Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

  1. Child Protection Ethos

 

We in Killowen Primary School have a responsibility for the Pastoral Care, general welfare and safety of the children in our care and we will carry out this duty by providing a caring, supportive and safe environment, where each child is valued for his or her unique talents and abilities, and in which all our young people can learn and develop to their full potential. All staff, teaching and non-teaching should be alert to the signs of possible abuse and should know the procedures to be followed. This Policy sets out guidance on the action, which is required where abuse or neglect of a child is suspected and outlines referral procedures within our school.

 

2. Principles

 

The general principles, which underpin our work, are those set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and are enshrined in the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) guidance ‘Safeguarding & Child Protection in Schools 2017’, the Department of Health’s ‘Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016’ and the Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures (2005).

 

The following principles form the basis of our Child Protection Policy:-

  • It is a child’s right to feel safe at all times, to be heard, listened to and taken seriously.
  • We have a pastoral responsibility towards the children in our care and should take all reasonable steps to ensure their welfare is safeguarded and their safety is preserved.
  • In any incident the child’s welfare must be paramount and this overrides all other considerations.
  • A proper balance must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights and needs of parents and families; but where there is conflict the child’s welfare must always come first.

 

  1. Other Relevant Policies

 

The school has a duty to ensure that safeguarding permeates all activities and functions.  This policy therefore complements and supports a range of other school policies including:

  • Behaviour Policy
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Use of Reasonable Force/Safe Handling
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Educational Visits
  • First Aid and the Administration of Medicines
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Relationships and Sexuality Education
  • E Safety
  • Personal & Intimate Care

These policies are available to parents and any parent requiring a copy should contact the School Principal or visit the school website 

4. School Safeguarding Team

 

The following are members of the schools Safeguarding Team

 

  • Designated Teacher (Mr Ashley Mulligan)
  • Deputy Designated Teacher (Mrs Fiona Douglas; Mrs Kathryn Brown; Miss Carol Bittle)
  • Principal (Mrs Fiona Douglas)
  • Designated Governor for Child Protection (Mr Mark Glover)
  • Chair of the Board of Governors (Rev. Ken Gamble)

 

  1. Roles and Responsibilities

 

5.1 The Designated Teacher and Deputy Designated Teacher

 

The designated teacher and deputy designated teacher must:

 

  • Avail of training so that they are aware of duties, responsibilities and role
  • Organise training for all staff (whole school training)
  • Lead in the development of the school’s Child Protection Policy
  • Act as a point of contact for staff and parents in Child Protection matters
  • Assist in the drafting and issuing of the summary of our Child Protection arrangements for parents
  • Make referrals to Social Services Gateway team or PSNI Central Referral unit where appropriate
  • Liaise with the Education Authority’s {EA} Designated Officers for Child Protection as appropriate
  • Maintain and store securely records of all child protection concerns
  • Keep the School Principal informed
  • Provide written annual report to the Board of Governors regarding child protection

 

5.2 The Principal

 

The Principal must ensure that:-

  • DENI Pastoral Care in Schools; Department of Education (Northern Ireland) guidance ‘Safeguarding & Child Protection in Schools 2017’ is implemented within the school
  • She attends training on Managing Safeguarding and Child Protection
  • A designated teacher and deputy designated teacher are appointed
  • All staff receive child protection training
  • All necessary referrals are taken forward in the appropriate manner
  • The Chair of the Board of Governors is kept informed
  • Child protection activities feature on the agenda of the Board of Governors meetings and termly updates & annual report are provided
  • The school’s child protection policy is reviewed annually and that parents and pupils receive a copy/summary of this policy at least once every 2 years
  • Confidentiality is paramount. Information should only be passed to the entire Board of Governors on a need to know basis.

 

 

5.3 The Designated Governor for Child Protection

 

The Designated Governor should avail of child protection awareness training delivered by CPSSS and will take the lead in child protection issues in order to advise the Governors on:

 

  • The role of the Designated Teachers
  • The content of child protection policies
  • The content of a code of conduct for adults within the school
  • The content of the termly updates and full Annual Designated Teachers Report
  • Recruitment, selection and vetting of staff

 

5.4 The Chair of the Board of Governors

 

The Chair of the Board of Governors should:

  • Ensure that he/ she has received appropriate Education Authority training
  • Ensure that a safeguarding ethos is maintained within the school environment
  • Ensure that the school has a Child Protection Policy in place and that staff implement the policy
  • Ensure that Governors undertake appropriate child protection and recruitment & selection training provided by the Child Protection Support Service for Schools {CPSSS} and the Governor Support and Human Resource departments.
  • Ensure that a Designated Governor for Child Protection is appointed
  • Assume lead responsibility for managing any complaint/allegation against the School Principal
  • Ensure that the Board of Governors receive termly updates and a full written annual report in relation to child protection activity

 

5.5 Other Members of School Staff

 

Staff in school see children over long periods and can notice physical, behavioural and emotional indicators and hear allegations of abuse.

They should remember the 5 R s: Receive, Reassure, Respond, Record and Refer

 

The member of staff must:

 

  • refer concerns to the Designated/Deputy Teacher for Child Protection/Principal
  • listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief and support the child
  • act promptly
  • make a concise written record of a child’s disclosure using the actual words of the child (Appendix D: Child Protection Record Keeping Circular 2016/20)
  • Avail of whole school training and relevant other training regarding safeguarding children
  • Not give children a guarantee of total confidentiality regarding their disclosures
  • Not investigate
  • Not ask leading questions

 

In addition the Class Teacher should:

  • Keep the Designated Teacher informed about poor attendance and punctuality, poor presentation, changed or unusual behaviour including self-harm and suicidal thoughts, deterioration in educational progress, discussions with parents about concerns relating to their child, concerns about pupil abuse or serious bullying, concerns about home conditions including disclosures of domestic violence.

 

We will take seriously any concerns which are raised about a pupil in our school who has self-harmed and/or has expressed suicidal thoughts.

The Designated/Deputy Designated teacher will immediately follow the school’s child protection procedures.

 

 

5.6 Parents

 

Parents should play their part in safeguarding by:

  • telephoning the school on the morning of their child’s absence, or sending in a note on the child’s return to school, so as the school is reassured as to the child’s situation;
  • informing the school whenever anyone, other than themselves, intends to pick up the child after school;
  • letting the school know in advance if their child is going home to an address other than their own home;
  • familiarising themselves with the School’s Pastoral Care, Anti Bullying, Positive Behaviour, Internet and Child Protection Policies;
  • reporting to the office when they visit the school
  • raising concerns they have in relation to their child with the school.
  • Keeping school informed of any changes in the child’s circumstances including the issuing of relevant court orders

 

5.7 The Board of Governors

 

The Board of Governors must ensure that the school fulfils its responsibilities in keeping with current legislation and DE guidance including

 

  • having a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy which is reviewed annually
  • having a staff code of conduct for all adults working in the school
  • attendance at relevant training by governors and that up-to-date training records are maintained
  • the vetting of all staff and volunteers

 

6. What is Child Abuse?

 

6.1 Definition of Abuse

Child abuse occurs when a child is neglected, harmed or not provided with proper care.  Children may be abused in many settings, in a family, in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or more rarely, by a stranger.  There are different types of abuse and a child may suffer more than one of them.  The procedures outlined in this document are intended to safeguard children who are at risk of significant harm because of abuse or neglect by a parent, carer or other person with a duty of care towards a child.

 

The following definitions of child abuse are taken from ‘Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016’.

 

6.2 Types of Abuse

 

Physical Abuse is deliberately physically hurting a child. It might take a variety of different forms, including hitting, biting, pinching, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child.

 

Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse and it can have severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development. Emotional abuse may involve deliberately telling a child that they are worthless, or unloved and inadequate. It may include not giving a child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. Emotional abuse may involve bullying – including online bullying through social networks, online games or mobile phones – by a child’s peers.

 

Neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, supervision or shelter that is likely to result in the serious impairment of a child’s health or development. Children who are neglected often also suffer from other types of abuse.

 

Sexual Abuse occurs when others use and exploit children sexually for their own gratification or gain or the gratification of others. Sexual abuse 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 clothing. It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via e-technology). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. 

 

Exploitation is the intentional ill-treatment, manipulation or abuse of power and control over a child or young person; to take selfish or unfair advantage of a child or young person or situation, for personal gain. It may manifest itself in many forms such as child labour, slavery, servitude, engagement in criminal activity, begging, benefit or other financial fraud or child trafficking. It extends to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation can be sexual in nature.

 

6.3 Sexual Exploitation of Children and Young People

 

Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status.

Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation doesn't always involve physical contact and can happen online. A significant number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation go missing from home, care and education at some point.

 

6.4 Domestic Violence and Abuse

 

Domestic violence and abuse is:

‘Threatening, controlling, coercive behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, virtual, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on anyone (irrespective of age, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any form of disability) by a current or former intimate partner or family member.’

 

DHSSPS/DOJ “Stopping domestic and sexual violence and abuse in NI”, March 2016

 

 Symptoms which young people may display and which are indicators only include:

  • Nervousness
  • Low self-worth
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Nightmares / flashbacks
  • Physiological – stress / nerves
  • Stomach pain
  • Bed wetting
  • Immature / needy behaviour
  • Temper tantrums
  • Aggression
  • Internalising distress or withdrawal
  • Truancy
  • Alcohol and/or drugs use
  • Bullying

These symptoms can lead to a child/ young person being misdiagnosed as having an illness, learning difficulties, or being naughty or disruptive.

 

If it comes to the attention of school staff that domestic abuse is or may be a factor for a child/young person this must be passed to the Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher who has an obligation to share the information with Social Services

 

A child may suffer or be at risk of suffering from one or more types of abuse and abuse may take place on a single occasion or may occur repeatedly over time.

 

6.5 Signs and symptoms of abuse and possible indicators

 

Physical Abuse

 

Physical Indicators

Behavioural Indicators

Unexplained bruises – in various stages of healing – grip marks on arms;

slap marks; human bite marks; welts; bald spots; unexplained/untreated burns; especially cigarette burns (glove like); unexplained fractures; lacerations; or abrasions;

untreated injuries;

bruising on both sides of the ear – symmetrical bruising should be treated with suspicion; injuries occurring in a time pattern e.g. every Monday

Self-destructive tendencies;

aggressive to other children;

behavioural extremes (withdrawn or aggressive);

appears frightened or cowed in presence of adults;

improbable excuses to explain injuries; chronic runaway;

uncomfortable with physical contact;

come to school early or stays last as if afraid to be at home;

clothing inappropriate to weather – to hide part of body; violent themes in art work or stories

 

Emotional Abuse

 

Physical Indicators

Behavioural Indicators

Well below average in height and weight; “failing to thrive”;

poor hair and skin; alopecia;

swollen extremities i.e. icy cold and swollen hands and feet;

recurrent diarrhoea, wetting and soiling; sudden speech disorders;

signs of self-mutilation;

signs of solvent abuse (e.g. mouth sores, smell of glue, drowsiness);

extremes of physical, mental and emotional development (e.g. anorexia, vomiting, stooping).

Apathy and dejection;

inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations;

rocking/head banging;

inability to play;

indifference to separation from family

indiscriminate attachment;

reluctance for parental liaison;

fear of new situation;

chronic runaway;

attention seeking/needing behaviour;

poor peer relationships.

 Neglect

 

Physical Indicators

Behavioural Indicators

Looks very thin, poorly and sad;

constant hunger; lack of energy;

untreated medical problems;

special needs of child not being met;

constant tiredness; inappropriate dress;

poor hygiene;

repeatedly unwashed; smelly;

repeated accidents, especially burns.

Tired or listless (falls asleep in class);

steals food; compulsive eating;

begging from class friends;

withdrawn; lacks concentration;

misses school medicals;

reports that no carer is at home;

low self-esteem;

persistent non-attendance at school;

exposure to violence including unsuitable videos.

 

6.4 Signs and symptoms of abuse ~ Possible Indicators

 Sexual Abuse

 

Physical Indicators

Behavioural Indicators

Bruises, scratches, bite marks or other injuries to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs;

bruises or bleeding in genital or anal areas;

chronic ailments such as recurrent abdominal pains or headaches;

difficulty in walking or sitting;

frequent urinary infections;

avoidance of lessons especially PE, games, showers;

unexplained pregnancies where the identify of the father is vague; anorexia/gross over-eating.

What the child tells you

withdrawn; chronic depression;

excessive sexual precociousness; seductiveness;

children having knowledge beyond their usual frame of reference e.g. young child who can describe details of adult sexuality; parent/child role reversal;

over concerned for siblings;

poor self-esteem; self-devaluation;

lack of confidence; peer problems;

lack of involvement;

massive weight change;

suicide attempts (especially adolescents); hysterical/angry outbursts;

lack of emotional control;

sudden school difficulties e.g. deterioration in school work or behaviour;

inappropriate sex play;

repeated attempts to run away from home; unusual or bizarre sexual themes in children’s art work or stories;

vulnerability to sexual and emotional exploitation; promiscuity;

exposure to pornographic material.

 

 

The following are guidelines for use by staff should a child disclose concerns of a child protection nature.

 

Do:

Do not:

 

v  Listen to what the child says

v  Assure the child they are not at fault

v  Explain to the child that you cannot keep it a secret

v  Document exactly what the child says using his/her exact words

v  Remember not to promise the child confidentiality

v  Stay calm

v  Listen

v  Accept

v  Reassure

v  Explain what you are going to do

v  Keep the child informed as appropriate

v  Record accurately

v  Seek support for yourself

 

 

v  Ask leading questions.

v  Put words into the child’s mouth.

v  Ignore the child’s behaviour.

v  Remove any clothing.

v  Photograph alleged injuries

v  Panic

v  Promise to keep secrets

v  Ask leading questions

v  Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily

v  Delay

v  Start to investigate

Do Nothing

 

 

 

  1. Procedures for making complaints in relation to child abuse

 

7.1 How a Parent can make a Complaint

 

We aim to work closely with parents/guardians in supporting all aspects of their child’s development and well-being. Any concerns a parent may have will be taken seriously and dealt with in a professional manner. If a parent has a concern they can talk to the class teacher or any member of the school’s safeguarding team: the Principal, the Designated or Deputy Designated Teacher for child protection. If they are still concerned they may talk to the Chair of the Board of Governors. At any time a parent may talk to a social worker in the local Gateway team or to the PSNI Central Referral Unit. Details of who to contact are shown in the flowchart in Appendix 1.

7.2 Where the school has concerns or has been given information about possible abuse by someone other than a member of the school staff including volunteers

 

Where staff become aware of concerns or are approached by a child they should not investigate as this is the responsibility of Social Services and/or PSNI. Staff should report these concerns immediately to the Designated/Deputy Teacher and a note of concern should be completed. These notes of concern should be factual, objective and include what was seen, said, heard or reported. They should include details of the place and time and who was present and should be given to the Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher. The person who reports the incident must treat the matter in confidence.

 

The Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher will decide whether in the best interest of the child the matter needs to be referred to Social Services. If there are concerns that the child may be at risk, the school is obliged to make a referral. Unless there are concerns that a parent may be the possible abuser, the parent will be informed immediately.

 

The Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher may consult with members of the school’s safeguarding team, the Education Authority’s Designated Officer for Child Protection or Social Services Gateway Team before a referral is made. During consultation with the Education Authority’s Designated Officer the child’s details will be shared. No decision to refer a case to Social Services will be made without the fullest consideration and on appropriate advice. The safety of the child is our priority.

 

Where there are concerns about possible abuse and a referral needs to be made the Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher will telephone Social Services Gateway Team. He/she may also notify the EA’s Designated Officer for Child Protection. A UNOCINI (Understanding the Needs of Children in Northern Ireland) referral form will also be completed and forwarded to the Gateway team with a copy sent to the EA Designated Officer for Child Protection and a copy will be kept in the school’s child protection file.

 

If the Principal has concerns that a child may be at immediate risk from a volunteer, the services of the volunteer will be terminated immediately and appropriate steps taken to address the alleged inappropriate/harmful behaviours of the volunteer.

 

This procedure with names and contact numbers is shown in Appendix 2.

 

 

7.3 Where a complaint has been made about possible abuse by a member of the school’s staff

 

If a complaint about possible child abuse is made against a member of staff, the Principal {or Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher if the Principal is not available) must be informed immediately. The above procedures will apply (unless the complaint is about the Principal/Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher)

 

If a complaint is made against the Principal the Designated/Deputy Designated Teacher will inform the Chairperson of the Board of Governors who will ensure that necessary action is taken.

 

The member of staff may be removed from duties involving direct contact with pupils or may be suspended from duty as a precautionary measure pending investigation by the appropriate authorities. The Chair of the Board of Governors will be informed immediately.

All complaints of abuse against a member of staff will be appropriately recorded in the Record of Child Abuse Complaints Against Staff book which is held by the Principal.

Child protection procedures as outlined in Appendix 3 will be followed in keeping with current Department of Education guidance. Refer to Circular 2015/13 Dealing with allegations of abuse against a member of staff.

This procedure with names and contact numbers is shown in Appendix 3

 

  1. 8. Attendance at Child Protection Case Conferences and Core Group Meetings

 

The Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher or Principal may be invited to attend an initial and review Child Protection Case Conferences and/or core group meetings convened by the Health & Social Care Trust. They will provide a written report which will be compiled following consultation with relevant staff. Feedback will be given to staff under the ‘need to know ’principle on a case-by-case basis. Children whose names are on the Child Protection register will be monitored and supported in accordance with the child protection plan.

 

  1. Confidentiality and Information Sharing

 

Information given to members of staff about possible child abuse cannot be held “in confidence”. In the interests of the child, staff have a responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with other professionals particularly the investigative agencies. Where abuse is suspected schools have a legal duty to refer to the Statutory Agencies. In keeping with the principle of confidentiality, the sharing of information with school staff will be on a ‘need to know’ basis.

Should a child transfer to another school whilst there are current child protection concerns we will share these concerns with the Designated Teacher in the receiving school.

 

  1. Record Keeping

 

All child protection records, information and confidential notes are kept in separate files in a locked drawer. These records are kept separate from any other file that is held on the child or young person and are only accessible by Designated members of the safeguarding team.

 

  1. Vetting Procedures

 

All staff paid or unpaid who are appointed to positions in the School are vetted / supervised in accordance with relevant legislation and Departmental guidance.

 

  1. Code of Conduct for all Staff Paid or Unpaid

 

All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests of the young person as a primary consideration. Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust and that their behaviour towards the child and young people in their charge must be above reproach.

The school’s code of conduct is available on request. 

 

  1. Staff Training

 

Killowen Primary School is committed to in-service training for its entire staff.  Each member of staff will receive general training on Policy and procedures with some members of staff receiving more specialist training in line with their roles and responsibilities. All staff will receive basic child protection awareness training and annual refresher training. The Principal/Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher, Chair of the Board of Governors and Designated Governor for Child Protection will also attend relevant child protection training courses provided by the Child Protection Support Service for Schools.

When new staff or volunteers start at the school they are briefed on the school’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct and given copies of these policies.

 

  1. The Preventative Curriculum

 

Throughout the school year child protection and safeguarding issues are addressed through class assemblies and there is a permanent child protection notice board in the main corridor and relevant information in each resource area, which provides advice and displays child helpline numbers.  A flow diagram of how a parent may make a complaint is also on display.  An enlarged flow diagram on the procedure to follow if an allegation is made against a member of staff is on the safeguarding information noticeboard and school website.

 

Other initiatives which address child protection and safety issues will happen at various times of the year as part of the curriculum.

 

  1. Monitoring and Evaluation

 

The Safeguarding Team in Killowen Primary School will update this Policy and Procedures in the light of any further guidance and legislation as necessary and review it annually.

The Board of Governors will also monitor child protection activity and the implementation of the Safeguarding and Child Protection policy on a regular basis through the provision of reports from the Designated Teacher.  

 

On-going evaluation will ensure the effectiveness of the Policy.

 

Date Policy Reviewed: December 2017

 

 

Appendixes can be accessed via this link to a PDF document.