-child abuse will be supported
- Develops robust risk assessments where appropriate (e.g. Using the Risk Assessment Management Plan and Safety and Support Plan tools).
- Have relevant policies in place (e.g. behaviour policy).
Where there is an allegation or concern that a child has abused others, Section 5.1.7 of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual, ‘Children Who Abuse Others’:
Child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment
- When responding to concerns relating to child-on-child sexual violence or harassment, School/College will follow the guidance outlined in Part five of KCSIE 2022.
- School/College recognises that sexual violence and sexual abuse can happen anywhere, and all staff will maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here.’ We recognises sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children and can occur online and face to face (both physically and verbally). Sexual violence and sexual harassment is never acceptable.
- All victims of sexual violence or sexual harassment will be reassured that they are being taken seriously, regardless of how long it has taken them to come forward, and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim will never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, or ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report.
- Abuse that occurs online or outside of the school/college will not be dismissed or downplayed and will be treated equally seriously and in line with relevant policies/procedures.
- School/College recognises that the law is in place to protect children and young people rather than criminalise them, and this will be explained in such a way to pupils/students that avoids alarming or distressing them.
- School/College recognises that an initial disclosure to a trusted adult may only be the first incident reported, rather than representative of a singular incident and that trauma can impact memory, so children may not be able to recall all details or timeline of abuse. All staff will be aware certain children may face additional barriers to telling someone, for example because of their vulnerability, disability, sex, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation
- The DSL (or DDSL) is likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and will be the most appropriate person to advise on the initial response.
- The DSL will make an immediate risk and needs assessment which will be considered on a case-by-case basis which explores how best to support and protect the victim and the alleged perpetrator, and any other children involved/impacted, in line with part five of KCSIE 2022 and HSCP procedures.
- The risk and needs assessment will be recorded and kept under review and will consider the victim (especially their protection and support), the alleged perpetrator, and all other children, and staff and any actions that are required to protect them.
- Reports will initially be managed internally by the school/college and where necessary will be referred to Children’s Services and/or the police.
Important considerations which may influence this decision include:
- the wishes of the victim in terms of how they want to proceed.
- the nature of the alleged incident(s), including whether a crime may have been committed and/or whether Harmful Sexual Behavior has been displayed.
- the ages of the children involved.
- the developmental stages of the children involved.
- any power imbalance between the children.
- if the alleged incident is a one-off or a sustained pattern of abuse - sexual abuse can be accompanied by other forms of abuse and a sustained pattern may not just be of a sexual nature.
- that sexual violence and sexual harassment can take place within intimate personal relationships between children.
- understanding intra familial harms and any necessary support for siblings following incidents.
- whether there are any ongoing risks to the victim, other children, adult students, or school/ college staff
- any other related issues and wider context, including any links to child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation.
The school/college will in most instances engage with both the victim’s and alleged perpetrator’s parents/carers when there has been a report of sexual violence; this might not be necessary or proportionate in the case of sexual harassment and will depend on a case-by-case basis. The exception to this is if there is a reason to believe informing a parent/carer will put a child at additional risk. Any information shared with parents/carers will be in line with information sharing expectations, our confidentiality policy, and any data protection requirements, and where they are involved, will be subject to discussion with other agencies (for example Children’s Services and/or the police) to ensure a consistent approach is taken.
All staff should be aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime.
- Increased absence from school
- Change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups
- Significant decline in performance
- Signs of self-harm or significant change in wellbeing
- Signs of assault or unexplained injuries
- Unexplained gifts/new possessions
Also refer to Schools Toolkit the characteristics of young peoples’ vulnerability to CSE and CCE on the HGFL;https://thegrid.org.uk/safeguarding-and-child-protection/child-protection/specific-safeguarding-issues/child-sexual-and-criminal-exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
Both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse that occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into taking part in sexual or criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or through violence or the threat of violence. CSE and CCE can affect children, both male and female and can include children who have been moved (commonly referred to as trafficking) for the purpose of exploitation.
All staff should 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. Education 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.
If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following this policy, and speaking to the DSL or a DDSL.
Prevent: Safeguarding Children and Young People from Radicalisation
Children can be vulnerable to extreme ideologies and radicalisation. Similar to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse, protecting children from radicalisation must be part of all school and college safeguarding approaches.
All schools and colleges are subject to the Prevent Duty under Section 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (the CTSA 2015), in the exercise of their functions to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism
There are signs and vulnerability factors that may indicate a child is susceptible to radicalisation or is in the process of being radicalised. It is possible to protect vulnerable people from extremist thinking and intervene to safeguard those at risk of radicalisation. Staff must be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which could indicate that they may be in need of Prevent support.
School will act proportionately to the concern using the Prevent ‘notice, check, share’ approach, which may lead to the DSL making a Prevent referral. If there is an immediate threat, the police will be contacted via 999.
Local Hertfordshire County Council guidance on Prevent is featured at 5.3.9 of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children’s Partnership CP procedures
Domestic abuse can encompass a wide range of behaviours and may be a single incident or a pattern of incidents. Domestic abuse can be, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional. Children can be victims of domestic abuse. They may see, hear, or experience the effects of abuse at home and/or suffer domestic abuse in their own intimate relationships (teenage relationship abuse). All of which can have a detrimental and long-term impact on their health, well-being, development, and ability to learn.
All children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse in the context of their home life where domestic abuse occurs between family members. See Appendix 4 for information regarding Operation Encompass.
6. DEALING WITH A DISCLOSURE
If a child confides in a member of staff/volunteer and requests that the information is kept secret, it is important that the member of staff/volunteer tell the child in a manner appropriate to the child’s age/stage of development that they cannot promise complete confidentiality – instead they must explain that they may need to pass information to other professionals to help keep the child or other children safe.
If a child discloses that he or she has been abused in some way, the member of staff/volunteer should:
- Listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief
- Accept what is being said
- Allow the child to talk freely
- Reassure the child, but not make promises which might not be possible to keep
- Never promise a child that they will not tell anyone - as this may ultimately not be in the best interests of the child.
- Reassure him or her that what has happened is not his or her fault
- Stress that it was the right thing to tell
- Listen, only asking questions when necessary to clarify what is being said.
- Not criticise the alleged perpetrator
- Explain what has to be done next and who has to be told
- Make a written record (see Record Keeping)
- Pass the information to the DSL without delay (if a DSL or DDSL is not available, staff must inform a senior member of staff or complete a child protection contact referral if this disclosure indicates that the child may be at risk of immediate harm and/or have been suffered significant harm to ensure reporting to Police and/or Children’s Services where necessary is not delayed)
Third Party Disclosures
Its everyone’s responsibility to report concerns related to children and make referrals to Children Services and the Police if suspected that a child has been abused or is at risk of abuse.
Therefore, when safeguarding concerns are shared to the DSL in a school by a parent or member of the public, it is important to note that there is equal responsibility by the complainant to report the matter also directly rather than assume the responsibility is that of the school. If unsure of how to do this speak to the DSL / head teacher and they will advise accordingly.
Dealing with a disclosure from a child, and safeguarding issues can be stressful. The member of staff/volunteer should, therefore, consider seeking support for him/herself and discuss this with the DSL.
If a school /college staff member receives a disclosure about potential harm caused by another staff member, they should see section 11 of this policy– Allegations involving school staff/volunteers.
7. RECORD KEEPING
All practitioners should be confident of the processing conditions under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR which allow them to store and share information for safeguarding purposes, including information, which is sensitive and personal, and should be treated as ‘special category personal data’.
All concerns, discussions and decisions made and the reasons for those decisions should be recorded in writing. If in doubt about recording requirements staff should discuss with the DSL. Staff will:
- Record as soon as possible after the conversation. Use the schools Child Protection Recording system which may be electronic or using a record of concern sheet (pro-forma available on the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning).
- Ensure the date, time, place is recorded, and any noticeable non-verbal behaviour and the words used by the child.
- Use the body map on the school’s recording system or the proforma body map available on HGFL, to indicate the position of any injuries and a clear description of the injury.
- Record statements and observations rather than interpretations or assumptions.
- Do not destroy the original records in case they are needed by a court.
- All records need to be given to the DSL promptly. No copies should be retained by the member of staff or volunteer.
The DSL/DDSL will have access to safeguarding records and will ensure that all records are managed in accordance with the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2006.
Safeguarding records, The Herts Grid
Safeguarding children raises issues of confidentiality that must be clearly understood by all staff/volunteers in schools.
- All staff in schools, both teaching and non-teaching staff, have a responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with other professionals, particularly the investigative agencies.
- Staff/volunteers who receive information about children and their families in the course of their work should share that information only within appropriate professional contexts.
9. SCHOOL PROCEDURES
Please see Appendix 3 – KCSiE 2022 pg.22
If any member of staff is concerned about a child, he or she must inform the DSL. The DSL will decide whether the concerns should be raised to Children’s Services and if deemed to have met the threshold for a Child Protection Contact Referral to be completed. If a Child Protection Contact Referral to Children’s Services is made the DSL will discuss the referral with the parents, unless to do so would place the child at further risk of harm.
While it is the DSL’s role to make Child Protection Contact Referrals, any staff member can make a Child Protection Contact Referral to Children’s Services if a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm (e.g. concern that a family might have plans to carry out FGM, Forced Marriage etc). In these circumstances a Child Protection Contact Referral should be made to Children’s Services and/or the Police immediately. Where Child Protection Contact Referrals are made by another member of staff, the DSL should be informed as soon as possible.
If a teacher (persons employed or engaged to carry out teaching work at schools and other institutions in England), in the course of their work in the profession, discovers that an act of Female Genital Mutilation (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. This is a mandatory reporting duty. KCSiE (DfE 2022) pg. 152-153:
If the allegations raised are against other children, the school should follow section 5.1.17 of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual – Children Who Abuse Others. Please see the school’s anti-bullying policy for more details on procedures to minimise the risk of child-on-child abuse.
The member of staff must record information regarding the concerns on the same day. The recording must be a clear, precise and a factual account of any verbal disclosures and observations (record of concern pro-forma is available on the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning).
Particular attention should be paid to the attendance and development of any child about whom the school has concerns, or who has been identified as being the subject of a Child Protection Plan and a written record will be kept.
If a pupil who is/or has been the subject of a child protection plan changes school, the DSL will inform the social worker responsible for the case and transfer the appropriate records to the DSL at the receiving school, in a secure manner, and separate from the child’s academic file.
The DSL is responsible for making the senior leadership team aware of trends in behaviour that may affect pupil welfare. If necessary, training will be arranged
10. COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS
Summercroft Primary School will ensure the Child Protection Policy is available publicly either via the school or college website or by other means.
Parents should be informed prior to a Child Protection Contact Referral, unless it is considered to do so might place the child at increased risk of significant harm by:
- The behavioural response it prompts e.g. a child being subjected to abuse, maltreatment or threats / forced to remain silent if alleged abuser informed.
- Leading to an unreasonable delay.
- Leading to the risk of loss of evidential material.
- The school may also consider not informing parent(s) where this would place a member of staff at risk.
The school will endeavour to ensure that parents understand the responsibilities placed on the school staff for safeguarding children.
Where reasonably possible schools and colleges should hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil and student. KCSiE (DfE 2022) pg. 28.
Further guidance around information sharing can be located within; Information sharing Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (DfE, 2018);
11. ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE MADE AGAINST ADULTS WHO WORK WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
An allegation/safeguarding concern is any information which indicates that a member of staff/volunteer/contractor 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 which indicates he or she would pose a risk of harm to children or
- Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicated they may not be suitable to work with children.
This relates to members of staff, supply staff, volunteers and contractors who are currently working in any school or college regardless of whether the school or college is where the alleged abuse took place. Allegations against a teacher who is no longer teaching should be referred to the police. Historical allegations of abuse should also be referred to the police.
If staff have safeguarding concerns, or an allegation is made about another member of staff (including supply staff, volunteers and contractors) posing a risk of harm to children, this is to be referred to the headteacher, principal, proprietor of an independent school. This includes allegations reported or made by a child, parent or member of the public.
Where the headteacher or principal is the subject of an allegation or safeguarding concerns, this to be referred to the chair of governors, or the chair of the management committee or proprietor of an independent school (the case manager).
Staff may consider discussing any concerns with the DSL and if appropriate make any referral via them.
The Chair of Governors in this school is:
NAME: CONTACT NUMBER:
(email@example.com) 01279 307477
In the absence of the Chair of Governors, the Vice Chair should be contacted. The Vice Chair in this school is:
NAME: CONTACT NUMBER:
Tim Hyams 01279 307477
The person to whom an allegation is first reported should take the matter seriously and keep an open mind. S/he should not investigate or ask leading questions if seeking clarification; it is important not to make assumptions. Confidentiality should not be promised and the person should be advised that the concern will be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis only.
Actions to be taken include making an immediate written record of the allegation using the informant’s words – including time, date and place where the alleged incident took place, brief details of what happened, what was said and who was present. This record should be signed, dated and immediately passed on to the Head Teacher.
The recipient of an allegation must not unilaterally determine its validity, and failure to report it in accordance with procedures is a potential disciplinary matter.
The Head Teacher/Chair of Governors will not investigate the allegation itself, or take written or detailed statements, but will assess whether it is necessary to refer the concern to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO Threshold Guidance may be used to inform this decision – found at
Children’s Services – 0300 123 4043
SOOHS (Out of Hours Service-Children’s Services) – 0300 123 4043
If the allegation meets any of the four criteria set out at the start of this section, contact should always be made with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) without delay and within 24 hours in line with HSCP CP procedures.
If it is decided that the allegation requires a child protection strategy meeting or a joint evaluation meeting, this will take place in accordance with section 5.1.5 of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual.
If it is decided it does not require a child protection strategy meeting or joint evaluation meeting, the LADO will provide the employer with advice and support on how the allegations should be managed.
The Head Teacher should, as soon as possible, following briefing from the LADO inform the subject of the allegation.
Concerns that do not meet the ‘harm threshold’
School/College may also need to take action in response to ‘low-level’ concerns about staff. Additional information regarding low-level concerns is contained with our staff behaviour policy/code of conduct/low-levels concerns policy – this includes what a low-level concern is, the importance of sharing them and the confidential procedure to follow when sharing them.
- School/College has an open and transparent culture in which all concerns about all adults working in or on behalf of the school/college are dealt with promptly and appropriately; this enables us to identify inappropriate, problematic or concerning behaviour early, minimise the risk of abuse and ensure that adults working in or on behalf of the school/college are clear about and act within appropriate professional boundaries, and in accordance with our ethos and values.
- A ‘low-level’ concern does not mean that it is insignificant; a low-level concern is any concern that an adult working in or on behalf of the school/college may have acted in a way that is inconsistent with our staff behaviour policy/code of conduct, including inappropriate conduct outside of work and does not meet the ‘harm threshold’ or is otherwise not serious enough to consider a referral to the LADO.
- Low-level concerns may arise in several ways and from a number of sources. For example, suspicion, complaints, or allegations made by a child, parent or other adult within or outside of the organisation, or as a result of vetting checks.
It is crucial that all low-level concerns are shared responsibly, recorded and dealt with appropriately to protect staff from becoming the subject of potential false low-level concerns or misunderstandings.
Low-level concerns should be shared confidentially in line with our low-levels concerns policy/staff behaviour policy/code of conduct to
Name Stephen Jess
- Where low-level concerns are reported to the school/college, the headteacher/principal will be informed of all Low level concerns and is the ultimate decision maker in respect of the response to all low-level concerns.
- Low-level concerns shared about supply staff and contractors will be shared with their employers so any potential patterns of inappropriate behaviour can be identified.
- If the school/college is in any doubt as to whether the information which has been shared about a member of staff as a low-level concern in fact meets the harm threshold, we will consult with the LADO.
- Low-level concerns will be recorded in writing and reviewed so potential patterns of concerning, problematic or inappropriate behaviour can be identified.
- Records will be kept confidential and will be held securely and retained and in compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and other relevant policies and procedures (for example data retention policies).
- Where a pattern is identified, the school/college will implement appropriate action, for example reviewing the LADO threshold and completing a referral if harm test met.
For further information see
Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual Section 5.1.5 Managing Allegations Against Adults who work with Children and Young People
Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue with their employer/through the whistleblowing procedure or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels may be open to them:
- Children’s Services 0300 123 4043
- NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is available 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
What school or college staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding practices within the school or college?
- All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school or education setting’s safeguarding arrangements.
- Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, which are suitably reflected in staff training and staff behaviour policies, should be in place for such concerns to be raised with the school or college’s senior leadership team.
Safer working practice
To reduce the risk of allegations, all staff should be aware of safer working practice and should be familiar with the guidance contained in the staff handbook/school code of conduct/staff behaviour policy and Safer Recruitment Consortium document, Guidance for safer working practice for those working with children and young people in education settings (February 2022) available at
The document seeks to ensure that the responsibilities of school leaders towards children
and staff are discharged by raising awareness of illegal, unsafe, unprofessional and unwise
behaviour. This includes guidelines for staff on positive behaviour management in line with the ban on corporal punishment (School Standards and Framework Act 1998). Please see the school/college’s behaviour management policy for more information.
HSCP escalation and complaints procedure link