The Management of Safeguarding at Westbridge Academy
The management of safeguarding at Westbridge Academy is the responsibility of the Trust Board. In law, the Trust Board must ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation and have due regard to the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2018) ensuring that the Trust and Academy policies, procedures and training are effective and comply with the law at all times. Carey Fish Head Teacher takes the lead responsibility for Westbridge Academy safeguarding arrangements.
Safeguarding policies and procedures
Westbridge Academy have a Child Protection and Safeguarding policy with accompanying linked policies in place so that appropriate action can be taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote children’s welfare. The policy describes procedures which are in accordance with government guidance and refer to multi-agency arrangements in place, currently through the Suffolk Safeguarding Children Board, and in the future, through the three safeguarding partners. This is updated annually and is available publicly on the Raedwald Trust website.
- A staff code of conduct is in place, which includes acceptable use of technologies, staff/pupil relationship and communication using social media. This sits alongside our online safety policy, managing allegations against staff policy and acceptable use of ICT policy. All staff sign to say that they have read, understood and agree to abide by these policies.
- We have a proactive response to children who go ‘missing’. If a pupil does not attend a session on site, at an offsite learning provision, online or home teaching session, the attendance administrator will follow up with a phone call to a parent/carer. If we have ongoing concerns, a member of staff will visit the home if possible or we will call the police.
- We have 2 phone contacts for each pupil.
- We inform the local authority when a child leaves Westbridge Academy and returns to school or when a parent elects to home educate their child.
- Information on the role and identity of the designated safeguarding leads is contained in the Child Protection and Safeguarding policy and is shared with all new staff on induction.
- There are ‘External visitor and volunteer’ procedures in place with information that people require in order to keep pupils safe.
The designated safeguarding lead
Carey Fish (Head Teacher) takes the lead responsibility within Westbridge Academy for safeguarding and child protection. This is explicit in the Head Teacher job description. This responsibility is not delegated.
- We have in addition deputy designated safeguarding leads (DDSLs) across our settings. These have all been trained to the same standard as the lead DSL. Their training is updated every 2 years in line with statutory guidance.
- All DSLs will liaise with the three safeguarding partners when they are in place and will work with other agencies in line with ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’.
- During term time, the lead DSL and the DDSL are available for staff to discuss any safeguarding concerns. Appropriate cover is arranged during out of hours of holiday periods.
- All staff have regular updates through team meetings to keep their knowledge and skills updated.
- There is a Trust safeguarding newsletter sent to all staff weekly.
Westbridge Academy works closely with other agencies to keep pupils safe in line with the statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguarding children’.
- We are aware of the shared and equal duties for the three safeguarding partners to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. We will work with them when they are in place and will fully engage and will be involved in all the new safeguarding arrangements. We will cooperate fully with any arrangements that are published.
- When the local criteria for action and the local protocol for assessment are established, Westbridge Academy will ensure that they are reflected in our policies and procedures. We will also provide any information requested by the three safeguarding partners.
- Westbridge Academy will continue to work with social care, the police, health services and other services to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. This will include providing a co-ordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified and contributing to inter-agency plans to provide additional support for children subject to child protection plans. Westbridge Academy will allow access for children’s social care from the host local authority and, where appropriate, from a placing local authority, for that authority to conduct, or to consider whether to conduct a section 17 or section 47 assessment (Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 states that it is the general duty of every local authority to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need; and so far as it is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families and a Section 47 enquiry means that Children’s Social Care must carry out an investigation when they have ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm’. The aim is to decide whether any action should be taken to safeguard the child.)
- Westbridge Academy recognises that information sharing is vital in identifying and tackling all forms of abuse and neglect.
- Westbridge Academy recognises how important information sharing is between practitioners and local agencies in order to keep children safe. Westbridge Academy has a clear process and principles for sharing information within the academy team and with the MASH team and the local safeguarding board when necessary. We recognise we will have to formalise agreements when the three safeguarding partners are in place. Westbridge Academy will be proactive in sharing information as early as possible to help identify, assess and respond to risk or concerns about the safety and welfare of a children, whether this is when problems are first emerging or where a child is already known to local authority children’s social care.
- Westbridge Academy are aware that although the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR place duties on organisations and individuals to process personal information fairly and lawfully, and to keep the information they hold safe and secure they do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Westbridge Academy are aware that fears about sharing information must not stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.
- All staff have received training on the data protection and GDPR principles which allow them to share personal information. The Business Team and senior leaders in particular are confident in the processing conditions under the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR which allow them to store and share information for safeguarding purposes, including information that is sensitive and personal which is treated as category 9, special category personal data.
- The Trust Business Managers, Head of School, and senior leaders are aware of the special category personal data and there is a data processing impact assessment for pupil medical information which falls into this category. All staff are aware that the Data Protection Act 2018 contains ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ as a processing condition that allows practitioners to share information. This includes sharing information without consent, if it is not possible to gain consent, it cannot be reasonably expected that a practitioner gains consent, or if to gain consent would place a child at risk.
- When pupils leave Westbridge Academy either to go back to school, or to move onto college, the designated safeguarding lead will ensure any child protection files are transferred to the new setting. If possible, these will be transferred electronically, or by hand delivery. Confirmation receipts will be obtained.
- In addition to the child protection records, the DSL will consider if it would be appropriate to share any other information prior to the child moving on e.g. information that would allow the new setting to put in appropriate support for a child with complex mental health difficulties when they arrive.
- When a pupil is transferred to Westbridge Academy we will ask the referring school for similar information in order to keep the child safe.
- All new staff receive safeguarding and child protection training which includes online safety on induction. This includes details about internal processes about how to raise a concern, as well as general safeguarding information such as recognising signs of abuse.
- All staff have annual updates on child protection and safeguarding. The focus topics are taken from the local safeguarding board areas of priority and in the future, will be from advice from the three safeguarding partners.
- In addition to this, staff receive update training every 6 weeks in team meetings on specific topics such as female genital mutilation, domestic violence and peer on peer abuse.
- Trust Group DSL meetings are held 8 weekly for sharing and training.
- If there are any incidents or ‘near misses’, a full investigation is conducted and ‘lessons learned’ shared with all staff. Procedures and processes will be amended to take account of the learning.
- All staff are consulted on the contents of the Safeguarding and Child Protection policy and invited to comment.
- All internet lines coming into all centres have an appropriate filtering system applied. Different settings or procedures are applied at different venues according to site specific risk assessments. This is monitored by our IT support and reported to lead DSL and the Head Teacher.
- Staff can request access to particular sites or software for teaching purposes.
- Pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe online and who to tell if they have any concerns.
- Parents have information about how to keep their child safe online on the website.
Opportunities to teach safeguarding
- Pupils are taught about safeguarding, including Relationship and Sex Education, in Personal, Social and Health Education lessons and where opportunities arise in other subjects. Online safety is mainly taught in IT lessons.
- The effectiveness of safeguarding is inspected as part of the Ofsted inspection framework. The Trust Board additionally commissions an annual external audit of safeguarding across all sites within the Raedwald Trust.
- It is the Trust Board’s responsibility to ensure that people who pose a risk of harm from working with children by adhering to statutory responsibilities to check staff who work with children, taking proportionate decision on whether to ask for additional checks other than those required. Westbridge Academy has written recruitment and selection policies in place with appropriate procedures in place. 12 members of Raedwald Trust staff have been trained in safer recruitment.
What staff should do if they have a concern about another member of staff who may pose a risk of harm to children
- There are written procedures in place to manage concerns/allegations, against staff (including volunteers) that might indicate they would pose a risk of harm to children (please see policy ‘Managing allegations against staff’ on website). Any such allegations are referred to the local authority designated officer.
- There are procedures in place to to make a referral to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) if a person in regulated activity has been dismissed or removed due to safeguarding concerns. We are aware that this is a legal duty and failure to refer when the criteria are met is a criminal offence.
Peer on peer abuse
- All staff at the Raedwald Trust are aware that children are capable of abusing their peers. As part of our child protection and safeguarding policy, we have clear procedures with regard to peer on peer abuse.
- The policy includes: procedures to minimise the risk of peer on peer abuse, information about how peer on peer abuse will be recorded, investigated and dealt with, clear processes on how victims, perpetrators and any other child affected by peer on peer abuse will be support and a statement that abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as ‘banter’, ‘just having a laugh’, or ‘part of growing up’. We are also aware of the gendered nature of peer on peer abuse.
- All staff are aware of the different forms of peer on peer abuse such as sexual violence and sexual harassment, physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling or other physical harm, and sexting.
The child’s wishes
- Where there is a safeguarding concern, Westbridge Academy staff will always take the child’s wishes and feeling into account when determining what action to take and what services to provide. There are always available staff for pupil’s to talk to and explain how they feel.
- Ultimately, the systems and processes will operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.
Looked after children and previously looked after children
- The most common reason for children becoming looked after is a result of abuse and/or neglect. Westbridge Academy staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep looked after children safe.
- Westbridge Academy staff are given information they need in relation to a child’s looked after legal status and the child contact arrangements with birth partners or those with parental responsibility. This comes from the pupil’s home school on admission. We will also have information about the child’s care arrangements and the levels of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after him/her. The key teacher for the pupil and the Head of School will have details of the child’s social worker and the name of the virtual school head in the authority that looks after that child.
The designated teacher for looked after children
- The Head of School, Nicola Axfordis our designated teacher for looked after children. Her role is different from the DT in mainstream schools because each allocated acts as a DT for their core pupils, including looked after children.
- All staff promote the educational achievement of looked after children, and children who have been previously looked after.
- The overall DT receives appropriate training and is an upper pay spine 3 teacher.
Virtual school heads
- The Virtual School Head is a statutory position within the local authority, and this person is responsible for managing pupil premium plus for looked after children and for children who have left care.
- Local authorities have ongoing responsibilities to young people who cease to be looked after and become care leavers. The young person’s core teacher will liaise with the local authority personal advisor to support the transition process and guide and support the care leaver.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities
- Children with SEND can face additional safeguarding challenges. Our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy reflects the fact that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this groups of children. This can include:
– Assumptions that indicators of possible abuse, such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration
– Being more prone to peer group isolation than other children
– The potential for children with SEN and disabilities being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs and
– Communicating barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers
To overcome these additional challenges, Raedwald Trust will always consider extra support for pupils with SEND.
The use of ‘reasonable force’ in schools and colleges
- Although there are circumstances when it is appropriate for staff to use reasonable force, Westbridge Academy staff will only implement this as a last resort. The term ‘reasonable force covers the broad range of actions used by staff that involve a degree of physical contact to control or restrain children e.g. guiding children to safety by the arm or more extreme circumstances such as breaking up a fight. ‘Reasonable’ in these circumstances means ‘using no more force than is needed’. The use of force may involve either passive physical contact such as standing between pupils or blocking a pupil’s path, or active physical contact such as leading a pupil by the arm out of the classroom, The DfE produce advice for schools.
- It is the DfE’s opinion that a ‘no contact’ policy can leave staff unable to fully support and protect pupils. In line with advice, Westbridge Academy adopt sensible procedures and practice which allow and support staff to make appropriate physical contact. The decision on whether to use reasonable force is done to the professional judgement of the staff concerned and will always depend on individual circumstances.
- If reasonable force us used within Westbridge Academy for pupils with SEND or complex medical needs, staff will consider the risks carefully, recognising the additional vulnerability of these groups. We will also consider our duties under the Equality Act 2010 in relation to making reasonable adjustments, non-discrimination and our Public Sector Equality Duty. e.g. by drawing up individual learning plans for individual learners.