Child Protection Policy
ST PETER’S RC PRIMARY SCHOOL
SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
At St Peter’s Roman Catholic Primary School,
we believe that:
Together as a faithful community,
we will live, love and learn
so that we are a reflection of Jesus,
inspiring others to walk with us.
Whole School Policy on Child Protection
St Peter’s RC Primary School
Named staff/personnel with specific responsibility for Child Protection
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Gillian McKeogh (Deputy safeguarding person)
Training for Designated Staff in school
Name of Staff Member / Governor
Date when last attended Safeguarding Training
20th October 2015
Provided by Whom (RBSCB, Governor Support Services, Fair Access Team)
20th October 2015
RBSCB, Working together to safeguard children
Miss Gillian McKeogh
31st May 2015
RBSCB, Working together to safeguard children
February 2014 – Safer Recruitment
Whole School Staff Safeguarding and Training
Training delivered by
Teaching and Support Staff
21st October 2013
A Basic Introduction to Safeguarding
Annual Review Date for this Policy
Keeping Children safe in education
Mrs Kelleher Headteacher
St. Peter’s R.C Primary School Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
At St Peter’s R.C Primary School, we believe that:
Together, as a faithful community, we will live, love and learn so that we are a reflection of Jesus, inspiring others to walk with us.
PURPOSE OF A CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
An effective whole school Child Protection policy is one which provides clear direction to staff and others about expected codes of behavior in dealing with Child Protection issues. An effective policy also makes explicit the school’s commitment to the development of good practice and sound procedures. This ensures that Child Protection concerns and referrals may be handled sensitively, professionally and in ways which prioritise the needs of the child.
St. Peter’s believes that the protection of children should be an integral part of the ethos of the school, and that this should be a ‘listening’ school which seeks to create an atmosphere in which children feel secure, that their viewpoints are valued, and that they are encouraged to talk and are listened to. Our commitment to the protection of children flows from our common belief in the dignity and sanctity of every human life.
Each child, regardless of age, gender, race, culture or disability, has a right to expect the highest level of care and protection, love and encouragement that we can give in order that s/he might grow towards maturity and fulfill their potential in a supportive and nurturing community where they are safe from harm.
In our school, we respect our children. The atmosphere within our school is one that encourages all children to do their best. We provide opportunities that enable our children to take and make decisions for themselves.
We recognise that abuse and neglect can result in underachievement. We strive to ensure that all our children make good educational progress.
Our teaching of personal, social and health education and citizenship, as part of the National Curriculum, helps to develop appropriate attitudes in our children, and makes them aware of the impact of their decisions on others. We also teach them how to recognise different risks in different situations, and how to behave in response to them.
In this statement, and policy, ‘staff’ includes both teachers and any other person employed to work in the school that has contact with our children.
Our school fully recognises the contribution it can make to protect children and support pupils in school.
There are three main elements to our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.
St Peter’s provides
- An open and welcoming atmosphere where children are nurtured and valued.
- Strong working relationships amongst and between staff and pupiils
- Pastoral support provided through teaching and support staff as well as bought in services from CARITAS
- Up to date training and awareness raising for all staff
- Children’s Needs and Response Framework used by all staff to identify vulnerable children in their charge
- Clear guidelines and procedures made known to staff through induction and staff handbook
- Safeguarding and Child Protection procedures are agreed and followed by staff
- All staff have received appropriate training
- Lead DSGs on staff attend regular and relevant training
- Systems for recording and reporting are regularly revised and improved
- Safeguarding records are kept up to date and securely stored
- Staff know and understand the importance of sharing information and correctly recording incidents
- Support for individuals who have suffered abuse is sought from CARITAS worker and Children’s Social Care
- Pupils and staff who are in need of support will be signposted to additional services for support
- SULP groups will also be provided by staff in school if required as an intervention
We affirm that part of our responsibility in safeguarding children is to ensure all members of staff are aware of their duty as stated in the Counter terrorism and security Act 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent all people from being drawn into radicalization or terrorism. Please see our PREVENT DUTY Policy
Aims and objectives
Our aims are:
- to provide a safe environment for children to learn in;
- to establish what actions the school can take to ensure that children remain safe, at home as well as at school;
- to raise the awareness of all staff to these issues, and to define their roles and responsibilities in reporting possible cases of abuse;
- to identify children who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm;
- to ensure effective communication between all staff on child protection issues;
- to set down the correct procedures for those who encounter any issue of child protection.
This policy applies to all staff, volunteers and governors in service within St Peter’s RC Primary School.
We recognise that high self esteem, confidence, peer support and clear lines of communication with trusted adults helps all children, and especially those at risk of suffering harm.
Our school will therefore:
- Establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure and are encouraged to talk, and are listened to. This will be achieved through the RE and PSHE curriculum, which explore self-worth, our place in the world, feeling safe and our image in the likeness of God. Positive working relationships are encouraged through our mission statement and desire to nurture, educate, support and encourage the children in their safe growth and development.
- Ensure that children know that there are adults in the school who they can approach if they are worried or are in difficulty.
- Include in the curriculum activities and opportunities for PSHE which equip children with the skills they need to staff safe and or communicate their fears or concerns about abuse. The PSHE policy and planning documents provide more specific information. Outside agencies are invited in to support the school’s work in making children aware of dangers and their own safety.
- Anti-bullying week, pupil chaplains, playground pals, paired children (YR-Y6) compliment the curriculum and are used to enable children to build relationships and to make them aware of issues that they need to report or make known to a responsible adult. Procedures and processes are shared with children regularly about what to do if they experience or witness bullying or abuse.
- Include in the curriculum material which will help children develop realistic attitudes to the responsibilities of adult life, particularly with regard to childcare and parenting skills ( In the Beginning Programme, RE and PSHE curriculum)
- Ensure that every effort will be made to establish effective working relationships with parents and colleagues from other agencies.
“Education staff have a crucial role to play in helping identify welfare concerns, and indicators of possible abuse or neglect, at an early stage: referring these concerns to the appropriate organisation, contributing to the assessment of a child’s needs using the Children’s Needs and Response Framework and, in particular, using and embedding the Common Assessment Framework as an early intervention assessment tool where the Child Protection threshold is not met. They will also be well placed to give a view on the impact of treatment or intervention on the child’s care or behaviour.”
Safeguarding is the responsibility of all adults and especially those working with children. The development of appropriate procedures and the monitoring of good practice are the responsibilities of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSCB)
Head teacher representatives and Sandra Bowness, Assistant Director, Early Help and Schools represent schools and education on Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSCB)
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
All adults working with or on behalf of children have a responsibility to safeguard children. There are, however, key people within schools and the Local Authority who have specific responsibilities under Child Protection procedures. The names of those carrying these responsibilities in school for the current year are listed on the cover sheet of this document.
It is the responsibility of the headteacher to ensure all of the following:
- that the governing body adopts appropriate policies and procedures to safeguard children in the school;
- that these policies are implemented by all staff;
- that sufficient resources and time are allocated for staff to carry out their responsibilities effectively;
- that all staff and adult helpers in the school are able to voice their concern if they feel that a child is vulnerable, or that there are any particular practices that are unsafe.
All staff have a responsibility to report to the head teacher or in her absence the other designated teacher (Miss McKeogh) any concern they have about the safety of any child in their care.
The role of the Headteacher
The Headteacher of the school will seek to fully support the role and responsibilities of the other designated teacher for child protection through ensuring that:
- interagency procedures are known and followed:
- time is available for both the designated teacher and staff to be trained:
- time and the necessary resources are available for the designated teacher to carry out their role and responsibilities; and
The Role and Responsibilities of the Head teacher and Designated Teacher
The Designated Safeguarding Lead for St. Peter’s is Pamela Kelleher (Acting Head teacher) and she will always be the first point of reference for any issue to do with child protection in the school. In the absence of Mrs. Kelleher, the other named designated safeguarding person, Gillian McKeogh should be referred to. In their absence, staff understand that an accurate record of the incident/disclosure should be made. It is the responsibility of the designated person to deal with concern in the most appropriate manner, which may involve a referral to an appropriate agency, involvement of parents/carers, undertaking a further investigation or seeking help and support from LADO.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead is guided by two principles:
- In accordance with the Children Act, the welfare of the child is always paramount.
- Confidentiality should be respected as far as possible
We do not expect our designated teacher to be an ‘expert’ in recognising and dealing with suspected child abuse. We also firmly support the view that it is for the police and social services to carry out any necessary investigations, not the school, after the matter has been referred to them.
At St. Peter’s the designated teacher will seek to:
- to be fully conversant with the procedures of the Area Child Protection Committee (ACPC)
- co-ordinate action in cases of child abuse both within school and with outside agencies
- act as a consultant for school staff and outside agencies about particular children
- ensure that appropriate staff within the school know sufficient about the child at risk to cope with them within school and protect them
- ensure that all staff coming into contact with a child who is or may be suffering abuse know what signs to look for and what to do
- keep information regarding children on the Child Protection Register, informing staff appropriately
- pass on information when children change schools
- arrange ongoing whole school awareness raising and staff development (including support staff), with regard to child protection
- to ensure that the school takes action to support any child who may be at risk
The Role and Responsibilities of every member of staff will be to:
- know who the Designated Safeguarding Lead/s are
- know and follow the in-school procedure
- attend any in-school meetings when appropriate
- monitor any vulnerable child who is in their care, and implement any child protection plan for any child who is on the ‘at risk’ register
- ensure that they do not treat any child they know to have been abused any differently from any other pupils
- have a general awareness of the possible indicators of abuse
- Keep confidential any sensitive information which has been shared with them.
The Governing Body
It is the responsibility of the Governing Body to ensure that the Head teacher and SLT are carrying out their statutory duties with regard to safeguarding and child protection.
The Governing body is accountable for ensuring that the education setting has
effective policies and procedures in place in accordance with this guidance, and for
monitoring the school’s compliance with them. Neither the governing body, nor
individual governors, have a role in dealing with individual cases or a right to know
details of cases (except when exercising their disciplinary functions in respect of
allegations against a member of staff). Some governing bodies have found it helpful for
an individual member of the governing body to champion child protection issues within
the school, liaise with the head teacher about them, and provide information and reports
to the governing body. However, it is not appropriate for that person to take the lead in
dealing with allegations of abuse made against the head teacher. That is the role of the
chair of governors or, in the absence of a chair, the vice or deputy chair. Whether the
governing body acts collectively or an individual member takes the lead, it is helpful if all
members of the governing body undertake training about child protection to ensure they
have the knowledge and information needed to perform their functions and understand
The Local Authority
Within the Local Authority the following personnel are available to offer support and advice to schools.
Education Safeguarding Officer - 01706 925384
Education Welfare Service - Tel: 01706 925115
Multi Agency Screening Service - Tel: 0300 303 0440
Out of Hours, Emergency Duty Social Work Team - Tel: 0300 303 8875
Local Authority Designated Officer (Allegations of Professional Abuse) -
Tel: 01706 925365
Safeguarding Unit – 0300 303 0350
Police Protection and Investigation Unit (PPIU) - Tel: 0161 856 9442
Where it is believed that a child is suffering from, or is at risk of significant harm, we will follow the Rochdale Borough Multi Agency Safeguarding Children procedures located at www.rbsch.org.
How will staff be kept informed about updates to the Child Protection Procedures?
Regular updates about child protection procedures or processes are passed on by RBSCB and Rochdale LA through Safeguarding Leads network meetings and LA Heads meetings. Such meetings are attended by the HT or other school representative and information passed on to all staff. Health and Safety of Safeguarding concerns are a regular feature for school meetings and provide a forum for discussing updates and raising awareness of related issues.
How will your school ensure other adults in school know what to do if there are Child Protection concerns?
Staff new to the school are provided with a copy of the staff handbook which details the procedures to follow in the event of a disclosure or an adult becoming aware of child protection issues. The staff notice board has details of the Children’s Needs and Response Framework as well as key contacts within school and the LA of people with specific child protection responsibilities.
How will you inform parents of the school’s duties and responsibilities under the Child Protection procedures?
School policies are posted on the school website, including the most recently reviewed Safeguarding Policy and ESafety Policy.
TRAINING AND SUPPORT
Our school will ensure that the Head Teacher, the Designated Safeguarding Lead and the nominated governor for Child Protection attend training relevant to their role at regular intervals. The Designated Child Protection Lead will also attend Multi Agency Child Protection training within this timescale.
Who will receive basic training on Child Protection and who will deliver this?
All staff will receive basic training on Child Protection every two years. This will be provided by RBSCB.
How will staff be kept informed on current Child Protection issues?
Regular staff updates take place as part of the standard staff meeting or SLT agenda, as and when appropriate.
The Designated Child Protection Lead will keep staff informed of any current Child Protection issues. Internal support within school is available from the Designated Child Protection Lead/s and the Local Authority support listed above.
All adults in the school receive regular training to raise their awareness of abuse, and to improve their knowledge of the child protection procedures that have been agreed locally. The maximum period of time before refresher training must take place is two years.
The school undertakes to ensure that the designated lead will be allowed to attend relevant training on behalf of all the staff in the school and will in turn be given whole staff training time to pass on that training to all staff.
What internal / external support networks are available to staff if there are concerns or queries?
Colleagues from the Attendance and Safeguarding Team and RBSCB are contactable for advice on child protection issues. Equally, Salford Diocese Safeguarding Officer is also available for advice and is certified to deliver safeguarding training to staff and governors.
Confidentiality is an issue which needs to be discussed and fully understood by all those working with children, particularly in the context of Child Protection.
How do you ensure that parents, governors and every adult working in/associated with the school understand the need for and basic principles regarding confidentiality?
As part of the induction process staff and governors and every adult working in association with the school understands the need for and basic principles for confidentiality in a school setting. Parents and volunteers are not permitted to work unsupervised with children and are accompanied by members of staff at all times.
When handling a disclosure or suspected child protection issue, staff understand that a child should be made aware of the need to pass information on to people in order to keep the child safe and free from harm.
What should they say to a child who asks the adult to keep a secret and how should the child be advised that the information may need to be shared with others?
I may have to pass information on to other people if in order to keep you safe and who may be able to help you.
Who needs to be given information relating to a child about whom there are concerns?
Senior members of staff must be informed immediately in the event of a
personal disclosure being made. In the event of a child’s safety being at risk, an immediate referral to Children’s Social Care must be made (refer to Child Protection Policy flowchart regarding course of action)
Who should not be given this information?
School is not legally obliged to inform parents of a personal disclosure. Advice should be sought from senior members of staff if staff are unsure of the correct course of action.
Who should be contacted?
In the event of a child’s safety being at risk, an immediate referral to Children’s Social Care must be made (refer to flowchart regarding course of action)
Professionals can only work together to safeguard children if there is an exchange of
relevant information between them. This has been recognised in principle by the courts. Any disclosure of personal information to others, (including Children’s Social Care staff and the police), must always have regard to both common and statute law.
Normally, personal information should only be disclosed to third parties (including other
agencies) with the consent of the subject of that information (Data Protection Act 1998,
European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8). Wherever possible, consent should
be obtained before sharing personal information with third parties. In some
circumstances, consent may not be possible or desirable but the safety and welfare of a
child dictate that the information should be shared. The law permits the disclosure of
confidential information necessary to safeguard a child or children. Disclosure should
be justifiable in each case, according to the particular facts of the case, and legal advice
should be sought if in doubt.
RECORDS AND MONITORING
Well kept records are essential to good Child Protection practice. Our school is clear about the need to record concerns held about a child or children within our school, the status of such records and when these records, or parts thereof, should be shared with other agencies.
What system do we have for recording concerns about a child?
Every child has a personal record. Children for whom a safeguarding concern has been raised have a separate file including a chronology of significant events and accompanying record.
When it becomes apparent there are Child Protection concerns, how and where are these recorded?
Information about child protection concerns are passed directly to one of the safeguarding officers in school. A record of the events are recorded in the respective CP files and referred on if necessary.
How secure are these records, are they kept separate from other school records?
CP files are kept in locked cabinets. Access to the files is to be sought through the DSGs.
What gate keeping procedures are in place to ensure that staff do not have open access to the information contained in Child Protection files?
Referrals are made directly to DSGs and relevant information recorded in files by DSGs.
At what point do teacher-held notes become part of a child’s school records?
All relevant information (as of February 15) is recorded in the CP files for each child where there has been a safeguarding concern shared. This is to avoid confusion and duplication.
How does your school monitor children about whom there are concerns?
Attendance, punctuality, presentation and relationships are monitored by key staff.
Who is notified that a child is being monitored?
The class teacher and support staff will be notified and their observations shared.
How are concerns collated and by whom?
All concerns and notable events and incidents are recorded on an agreed pro-forma. These are dated, personnel named and actions outlined.
At what point will the monitoring records indicate sufficient concern or warrant a referral?
If events occur in quick succession (more than once in a term) or if the school is given a cause to become concerned about the child’s safety, a referral is made immediately.
How are staff briefed as to the status of these records in respect of parental access?
Staff understand that access to such records is strictly prohibited and only permitted members of staff are to have access to such records.
What happens if a child leaves or transfers to another school?
If a child transfers or leaves the school records are sent securely to the receiving school and copies kept and subsequently archived. If a child leaves school and his/her whereabouts are unknown, Children Missing Education are contacted and informed in the first instance. Depending on the individual circumstances of the child, Children’s Social care will also be informed of the child’s move.
CHILD PROTECTION CONFERENCES
What is a child protection conference?
A child protection conference is a multi-agency meeting at which a child’s circumstances are discussed and decisions made regarding actions to safeguard the child including the possible removal of children from the family.
Who from school attends Child Protection conferences?
The Head teacher or in her absence the other designated child protection lead will attend child protection conferences and write the necessary reports prior to the conference. A report will be prepared outlining details of the schools involvement with the child and family, information concerning our knowledge of the child’s health, development and overall welfare, information concerning the capacity of parents/carers to safeguard the child and promote the child’s health and development, any family and environmental factors which might affect the child’s welfare or the capacity of the parents/carers to meet the child’s needs. Other agencies linked with the school may also attend. If the conference takes place during the school holidays arrangements will be made for a local authority representative to attend.
What training and support are available to staff who attend conferences?
Briefings delivered by RBSCB on case conferences and child protection conferences are attended by the school’s DSG in accordance with safeguarding and training guidelines.
How are staff trained to produce relevant, concise and professional reports for Child Protection conferences?
Guidance on writing relevant and concise reports is provided by the Safeguarding Team and can also be sought from the RBSCB website.
SUPPORTING PUPILS AT RISK
Our school recognises that children who are abused or who witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self worth and to view the world in a positive way. This school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. Whilst at school, their behavior may still be challenging and defiant and there may even be moves to consider suspension or exclusion from school.
It is recognised that some children who have experienced abuse may in turn abuse others. This requires a considered, sensitive approach in order that the child can receive appropriate help and support.
This school will endeavour to support pupils through:
- The curriculum, to encourage self-esteem and self-motivation
- The Catholic ethos, which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and which gives all pupils and adults a sense of being respected and valued and recognised as being made in the image and likeness of God
- The implementation of school behaviour management policies
- A consistent approach, which recognises and separates the cause of behaviour from that which the child displays. This is vital to ensure that all children are supported within the school setting
- Regular liaison with other professionals and agencies who support pupils and their families, in-line with appropriate confidentiality parameters.
- A commitment to develop productive, supportive relationships with parents, whenever possible and so long as it is in the child’s best interests to do so.
- The development and support of a responsive and knowledgeable staff group trained to respond appropriately in Child Protection situations.
This policy should be considered alongside other related policies in school. For example
- PREVENT duty policy
- Behaviour Management Policy
- Special Needs Policy
- Health and Safety
- Allegations of Abuse Against Staff
- E Safety
- Staff codes of conduct – Guidance for Safe Working Practice for the Protection of Children and Staff in Education Settings (updated September 2012 and due for review in January 2015 by the DFE)
- Supporting Pupils with Medical needs
We recognise that, statistically, children with behavioural difficulties and disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse. School staff who work, in any capacity, with children with profound and multiple disabilities, sensory impairment and/or emotional and behaviour problems will need to be particularly sensitive to signs of abuse.
It must also be stressed that in a home environment where there is domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, children may also be particularly vulnerable and in need of support or protection.
The school can provide a stable, secure environment for the child during the very stressful time of the investigation, the case conference and afterwards. In many cases the school will be the only area of the child’s life where the normal routine continues.
Teachers have the skills and the sensitivity to help children during this difficult period and afterwards, but there is a need to be cautious regarding possible case evidence when talking with the child.
SAFER SCHOOLS, SAFER STAFF
What organisational, personal or professional difficulties may get in the way of protecting children?
Lack of professional boundaries, personal friendships, parents working within the school setting, capability or competence issues.
What guidance is given to school staff about: physical contact with pupils, working in a one to one situation with a pupil, how are school staff advised about avoiding situations where allegations may be made against them?
All classes have allocated support staff assigned to them. It is understood by staff that an open door policy is operated in school at all times. For their own protection, children taught in small groups or in 1:1 situations are done so in open places around the school and other staff are close by. Children will be comforted by staff if they are upset or distressed. Physical contact must never be used as a reprimand.
What information is made available to school staff about “counseling” and/or giving advice to children/young people about sexual matters?
In a primary school, advice would not generally be given regarding sexual matters. The SRE Curriculum is supported by “In the Beginning,” which teaches the children about their own self-worth and building loving relationships.
Go to: www.rbscb.org “Working with Sexually Active Young People under the Age of 18.
What are the implications of this policy in terms of working with all parents in school?
Child Protection and Safeguarding Policies are posted on the school website and paper copies are available for parents on request.
What opportunities are there to share perspectives and experiences with practitioners form other agencies?
- Regular attendance at Safeguarding Network meetings by HT ensure feedback is cascaded to all staff where relevant. CAF training and briefings are attended by key staff and information shared with staff.
What steps are taken by the school to recruit and select staff safely?
St Peter’s adheres to the LA Safer recruitment processes.
How are staff made aware of the current procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff?
Staff are alerted to key policies and consulted on any key changes where relevant and necessary.
What steps has the school taken to reduce the possibility of abuse by school staff and anyone working within the school setting?
Safer recruitment procedures, staff safety measures and staff code of conduct are shared openly with all staff. A clear and transparent reporting process is in place for pupils, parents and staff.
The school will seek advice from the LA on these matters, and comply with national and locally agreed guidance – www.rbscb.org for Allegations Management Procedures.
Reasons for Following Procedures
- It protects the child to the best of our ability
- It avoids delay
- It provides consistency
- It protects all staff
- It ensures that, if further action is taken by another agency, then the school has followed the protection procedures
SCHOOL CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES
- What Should Staff/Volunteers Do If They Have Concerns About A Child or Young Person in School?
Education professionals who are concerned about a child’s welfare or who believe that a child is or may be at risk of abuse should pass any information to the Designated Child Protection Person in school; this should always occur as soon as possible and certainly within 24 hours.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead is: Pamela Kelleher
The Deputy Safeguarding Lead is: Gillian McKeogh
It is these senior colleagues who are responsible for taking action where the welfare or safety of children or young people is concerned. If staff are uncertain about whether their concerns are indeed ‘Child Protection’ then a discussion with their DSL/line manager will assist in determining the most appropriate next course of action:
Staff should never:
- Do nothing/assume that another agency or professional will act or is acting.
- Attempt to resolve the matter themselves.
What should the DSL consider right at the outset?
- Am I dealing with ‘risk’ or ‘need’? (By definition, a child at risk is also a child in need. However, what is the priority / level and immediacy of risk / need and consider the Children’s Needs and Response Framework
- Can the level of need identified be met:
- In or by the school or by accessing universal services/without referral to the MASS or other targeted services?
- By working with the child, parents and colleagues?
- By completion of a CAF with parents/carers/child & other professionals including CARITAS
- What resources are available to me / the school and what are their limitations?
- Is the level of need such that a referral needs to be made to the Multi Agency Screening Service requesting that an assessment of need be undertaken? (Section 17 Child in Need referral)
- Is the level and/or likelihood of risk such that a Child Protection referral needs to be made (i.e. a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm? (Section 47 Child Protection referral)
- What information is available to me: Child, Parents, Family & Environment?
- What information is inaccessible and, potentially, how significant might this be?
- Who do I/don’t I need to speak to now and what do they need to know?
- Where can I access appropriate advice and/or support?
- If I am not going to refer, then what action am I going to take? (e.g. time‑limited monitoring plan, discussion with parents or other professionals, recording, etc)
- Feedback to Staff Who Report Concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will decide which information needs to be shared, when and with whom. The primary purpose of confidentiality in this context is to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.
- Thresholds for Referral to the Multi Agency Screening Service (MASS)
Where a Designated Safeguarding Lead or line manager considers that a referral to the MASS may be required, there are two thresholds for (and their criteria) and types of referral that need to be carefully considered:
- Is this a Child In Need?
Under section 17 (s.17(10)) of the Children Act 1989, a child is in need if:
- S/he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity to achieve or maintain, a reasonable standard of health or development, without the provision of services by a local authority;
- His/her health or development is likely to be impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of such services;
- S/he has a disability
- Is this a Child Protection Matter?
Under section 47(1) of the Children Act 1989, a local authority has a duty to make enquiries where they are informed that a child who lives or is found in their area:
- is the subject of an Emergency Protection Order;
- is in Police Protection; or where they have
- there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
Therefore, it is the ‘significant harm’ threshold that justifies statutory intervention into family life. A professional making a Child Protection referral under s.47 must therefore provide information which clearly outlines that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will make judgements around ‘significant harm’, levels of need and when to refer. (Children’s Needs and Response Framework)
- Making Referrals to the MASS (Guidance for the Designated
(i) Child In Need/Section 17 Referrals
The DSL should look with other services as part of the Early Help Strategy to complete a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and copy this to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- This is a request for assessment/support/services and, as such, you must obtain the consent of the parent(s) (and child/young person where appropriate), this should be identified on the CAF
- Where a parent/child/young person refuses to consent, you should make clear your ongoing plans and responsibilities in respect of support, monitoring etc, and the possibility of a Child Protection referral at some point in future if things deteriorate or do not improve. (This is not about threats or saying that this is inevitable but about openness and transparency in dealings with parents).
(ii) Child Protection
Use the multi-agency referral form for referrals to the Multi Agency Screening Service where it is considered that a child may be at risk of or suffering significant harm. If a CAF is in place then this information can form part of the CP referral but the school must complete the front sheet of the multi-agency referral form.
- You do not require the consent of a parent or child/young person to make a Child Protection referral
- A parent should, under most circumstances, be informed by the referrer that a Child Protection referral is to be made. The criteria for not informing parents are:
- Because this would increase the risk of significant harm to a child(ren), to another member in the family home or to a professional; or
- Because, in the referrer’s professional opinion, to do so might impede an investigation that may need to be undertaken;
- Because there would be an undue delay caused by seeking consent which would not serve the child’s best interests.
See the Rochdale Borough Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children
procedures on the RBSCB website for the occasions when
parents/carers should not be informed.
Fear of jeopardising a hard won relationship with parents because of a need to refer is not sufficient justification for not telling them that you need to refer. To the contrary, this lack of openness will do little to foster ongoing trust, particularly as the source of referrals will be disclosed to parents except in a limited number of circumstances. If you feel that your own or another adult’s immediate safety would be placed at risk by informing parents then you should seek advice and/or make this clear on the referral or in any telephone contact with the Multi Agency Screening Service.
- The MASS Responses to Referrals and Timescales
In response to a referral, the MASS may decide to:
- Provide advice to the referrer and/or child/family;
- Refer on to another agency who can provide services;
- Undertake an Assessment;
- Convene a Strategy Meeting for referrals under Section 47 of the Children Act;
- Provide support services under Section 17;
- Convene an Initial Child Protection Conference;
- Accommodate the child under Section 20 (with parental consent);
- Make an application to court for an Order;
- Suggest to referring agency that a CAF be completed.
- Feedback from the MASS
The MASS has 24 hours within which to make a decision about a course of action in response to a referral. If you do not receive any (same day) verbal feedback following an urgent Child Protection referral, and where this places school / a child(ren) in a vulnerable position, you should ask to speak to the relevant Team Manager at MASS (0300 303 0440) or the Education Safeguarding Officer (01706 925384)
- Risk Assessment ‘Checklist’
- Does/could the suspected harm meet the Rochdale Borough Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children definitions of abuse?
- Are there cultural, linguistic or disability issues?
- I am wrongly attributing something to impairment?
- Does the chronology indicate any possible patterns which could/do impact upon the level of risk?
- Are any injuries or incidents acute, cumulative, episodic?
- Did any injuries result from spontaneous action, neglect, or intent?
- Explanations consistent with injuries/behaviour?
- Severity and duration of any harm?
- Effects upon the child’s health/development?
- Immediate/longer term effects?
- Likelihood of recurrence?
- Child’s reaction?
- Child’s perception of the harm?
- Child’s needs, wishes and feelings?
- Parents’/carers’ attitudes/response to concerns?
- How willing are they to co-operate?
- What does the child mean to the family?
- What role does the child play?
- Possible effects of intervention?
- Protective factors and strengths of/for child (i.e. resilience/vulnerability)
- Familial strengths and weaknesses?
- When and how is the child at risk?
- How imminent is any likely risk?
- How grave are the possible consequences?
- How safe is this child?
- What are the risk assessment options?
- What are the risk management options?
- What is the interim plan?
Signs and Symptoms
This is intended as a guide. Please remember that the presence of one or more factors does not necessarily give proof that child abuse has occurred. It may, however, indicate that investigation should take place.
- Unexplained delay in seeking treatment which is needed
- Incompatible explanations
- Constant minor injuries
- Unexplained bruising:
- – Bruise marks in or around the mouth
- – Black eyes, especially if both eyes are black and there are no marks to
- forehead or nose
- – Grasp marks
- – Finger marks
- – Bruising of the ears
- – Linear bruising (particularly buttocks or back)
- – Differing age bruising
- Bite marks
- Burns and scalds
- Cigarette burns
- General physical disability
- Unresponsiveness in the child
- Soiling and wetting
- Change in behavioural patterns
- ‘Frozen’ look
- Attention seeking
- Antisocial behaviour
- Unkempt appearance
- Sexually precocious behaviour
- Sexualised drawings and play
- Sudden poor performance in school
Definitions of Child Abuse
For the purpose of this policy and our school procedures a child is defined as any person aged under 18 years, including an unborn child.
Abuse and Neglect
Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by knowingly not preventing harm. Children may be abused in a family, an institutional setting, or, more rarely, by a stranger.
Significant harm (Children Act 1989). Harm means ill-treatment or health development, where:
- Health means physical or mental health;
- Development means physical, intellectual, emotional, social, or behavioural development;
- Ill treatment includes sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment which are not physical such as seeing the ill treatment of another.
There is no absolute criterion for defining significant harm. It may be one single incident or a combination of both acute and long standing circumstances that interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical or emotional development. The question whether harm suffered by a child is “significant” turns on the child’s health development. His/her heath development shall be compared with that which could reasonably be expected of a similar child.
Physical abuse 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/carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness to a child.