WIMBLEDON CHASE PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILD PROTECTION POLICY WIMBLEDON CHASE PRIMARY SCHOOL IS AN INNOVATIVE LEARNING COMMUNITY COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE

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1 WIMBLEDON CHASE PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILD PROTECTION POLICY VISION STATEMENT WIMBLEDON CHASE PRIMARY SCHOOL IS AN INNOVATIVE LEARNING COMMUNITY COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE AIMS OF CHILD PROTECTION POLICY To provide an ethos in which children feel safe, are encouraged to talk and are listened to To ensure that the safety and well being of the child is of paramount importance To ensure that parents are informed about the school s responsibilities in child protection concerns To work in an open and collaborative way with parents and carers To ensure that there is vigilance in detecting abuse and clear procedures for all staff To ensure that there is effective monitoring of children at risk To prevent unsuitable people working with children To ensure that children who are vulnerable or are likely to suffer significant harm are identified and appropriate action is taken to keep them safe. (This policy complies with DfES Guidance Documents: What to do if you re worried a child is being abused, Every Child Matters and Working together to safeguard children. Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with children and young people in Education Settings March 2009) Key Contacts Within the School Designated Child Protection Officers: Mrs Sue Tomes Mrs Suzanne Warwick Mrs Mary Costello (Headteacher) (Inclusion Manager) (Inclusion Teaching Assistant)

2 1. What is Abuse? There are 4 categories of abuse: Physical abuse Emotional abuse Sexual abuse Neglect Some kinds of abuse are more obvious than others. The following kinds of abuse may not be so obviously recognisable: Drug/Alcohol Abusing Parents Drug and alcohol abuse by parents can have a serious effect on children. Although not all parents who abuse drugs or alcohol mistreat or neglect their children, they can sometimes put children at considerable risk. There is an increased risk of violence in families where parents abuse substances. Children can suffer from lack of boundaries and discipline and live chaotic lives. This can seriously affect their emotional development. The children who are most vulnerable are those whose parents are violent, aggressive, neglectful or rejecting. These children can remain invisible unless their behaviour attracts attention at school or elsewhere outside the home. Domestic Violence The effect of domestic violence on children is such that it must be considered as abuse. Either witnessing it or being the subject of it is not only traumatic in itself but is likely to adversely impact on a child s behaviour and performance at school. Teachers will need to be alert for changes in behaviour or attendance, in pupils known to be affected by domestic violence. 2. The Role of Teachers and Support Staff The regular daily contact teachers and support staff have with children places them in a unique position to identify and help abused children. Teachers should use the curriculum, assemblies and in particular PSHE lessons and Circle Time, to provide opportunities for children to learn about keeping safe and also who to ask for help if their safety is threatened. Pupils should be taught: To recognise and manage risks in different situations and then decide how to behave responsibly To judge what kind of contact is acceptable and unacceptable To recognise when pressure from others threatens their personal safety, and how to resist pressure and seek help That any kind of violence is unacceptable That it is alright to talk about their problems and where sources of help can be found Staff will need to be aware that they may be approached by a child wanting to talk. If so, they should record and refer any concerns in accordance with the child protection procedures indicated at the end of the policy. It is important that a member of staff dealing with disclosure explains to the child that they must inform the appropriate people who can help the child, but that they will only tell those who need to know in order to be able to help. They should reassure the child and be aware that it will have taken significant courage on the child s part to disclose the information. The child may well be experiencing conflicting emotions, involving feelings of guilt, embarrassment, disloyalty and hurt.

3 All child protection records should be kept securely locked and separate from the child s main file. 3. Evidence of Abuse Child abuse can come to teachers attention in many ways: through direct disclosure, a third party report, the child s behaviour or observation of an injury to the child. Please refer to Appendix 8 for a list of suspicious injuries which could indicate that abuse has taken place. (The Body Diagram, Appendix 4, can be used to record where injuries are located). 4. Record Keeping Good record keeping is essential to the success of child protection practice. Staff should be aware that the way in which they talk to a child could have an effect on the evidence that is put forward if there are subsequent proceedings. All records should: Be written as soon as possible and signed and dated Clearly distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion Note the name, date, the event, a record of what was said, and any action taken in cases of suspected abuse or when the child is placed on a child protection register Be held separately from the main school pupil file in the Headteacher s office Should be exempt from open access Transfer with the child when they move school marked Confidential 5. Professional Confidentiality Confidentiality is an issue that needs to be discussed and fully understood by all those working with children, particularly in the context of child protection. The only purpose of confidentiality in this respect is to benefit the child. A member of staff must never guarantee confidentiality to a pupil nor should they agree with a pupil to keep a secret, as where there is a child protection concern this must be reported to the Designated Child Protection Coordinator and may require further investigation by appropriate authorities. Staff will be informed of relevant information in respect of individual cases regarding child protection on a need to know basis only. Any information shared with a member of staff in this way must be held confidentially. 6. Allegations Against Staff Staff should be aware that there may be occasions when allegations of abuse may be made against them. Each allegation will be approached in accordance with LEA procedures (see Appendix). It is important therefore that members of staff are clear about what kind of behaviour is acceptable and that which is not, e.g. use of physical punishment, restraint, over-familiarity, being alone with a child, etc. Common sense should be used, but if any member of staff is in doubt about what is acceptable they should seek advice from their line manager. 7. Appointment of Staff The following procedures should be used when appointing staff to work with children: Identity checks to establish that applicants are who they claim to be Academic qualifications should be checked to ensure they are genuine References should be followed up

4 Medical checks should be carried out according to LEA policy Previous employment history should be examined to check gaps Criminal Records should be checked via the completion of a CRB form 8. Use of the School Premises by Other Organisations Where services or activities are provided by another body, using the school premises, the Governing Body will seek assurance that the body concerned has appropriate policies and procedures in place in regard to safeguarding children and child protection. The Governing Body will also ensure that they are aware of the school s Safeguarding policies and procedures. 9. Role of Designated Teacher To receive training in how to identify abuse and know when it is appropriate to refer a case. To act as a source of advice, support and expertise within the school and be responsible for co-ordinating action To ensure that all members of staff are aware of child protection procedures To ensure that the Child Protection Policy is reviewed and updated annually (and that the Governing Body is aware of this) To ensure that parents are aware of the Child Protection Policy and the role of the school in making referrals To ensure that records are kept secure, and transfer with the child to the next school CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES Stage One Suspected Abuse 1. If you suspect that a child is suffering from abuse discuss your concerns immediately with the designated teacher Mrs. Tomes or Mrs Warwick. (See categories of abuse). 2. Make a note indicating the time and date of any evidence to support your suspicion e.g. bruising or abnormal behaviour. (It may be necessary to keep a record over a period of time if you are unsure, to see if a pattern emerges). 3. Consult the child s personal file, or contact the previous school, to see if there is any family history or background relating to abuse. Stage Two Reported Abuse 1. If a child reports an incidence of abuse to you, pass the information on immediately to the designated teacher. Do not wait until a convenient break-time. Cover will be arranged for your class if necessary. 2. The designated teacher may not always report the incident formally to Social Services, especially if there is an element of doubt. It is possible for the concern to be discussed with Social Services without giving names, and then for advice to be obtained as to whether to report the incident officially or not. 3. Try to write the record about the incident using the child s own words, and as soon as possible whilst details are fresh in your mind. The note should record the time, date, place, people who were present, any action taken and be signed. It should distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion.

5 4. In cases of alleged sexual abuse, do not interrogate the child or ask him/her to repeat the story to another adult. Listen to what the child tells you, but do not ask leading questions. (This is important for legal reasons). 5. Do not give undertakings of absolute confidentiality or promise not to tell anyone. Do reassure the child and indicate that only those who need to know will be informed. Stage Three Involvement of Social Services 1. The designated teacher will contact Social Services and ask the Duty Officer for help and guidance. 2. A medical examination or interview with the child may be organised. 3. A decision will be taken as to whether the School or Social Services should inform the parents. CONCLUSION Our school procedures for safeguarding children have been prepared in accordance with relevant legislation, guidance and the procedures set out by the relevant Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures. We will ensure that: i. Arrangements are in place at the school to deal with allegations of abuse, or suspected abuse, which will be referred to the child s home social care department, and in the case of allegations of abuse on site, London Borough of Merton Social Care and the School will engage with other statutory agencies, as necessary, to provide inter-agency support to the child concerned. ii. All parents/carers are made aware of the responsibilities of staff members with regard to child protection procedures through publication of the school s Child Protection Policy on the School website, and reference to it in our school prospectus. The Policy is also available upon request to the school. iii. Our policies on Anti-Bullying, Physical Intervention, Exclusion, Equalities are set out in separate documents.

6 REFERRALS The Team Manager of the Vulnerable Children s Team is able to provide advice and consultancy on child protection and safeguarding issues affecting children. Contact Number: / The LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) is Lee Hopkins who provides advice on allegations against staff. Contact Number: For general school advice contact: REFERRAL TO CHILDREN SOCIAL CARE SERVICES in Merton: MASH (Merton s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) Where schools have URGENT and IMMEDIATE concerns for the safety and welfare of a child or young person during office hours telephone : /4227 To make URGENT referrals OUT OF OFFICE HOURS telephone : For all NON-URGENT referrals and enquiries telephone : Referrals to Sutton Children s Social Care /4263 Referrals to Richmond Children s Social Care Referrals to Kingston Children s Social Care Referrals to Wandsworth Chioldren s Social Care Referrals to Lambeth Children s Social Care ST/September 2013 G:/Policies/Childprotection2013

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