At St Mary’s we recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children.
Designated Child Protection Lead
Miss Shevlin (Head Teacher)
Deputy Designated Child Protection Lead
Mrs Chandarana (Foundation Stage Manager)
Child Protection Governor
Mrs Thorpe (Chair of Governors)
Please report any concerns regarding a child straight away to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead in their absence.
Child Protection Policy
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School strives to educate all its pupils within an environment where the Catholic traditions of learning, truth, justice, respect and community are promoted. Consequently the overall aim of this policy is to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children in our care (in situations where child abuse is suspected, our paramount responsibility is to the child).
Every member of staff whether teaching or non teaching, knows that they have a duty to be aware of child protection issues and to follow the child protection procedures laid down if they have concerns. We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children.
We recognise that because of the day to day contact with children, school staff are well placed to observe outward signs of abuse. We endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that children receive effective support, protection and justice.
The procedures contained in this policy apply to all staff and governors
The school will therefore:
- Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are listened to.
- Ensure that children in the school know there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried.
- Through including opportunities in different areas of the curriculum including religious education lessons, our Catholic ethos and Mission Statement. Also through many of our school polices including Behaviour, E-Safety, Equality and Equal Opportunities policies we hope to establish an awareness of responsibility to ourselves and other and to encourage children to show respect for each other.
- Ensuring that key concepts of Child Protection are integrated within the curriculum
- Continuing to develop awareness in all staff of the need for Child Protection (particular care should be taken with children with disabilities and SEN) and their responsibilities in identifying abuse.
- Ensuring that all staff are aware of referral procedures within the school and have training in child protection
- Monitor children who have been identified as ‘at risk’.
- Liaise with other agencies that support the child such as Social Services, Child and Adult Mental Health Services, Health, Education Welfare Service now called the Participation Team, the Early Intervention and Prevention Services and Educational Psychology Service, LADO.
- Ensure we practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children
- The school will ensure that the welfare of children is given paramount consideration when developing and delivering all school activity
- All children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection
- All staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of harm in accordance with this guidance
- All pupils and staff involved in child protection issues will receive appropriate support from the senior management of the school who will follow this policy guidance in doing so
The Head teacher has overall responsibility for pastoral care of the children and school discipline.
If any child has a specific problem or disability which might affect their participation in school life in any way, it is in everyone’s interests if this is pointed out to the school as soon as possible.
The school aims to integrate fully all children into all activities. It aims to offer a secure environment to all pupils especially those who may be experiencing change in family circumstances either of a short or long term nature.
The Head Teacher and governors ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.
We recognise that children who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. The school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at school their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn.
The school will endeavour to support the pupil through:
- The content of the curriculum.
- The school ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued.
- Supporting children with their well being and mental health
- The school Behaviour Policy which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils in the school. The school will ensure that the pupil knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred.
- Liaison with other agencies that support the pupil
- Ensuring that, where a pupil involved with social services leaves the school, their information is transferred to the new school immediately and that the child's social worker is informed.
The Head teacher is the Child Protection Lead.
All concerns must be reported to the Head teacher as soon as possible
In the absence of the Head teacher the Foundation Stage Manager will take on the role of Child Protection Lead. We will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education and Skills.
The school also has a designated Child Protection Governor
All staff will be provided with Inset concerning child protection.
All staff have been provided with a copy of Part one of the DfE guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ and are asked to sign to say they have received, read and understood the document.
At St. Mary’s we want parents and pupils to feel free to talk about concerns and to see school as a safe place where pupils worries and fears are taken seriously. However staff cannot guarantee confidentiality if concerns are such that a referral must be made to the appropriate agencies in order to safeguard the child’s welfare.
Staff who observe injuries which appear to be non-accidental, or who are told anything significant by a pupil must report their concerns to the Head teacher who is the designated Child Protection Lead.
If staff have significant concerns about any pupil which may indicate physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect they must discuss this with the Child Protection Lead. Who will contact the agencies responsible for investigating child protection. School staff do not carry out investigations themselves, nor do they decide whether a child has been abused. That is a matter for the specialist agencies.
The school follows the London Child Protection Procedures (The book is kept in the Head teacher’s office)
The school will complete an Inter-agency referral for all referrals to social services
Dealing with Disclosures of Abuse
If a child chooses to tell a member of staff about possible abuse there are a number of things that should be done to support the child:
- Stay calm and be available to listen – allow the child to talk freely
- Gather information the child gives you but we are not here to investigate (do not start asking the child a lot of questions)
- Tell – Tell the child they are not to blame
- Take seriously – you are not there to make judgements but need to take the child seriously
- Affirm- Tell the child it was the right thing to do
- Refer – Let the child know you must tell other people who will help. Tell the Child Protection Lead straight away (Head or Deputy in the head’s absence)
- Put in Writing – Complete an Inter-agency referral
Allegations against Staff
The school has a Whistle Blowing Policy that all staff have been informed about and know how to access. If a member of staff has any concerns they must report their concerns to the Child Protection Lead or Governor in charge of Child Protection. They can also find information in the Whistle Blowing Policy on what they can do if they have concerns.
The school will deal appropriately with each suspicion or allegation of abuse against a member of staff, volunteer or governor in accordance with “All London Child Protection Procedures and Working together to Safeguard Children ”, and by consulting with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
It is vital that staff should act quickly and inform the Head teacher when a suspicion of abuse is noted. Delay may well lead to the child suffering further.
Most of our children will use mobile phones and computers at some time. They are a source of fun, entertainment, communication and education. However, we know that some men, women and young people will use these technologies to harm children. The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails, to enticing children to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-to-face meetings.
The school’s e-safety policy explains how we try to keep children safe in school. Cyber-bullying by children, via texts and emails, will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying and will be managed through our anti-bullying procedures.
Chat rooms and social networking sites are the more obvious sources of inappropriate and harmful behaviour and children are not allowed to access these sites whilst in school. Some children will undoubtedly be ‘chatting’ on mobiles or social networking sites at home, and we have produced a short fact sheet to help parents and children understand the possible risks.
Forms of abuse linked to culture, faith or belief
All staff at St. Mary’s will promote mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Some forms of abuse are linked to these and staff should strive to suspend professional disbelief (ie that they ‘could not happen here’) and to report promptly any concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead who will seek further advice from statutory agencies.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female Genital Mutilation is illegal and involves intentionally altering or injuring female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It can have serious implications for physical health and emotional well-being.
Possible indicators include taking the girl out of school / country for a prolonged period or talk of a ‘special procedure’ or celebration.
If the school is concerned about extremism in a school, or if the school thinks a child might be at risk of extremism we can contact the DFE helpline.
Telephone 020 7340 7264
Confidentiality and sharing information
All staff will understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the child and staff involved but also to ensure that being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence.
Staff should only discuss concerns with the designated person, head teacher or chair of governors (depending on who is the subject of the concern). That person will then decide who else needs to have the information and they will disseminate it on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
Child protection information will be stored and handled in line with Data Protection Act 1998 principles.
Record of concern forms and other written information will be stored in a locked facility and any electronic information will be password protected and only made available to relevant individuals.
Every effort should be made to prevent unauthorised access and sensitive information should not be stored on laptop computers, which, by the nature of their portability, could be lost or stolen. Child protection information will be stored separately from the child’s school file.
The Data Protection Act does not prevent school staff from sharing information with relevant agencies, where that information may help to protect a child.