Safeguarding & Child Protection
The protection of your child is of paramount importance. ALL staff are trained annually on ways to safeguard children and the avenues to peruse if concerns are raised.
We have up to date and accurate record keeping and believe that good communication between parents and school is key to ensuring your child has a happy time whilst they are at Bolton by Bowland Church of England Primary school.
Mrs Ardern is the Designated Safeguard Lead and Mr Holden is the Back up Safeguard Lead.
Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those children with Education Health Care plans. Those who have a social worker include children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority. A child may also be deemed to be vulnerable if they have been assessed as being in need or otherwise meet the definition in section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
There is an expectation that vulnerable children who have a social worker will attend school, so long as they do not have underlying health conditions that put them at risk. Where a parent does not want their child to attend school, and their child is considered vulnerable, we will discuss this with their social worker and explore the reasons for this directly with the parent.
Those with an Education Health Care plan will be risk-assessed in consultation with the local authority and parents to decide whether they need to continue to be offered a school place in order to meet their needs, or whether they can safely have their needs met at home.
All the staff in our school know who our most vulnerable children are, and they have the flexibility to offer a place to those on the edge of receiving children’s social care support.
We will continue to work with children’s social workers and the local authority virtual school for looked-after and previously looked-after children.
Reporting concerns about children or staff
The importance of all staff acting immediately on any safeguarding concerns remains. Staff will continue to follow our safeguarding procedures and advise the Designated Safeguarding Lead of any concerns they have about any child, including those who are not attending school.
The arrangements in place at our school as a result of the COVID-19 measures do not reduce the risks that children may face from staff. As such, it remains extremely important that any allegations of abuse made against the members of staff providing the childcare at our school are dealt with thoroughly and efficiently and in accordance with our existing policy.
Staff training and induction
Our Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mrs Jo Ardern and our Back up DSL, Mr Holden, attended statutory training in the autumn term of 2020. Therefore, their safeguarding training is up to date.
As always, all school staff receive safeguarding training at the start of the school year and have read Part One and Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020.
If staff from another setting attend the school site then, in line with government guidance, we will not undertake any additional safeguarding checks if the setting providing those staff confirm that:
- the individual has been subject to an enhanced DBS and Children’s Barred List check and, that in the opinion of that setting, nothing resulted from those checks that provided any caused for concern
- there are no safeguarding investigations into the conduct of that individual
- the individual remains suitable to work with children.
Safer recruitment/volunteers and movement of staff
It remains essential that people who are unsuitable are not allowed to enter the children’s workforce or gain access to children. Should we be required to recruit new staff, we will continue to follow the local authority’
In response to COVID-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has made changes to its guidance on standard and enhanced DBS ID checking to minimise the need for face-to-face contact.
Should we engage the services of any volunteers, we will continue to follow the checking and risk assessment process set out in paragraphs 183 to 188 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020. Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been checked be left unsupervised or allowed to engage in regulated activity.
It is essential from a safeguarding perspective that we are aware, on any given day, which staff or volunteers are on our school site and that the appropriate checks have been carried out on those individuals. We will continue to maintain our single central record (SCR) during these measures to ensure we have this awareness.
Peer on peer abuse
We recognise that children can abuse their peers, and our staff are clear about the school’s policy and procedures regarding peer on peer abuse. All peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously. We also recognise that abuse can still occur during a school closure or partial closure and between those children who do attend the school site during these measures.
Our staff will remain vigilant to the signs of peer-on-peer abuse and will continue to follow the process set out in our Safeguarding Policy
It is likely that children will be using the internet and engaging with social media far more during this time. Our staff are aware of the signs of cyberbullying and other online risks and our filtering and monitoring software remains in use during this time to safeguarding and support children. Our staff will continue to follow the process for online safety set out in our Safeguarding and E-Safety Policies.
Staff who interact with children online will continue to look out for signs a child may be at risk. If a staff member is concerned about a child, that staff member will report that concern to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.
New children at the school
Children may join our school from other settings. If they do, we will seek from those settings the relevant welfare and child protection information. This is relevant for all children that join us, but it will be especially important where children are vulnerable.
For vulnerable children we will ensure we understand the reasons for the vulnerability and any arrangements in place to support them. As a minimum we will seek access to that child’s Education Health Care Plan, Child in Need Plan, Child Protection Plan or, for looked-after children, their Personal Education Plan and request to know who the name and contact details of the child’s social worker. Ideally, this will happen before a child arrives but, where that is not possible, it will happen as soon as reasonably practicable.
Any exchanges of information will ideally happen at Designated Safeguarding Lead or Back up Designated Safeguarding Lead level. However, it is acknowledged this may not always be possible. Where this is the case, the senior teacher on site will take responsibility. A risk assessment will be undertaken, based on the information received, considering how risks will be managed and which staff need to know the information.
Supporting children not in school
Where the Designated Safeguarding Lead has identified a child to be on the edge of social care support, or who would normally receive additional pastoral support in school, they will ensure that a communication plan is in place to support that child. Details of that plan will be recorded for that child. It will be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains current during these measures.
In conjunction with Lancashire Police, Bolton by Bowland Church of England Primary School is involved in a national initiative called “Operation Encompass”. The purpose of Operation Encompass is to safeguard and support children and young people who have been involved in, heard or witnessed a domestic abuse incident.
Following an incident, children will often arrive at school distressed, upset, worried and unprepared. Operation Encompass aims to ensure that appropriate school staff are made aware early enough to help and support children and young people in a way that means they feel safe and included.
This is a valuable initiative that means we can help and support students and their families within our school when they need us most.
You can find out more information by visiting the Operation Encompass website (click the button below) or by contacting Mr Holden at school.