Safeguarding Children Policy
School of Play work with children, parents and the community to ensure the safety of children and protect them from harm. Should any member of staff suspect that a child is at risk from abuse or is being abused then they must adhere to this policy and refer all concerns relating to the neglect, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse of any child within their care to the Safeguarding co-ordinator. They will then liaise with the setting manager (unless they are the same person) and the appropriate statutory agencies. This is a requirement of any registered childcare provider.
- Protect children from abuse and harm
- Respond promptly and appropriately
- Promote awareness of child protection and safeguarding issues through training
- Empower children
School of Play will, in all cases of suspected neglect, emotional or physical abuse, liaise with the parents and / or those with parental responsibility in the first instance, working with them to ensure a successful outcome. In these cases, if referral to children’s social care is deemed necessary parents and those with parental responsibility will be informed.
In cases where sexual abuse is suspected or disclosure is made by a child then we have a legal duty and responsibility to follow Trafford’s Safeguarding Children policy and The children’s first response team will be informed without parental involvement as the welfare of the child involved is of paramount importance. Where the child is considered to be suffering from or where talking to parents/carers would place the child at risk of actual harm a referral to the children’s social care would also take place without parental consent. The children’s First Response Team can be contacted on 0161 912 5125, the Emergency Duty Team can be contacted out of hours on 0161 912 2020.
Where a child attends a setting and already has social care involvement the setting will usually work with the appointed social worker or the Trafford Area Support Team, who can be contacted on 0161 911 8225.
Forms of abuse include :-
Physical Abuse happens when a child is deliberately hurt, causing injuries such as cuts, bruises, burns and broken bones. It can involve hitting, kicking, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or suffocating.
Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs and is the most common form of child abuse. A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care. A child may be put in danger or not protected from physical or emotional harm.
Sexual Abuse is when a child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn’t have to be physical contact and it can happen online. Sometimes the child won’t understand that what’s happening to them is abuse.
Domestic Abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. It isn’t just physical violence – domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse. Abusive behaviour can occur in any relationship. It can continue even after the relationship has ended. Both men and women can be abused or abusers. Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships.
Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them. Children who are emotionally abused are often suffering another type of abuse or neglect at the same time – but this isn’t always the case.
Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones. Children and young people may experience cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or emotional abuse. Children can be at risk of online abuse from people they know, as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world (for example bullying or grooming). Or it may be that the abuse only happens online (for example persuading children to take part in sexual activity online)
Fabricated illness (previously known as Munchausen’s syndrome) is a psychological disorder where someone pretends to be ill or deliberately produces symptoms of illness in themselves. Their main intention is to assume the “sick role” to have people care for them and be the centre of attention. Like Sexual abuse, if you suspect this it should not be raised with the parents, it should be reported to your Safeguarding lead and any incidents should be logged. Trafford Strategic Safeguarding Partnership (TSSP) should be contacted for guidance if needed.
County Lines Criminal exploitation is also known as ‘county lines’ and is when gangs and organised crime networks exploit children to sell drugs. Often these children are made to travel across counties, and they use dedicated mobile phone ‘lines’ to supply drugs.
They operate in major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham, and distribute drugs across counties via ‘runners’. Campaigns are currently running in the following areas where county lines are considered to be an issue: Nantwich and Chester.
Vulnerable children and adults are recruited as runners to transport drugs and cash all over the country, so that the criminals behind it can remain detached and less likely to be detected.
Cuckooing Criminals running County Lines will set up a base in a rural area or small town for a short time, taking over the home of a vulnerable person, ‘cuckooing’ them (named after the cuckoo’s practice of taking over other birds’ nests for its young).
Victims of ‘cuckooing’ are often drug users but can include older people, those suffering from mental or physical health problems, female sex workers, single mums and those living in poverty. Victims may suffer from other forms of addiction, such as alcoholism.
Some people may be forced to leave their homes, making themselves homeless and leaving the gangs free to sell drugs in their absence.
Special Education Needs and Disabilities
Children with disabilities or language and communication difficulties may be especially vulnerable to abuse as they may have an impaired capacity to avoid or report abuse. Those with language and communication difficulties may be unable – like many other children – to say what is happening or to tell others.
School of Play is an inclusive setting and welcomes children who may have additional needs, disabilities or language and communication difficulties. When these children are attending staff must be aware of their preferred methods/ways of communicating and be alert to any changes in their behaviour which may indicate distress. This distress may be as a result of a safeguarding issue. Where children with SEND require physical handling and/or lifting to meet their needs then training will be provided to the team so that correct techniques and any specific equipment used is done so correctly and respectfully, whilst at the same time retaining the dignity of those involved.
Registers are kept on site at every setting and children are marked in as soon as they arrive at club and signed out when they leave, showing that they have left the premises. At the end of each day it is the responsibility of the person in charge to close the setting, ensuring all Health & Safety measures are met and all children have been correctly signed out, checking ALL areas of the setting. Once all areas have been checked the person in charge signs all children’s registers to confirm that they are satisfied all children have left the premises.
Prevent Duty / Training
Prevent duty became law in 2015. This is a duty on all schools and registered early years providers to have due regard in preventing people being drawn into terrorism. Practitioners must be alert to any reason for concern in the child’s life at home or elsewhere. This includes awareness of the expression of extremist views.
At school of Play we will provide a safe environment for all children to discuss and debate a wide range of issues, encouraging participation in both individual and group forums. We promote fundamental British values, ensuring children know their views and feelings count, helping them develop their self-esteem, have confidence in their own abilities and promote mutual respect.
School of Play believes that all children have the right to be safe at the setting and also in their own homes. We are aware that some children may be living in situations where they are directly or indirectly affected by incidents of domestic abuse or violence. Children under 5 are the largest group of children of adult victims and perpetrators. Staff must be alert to the indicators of abuse and have a planned approach to supporting children in a proactive way. We do this through staff training.
The term ‘Toxic Trio’ is used to describe the issues of domestic abuse, mental health and substance misuse. They are now viewed as key indicators of increased risk of harm to children and young people. Children in one quarter of families experienced all three of the toxic trio. The toxic trio is described as:
- Domestic abuse: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse
- Substance misuse: causes serious negative consequences (physical, psychological, social and interpersonal, financial or legal) for users and those around them.
- Parental mental illness: doesn’t necessarily have an adverse impact on child’s developmental needs, but essential to always assess its implications for each child in family
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
This involves exploitive situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result of engaging in sexual activities. Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups. All staff are alert to possible indicators and will raise concerns as appropriate, through training provided.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Members of our setting community are alert to the possibility of a girl being at risk of FGM, or already having suffered FGM. They have been made aware that FGM typically takes place between birth and around 15 years old. Potential indicators that a child or young person may be at risk of FGM have been shared through training with the team, we take the same course of action as we would with any form of abuse; the Designated Safeguarding Lead would be contacted where FGM was suspected and the local authority contacted for support. We are mindful that girls at risk of FGM may not yet be aware of the practice or that it may be conducted on them, so sensitivity is always shown when approaching the subject. School of Play employees have a duty to report all cases of FGM and follow mandatory reporting procedures as outlined in:
Staff have been made aware of an act of abuse performed on young girls (from around the age of 9 years old) in which their breasts are ironed, massaged and/or pounded, burned with heated objects or covered with an elastic belt to prevent or delay the development of their breasts. Staff are clear that they would follow our usual procedure for recording and reporting this abuse where it is suspected.
When attending school of Play there are certain forms which need signing by those with parental responsibility (PR). Parental responsibility (PR) is having legal rights and responsibilities as a parent in regard to their children.
Birth mothers automatically have PR for their children, this can only be removed if the child is legally adopted by others or death. A father usually has PR if he is married to the child’s mother, this remains even if parents’ divorce or separate. From 2003, unmarried fathers are able to get PR if they jointly register the child’s birth with the mother, if they enter a PR agreement with the mother or get a PR order from the court. Fathers of children born before 2003 can gain PR by jointly re -registering their child’s birth adding the father’s name to the birth certificate, subsequently marrying the mother, entering a PR agreement with the mother or by getting a PR order from the court.
If an order is made to give the children’s social care team PR this will allow them to have the overriding decision making in regard to the best interest of the child but it does not remove parental PR. Parents are asked to provide a visual of the child’s FULL birth certificate when starting at the setting so the number on the top right corner can be recorded and the names of the parents with PR can be recorded within the welcome pack documentation.
ICT & Internet Safety for Children
Children are entitled to the opportunity to develop ICT capability through activities that arise in all curriculum areas, undertaken individually or in groups. We provide ICT equipment (iPads, laptops & video cameras) for children’s use for all children aged over 3 years. Many children are required to access the internet to do their homework and we facilitate this by providing ICT equipment for all children. Our policy is to encourage use so that children benefit from the information and activities available, whilst at the same time, ensuring that we protect their safety.
Mobile Phones & Camera Use
All personal mobile phones are handed into the Club Leader and these should be kept in a box whilst staff are working. The person in charge at the setting is the only person to have the box. There will be a work phone at the club which will be used for the purpose of recording child development and activities, photographing displays and the setting environment for sharing best practice on the company’s/school website page. Visitors to the setting are politely reminded that mobile phone use is strictly forbidden to safeguard the children and should they need to use theirs then they must exit the building in order to do so. Notices are displayed at all setting entrances to this effect.
During their time at school of Play we promote personal dignity and independence as part of our daily intimate care routines, encouraging older children to be respectful of each other and their privacy when using the bathroom areas. We empower children through our practice to be strong; promote their right to be listened to by encouraging them to have a voice, be confident, independent, and enjoy a good vocabulary.
Injuries sustained by children whilst IN our care
As a matter of good practice all information on accidents or injuries, however minor, must be recorded on an accident forms and it is required that all necessary parties read and sign these forms on collection of their child. Where a child has sustained a head injury of ANY kind e.g. bump to the head the parent/carer will also be notified in the first instance by telephone to notify them of the injury and any decision on further treatment should be made by the parent. They should be given the opportunity to pick the child up and take to hospital for a further check up but may, leave the child in club being monitored in accordance with our normal illness/accident policies. A head injuries advice slip must be sent home
Injuries sustained by children whilst NOT IN our care
School of Play requests that parents/carers inform a member of the team of any accidents or injuries that a child has sustained whilst in their care at home or elsewhere. The injuries on arrival form is then completed by parents/carers and signed by all necessary parties. These will then be a traceable record. Where parents are unable to complete the form immediately, a team member must fill in the notes section on the form with the information given and then ask the parent to complete the form at the first available opportunity, ensuring it is factually correct.
When collecting children from classrooms, school or any other activity sessions and an injury is observed, the staff should seek an explanation and an Injuries on Arrival form should be completed if the other party has not already completed an accident form and given a copy to the staff member. Explanations can then be given to parents/carers and all parties can sign the relevant documentation.
School of Play requires staff to complete safeguarding training every two years with an external agency as a mandatory requirement. In addition to this staff are required attend team meetings where safeguarding will be discussed, complete online refresher/training courses around safeguarding and associated subjects, take part in safeguarding scenarios and attend regular supervision meetings.
What to do if abuse or neglect is suspected
If it is suspected that a child at school of Play is at risk/has been/is being abused or discloses to member of the team, all information must be recorded on an notes of concern form immediately, recording any signs and symptoms and exactly what the child has said. If disclosure is made by a child the team member must accurately report what has been said and who was present. Where necessary the team member must complete a body map to show where exactly on the body the child is suspected to have been abused. On NO account must photographs be taken of any injuries or areas where abuse – either physical or sexual – is suspected.
This is when children will tell you directly that they are being abused or neglected.
This is when children do not tell directly but communicate what they have experienced indirectly – through their behaviours, emotions, art, writing, appearance, inquiries or discussions about fears, concerns or relationships.
If a member of the team suspects that a child is suffering from neglect, then a record must be set up immediately to monitor the situation. If, after a reasonable time period, it is deemed necessary to take action, then a referral during office hours should be made to the Children’s First Response Team on 0161 912 5125, the Emergency Duty Team can be contacted out of hours on 0161 912 2020 firstname.lastname@example.org
If a team member suspects abuse there are important factors which need to be considered.
Previous concern – have there been other times when incidents and / or injuries involving the same child have lead to concern being expressed?
Age and Stage – is the incident and / or injury consistent with the age / stage of development of the child involved?
Explanation – Is the explanation consistent with the nature of the injury?
Parental Attitude – Are they hostile and / or aggressive when spoken to about the incident and / or injury
Child’s reaction – Does the child cover up injuries. Ask non leading, open ended questions e.g. How did that happen? Does the child show fear when asked? Have there been any behavioural changes?
Medical Attention – If appropriate and / or necessary has it been sought or is there a delay in getting it or a lack of it?
Supporting the child
Key points to remember when a child confides in you:
- DO NOT overreact
- Always believe the child
- Support the child
- Assure the child that they were not responsible
- LISTEN to the child and DO NOT ask leading questions or influence the outcome
- Never promise to keep this information confidential to a child as you will have to tell others, and this leads to a breakdown of trust.
- Record the discussion on a notes of concern form
Supervision meetings between team members and the setting manager or deputy in their absence are completed at regular intervals and are recorded. They provide the opportunity for confidential discussions in regard to both the children’s welfare and wellbeing and any concerns a team member may have for another member of the team
Any individual who has concerns about a child should contact the Children’s First Response Team on 0161 912 5125 who will give advice and assistance to the referrer if required. If only seeking advice then the child’s name should remain anonymous as once the child’s name is given it automatically becomes a referral which will be acted upon. When making such a referral, any details, which are known, should be given. Particularly relevant are:-
- Name (of child / parents)
- Address (of child / parents)
- Date of birth (or age) of child
- Club attending
- Name of family G.P.
- Incidents which have led to concern
- The Manager / DSL will follow up any initial referral in writing within 48 hours.
- The Manager / DSL will inform OFSTED that a referral has been made contacting OFSTED on 0300 1231231.
School of Play will at all times follow the advice and the procedures set out by Trafford Strategic Safeguarding Partnership (TSSP)
School of Play Safeguarding Co-ordinator is: