Safeguarding Children and Child Protection
Safeguarding and Welfare Requirement: Child Protection
Providers must have and implement a policy, and procedures, to safeguard children.
All staff remain alert to any signs that during the current COVID-19 outbreak a child in their care is suffering from or likely to be suffering from harm. This includes signs of neglect that may be caused by extraordinary circumstances due to measures to curb the spread of the virus. (March 2020)
“The welfare of the child is paramount” – Children Act 1989
Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met, and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them.
We aim to provide a high quality setting which is welcoming, safe and stimulating, and where children are able to enjoy learning and grow in confidence. We will take all necessary steps to keep children safe and well and ensure the suitability of adults who have contact with them. We will promote good health, manage behaviour and maintain records, policies and procedures.
For the purpose of this policy the Working Together 2018 definition of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children will be used and is defined as;
Protecting children from maltreatment
Preventing impairment of children’s health and development
Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and
Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
Staff at Sparklers understand that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility, they will be alert to any issues or concerns in the child’s life at home or elsewhere and they will maintain a child-centred approach at all times. They will be aware that children with special educational needs or disability are particularly vulnerable to abuse. They will maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” where safeguarding is concerned and they will always act in the best interest of the child.
The management and staff at this setting are committed to:
Ensuring that safe recruitment practises for checking the suitability of staff and volunteers are followed (refer to the South West Child Protection Procedures (SWCPP) website)
Ensuring that all staff and volunteers follow the settings Code of Conduct, Behaviour Policy and the LSCB Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who Work with Children https://www.swindonlscb.org.uk/info/5/procedures/12/procedures
Establishing and maintaining a safe and secure environment.
Providing support for children who have been abused and taking part in the multi-agency action plan to keep them safe.
Providing a curriculum and experiences which will enable children to develop the skills they need to stay safe from abuse, including online abuse.
Ensuring staff and volunteers are able to identify children with potential emerging problems or concerns and implementing strategies early on to avoid them escalating (Early Help - http://schoolsonline.swindon.gov.uk/)
Ensuring that staff and volunteers are aware of the signs and symptoms of abuse and know the correct procedure for reporting and referring concerns.
Ensuring that all staff are aware of the procedures to follow if they have a concern about another adult or a member of staff.
Working in partnership with other agencies. This includes sharing information effectively, attending child protection conferences, core groups and other relevant meetings.
Working in partnership with parents/carers.
Legislation and Guidance
The following legislation and documents will form the basis of all safeguarding and child protection decisions.
The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage - 2017
The Children Act 2004 and 2006
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018
What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused: advice for practitioners - 2015
Information Sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services- 2018
The Prevent Duty-departmental advice for schools and childcare providers - 2015
Keeping Children Safe in Education – 2019
This Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Policy applies to all staff, managers, committee members, students and volunteers working in the setting.
Other policies which should be read alongside this policy include:
8.1 Health and Safety
6.4 Nappy changing, toileting and Intimate Care
3.2 First Aid
6.1 Administering Medicines
7.1 Promoting Positive Behaviour
2.1 Employment, (Appendix 4) Staff Professional agreement and Acceptable Use Online
1.5 Missing Child
1.6 Online safety, portable ICT devises, mobile phones and digital photography
1.4 Uncollected Child
8.2 Maintaining Children’s Safety and Security on the Premises
8.4 Risk Assessments
9.1 Valuing Diversity and Promoting inclusion and Equality
9.2 Supporting children with SEN
8.3 Supervision of Children on Outings and Visits
8.5 Fire Safety and Emergency Evacuation Procedures
10.11 Making a Complaint
The role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy (DDSL)
Our DSL is: Sarah Hodges
Our DDSL is: Laine Waite
The DSL or deputy will be available at all times when children are present, for staff to discuss safeguarding concerns.
The DSL will take lead responsibility for safeguarding children and ensuring that all policies and procedures are implemented and shared with staff. They will liaise with local statutory children's services, and with Swindon SSP. They will provide support, advice and guidance to other staff as required.
The DSL and Deputy will attend level 3 Child Protection training (as advised by Swindon Safeguarding Partnership); this will be refreshed every 2 years. The DSL and deputy will regularly update their knowledge and skills through training, briefing sessions, newsletters etc.
Staff training, qualifications and supervision
All staff will complete level 1 (basic awareness) training, every 3 years (as advised by Swindon Safeguarding Partnership). Training will enable staff to identify signs of possible abuse and neglect at the earliest opportunity, and to respond in a timely and appropriate way
The DSL will ensure all staff receive regular safeguarding updates through staff meetings, email, newsletters etc
All staff, who have contact with children, will have regular supervision sessions which will include a discussion about children’s development and well-being and about any child protection concerns.
At least one person who has a current paediatric first aid certificate will be on the premises at all times when children are present, and will accompany children on outings.
Staff involved in preparing and handling food will receive food hygiene training.
All staff will have a sufficient understanding and use of English to ensure the well-being of children in their care
All new staff will receive induction training to help them understand their roles and responsibilities. Induction training will include, as a minimum, information about emergency evacuation procedures, safeguarding/child protection procedures, the provider’s equality policy, and the health and safety policy.
Types of abuse and neglect
Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child and can either be caused through inflicting harm or failing to prevent harm. Working Together 2018 lists four categories of abuse; physical, emotional, sexual and neglect (see appendix 1 for definitions)
All staff will be alert to possible signs of abuse, these may include:
Unexplained injuries or burns, particularly if they are recurrent.
Improbable excuses given to explain injuries.
Refusal to discuss injuries.
Admission of punishment which appears excessive.
Fear of parents being contacted.
Bald patches in the head.
Withdrawal from physical contact.
Arms and legs kept covered in hot weather.
Fear of returning home.
Fear of medical help.
Aggression towards others.
Failure to Thrive
Child’s weight falling below expected centile.
Height often falling below centile.
Skin dry and pale.
Hair thin and straw like.
Lack of energy, listless.
May drink a lot of juice.
Refuses food. Vomiting and diarrhoea.
Failure to meet milestone of development.
Lack of concentration.
Poor personal hygiene.
Poor state of clothing.
Frequent lateness or non-attendance
Untreated medical problems.
Neurotic behaviour (e.g. rocking, hair twisting, thumb sucking).
No social relationships.
Compulsive stealing or scavenging.
Physical, mental and developmental lags.
Admission of punishment which appears excessive.
Over-reaction to mistakes.
Sudden speech disorders.
Fear of new situations.
Inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations.
Neurotic behaviour (e.g. rocking, hair twisting, thumb sucking).
Fear of parents being contacted.
Fearful about certain people like relatives or friends.
Not allowed to have friends round.
Soreness/bleeding in the genital or anal areas or in the throat.
Finding excuses not to go home or to a particular place.
Having recurring nightmares /afraid of the dark.
Unable to concentrate, seem to be in a world of their own.
Chronic ailments such as stomach pains and headaches.
Sexually abuses or shows inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a sibling or friend.
Exhibits a sudden change in attitudes at school
Appears withdrawn, isolated, or excessively worried.
Demonstrates outbursts of anger or irritability.
Fearful of undressing
Staff will also be aware of:
Peer on Peer Abuse (sexual violence and sexual harassment)
This is most likely to include, but is not limited to, bullying, gender-based violence, sexual assaults and sexting.
This form of abuse should never be tolerated or passed off as ‘banter’ or ‘part of growing up’.
Children must be appropriately supervised at all times to avoid these issues arising.
Radicalisation and Extremism
Staff realise that they have a duty to protect children from radicalisation and any form of violent extremism in line with the “Prevent Duty” (June 2015). Any concerns will be reported to the DSL.
In fulfilling this duty the setting will work closely with the SSP and will have regard to:
Assessing the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This will be based on an understanding, shared with partners, of the potential risk in the local area. The setting will protect children from being drawn into terrorism by having robust safeguarding policies in place to identify children at risk, and intervening as appropriate
Staff training so that staff have the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism, and to challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimise terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups. Staff should know where and how to refer children for further help
Online safety policies will ensure children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet by establishing appropriate levels of filtering.
Promoting fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs. These values are already implicitly embedded in the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Staff recognise that FGM is a form of abuse, with long-lasting consequences, and must be referred to MASH/FCP through the usual channels. FGM comprises of all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Staff recognise CSE as a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. Consent cannot be given, even where a child believes they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. CSE can happen online.
Child Criminal Exploitation (CE)
Staff recognise that that criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable young adults is a form of harm, it is geographically widespread and may include drug networks or gangs grooming and exploiting children and young adults to carry drugs and money from urban areas to sub-urban and rural areas (County Lines exploitation) These cases will be referred to children’s social care through the usual channels.
Domestic Abuse (DA)
Staff recognise that all children who witness domestic abuse are being emotionally abused and this can cause “significant harm.” Domestic abuse must always be referred to MASH/FCP.
DA is defined as any violent or abusive behaviour used by one person to dominate and control another within a close personal or family relationship. Children can witness DA in a variety of ways, they may be in the same room and get caught up in an incident, perhaps trying to defend the victim, they may be in a different room but able to hear abuse taking place and witness injuries caused by the abuse, or they may be asked to take part in verbally abusing the victim.
Children missing sessions
Staff will be aware that children’s non-attendance, particularly repeatedly, can be a vital warning sign of a range of safeguarding possibilities. Early intervention will be taken to identify the risk of any underlying safeguarding concerns and the settings policy for following up on non-attenders will be followed. The setting will have at least 2 emergency contacts for a child.
Children with family members in prison
Staff will be aware that being homeless or being at risk of being homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare. The DSL will direct families to the Local Housing Authority for support and a referral will be made to children’s social care if deemed necessary.
Staff will be aware that they have a mandatory duty to report any child in a “private fostering” arrangement, to the Local Authority.
Private fostering is defined as an arrangement whereby a child under the age of 16 (or 18 if the child has a disability) is placed for 28 days or more in the care of someone who is not the child's parent(s) or a 'connected person'
If a child discloses abuse, it is important for staff to respond appropriately:
We will listen to the child and avoid interrupting except to clarify. We will allow the child to make the disclosure at their own pace and in their own way.
We won’t interrogate the child. We may ask for clarification about something, but we won’t ask leading questions.
The interviewing of children will be undertaken by trained Social Workers or Police Officers.
We won’t make any promises to the child about not passing on information. Information may need to be shared to get help in place.
Information will be recorded accurately, including the timing, setting and those present, as well as what was said.
The DSL will be informed as soon as possible (within the same working day).
Following a disclosure of abuse children will be supported in the setting by their key person.
All children will be allocated a key person with whom they can develop a close relationship and who can tailor opportunities to the individual needs of each child.
Visitors to the setting
Any visitor to the setting who receives a disclosure of abuse, suspects that abuse may have occurred or is concerned for the safety or welfare of a child must report immediately to the DSL or if unavailable to the deputy.
Procedures for Referral
We will refer to SSP guidance document “The Right Help at the Right Time” when assessing a child’s level of need and the most appropriate support.
If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm a referral to FCP/MASH will be made immediately.
The DSL/deputy will contact MASH by telephone - 01793 466903 or if out of hours 01793 436699.
A telephone referral will be confirmed in writing using the form RF1 within 24 hours of the initial call (RF1 available at http://www.swindonlscb.org.uk/wav/Pages/Forms.aspx ).
The referral will be shared with the parent/carer, and where appropriate with the child/young person, unless to do so may place the child at increased risk of harm, in which case advice should be sought from FCP/MASH.
If a child discloses physical or sexual abuse, where the alleged abuser is either a family member, or someone resident within the household, FCP/MASH will be consulted before informing parents.
If the child is already subject to a child protection plan the allocated social worker will be contacted, they will advise when, and by whom, the parents should be informed. (See appendix 2 –flow chart)
Staff will work closely with other agencies to implement the actions of a child protection plan. They will attend all child protection conferences, core groups and strategy meetings to support the child and family as necessary.
In circumstances where we feel that decisions made by another agency, on a safeguarding case, are not in the best interests of the child we will follow the stages of the Swindon Escalation Policy.
Pre-escalation – professional to professional
DSL to Manager
DSL to Senior Manager
DSL to Swindon Safeguarding Partnership (LSCB)
Where staff have emerging concerns about a child (as opposed to a child being in immediate danger) they will follow the early help process. The process involves staff being alert to emerging problems, staff discussing their concerns with the DSL and the DSL co-ordinating an appropriate response with the support of other professionals, this may involve undertaking an Early Help Assessment. (EHA) and in some cases the DSL may take on the role of Lead Professional.
Early Help cases will be kept under constant review and if the situation doesn’t appear to be improving consideration will be given to a referral to FCP/MASH.
Record Keeping – Child Protection
Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse, noticing possible abuse or with a concern about a child, should make an accurate record as soon as possible, noting what was said or seen, putting the event into context, and giving the date, time and location. All records must be dated and signed and discussed with the DSL.
All hand-written records will be retained, even if they are subsequently typed up in a more formal report.
Written records of concerns will be kept, even where there is no need to make a referral immediately.
Injuries will be marked on a body map, photographs will never be taken (Appendix 3)
Where concerns do not meet the threshold for a referral to FCP/MASH, consideration will be given to the appropriateness of completing an Early Help Assessment.
All records relating to child protection concerns will be kept in a secure place and will remain confidential. They will not form part of the pupil’s developmental records and will be kept separate from other records.
A chronology will be kept at the front of each individual child protection file. It will be reviewed and updated whenever a new concern is raised or additional relevant information becomes available, noting any action taken.
The quality of child protection records will be regularly monitored by the DSL and management.
Where a child transfers to school or moves to a new setting, child protection documentation will be transferred to the receiving school/setting within 14 days, preferably by hand. If hand delivery isn’t possible, postal delivery will be followed up with a telephone conversation. The original documents will be transferred and a receipt for handover will be obtained.
Records will be retained in line with the Local Authorities Guidance on the Transfer and Retention of Child Protection Records (SSP website).
We are committed to helping parents/carers understand our responsibility for the safety and welfare of all pupils and to working in partnership with parents.
Parents/carers can access the settings Child Protection Policy on our website at www.sparklerspreschoolswindon.co.uk or in the policies file which can be found in the cloakroom. Parents will be made aware of the policy during their induction meeting and will be asked to sign a statement to say they understand the setting’s child protection responsibilities.
Child protection or welfare concerns will usually, be openly discussed, with parents/carers. Where a referral to FCP/MASH is needed, the agreement of parents/carers will be sought before making the referral, unless to do so may place the child at increased risk of harm, then advice would be sought first. If there is concern about a child who is already subject to a child protection plan, then the allocated social worker will be informed as soon as possible.
A lack of agreement from the parent/carer will not stop a referral going ahead.
Suitable People/Safer Recruitment
We endeavour to create a culture of safe recruitment and as part of this we adopt recruitment procedures which help deter, reject and identify people who might abuse children. We adhere to our statutory responsibilities to check staff who work with children, this will include enhanced DBS checks, on all staff and on any other person who is likely to have regular contact with children (including those living or working on the premises)
We follow safer recruitment procedures as set out in the South West Child Protection Procedures.
Interview panels will have at least one person who has completed Safer Recruitment Training. There will be a safeguarding statement in all job advertisements and job descriptions. Any gaps in employment history or unaccounted for periods of time will be fully investigated. References will be requested prior to interview. At least one reference will be from the applicants’ most recent childcare placement.
We will record information about staff qualifications, identity checks, disqualification and vetting processes (including the Disclosure and Barring Service reference number, the date a disclosure was obtained and details of who obtained it) on a central register.
We will not allow people, whose suitability has not been checked to have unsupervised contact with children.
Disqualification under the Childcare Act
All staff, students and volunteers are informed during their induction that, under the Childcare Act 2006, they are expected to provide up to date information in relation to any convictions, cautions, court orders, reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children, whether received before or during their employment at the setting.
There is also an expectation that the setting would be informed if staff relationships and associations, both within and outside the workplace (including online), may have implications for the safety of children in the setting.
A risk assessment will be undertaken for volunteers to determine whether an enhanced DBS check should be applied for. This will depend on the level of activity the volunteer is engaged in and whether they are ever left unsupervised with children.
Alleged Abuse by Staff
An allegation may indicate that a member of staff has:
Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child.
Possibly committed a criminal offence against a child; or
Behaved towards a child that indicates he/she would pose a risk of harm to children.
As soon as an allegation is made the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will be contacted.
The LADO’s are;
LADO Team – 01793 463854
Jon Goddard – 07392103019 (Mon-Wed)
Rachel Hull – 07824081177 (Thurs-Fri)
Ofsted will be informed of the allegation within 14 days.
LADO advice on appropriate action to take will be followed.
Staff/volunteers will report an allegation about a member of staff immediately to the owner/manager, unless they are the subject of the allegation. The owner/manager will then proceed as above.
Where the allegation is against the owner/manager, the member of staff/volunteer will contact the LADO as above.
An allegation must not be discussed with the alleged perpetrator or other members of staff/committee, unless advised to do so by the LADO.
In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to protect the child, by contacting the police, before contacting the LADO.
The setting will make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service if at the end of the allegation process a member of staff or volunteer is removed from their position, or if they leave while under investigation.
As part of their induction procedure staff will be directed to read the “Guidance for safer working practice for adults who work with children and young people.” http://www.swindonlscb.org.uk/procedures/Pages/Home.aspx and the setting’s “Whistleblowing Policy.”
We will provide a curriculum that encourages children to talk and be listened to. Children will be provided with opportunities to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse across all areas of learning. Children will learn that their views are valued and respected.
Online safety – Children will be taught about keeping safe online through educating them about safe online procedures and by educating their parents about the dangers of the internet through leaflets, posters, newsletters etc. Where children have access to the internet, we will ensure that they are protected from harmful and inappropriate online material by putting effective monitoring and filtering in place.
Use of Mobile Phones and Digital Photography
We have a written policy for the acceptable use of mobile phones, cameras and other digital media in our setting. 1.6 Online safety (inc. portable ICT devices, mobile phones and digital photography)
The only mobile phone to be used is the work mobile and this must only be used with the permission of the manager. The work mobile will be open to scrutiny at all times
The work mobile will only be used in designated areas for example not in toilets, changing areas or sleeping areas.
Staff mobiles and other digital media will be kept in a designated area and will not be carried on a person when children are present. Staff may use appliances before and after sessions, when children are not present or in some secustances with permission during the session away from children.
Visitors, parents, contractors etc are made aware that phones and other digital media are not to be used in designated areas and that no photographs, videos or audio recordings are permitted in the setting.
Staff will take photographs of children using the work photographic equipment; no personal equipment will be used. The work photographic equipment will be open to scrutiny at all times.
Photographs will not be taken in sensitive areas such as toilets or nappy changing areas.
Written permission will be obtained from parents/carers for appropriate use of photographs/digital images to record children’s progress
Children’s images should only be taken off site securely with the prior permission of the manager in line with the settings policy.
Information Sharing and Records
We will maintain records and obtain and share information with parents/carers, health professionals, the police, social services and Ofsted as appropriate and in line with “Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners” 2018
We will enable a regular two-way flow of information with parents/carers, and between providers if a child is attending more than one setting.
Confidential information and records about staff and children are held securely and only accessible and available to those who have a right or professional need to see them.
We are aware of our responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations (2018) and that this legislation does not limit the sharing of information in order to keep children safe and includes sharing information without consent.
We will register with the Information Commissioner’s Office as appropriate.
All staff read the setting’s “Confidentiality Policy” as part of their induction procedure. Information will be shared on a strictly “need to know” basis.
Records relating to individual children will be retained for a reasonable period of time in line with the settings retention of records policy.
This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis, however amendments will be made as and when necessary throughout the year. Staff will be made aware of all amendments.
This Policy was adopted by Sparklers Pre-School
Role of Signatory:
Next Review Date:
This Policy was approved by Sparklers Pre-School Committee
Role of Signatory: