St John's C of E Primary School is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for children, staff and visitors and promoting a climate where children and adults will feel confident about sharing any concerns which they may have about their own safety or the well-being of others.
We aim to safeguard and promote the welfare of children by protecting them 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.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND IMMEDIATE ACTION
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in our school is the responsibility of the whole school community. All adults working in this School (including visiting staff, volunteers and students on placement) are required to report instances of actual or suspected child abuse or neglect to the Designated Safeguarding Lead who is a member of the school’s leadership team.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead is: Mrs Jacky Fyson
The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead(s) is/are: Mr Mark Richards, Mrs Katie Fletcher and Faye Howitt
Nominated Safeguarding Director (MAT) Amanda Johnston. CLICK HERE for the GST safeguarding page
Designated teacher for looked after children: Katie Fletcher
Designated Safeguarding Governor: Mrs Jane Edwards
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) takes lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety) and provides advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters, takes part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings, and/or supports other staff to do so, and contributes to the assessment of children. DSL is the first point of contact for external agencies that are pursuing Child Protection investigations and co-ordinates the school’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 to other agencies 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 (DDSL) or the LA’s Strategic Lead Officer for safeguarding in education services. If a child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm, a referral will be made to Southwark Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) (or its equivalent in another LA if the child resides in a different LA) and/or the police immediately.
Although all staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to children’s social care and for statutory assessments that may follow a referral, along with the role they might be expected to play in such assessments, the DSL (and any deputies) are most likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate person to advise on the response to safeguarding concerns. The DSL or a deputy will always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns. If in exceptional circumstances, the DSL (or deputy) is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken. Staff should consider speaking to a member of the senior leadership team and/or take advice from local children’s social care. In these circumstances, any action taken should be shared with the DSL (or deputy) as soon as is practically possible.
THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNING BODY
The Governing Body will ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation and that the policies, procedures and training in the school are effective and comply with the law at all times. Governors are expected to receive appropriate training on safeguarding at induction that is updated regularly. In addition, they should receive information (for example, via emails, e-bulletins and newsletters) on safeguarding and child protection at least annually so that they can demonstrate knowledge of their responsibilities relating to the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.
The Governing Body will ensure that the school contributes to inter-agency working in line with statutory guidance “Working Together to Safeguard Children” and that the school’s safeguarding arrangements take into account the procedures and practice of the local authority as part of the inter-agency safeguarding procedures set up by the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB).
The Governing Body has formally adopted this policy and will review its contents annually or sooner if any legislative or regulatory changes are notified to it by the designated governor or the headteacher.
The Governing Body has nominated Mrs Jane Edwards as a lead to take leadership responsibility for the school’s safeguarding arrangements.
Concerns about and allegations of abuse made against the headteacher will be referred to the chair of governors who will liaise with the LA’s designated officer (LADO) and partner agencies and will attend any strategy meetings called in respect of such an allegation against the headteacher.
As a good practice, the headteacher will provide termly report to the Governing Body outlining details of any safeguarding issues that have arisen during the term and the outcome of any cases identified. These reports will respect all issues of confidentiality and will not therefore identify any person(s) by name.
Also as a good practice, the nominated governor will meet on a regular basis with the DSL to monitor the school’s safeguarding arrangements and both the volume and progress of cases where a concern has been raised to ensure that the school is meeting its duties in respect of safeguarding.
Types of child abuse and neglect
Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.
Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve 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.
Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect: 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 or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the school or college and/or can occur between children outside the school or college. All staff, but especially the DSL and DDSLs will be considering the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. This is known as Contextual Safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare.
In addition to these types of abuse and neglect, members of staff will also be alert to following specific safeguarding issues:
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
CSE is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online. Some indicators of children being sexually exploited are: going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late; regularly missing school or education or not taking part in education; appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions; associating with other young people involved in exploitation; having older boyfriends or girlfriends; suffering from sexually transmitted infections; mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing; drug and alcohol misuse and displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour. A child under the age of 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sex (it is statutory rape) or any other type of sexual touching. Sexual activity with a child under 16 is also an offence. It is an offence for a person to have a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year old if that person holds a position of trust or authority in relation to the young person. Non consensual sex is rape whatever the age of the victim. If the victim is incapacitated through drink or drugs, or the victim or his or her family has been subject to violence or the threat of it, they can not be considered to have given true consent and therefore offences may have been committed. Child sexual exploitation is therefore potentially a child protection issue for all children under the age of 18.
Peer on peer abuse
Children are capable of abusing their peers. This can take different forms, such as physical abuse (such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; violence, particularly pre-planned, forcing other children to use drugs or alcohol, initiation/hazing type violence and rituals), emotional abuse (blackmail or extortion, threats and intimidation) sexual violence and sexual harassment; sexting, sexual abuse (indecent exposure, indecent touching or serious sexual assaults, forcing other children to watch pornography or take part in sexting) and sexual exploitation (encouraging other children to engage in inappropriate sexual behaviour, having an older boyfriend/girlfriend, associating with unknown adults or other sexually exploited children, staying out overnight, photographing or videoing other children performing indecent acts). Although it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys perpetrators, all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously. We do not tolerate these or pass them off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”.
The school has a strong commitment to an anti-bullying policy and will consider all coercive acts and peer on peer abuse within a Child Protection context. We recognise that some pupils will sometimes negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of other pupils and their behaviour will be dealt with under the school’s behaviour policy. As a school, we will minimise the risk of allegations against other pupils by providing a developmentally appropriate PSHE syllabus which develops pupils’ understanding of acceptable behaviour and keeping themselves safe, having systems in place for any pupil to raise concerns with staff, knowing that they will be listened to, believed and valued, delivering targeted work on assertiveness and keeping safe to those pupils identified as being at risk, developing robust risk assessments and providing targeted work for pupils identified as being a potential risk to other pupils. Any possible peer on peer abuse case will be shared with the DSL with a view to referring to appropriate agencies following the referral procedures.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. It can occur online and offline (both physically and verbally). It is more likely that girls will be the victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment and more likely it will be perpetrated by boys. Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will find the experience stressful and distressing. This will affect their educational attainment. Staff will share any concerns about or knowledge of such incidents immediately with the DSL with a view to ensuring that support systems are in place for victims (and alleged perpetrators). We take these incidents seriously and ensure that victims are protected, offered appropriate support and every effort is made to ensure their education is not disrupted. Where necessary, we will work with relevant external agencies to address the issue, which may include a referral to MASH and reporting to the Police. Further information is available in ‘Part 5: Child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment’ of DfE guidance “Keeping children safe in education”.
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV)
HBV includes incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. All forms of HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and will be handled and escalated as such. If members of staff have a concern about or knowledge of a child that might be at risk of HBV or who has suffered from HBV, they will share it immediately with the DSL with a view to referring to appropriate agencies.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a procedure where the female genital organs are injured or changed and there is no medical reason for this. It is frequently a very traumatic and violent act for the victim and can cause harm in many ways. The practice can cause severe pain and there may be immediate and/or long-term health consequences, including mental health problems, difficulties in childbirth, causing danger to the child and mother; and/or death.
FGM is a deeply embedded social norm, practised by families for a variety of complex reasons. It is often thought to be essential for a girl to become a proper woman, and to be marriageable. The practice is not required by any religion.
FGM is an unacceptable practice for which there is no justification. It is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls.
FGM is prevalent in 30 countries and is a deeply rooted practice, widely carried out mainly among specific ethnic populations in Africa and parts of the Middle East and Asia. While FGM is concentrated in countries around the Atlantic coast to the Horn of Africa, in areas of the Middle East like Iraq and Yemen, it has also been documented in communities in Colombia, Iran, Israel, Oman, The United Arab Emirates, The Occupied Palestinian Territories, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It has also been identified in parts of Europe, North America and Australia.
FGM is illegal in the UK. It is estimated that approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM and approximately 103,000 women aged 15-49 and approximately 24,000 women aged 50 and over who have migrated to England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM. In addition, approximately 10,000 girls aged under 15 who have migrated to England and Wales are likely to have undergone FGM.
We note a new duty that was introduced on 31 October 2015 that requires teachers, which includes qualified teachers or persons who are employed or engaged to carry out teaching work in schools and other institutions to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in girls aged under 18 to the police. The duty applies to any teacher who is employed or engaged to carry out ‘teaching work’, whether or not they have qualified teacher status, in maintained schools, academies, free schools, independent schools, non-maintained special schools, sixth form colleges, 16-19 academies, relevant youth accommodation or children’s homes in England. The duty does not apply in relation to suspected cases – it is limited to ‘known’ cases’ (i.e. those which are visually identified or disclosed to a professional by the victim). The duty does not apply in cases where the woman is over 18 at the time of the disclosure/discovery of FGM (even if she was under 18 when the FGM was carried out). Further information on this duty can be found in the document “Mandatory Reporting of Female Genital Mutilation – procedural information”.