Reporting a concern

REPORTING

When an individual concern/incident occurs staff and volunteers should raise this to the DSL’s attention as soon as possible. The DSL’s are then responsible for deciding whether or not a referral is required through the new Integrated Front Door referral system.  DSL’s will seek the advice of their area safeguarding advisor if they become unsure on what route to take and that person will then advise the most appropriate next step. If the child is in immediate danger or is at risk of harm, a referral will be made immediately or a direct call will be made to the appropriate authorities.

Although DSL’s predominately make referrals there may be a time where they are not available and staff will be required to complete a referral. This means that all staff at Horizon Primary Academy should be aware of the processes for making a referral through the Children’s Services Integrated Front Door and acknowledge that they may be expected to play a part in the assessment levels.

Staff will have had inductions on how to make a referral and can access the ‘staff safeguarding handbook’ located in the main office which will offer further support and advice.

REFERRALS

Where there is a safeguarding concern, we take into account the child’s wishes and feelings when determining what action to take and what services to provide. We have systems in place for children to express their views and give feedback. We acknowledge that children who are affected by abuse or neglect may demonstrate their needs and distress through their words, actions, behaviour, demeanour, school work or other children. Ultimately, all our systems and processes operate with the best interests of the child at heart.

Referrals to services regarding concerns about a child or family typically fall into three categories:

  • Early Help Services;
  • Child in need - Section 17 (Children Act 1989) referrals;

VOLUNTEERS

Any parent or other person/organisation engaged by the school to work in a voluntary capacity with pupils will be subject to all reasonable vetting procedures and Criminal Records Checks.

Under no circumstances a volunteer in respect of whom no checks have been obtained will be left unsupervised or allowed to work in regulated activity.

Volunteers who on an unsupervised basis teach or look after children regularly, or provide personal care on a one-off basis in our school are deemed to be in regulated activity. We will obtain an enhanced DBS certificate (which will include barred list information) for all volunteers who are new to working in regulated activity. Existing volunteers in regulated activity do not have to be re-checked if they have already had a DBS check (which includes barred list information). However, we may conduct a repeat DBS check (which will include barred list information) on any such volunteer should we have any concerns.

Further information on checks on volunteers can be found in Part three of the DfE guidance “Keeping children safe in education”.

Volunteers will be subject to the same code of conduct as paid employees of the school.

CONTRACTORS

Building contractors who are engaged by or on behalf of the school to undertake works on site will be made aware of this policy and the reasons for this. Long-term contractors who work regularly in the school during term time will be asked to provide their consent for DBS checks to be undertaken. These checks will be undertaken when individual risk assessments by the Leadership Team deem this to be appropriate. During major works, when large numbers of workers and sub-contractors may be on site during term time, Health and Safety risk assessments will include the potential for contractors or their employees to have direct access to pupils in non-teaching sessions. All contractors and sub-contractors will be issued with copies of the school’s code of conduct for staff.

COMPLAINTS/ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST STAFF

Horizon Primary Academy takes seriously all complaints made against members of staff. Procedures are in place for pupils, parents and staff to share any concern that they may have about the actions of any member staff or volunteer. All such complaints will be brought immediately to the attention of the Headteacher or one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads if the Headteacher is not available and nothing should be said to the colleague involved. In cases where the Headteacher is the subject of the allegation or concern, they will be reported to the Chair of Governors, in order that they may activate the appropriate procedures. These procedures are used in respect of all cases in which it is alleged that a teacher or member of staff (including volunteers) in a school or college that provides education for children under 18 years of age has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children.

The Local Authority’s Designated Officer(s) (DO) should be informed of all allegations that come to a school’s attention and appear to meet the criteria. Contact can also be made with LA’s Schools Safeguarding Coordinator who will liaise with the DO. Many cases may well either not meet the criteria set out above, or may do so without warranting consideration of either a police investigation or enquiries by local authority children’s social care services. In these cases, local arrangements will be followed to resolve cases without delay.

The full procedures about dealing with allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff can be found in Part Four of the DfE guidance “Keeping children safe in education”.

The Chair of Governors is: Gary Nancekievill

RECORDS

Brief and accurate written notes will be kept of all incidents and child protection or child in need concerns relating to individual pupils. These notes are significant especially if the incident or the concern does not lead to a referral to other agencies. This information may be shared directly with other agencies as appropriate. All contact with parents and external agencies will be logged and these will be kept as CP records. The school will take into account the views and wishes of the child who is the subject of the concern but staff will be alert to the dangers of colluding with dangerous “secrets”.

Child protection records are not open to pupils or parents. All CP records are kept securely by the Designated Safeguarding Lead and separately from educational records. They may only be accessed by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, their Deputies and the senior managers of the school.

The content of Child Protection Conference or Review reports prepared by the school will follow the headings recommended by Children’s Services and will, wherever possible, be shared with the parents/carer in advance of the meeting.

Child Protection records will be sent to receiving schools separately from the main pupil file and under a confidential cover when pupils leave the school, ensuring secure transit and a confirmation of receipt will be obtained.

In addition to the child protection file, the DSL will also consider if it would be appropriate to share any information with the new school or college in advance of a child leaving. For example, information that would allow the new school or college to continue supporting victims of abuse and have that support in place for when the child arrives.

When we receive child protection records from other schools, we will ensure key staff such as the DSL and SENCO are aware as required.

If a pupil is withdrawn from the school having not reached the normal date of transfer; due to a family move or any other reason, all efforts will be made to identify any new address and the school to which they are being admitted and to ensure that their educational records are sent without delay to the child’s new school. If the parent/carer fails to provide this information, an urgent referral will be made through the front door or education welfare service in order that they might make further enquiries. If this school receives educational records concerning a child who is not registered with us, the records will be returned promptly to the sending school with a note, advising them to refer to their LA’s Children’s Services Department. A child’s name will only be removed from the School’s Admissions Register in accordance with the Pupil Registration Regulations.

We will inform the Local Authority when we are about to add or delete a pupil’s name from the school admission register for any reason in line with Kent’s Children Missing Education (CME) Protocol.

When a pupil ceases to be registered at this school and becomes a registered pupil at another school in England or Wales, we will send a Common Transfer File (CTF) to the new school.