Safeguarding Children policy

Statement of Intent

Polstead Preschool believes that children have the right to be secure from both the fear and reality of abuse, and we are committed to safeguard the welfare of all the children in our care.

We recognise that

  • the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
  • all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and their agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare

Legal framework

The primary legislation for this work is:

  • The Children Act 1989, Section 47
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Children Act 2004 (Every Child Matters)
  • The Childcare Act 2006
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Secondary Legislation:

  • Sexual Offences Act (2003)
  • Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000)
  • Human Rights Act (1999)
  • Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000)
  • Equalities Act 2010
  • Race Relations (Amendment) Act (1976) Regulations
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Liaison with other bodies

  • We work within the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board guidelines.
  • We promote the What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused guidelines to parents/carers and staff, and all staff are familiar with what to do if they have concerns.
  • We have procedures for contacting the local authority on child protection issues, to ensure that it is easy in any emergency, for the Preschool and the children's social care to work well together.
  • We notify Ofsted of any incident or accident and any changes in our arrangements, which may affect the well-being of children or where an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on our premises or elsewhere). Notifications to Ofsted are made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made.
  • Contact details for the local National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are also kept and displayed.

Staffing and volunteering

  • Our designated member of staff with lead responsibility for safeguarding children can be found on our staff page.
  • We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children.
  • Applicants for posts within the Preschool are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
  • Candidates are informed of the need to carry out ‘enhanced disclosure’ checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before posts can be confirmed.
  • Where applications are rejected because of information that has been disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.
  • We abide by the regulator’s requirements in respect of references and security checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at the Preschool or has access to the children.
  • We will work in accordance with the requirements of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
  • Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
  • We abide by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have lead to dismissal for reasons of child protection concern.
  • We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the Preschool.
  • We have procedures to ensure that we have control over who comes into the Preschool so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
  • We take steps to ensure children are not photographed or filmed on video for any other purpose than to record their development or their participation in events organised by us. Parents sign a consent form and have access to records holding visual images of their child.
  • We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms - physical, emotional, and sexual as well as neglect.
  • When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or may be experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure) or through changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their play, unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect; and any reason to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting.
  • We take into account factors affecting parental capacity, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, parent's drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent's learning disability.
  • We are aware of other factors that affect children's vulnerability such as, abuse of disabled children; fabricated or induced illness; child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession; sexual exploitation of children, such as through internet abuse; and Female Genital Mutilation; that may affect, or may have affected, children and young people using our provision. We also make ourselves aware that some children and young people are affected by gang activity, by complex, multiple or organised abuse, through forced marriage or honour based violence or may be victims of child trafficking. While this may be less likely to affect young children in our care, we may become aware of any of these factors affecting older children and young people who we may come into contact with.
  • Where such evidence is apparent, the child's key person makes a dated record of the details of the concern and discusses what to do with the designated person(s). The information is stored on the child’s personal file.
  • Staff take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to children or by asking questions of children.
  • For emerging concerns, advice or to complete a No Names Consultation we contact the Locality and Community Support Service (LCSS) and to make a referral we contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). Contact numbers and guidance are displayed in the staff office.

Allegations against staff

  • We ensure that all parents know how to complain about staff or volunteer action within the Preschool, which may include an allegation of abuse.
  • We follow the guidance of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board and the Local Authority Designated Officer when responding to any complaint that a member of staff or volunteer has abused a child.
  • We respond to any disclosure by children or staff that abuse by a member of staff may have taken, or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
  • We refer any such complaint immediately to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to investigate.
  • We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children's social care in conjunction with the police.
  • We seek guidance from the Local Authority Designated Officer on whether the member of staff should be suspended for the duration of the investigation.
  • We will notify Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse while a child is in our care.

Disciplinary action

Polstead Preschool will follow the staff disciplinary procedures contained within the Staffing policy.

Training

  • We seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the Preschool to ensure that they are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and so that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals. The level of training attended will be appropriate to an individual’s role and in accordance with OSCB guidelines.
  • We ensure that all staff know the procedures for reporting and recording their concerns in the Preschool.

Play and Learning

  • We introduce key elements of child protection into our programme to promote the personal, social and emotional development of all children, so that they may grow to be ‘strong, resilient and listened to’ and so that they develop understanding of why and how to keep safe.
  • We create within the setting a culture of value and respect for the individual, having positive regard for children’s heritage arising from their colour, ethnicity, languages spoken at home, cultural and social background.
  • We ensure that this is carried out in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the children.

Disclosures

Where a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff

  • offers reassurance to the child
  • listens to the child
  • gives reassurance that s/he will take action

The member of staff does not question the child.

Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures

Staff make a record of

  • the child’s name
  • the child’s address
  • the age of the child
  • the date and time of the observation or the disclosure
  • an objective record of the observation or disclosure
  • the exact words spoken by the child as far as possible
  • the name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time
  • the names of any other person present at the time

These records are signed and dated and kept in the child’s personal file.

All members of staff know the procedures for recording and reporting.

Informing parents

  • Parents are normally the first point of contact.
  • If a suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, except where the guidance of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board does not allow this.
  • This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the Police/Children and Families Assessment Team will inform parents.

Confidentiality

  • All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board.

Support to families

  • We believe in building trusting and supportive relationships with families, staff and volunteers in the group.
  • We make clear to parents our role and responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children, such as for the reporting of concerns, providing information, monitoring of the child, and liaising at all times with the local Children and Families Assessment Team.
  • We continue to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to any alleged abuse.
  • We follow the Child Protection Plan as set by the child's social care worker in relation to our designated role and tasks in supporting the child and the family, subsequent to any investigation.
  • Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child in accordance with the procedure and only if appropriate under the guidance of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board.

Further guidance

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