Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined under the guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ July 2015 as: protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or 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.

Bertrum House Nursery is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for children, staff and visitors and to promoting a climate where children and adults will feel confident about sharing any concerns that they may have about their own safety or the well-being of others.

The Nursery’s Safeguarding Policy draws upon the principles of the National Children’s Agenda, ‘Every Child Matters’ and a number of guidance documents.  These include:

  • ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education July 2015, (which replaced Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education’ 2006)
  • the Children Acts 1989 and 2004
  • S157 of the 2002 Education Act (requiring proprietors of independent schools to have arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children)
  • The guidance contained in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2015), ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused’ (2006) and procedures produced by the London Safeguarding Board (Wandsworth Safeguarding Children Board) and Wandsworth Local Authority.
  • Information Sharing Advice for Safeguarding Practitioners (2015)
  • The Rights of the Child (1989)
  • The Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework

The policy is applicable to all on and off site activities undertaken by pupils whilst they are the responsibility of Bertrum House Nursery.

Key
CP Child Protection
LADO Local Authority Designated Officer
DOFS Designated Officer for Safeguarding
MASH Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub
DBS Disclosure and Barring Services (formerly CRB Criminal Records Bureau)
LA Local Authority
DfE Department for Education
DSL Designated Safeguarding Lead
DDSL Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Responsibilities and Immediate Action

All adults working in this Nursery (and including visiting staff, volunteers and students on placement) are required to report instances of actual or suspected child abuse or neglect to the Designated Person with responsibility for child protection.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead: Vicky Mould – Headteacher
The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead: Pari Lake – School Manager

The Designated Safeguarding Lead is the first point of contact for external agencies that are pursuing Child Protection investigations and co-ordinates the Nursery’s representation at CP conferences and Core Group meetings (including the submission of written reports for conferences). When an individual concern/incident is brought to the notice of the Designated Safeguarding Lead, they will be responsible for deciding upon whether or not this should be reported as a safeguarding issue.  Where there is any doubt as to the seriousness of this concern, or disagreement between the Designated Safeguarding Lead and the member of staff reporting the concern, advice will be sought from the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, the Wandsworth MASH team or the Designated Officer for Safeguarding at Wandsworth.

The parent/carer will normally be contacted before a referral to Children’s Social Care is made.  However, if the concern involves alleged or suspected sexual abuse or the Designated Safeguarding Lead has reason to believe that informing the parent at this stage might compromise the safety of the child or a staff member or the investigation, nothing will be said ahead of the referral.  In this instance, the police may be called.

In circumstances where a child has an unexplained or suspicious injury that requires urgent medical attention, the CP referral process should not delay the administration of First Aid or emergency medical assistance.  If a pupil is thought to be at immediate risk because of parental violence, drunkenness, substance abuse, mental illness or threats to remove the child during the Nursery day, for example, urgent police intervention will be requested.

Where a child sustains a physical injury or is distressed as a result of reported chastisement or alleges that they have been chastised by the use of an implement or substance, this will immediately be reported for Children’s Social Care/police investigation. Referrals to Children’s Social Care will be confirmed in writing, using the Early Help Assessment form.

All parents applying for places for their children at this Nursery will be informed of our safeguarding responsibilities and the existence of this policy.  In situations where pupils sustain injury or are otherwise affected by an accident or incident whilst they are the responsibility of the Nursery, parents will be notified of this as soon as possible.

Bertrum House recognises the need to be alert to the risks posed by strangers or others (including the parents or carers of other pupils) who may wish to harm children in Nursery or pupils travelling to and from Nursery and will take all reasonable steps to lessen such risks.

Vulnerable Pupils

Particular vigilance will be exercised in respect of pupils who have Child Protection Plans and any incidents or concerns involving these children will be reported immediately to Children’s Social Care (and confirmed in writing; copied to the Designated Officer for Safeguarding).  If the pupil in question is a Looked After or Accommodated child, this will also be brought to the notice of the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

If a pupil discloses that they have witnessed domestic violence or it is suspected that they may be living in a household that is affected by family violence, this will be referred to the Designated Safeguarding Lead as a child protection issue.  The Nursery acknowledges the additional needs for support and protection of children who are vulnerable by virtue of disability, homelessness, refugee/asylum seeker status, the effects of substance abuse within the family, those who are young carers, mid-year admissions and pupils who are excluded from Nursery.

We acknowledge that children who are affected by abuse or neglect may demonstrate their needs and distress through their words, actions, behaviour, demeanor, school work or other children.  The Nursery has a strong commitment to an anti-bullying policy and will consider all coercive acts and inappropriate child on child behaviour and sexual activity within a Child Protection context.

Training

Whole school in service training on safeguarding issues will be organised on at least a three yearly basis.  All newly recruited staff (teaching and non-teaching) will be appraised of this policy.  The Designated Safeguarding Lead (and their Deputy), will attend the LA’s dedicated induction course and then refresher training at least every two years.  Designated staff will be encouraged to attend appropriate network meetings and to participate in the multi-agency training programme organised by the Wandsworth Safeguarding Board (WSGB).

Training Schedule Training Required Key Person Last Training Next Training
Designated Safeguarding Lead Advanced Child Protection Training Victoria Mould May 2016 May 2018
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead Advanced Child Protection Training Pari Lake July 2016 July 2018
Staff Basic Child Protection Training All Staff January 2017 January 2017
Recruitment

Bertrum House Nursery is committed to the process of becoming a Safe Organisation.  The Principal and School Manager have completed the Safer Recruitment training and passed the test.  Safe recruitment processes are followed and all staff recruited to the Nursery will be subject to appropriate identity and qualification checks.  References will be verified and enhanced Disclosure and Barred Services (DBS) will be completed as far as possible before staff are appointed and commence their duties.  In the event that DBS checks are not through, the same policies and procedures must be followed as for visitors. This Nursery will only use employment agencies that can demonstrate that they positively vet their supply staff and will report the misconduct of temporary or agency staff to the agency concerned and to the LA.  Staff joining the Nursery on a permanent or temporary basis will be given a copy of this policy.

Volunteers

Any parent or volunteer will work under the direct supervision of an established staff member and will be subject to the same code of conduct as paid employees of the Nursery. Volunteers will at no time be given responsibility for the personal care of pupils.

Staff Safeguarding Code of Conduct

All staff (paid and voluntary) are expected to adhere to a code of conduct in respect of their contact with pupils and their families.  Children will be treated with respect and dignity and no punishment, detention, restraint, sanctions or rewards are allowed outside of those detailed in the Nursery’s Behaviour Management Policy.  Whilst it would be unrealistic and undesirable to preclude all physical contact between adults and children, such contact should be age-appropriate, and staff are expected to exercise caution and avoid placing themselves in a position where their actions might be open to criticism or misinterpretation.  Where incidents occur which might otherwise be mis-construed, or in exceptional circumstances where it becomes necessary to physically restrain a pupil for their own protection or others’ safety, this will be appropriately recorded and reported to the headteacher and parents.  Any physical restraint used will comply with DfE and LA guidance.

Except in cases of emergency, First Aid will only be administered by qualified First Aiders.  If it is necessary for the child to remove clothing for First Aid treatment, there will, wherever possible, be another adult present.  All First Aid treatment will be recorded and shared with parents/carers at the earliest opportunity. Nappy changing will be recorded.  *See also ‘Intimate Care Policy’.

For their own safety and protection, staff should exercise caution in situations where they are alone with pupils.  Other than in formal teaching situations, the door to the room in which the teaching, counseling or meeting is taking place should be left open.  Pupils should have clear access to exits, e.g. staff should not stand between the child and the door.  Staff are committed to ‘popping in’ to the loos, changing areas and any other areas where staff are working with the children on their own in order to safeguard both the staff and the children.

Nursery staff should also be alert to the possible risks that might arise from social contact with pupils outside of the Nursery.  Home visits to pupils should only take place with the knowledge and approval of the Principal.  A register will be kept of staff who babysit, tutor or socialise with school families.  These members of staff will be asked to sign a confidentiality clause (Code of Conduct).

Diversity

Parenting and childrearing styles can vary according to class, age, race, ethnicity, culture and/or religion.  All parents have the right to raise their children according to their family traditions and we need to be aware of passing judgment on or discriminating on the basis of difference. However, all children have the right to protection and no parent has the right to abuse their child/ren regardless of their background or circumstances.

Recognising and Responding to Signals of Possible Abuse

Safeguarding is about preventing the abuse of children and young people.  Abuse can take many different forms and safeguarding action may need to be taken to protect children and young learners from:

  • neglect
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying
  • racist, disability and homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • gender-based violence/violence against women and girls
  • radicalisation and/or extremist behaviour
  • child sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • the impact of new technologies on sexual behaviour, for example sexting
  • teenage relationship abuse
  • substance abuse
  • issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence
  • domestic violence
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • fabricated or induced illness
  • poor parenting, particularly in relation to babies and young children

Abuse can be explained in four main ways:

Physical abuse may take many forms, e.g. 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 (fabricated or induced illness).

The following are often regarded as indicators of concern:

  • An explanation which is inconsistent with an injury
  • Several different explanations provided for an injury
  • Unexplained delay in seeking treatment
  • The parents are uninterested or undisturbed by an accident or injury
  • Parents are absent without good reason when their child is presented for treatment
  • Repeated presentation of minor injuries (which may represent a ‘cry for help’ and if ignored could lead to a more serious injury
  • Family use of different doctors and accident and emergency departments
  • Reluctance to give information or mention previous injuries.

The following must be considered as indicators of harm unless there is evidence or an adequate explanation provided.  Only a paediatric view around such explanations will be sufficient to dispel concerns listed below:

  • Any bruising to a pre-crawling or pre-walking baby
  • Bruising in or around the mouth, particularly in some small babies, which may indicate force-feeding
  • Two simultaneous bruised eyes, without bruising to the forehead (rarely accidental, though a single bruised eye can be accidental or abusive)
  • Repeated or multiple bruising to the head or on sites unlikely to be injured accidentally
  • Variation in bruising colour possibly indicating injuries caused at different times
  • The outline of an object used, e.g. belt marks, hand prints or a hairbrush
  • Bruising or tears around, or behind, the earlobe/s indicating injury by pulling or twisting; bruising around the face; bruising on the arms, thighs and buttocks, which may be an indicator of sexual abuse
  • Grasp masks on small children
  • Bite marks – those over 3 cm in diameter are more likely to have been caused by an adult or older children
  • Burns and scalds with a clear outline may be suspicious, e.g.circular burns from cigarettes, linear burns from hot metal rods, scalds that have a line indicating immersion or poured liquid with no splash marks
  • Fractures – non-mobile children rarely sustain fractures.  The history provided is vague, nonexistent or inconsistent with the fracture type.
    There is a delay in seeking medical attention
  • Scars- a large number of scars, or scars of different size or age, or on different parts of the body, may suggest abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development and may involve:

  • Conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person
  • Imposing developmentally inappropriate expectations on children.  These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction
  • Causing children to feel frightened or in danger, e.g. witnessing domestic violence or experiencing bullying from siblings or peers
  • Exploiting or corrupting children

Emotional abuse may be difficult to recognise, as the signs are usually behavioural rather than physical.  The indicators of emotional abuse are often also associated with other forms of abuse. Professionals should be aware that emotional abuse might also signify the presence of other kinds of abuse.

The following may be indicators of emotional abuse:

  • Developmental delay
  • Abnormal attachment between a child and parent/carer, e.g. anxious, indiscriminate or no attachment
  • Aggressive behaviour towards others
  • Appeasing behaviour towards others
  • Scapegoated within the family
  • Frozen watchfulness, particularly in pre-school children
  • Low self-esteem and lack of confidence
  • Withdrawn or seen as a ‘loner’ – difficulty relating to others

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery, oral sex) or non-penetrative acts.  They may include non- contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Recognising sexual abuse can be difficult unless the child discloses and is believed.  There may be no physical signs and indications are likely to be emotional and behavioural.  Boys and girls of any age may be sexually abused and are often scared to say anything due to fear and/or guilt.  It is particularly difficult for a child to talk about their sexual abuse.  Disclosure can often initially be indirect as the child tests the professional’s response.

Behavioural indicators include:

  • Inappropriate sexualised contact
  • Sexually explicit behaviour, play or conversation, inappropriate for the child’s age
  • Anxious unwillingness to remove clothes for sports/swimming (but this may be related to cultural norms or physical difficulties)
  • Parents may ask staff not to undress or change their child
  • Continual, excessive or inappropriate masturbation
  • Self-harm (including eating disorders), self-mutilation or suicide attempts
  • Involvement in sexual exploitation

Physical indicators include:

  • Pain or itching of genital area
  • Bloodstains on underwear
  • Physical symptoms such as injuries to the genital or anal area; bruising to buttocks, abdomen and thighs: sexually transmitted disease; presence of semen on vagina, anus, external genitalia or clothing.

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health and development.  Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.

Neglect may involve a parent failing to:

  • Provide adequate food and clothing
  • Provide shelter including exclusion from home or abandonment
  • Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • Ensure adequate supervision including the use of adequate care-taking
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
  • Meet or being unresponsive to a child’s basic emotional need to feel loved and secure

Recognising neglect:

Evidence of neglect is often built up over a period of time and can cover different aspects of parenting.  Indicators include:

  • Failure by parents or carers to meet essential physical needs, e.g. adequate or appropriate food, clothes, warmth, hygiene and medical care
  • Failure by parents or carers to meet essential emotional needs, e.g. to feel loved and valued, to live in a safe-predictable home environment
  • A child seen as listless, apathetic and unresponsive with no apparent medical cause
  • Failure of child to grow within normal expected pattern, with accompanying weight loss
  • Child thrives away from home environment
  • Child frequently absent from Nursery/setting
  • Child left with inappropriate carers, e.g. too young, complete strangers
  • Child left with adults who are intoxicated or violent
  • Child abandoned or left alone for excessive periods

Potential risk to an unborn child:

  • Domestic violence or parental substance abuse or mental ill health
  • These concerns should be addressed as early as possible before the birth, so that a full assessment can be undertaken and support offered to enable the parents, wherever possible, to provide safe care

Specific additional causes for concern and vigilance are:

  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Radicalisation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM, also known as cutting, is dangerous to girls’ and women’s health and illegal in the UK. There are several signs that may indicate that a girl is at risk, and no single sign should be considered as evidence that a girl is at risk of FGM.  However, a combination of factors may increase a girl’s risk of being subjected to it. Should one or more of the following factors come to staff’s attention they need to seek advice from their safeguarding lead about what action to take and the possibility of making a referral to Children’s Specialist Services.

Factors suggesting a girl is at increased risk of FGM include:

  • Age of 0 – 14 years old
  • Being withdrawn from PSHE and/or SRE lessons by parents
  • Parent planning to take the girl out of the country for an extended holiday
  • Having a mother or older sister who has had FGM
  • Mother confiding in a professional that a special ceremony or procedure will take place
  • Requesting help from a professional to avoid FGM

For full information please read Wandsworth Procedures for Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation at www.wandsworthfgm.org.uk. You can also find full FGM information on the Family Information Service (FIS) website

FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty

Under Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, teachers (as well as social workers and healthcare professionals), have a statutory duty from October 2015, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions. It will be rare for teachers to see visual evidence, and they should not be examining pupils, but the same definition of what is meant by “to discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out” is used for all professionals to whom this mandatory reporting duty applies. Unless the teacher has a good reason not to, they should still consider and discuss any such case with the Nursery’s designated safeguarding lead and involve children’s social care as appropriate.

Radicalisation (The Prevent Duty – Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers June 2015)

Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism.  Extremism is vocal or active opposition to the fundamental British Values.  Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of the Nursery’s wider safeguarding duty to children. During the process of radicalisation it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being radicalised. This may include referral to the Channel programme, which is a programme providing support to people identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. It can happen in many different ways and in different settings.

Indicators for vulnerability for radicalisation are:

  • Family tensions
  • Sense of isolation
  • Migration
  • Distance from cultural heritage
  • Experience of racism or discrimination
  • Feeling of failure
  • Family or friends with extremist views
The Children Act (1989; 2004)

Children may be assessed under the following acts:

Section 17: A child in need
Section 20: An accommodated child (including asylum seekers, a child living away from parents with relatives or is lost or abandoned)
Section 47: A child suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.

Thresholds for assessment

Universal Services – children receiving ‘local offer’ services

Staff Concerns

If a member of staff has a concern about a particular child they should follow the Nursery’s normal safeguarding procedures, including discussing with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead, and where deemed necessary, with children’s social care. You can also contact your local police force or dial 101 (non-emergency) and they can talk to you in confidence about your concerns and help you gain access to support and advice. The Department of Education also has a dedicated telephone helpline (020 7340 7264). Wandsworth are a ‘Prevent priority area’ and are also contactable through a MASH referral.

If a pupil fails to attend school regularly or has been absent without school permission for 10 school days or more, the school has a duty to inform the Local Authority.

Remember with all safeguarding concerns that you are not the investigating agency – any probing may interfere with further investigations and make the child or young person repeat painful information.

Information from someone else

Anyone given information by a third person about alleged or suspected abuse has a responsibility to act on the information given.  The procedures set out in ‘What happens next?’ (below) should be followed.

What to do if you suspect a child is being abused

Bertrum House Nursery is required to have procedures in place for you to follow if you are worried about child abuse.  These are based on the What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2006) guidance.

STEPS TO TAKE IF CHILD ABUSE IS SUSPECTED
  • Consider what you know, what you have seen and think about the child that causes concern.
  • Listen to the child if s/he tells you of abuse.  Reassure the child that they did the right thing in telling you.  Never promise to keep something a secret.  Let the child know you will be telling the Designated Safeguarding Lead as you have a responsibility to keep the child safe.  Don’t probe or interrogate the child – write down what the child told you using a ‘child concern form’ using the child’s own words.
  • Discuss your concerns urgently with the Designated Safeguarding Lead:

    Vicky Mould, Headteacher Tel No: 020 8767 4051  or 07932 748237
    or, in her absence,
    Pari Lake, School Manager   Tel No: 020 87674051 or 07932 917764

  • The Designated Safeguarding Lead will discuss and review the concerns and advise on what actions to take next, including whether a child protection referral is necessary.
  • Unless consultation with parents/carers is likely to place the child at risk of significant harm through delay or the parent’s actions, you, together with the Designated Advisor, will:

    – Arrange to see the child’s parent/carer.  Be open and honest, tell parents the reasons for your concerns and seek explanations for your concerns.
    – Explain your duty to report your concerns and try to get parental agreement for a referral to Wandsworth MASH.
    – If the parent refuses to give permission for the referral, further advice should be sought and a referral made without consent if this is necessary to secure the child’s safety.

  • The Designated Advisor will keep a written record of all concerns, any discussions with the child and parents, with social workers and other professional and any decisions made.

The diagram below illustrates what actions should be taken and who should take it where there are concerns about a child.  If, at any point, there is an immediate risk of serious harm to a child a referral should be made to children’s social care immediately.  Anybody can make a referral.

Please see additional information at the end of this policy on the role of Wandsworth MASH.

* Where a child and family would benefit from a coordinated support from more than one agency (e.g. education, health, housing, police) there should be an inter-agency assessment.  These assessments should identify what help the child and family require to prevent needs escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989.  The Early Help Assessment (EHA) should be undertaken by a lead professional who could be a teacher, special educational needs coordinator, General Practitioner, family support worker, and/or health visitor.

** where there are more complex needs, help may be provided under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (children in need).  Where there are child protection concerns local authority services must make enquires and decide if any action must be taken under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 (a child suffering or likely to suffer significant harm).

Allegations Made Against Staff

They will also apply where:

  • Concerns arise about the person’s behaviour with regard to their own children
  • Concerns arise about the behaviour in private or community life of a partner, member of the family or other household member.

Bertrum House has procedures in place to manage allegations of abuse against staff. The procedure will apply where a staff person (anyone working with or in contact with the children at the Nursery, whether paid or unpaid, volunteers, support staff, students etc.) who has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child
  • Possibly committed an offence against or related to a child
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates that s/he is unsuitable to work with children

Procedures are based on the Wandsworth Safeguarding Children Board procedures (MASH) – Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, as follows:

The following definitions should be used when determining the outcome of allegation investigations:

Substantiated

there is sufficient evidence to prove the allegation

Malicious

there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive

False

there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation

Unsubstantiated

there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence

  • All allegations or suspicions against staff should be taken seriously and considered as requiring a child protection response/enquiry
  • All services have a duty to report and refer to children’s social care, the police and Ofsted any allegation or suspicion of child abuse made against any staff member.  Children’s Social Care will inform Ofsted of any child protection referrals in respect of your staff in their personal life
  • Once your referral is made to children’s social care, the allegation will be investigated by the MASH who will consider the available information, decide whether an investigation is indicated and work out the details, who will be involved and arrangements for interviewing:
    – The child
    – Parent/guardian
    – Person to whom the allegation was made
    – Any witnesses

    Name and Contact detail of the MASH can be accessed via children’s social care or the Wandsworth Council website (020 8871 6622 (9am to 5pm)
    Out of hours: 020 8871 6000 or email mash@wandsworth.gov.uk)

  • An allegation may require consideration from any of the following four inter-related perspectives:

    – Child protection
    – Criminal investigation
    – Staff disciplinary procedures
    – Complaint procedures

  • Information about an allegation must be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to:

    – Protect children
    – Facilitate enquiries
    – Manage disciplinary/complaints aspects
    – Protect any rights of the alleged perpetrator

  • Employers have a dual responsibility – to safeguard the children in their care and to ensure staff are treated fairly
  • If a staff member is faced with an allegation against them, they may benefit from the independent advice of a solicitor or union advice

  • If an allegation is made, this staff member should not have any contact with children or their records until the matter has been dealt with
  • Suspension is a neutral act and it should not be automatic.  It should be considered in a case where:

    – There is cause to suspect a child is at risk of significant harm, or
    – The allegation warrants investigation by the police, or
    – The allegation is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal

  • The final decision regarding the person’s continued employment formally rests with the employer but should be informed by the outcome of the child protection investigation and/or criminal investigation
  • It is not advisable to accept a person’s resignation as an alternative to dismissal
  • Even if the police decide there is not enough evidence to bring criminal charges, the employer must decide whether to proceed with a disciplinary hearing on the basis of prima facie evidence under the Disciplinary code
  • Even when there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal investigation, Ofsted may pursue the matter under disciplinary, regulatory or complaints procedures and/or bring civil or criminal proceedings against registered or unregistered day care providers
  • In the event of substantiated allegations, the Nursery must ensure a referral is made to DBS
Malicious, Unsubstantiated and False Allegations
  • False allegations are rare and may be a strong indicator of abuse elsewhere which requires further explanation.  If an allegation is demonstrably false, the employer, in consultation with MASH and Ofsted, should refer the matter to Wandsworth Children’s Care to determine whether the child is in need of services, or might have been abused by someone else
  • Where it is concluded that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate an allegation, the chair of the strategy discussion or initial evaluation should prepare a separate report of the enquiry and forward this to the designated senior manager of the employer to enable her/him to consider what further action, if any, should be taken
  • Ofsted may also take further actions, as above
  • If it is established that an allegation has been deliberately invented, the police may be asked to consider what action may be appropriate
Records

One of the most important functions we can perform at Nursery is to ensure there is a full handwritten and dated history about a child that causes concern so that this history can be given to MASH and any other agencies to support a referral if necessary. Accurate written notes will be kept of all incidents and child protection or child in need concerns relating to individual pupils.   This information may be shared with other agencies as appropriate.  Parental consent will be sought before making a Child in Need (S17) referral to MASH.  If consent is withheld, consideration will be given to the potential impact of this for the child and to the need for a child protection referral (S47).  The Nursery will take into account the views and wishes of the child who is the subject of the concern but staff will be alert to the dangers of colluding with dangerous “secrets”.

Child protection records are not open to pupils or parents.  CP records are securely kept behind two locked keys by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, separately from educational records, and can only be accessed by the DSL and their Deputy. Referrals made to Children’s Social Care under the MASH procedures will be recorded on the inter-agency Referral form (EHA- Early Help Assessment Form), with copies sent securely to the MASH team.

If a pupil is withdrawn from the Nursery having not reached the normal date of transfer, due to a family move or any other reason, all efforts will be made to identify any new address and the Nursery to which they are being admitted. Educational Records will be sent without delay to that Nursery if requested.

The content of CP Conference or Review reports prepared by the Nursery will be shared with the parents/carer in advance of the meeting. The Nursery will require documentary proof as to the identity of pupils presented for admission.  If there is any doubt as to the identity of a pupil, advice will be sought from the LA and other statutory agencies, as appropriate. We will maintain accurate records of those with Parental Responsibility and emergency contacts.  Pupils will only be released to the care of those with Parental Responsibility or someone acting with their written consent.  In an emergency, when a parent gives verbal instructions for their child to be collected by someone who is not known to the Nursery, a description of the person will be requested and they will be asked for identification.

Safety in the School

No internal doors to classrooms will be locked whilst pupils are present in these areas.

Doors that are secured physically or by constant staff supervision will control entry to Nursery premises. Authorised visitors to the Nursery will be logged into and out of the premises and be issued with visitor badges. Unidentified visitors will be challenged by staff or reported to the Headteacher or Nursery Office.

The presence of suspicious strangers seen loitering near the Nursery or approaching pupils will be reported to the Police and LA, with a view to alerting other local nurseries through appropriate systems.

If parents do not wish their children to be photographed or filmed and express this view in writing, their rights will be respected.

Curriculum

Bertrum House acknowledges the important role that the curriculum can play in the prevention of abuse and in the preparation of our pupils for the responsibilities of adult life and citizenship. It is expected that all teachers will consider the opportunities that exist in their lesson planning for addressing personal safety issues.  As appropriate, the PSED curriculum will be used to build resilience, help pupils to keep safe and to know how to ask for help if their safety is threatened.  As part of developing a healthy, safer lifestyle, pupils will be taught, for example:

  • To recognise and manage risks in different situations and then decide how to behave responsibly
  • To judge what kinds of physical contact are acceptable and unacceptable
  • To recognise what kinds of physical contact are acceptable and unacceptable
  • To recognise when pressure from others (including people they know) threatens their personal safety and well-being, including knowing when and where to get help
  • To develop assertiveness techniques to resist unhelpful pressure

All computer equipment and internet access within the Nursery will be supervised at all times and are password protected. Independent use of the internet is never allowed at the Nursery. There is appropriate filtering software fitted to all computers that the children use with internet access.

Information Sharing and Confidentiality

Information sharing is vital to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.  Parental consent is usually required to share information.  However you can and should share information without consent if a child is at risk of significant harm or harming someone else, the child needs urgent medical treatment, information is required as part of a statutory or legal proceeding or information is requested by the police.

Safeguarding and Child Protection matters are strictly confidential.  You have a duty to respect confidentiality and privacy and ensure you keep all information and details about parents and children confidential within the setting.  However, staff must never promise to keep a secret with a child.  Explain that you may not be able to keep secrets for them and that you may need to share the information with someone else in order to keep them safe.
If a member of staff wishes to speak to someone following a safeguarding or child protection incident they may do so with the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.  Professional Counselling can be arranged if necessary.

Working in Partnership with Parents

It is our policy to work in partnership with parents or carers to secure the best outcomes for our children. We will therefore communicate as clearly as possible about the aims of this Nursery.

  • We will try to use clear statements in our brochures and correspondence
  • We will involve parents and pupils in the development of Positive Behaviour Management policies and other policies as appropriate
  • We will liaise with agencies in the statutory, voluntary and community sectors that are active in supporting families
  • We will be aware that we have parents/carers who do not have English as their first language
  • We will keep parents informed as and when appropriate
Complaints and Monitoring

All complaints arising from the operation of this policy will be considered under the Nursery’s complaint procedure, with reference to the DOFS (Local Authority’s Designated Officer for Safeguarding) as necessary.
The Senior Management Team of the Nursery will consider safeguarding issues and their implications for this policy on an annual basis.  For this item, the Headteacher will report upon levels of child protection referrals made by the Nursery during the past year, training undertaken by Nursery School staff and any changes in legislation or national/local guidance.

Updated: January 2017
Next Review: January 2018

Support for Staff
  • Complete all forms clearly (handwritten), accurately and at the time – they may be needed as evidence in a Child Protection investigation
  • Make sensible decisions about leaving the room – don’t leave the room out of ratio, wait until cover arrives
  • Record all accidents that happen in the Nursery however minor and always tell the parents
  • Record any unusual injuries that children arrive at the Nursery with and ask the parents for an explanation
  • Listen to and observe children and report any concerns you may have about them immediately
  • Know how to handle children correctly and work together to manage difficult behaviour situations
  • Report any concerns that you have about staff immediately
  • Do not leave staff without a current DBS on their own with children
  • Know what to do if you are worried a child is being abused or may be at risk from abuse – consult our safeguarding procedures and refresh your knowledge