At The Beacon Church Preschool we work with children, parents, external agencies and the community to ensure the welfare and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. Children have the right to be treated with respect, be helped to thrive and to be safe from any abuse in whatever form.
We support the children within our care, protect them from maltreatment and have robust procedures in place to prevent the impairment of children’s health and development. In our setting we strive to protect children from the risk of radicalisation and we promote acceptance and tolerance of other beliefs and cultures (please refer to our inclusion and equality policy for further information). Safeguarding is a much wider subject than the elements covered within this single policy, therefore this document should be used in conjunction with the preschool’s other policies and procedures. Safeguarding children is everybody’s responsibility, all staff and students are made aware of and adhere to, the policy.
EYFS: 3.4-3.18, 3.19, 3.21, 3.22
Legal framework and definition of safeguarding
- Children Act 1989 and 2004
- Childcare Act 2006 (amended 2018)
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
- The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2017
- Working together to safeguard children 2018
- Keeping children safe in Education 2019
- Data Protection Act 2018
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2015
- Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
- Inspecting Safeguarding in Early years, Education and Skills settings 2019
- Prevent duty 2015
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, in relation to this policy is defined as:
Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing the impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
(Definition taken from the HM Government document ‘Working together to safeguard children 2018).
To safeguard children and promote their welfare we will:
- Create an environment to encourage children to develop a positive self-image
- Provide positive role models and develop a safe culture where staff are confident to raise concerns about professional conduct
- Support staff to notice the softer signs of abuse and know what action to take
- Encourage children to develop a sense of independence and autonomy in a way that is appropriate to their age and stage of development
- Provide a safe and secure environment for all children
- Promote tolerance and acceptance of different beliefs, cultures and communities
- Help children to understand how they can influence and participate in decision-making and how to promote British values through play, discussion and role modelling
- Always listen to children
- Provide an environment where practitioners are confident to identify where children and families may need intervention and seek the help they need
- Share information with other agencies as appropriate.
The preschool is aware that abuse does occur in our society and we are vigilant in identifying signs of abuse and reporting concerns. Our practitioners have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of children. Staff may well be the first people in whom children confide information that may suggest abuse or to spot changes in a child’s behaviour which may indicate abuse. Our prime responsibility is the welfare and well-being of each child in our care. As such we believe we have a duty to the children, parents and staff to act quickly and responsibly in any instance that may come to our attention. This includes sharing information with any relevant agencies such as local authority services for children’s social care, health professionals, family support, including health visitors or the police. All staff will work with other agencies in the best interest of the child, including as part of a multi-agency team, where needed.
The preschool aims to:
- Keep the child at the centre of all we do, providing sensitive interactions that develops builds children’s well-being, confidence and resilience. We will support children to develop an awareness of how to keep themselves safe, healthy and have positive relationships.
Ensure staff are trained right from induction to understand the child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures, are alert to identify possible signs of abuse (including the signs known as softer signs of abuse), understand what is meant by child protection and are aware of the different ways in which children can be harmed, including by other children (peer on peer) through bullying or discriminatory behaviour
- Be aware of the increased vulnerability of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), isolated families and vulnerabilities in families; including the impact of toxic trio on children and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE,s)
Ensure that all staff feel confident and supported to act in the best interest of the child; maintaining professional curiosity around welfare of children and share information, and seek the help that the child may need at the earliest opportunity
Ensure that all staff are familiar and updated regularly with child protection training and procedures and kept informed of changes to local/national procedures, including thorough annual safeguarding newsletters and updates
- Make any child protection referrals in a timely way, sharing relevant information as necessary in line with procedures set out by the BCP Council
- Ensure that information is shared only with those people who need to know in order to protect the child and act in their best interest
- Keep the setting safe online using appropriate filters, checks and safeguards, monitoring access at all times by staff, parents and visitors in the setting.
- Ensure that children are never placed at risk while in the charge of preschool staff
- Take any appropriate action relating to allegations of serious harm or abuse against any person working with children or living or working on the preschool premises including reporting such allegations to Ofsted, the Local authority and other relevant authorities.
- Ensure parents are fully aware of child protection policies and procedures when they register with the preschool and are kept informed of all updates when they occur
- Regularly review and update this policy with staff and parents where appropriate and make sure it complies with any legal requirements and any guidance or procedures issued by the BCP Council.
- We will support children by offering reassurance, comfort and sensitive interactions. We will devise activities according to individual circumstances to enable children to develop confidence and self-esteem within their peer group and support them to learn how to keep themselves safe.
Contact phone numbers
BCP Contact telephone numbers
Local authority Designated Officer (LADO) 01202 633694
BCP First Response Hub
01202 735046 Monday to Thursday: 8.30am to 5.15pm, Friday: 8.30am-4.45pm
BCP Out of Hours
01202 738256 email ChildrensOOHS@bcpcouncil.gov.uk
Early Help Teams BCP
Poole contact: email@example.com (web site)
Ofsted 0300 123 1231
Non-emergency police 101
NSPCC 0808 800 5000
Government helpline for extremism concerns 020 7340 7264
Child exploitation and Online protection command (CEOP)
Types of abuse and particular procedures followed
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by harming them or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused within a family, institution or community setting by those known to them or more rarely a stranger.
This could be an adult or adults, another child or children.
What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (advice for practitioners) 2015, and Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)
The signs and indicators listed below may not necessarily indicate that a child has been abused, but will help us to recognise that something may be wrong, especially if a child shows a number of these symptoms or any of them to a marked degree.
Indicators of child abuse
- Failure to thrive and meet developmental milestones
- Fearful or withdrawn tendencies
- Unexplained injuries to a child or conflicting reports from parents or staff
- Repeated injuries
- Unaddressed illnesses or injuries
- Significant changes to behaviour patterns.
Softer signs of abuse as defined by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) include:
- Fearful, Withdrawn, Low self-esteem
- Aggressive, Oppositional, habitual body rocking
- Indiscriminate contact or affection seeking
- Over-friendliness towards strangers, including healthcare professionals
- Excessive clinginess, persistently resorting to gaining attention
- Demonstrating excessively ‘good’ behaviour to prevent parental or carers disapproval
- Failing to seek or accept appropriate comfort or affection from an appropriate person when significantly distressed
- Coercive controlling behaviour towards parents or carers
- Lack of ability to understand and recognise emotions
- Very young children showing excessive comforting behaviours when witnessing parental or care distress
Peer on peer abuse
We are aware that peer-on-peer abuse does take place, so we include children in our policies when we talk about potential abusers. This may take the form of bullying, physically hurting another child, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse. We will report this in the same way as we do for adults abusing children, and will take advice from the appropriate bodies on this area: to support for both the victim and the perpetrator, as they could also be a victim of abuse. We know that children who develop harmful sexual behaviour have often experienced abuse and neglect themselves.
Action needs to be taken if staff have reason to believe that there has been any physical injury to a child, including deliberate poisoning, where there is definite knowledge or reasonable suspicion that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented. These symptoms may include bruising or injuries in an area that is not usual for a child, e.g. fleshy parts of the arms and legs, back, wrists, ankles, trunk and face.
Many children will have cuts and grazes from normal childhood injuries. When children enter the preschool with an existing injury we will record the details of the injury. Any injuries that are a cause of concern will be followed up with parents and the designated safeguarding lead.
Children and babies may be abused physically through shaking or throwing. Other injuries may include burns or scalds. These are not usual childhood injuries and should always be logged and discussed with the designated safeguarding lead (DSL).
Female genital mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a procedure where the female genital organs are injured or changed and there is no medical reason for this. Some ethnic groups practise this form of physical abuse as a cultural ritual. When the procedure happens is dependent on the community and it may occur shortly after birth, during childhood; during adolescence, just before marriage or during a woman’s first pregnancy. The practice can cause severe pain and there may be immediate and/or long-term health consequences, including mental health problems, urinary infection, septicaemia, incontinence; difficulties in childbirth, causing danger to the child and mother; and/or death.
If you have concerns about a child or family relating to this area, you should contact children’s social care team in the same way as other types of physical abuse. There is a mandatory duty to report to police any case where an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, we will ensure this is followed in our setting.
Breast ironing also known as “breast flattening” is the process where young girls’ breasts are ironed, massaged and/or pounded down through the use of hard or heated objects in order for the breasts to disappear or delay the development of the breasts entirely. It is believed that by carrying out this act, young girls will be protected from harassment, rape, abduction and early forced marriage. Although this is unlikely to happen to children in the nursery due to their age, we will remain vigilant for the signs and symptoms in any children and families using our services and follow-up concerns following our regular safeguarding referral process.
Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. The parent or carer may seek out unnecessary medical treatment or investigation; they may exaggerate a real illness and symptoms or deliberately induce an illness through poisoning with medication or other substances or they may interfere with medical treatments. Fabricated illness is a form of physical abuse and any concerns will be reported, in line with our safeguarding procedures.
Sexual abuse involves forcing, or enticing, a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities 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 of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Adult males do not solely perpetrate sexual abuse; women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Action must be taken if a staff member witnesses an occasion(s) where a child indicates sexual activity through words, play, drawing, has an excessive preoccupation with sexual matters; or has an inappropriate knowledge of adult sexual behaviour, or language, for their developmental age. This may include acting out sexual activity on dolls/toys or in the role-play area with their peers; drawing pictures that are inappropriate for a child, talking about sexual activities or using sexual language or words.
The physical symptoms may include genital trauma, discharge and bruises between the legs or signs of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Emotional symptoms could include a distinct change in a child’s behaviour. They may be withdrawn or overly extroverted and outgoing. They may withdraw away from a particular adult and become distressed if they reach out for them, but they may also be particularly clingy to a potential abuser so all symptoms and signs should be looked at together and assessed as a whole.
If a child starts to talk openly to an adult about abuse they may be experiencing the procedure below will be followed:
The adult should reassure the child and listen without interrupting if the child wishes to talk. The observed instances will be detailed in a confidential report. The observed instances will be reported to the DSL
The matter will be referred to the local authority children’s social care team (see reporting procedures).
Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
Working Together to Safeguard Children defines CSE as “…a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.”
We will be aware of the possibility of CSE and the signs and symptoms this may manifest as. If we have concerns, we will follow the same procedures as for other concerns and we will record and refer as appropriate.
Working Together to Safeguard Children defines emotional abuse as the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Signs that children are being emotionally abused may include shying away from an adult who is abusing them; becoming withdrawn, aggressive or clingy in order to receive their love and attention; not having a close bond with their parent/carer; seem unconfident or anxious, or being aggressive towards others.
Action should be taken if the staff member has reason to believe that there is a severe, adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a child, caused by persistent or severe ill treatment or rejection.
This type of abuse is harder to identify as the child is not likely to show any physical signs.
Working Together to Safeguard Children defines Neglect as the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
a. Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
b. Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
c. Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers)
d. Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Action should be taken if the staff member has reason to believe that there has been any type of neglect of a child., which results in serious impairment of the child’s health or development, including failure to thrive.
Signs may include a child persistently arriving at preschool unwashed or unkempt, wearing clothes that are too small (especially shoes that may restrict the child’s growth or hurt them), arriving at preschool in the same nappy they went home in or a child having an illness or identified special educational need or disability that is not being addressed by the parent. A child may also be persistently hungry if a parent is withholding food or not providing enough for a child’s needs.
Neglect may also be shown through emotional signs, e.g. a child may not be receiving the attention they need at home and may crave love and support at preschool. They may be clingy and emotional. In addition, neglect may occur through pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse or failure to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger.
Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) can be described as when an individual, or group, takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs from big cities into smaller towns, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line.’ Customers will live in a different area to where the dealers and networks are based, so drug runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment.
They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move the drugs and money, and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.
Signs that a child may be involved in county lines could be a change in behaviour, suddenly having more money or possessions; change in friendship group, withdrawing from family life, sudden change in appearance; unexplained physical injuries, staying out late or a lack of interest in school and previous positive activities.
Cuckooing is a form of county lines crime in which drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person in order to criminally exploit them as a base for drug dealing, often in multi-occupancy or social housing properties. Signs that this is happening in a family property may be an increase in people entering or leaving the property, an increase in cars or bikes outside the home; windows covered or curtains closed for long periods, family not being seen for extended periods; signs of drug use or an increase in anti-social behaviour at the home.
If we recognise any of these signs, we will report our concerns as per our reporting process.
As young people grow and develop they may be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation from outside their family. These extra-familial threats might arise at school and other educational establishments, from within peer groups, or more widely from within the wider community and/or online.
As part of our safeguarding procedures we will work in partnership with parents/carers and other agencies to work together to safeguard children and provide the support around contextual safeguarding concerns.
Domestic Abuse / Honour Based Violence / Forced Marriages
We look at these areas as a child protection concern. Please refer to the separate policy for further details on this.
Up skirting involves taking a picture of someone’s genitals or buttocks under their clothing without them knowing, either for sexual gratification or in order to humiliate, or distress, the individual. This is a criminal offence and any such action would be reported following our reporting procedures.
Child abuse linked to faith or belief (CALFB)
Child abuse linked to faith or belief (CALFB) can happen in families when there is a concept of belief in:
Witchcraft and spirit possession, demons or the devil acting through children or leading them astray (traditionally seen in some Christian beliefs)
The evil eye or djinns (traditionally known in some Islamic faith contexts) and dakini (in the Hindu context)
Ritual or multi murders where the killing of children is believed to bring supernatural benefits, or the use of their body parts is believed to produce potent magical remedies
Use of belief in magic or witchcraft to create fear in children to make them more compliant when they are being trafficked for domestic slavery or sexual exploitation.
This is not an exhaustive list and there will be other examples where children have been harmed when adults think that their actions have brought bad fortune.
All staff have a responsibility to report safeguarding concerns and suspicions of abuse. These concerns will be discussed with the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) as soon as possible.
- Staff will report their concerns to the DSL Anne Ridgway or Heather Gardner (in the absence of the DSL they will be reported to the Deputy DSL Clair Bone or Amanda Head)
- Any signs of marks/injuries to a child or information a child has given will be recorded and stored securely
Staff will report their concerns to the DSL Anne Ridgway or Heather Gardner (in the absence of the DSL they will be reported to the Deputy DSL Clair Bone or Amanda Head)
- For children who arrive at preschool with an existing injury, a form will be completed along with the parent’s/ carers explanation as to how the injury happened. Staff will have professional curiosity around any explanations given, any concerns around existing injury’s will be reported.
- If appropriate, any concerns/or incidents will be discussed with the parent/carer and discussions will be recorded. Parents will have access to these records on request in line with GDPR and data protection guidelines.
- If there are queries/concerns regarding the injury/information given then the following procedures will take place:
Responding to a spontaneous disclosure from a child
If a child starts to talk openly to a member of staff about abuse they may be experiencing then staff will:
- Give full attention to the child or young person
- Keep body language open and encouraging
- Be compassionate, be understanding and reassure them their feelings are important. Phrases such as ‘you’ve shown such courage today’
- Take time and slow down: we will respect pauses and will not interrupt the child – let them go at their own pace
- Recognise and respond to their body language
- Show understanding and reflect back
- Make it clear you are interested in what the child is telling you
- Reflect back what they have said to check your understanding – and use their language to show it’s their experience
- Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you. Make sure they know that abuse is never their fault
- Never talk to the alleged perpetrator about the child’s disclosure. This could make things a lot worse for the child. (Information taken from NSPCC) NSPCC – 0800 028 0285
Keeping children safe is our highest priority and if, for whatever reason, staff do not feel able to report concerns to the DSL or deputy DSL they should call the Local Authority children’s social care team or the NSPCC and report their concerns anonymously.
Recording Suspicions of Abuse and Disclosures
- Staff should make an objective record of any observation or disclosure, supported by the designated safeguarding lead (DSL). This record should include:
- Child’s name and address
- Age of the child and date of birth
- Date and time of the observation or the disclosure, location
- Exact words spoken by the child word for word and non-verbal communication
- Exact position and type of any injuries or marks seen
- Exact observation of any incident including any concern was reported, with date and time; and the names of any other person present at the time
- Any discussion held with the parent(s) (where deemed appropriate).
These records should be signed by the person reporting this and the DSL, dated and kept in a separate confidential file.
If a child starts to talk to an adult about potential abuse it is important not to promise the child complete confidentiality. This promise cannot be kept. It is vital that the child is allowed to talk openly and disclosure is not forced or words put into the child’s mouth. As soon as possible after the disclosure details must be logged accurately. It is not the preschool’s role to investigate, it is the role of the statutory services to complete this.
It may be thought necessary that through discussion with all concerned the matter needs to be raised with the local authority children’s social care team and Ofsted. Staff involved may be asked to supply details of any information/concerns they have with regard to a child. The preschool expects all members of staff to co-operate with the local authority children’s social care, police, and Ofsted in any way necessary to ensure the safety of the children.
Staff must not make any comments either publicly or in private about the supposed or actual behaviour of a parent or member of staff.
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 local authority children’s social care team/police does not allow this. This will usually be the case where the parent or family member is the likely abuser or where a child may be endangered by this disclosure. In these cases the investigating officers will inform parents.
All suspicions, enquiries and external investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared in line with guidance from the local authority.
All staff, students and volunteers are bound by confidentiality and any information will not be discussed after work, or this will become a disciplinary matter. The preschool has due regard to the data protection principals as in the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Support to families
The preschool takes every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relations among families, staff, students and volunteers within the preschool.
The preschool continues to welcome the child and the family whilst enquiries are being made in relation to abuse in the home situation. Parents and families will be treated with respect in a non-judgmental manner whilst any external investigations are carried out in the best interest of the child.
Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child, only if appropriate in line with guidance of the local authority with the proviso that the care and safety of the child is paramount. We will do all in our power to support and work with the child’s family.
The Preschool keeps appropriate records to support the early identification of children and families that would benefit from support. Factual records are maintained in a chronological order with parental discussions. Records are reviewed regularly by the DSL to look holistically at identifying children’s needs.
Allegations against adults working or volunteering with children
If an allegation is made against a member of staff, student or volunteer or any other person who lives or works on the preschool premises regardless of whether the allegation relates to the preschool premises or elsewhere, we will follow the procedure below.
The allegation should be reported to the manager on duty. If this person is the subject of the allegation then this should be reported to any of the three other DSL.
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Ofsted will then be informed immediately in order for this to be investigated by the appropriate bodies promptly:
- The LADO will be informed immediately for advice and guidance
- If as an individual you feel this will not be taken seriously or are worried about the allegation getting back to the person in question then it is your duty to inform the LADO yourself directly
- A full investigation will be carried out by the appropriate professionals (LADO, Ofsted) to determine how this will be handled
- The preschool will follow all instructions from the LADO and Ofsted and ask all staff members to do the same and co-operate where required
Support will be provided to all those involved in an allegation throughout the external investigation in line with LADO support and advice
- The preschool reserves the right to suspend any member of staff during an investigation, Legal advice will be sought to ensure
- All enquiries/external investigations/interviews will be documented and kept in a locked file for access by the relevant authorities
Unfounded allegations will result in all rights being reinstated
- Founded allegations will be passed on to the relevant organisations including the local authority children’s social care team and where an offence is believed to have been committed, the police. Founded allegations will be dealt with as gross misconduct in accordance with our disciplinary procedures and may result in the termination of employment. Ofsted will be notified immediately of this decision. The preschool will also notify the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to ensure their records are updated.
- All records will be kept until the person reaches normal retirement age or for 21 years and 3 months years if that is longer. This will ensure accurate information is available for references and future DBS checks and avoids any unnecessary reinvestigation
- The preschool retains the right to dismiss any member of staff in connection with founded allegations following an inquiry
- A return to work plan will be put in place for any member of staff returning to work after an allegation has been deemed unfounded. Individual support will be offered to meet the needs of the individual staff member and the nature of the incident; this may include more frequent supervisions, coaching and mentoring and external support.
Monitoring children’s attendance
As part of our requirements under the statutory framework and guidance documents we are required to monitor children’s attendance patterns to ensure they are consistent and no cause for concern.
Parents should please inform the preschool prior to their children taking holidays or days off, and all sickness should be called into the preschool on the day so the preschool management are able to account for a child’s absence.
If a child has not arrived at preschool within one hour of their normal start time the parents will be called to ensure the child is safe and healthy. If the parents are not contactable then the further emergency contacts will be used to ensure all parties are safe.
Where a child is part of a child protection plan, or during a referral process, any absences will immediately be reported to the local authority children’s social care team to ensure the child remains safeguarded. This should not stop parents taking precious time with their children, but, enables children’s attendance to be logged so we know the child is safe.
Looked after children
Definition and legal framework.
The description ‘looked after’ is generally used to describe a child who is looked after by the local authority. This includes children who are subject to a care order or temporarily classed as looked after on a planned basis for short breaks or respite care. Most looked after children will be cared for by foster carers with a small minority in children’s homes, looked after by family members or even placed back within the family home.
The term ‘looked after child’ denotes a child’s current legal status. The preschool never uses this term to categorise a child as standing out from others or refers to a child using acronyms such as LAC.
The legal framework for this policy is underpinned by or supported through:
- Childcare Act 2006 (amended 2018)
- Children Act (1989 and 2004)
- Adoption and Children Act (2002)
- The Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (amended 2018)
- The Children and Families Act (2014).
We will discuss with the child’s carer, and social worker where applicable, the length of time the child has been with the carer before they start preschool to establish how secure the child feels and whether they are ready to be able to cope with further separation, a new environment and new expectations made upon them.
We are aware that there are a number of reasons why a child may go into care and these reasons may or may not include traumatic experiences or abuse. All our practitioners are committed to doing all they can to support all children to achieve their full potential. The preschool staff team are all trained to understand our safeguarding policy and procedures. Additional training to support children’s individual needs will be planned for where appropriate. Practitioners are supported by management at all times and we have an open door policy if they need to discuss any sensitive issues regarding the child.
Where applicable, we contribute to any assessment about the child, such as those carried out under local authorities’ assessment frameworks or Early Help Assessment (EHA) and to any multi-agency meetings, case conferences or strategy meetings in relation to the child’s learning and development. The designated person for looked after children and/or the child’s key person will attend meetings as appropriate.
The designated person for ‘looked after children’ are Anne Ridgway and Heather Gardner.
Each child is allocated a key person. (see keyperson and settling in policies) Where necessary we will develop a care plan with carers and professionals. This will include:
- The child’s emotional needs and how they are to be met
- How any emotional issues and problems that affect behaviour are to be managed
- The child’s sense of self, culture, language/s and identity – how this is to be supported
- The child’s need for sociability and friendship
- The child’s interests and abilities and possible learning journey pathway
- How any special needs will be supported.
In addition the care plan may also consider:
- How information will be shared with the foster carer and local authority (as the ‘corporate parent’) as well as what information is shared with any other organisation or professionals and how it will be recorded and stored.
- What contact the child has with his/her birth parent(s) and what arrangements will be in place for supervised contact. If this is to be in the setting, when, where and what form the contact will take will be discussed and agreed
- Who may collect the child from preschool and who may receive information about the child
- What written reporting is required
- Wherever possible, and where the plan is for the child to return to their home, the birth parent(s) should be involved in planning
- With the social worker’s agreement, and as part of the plan, whether the birth parent(s) should be involved in the setting’s activities that include parents, such as outings, fun days etc. alongside the foster carer.
Where applicable, we will complete a Personal Education Plan (PEP) for any children aged three to five in partnership with the social worker and/or care manager and carers. We will also attend all appropriate meetings and contribute to reviews. The key person and designated ‘looked after’ person will work together to ensure any onward transition to school or another setting is handled sensitively to ensure that this is as smooth as possible and all necessary information is shared. The child’s individual Tapestry journal, including observations and photographs will be made available for the carer to download at this stage.
Early help services
When a child and/or family would benefit from support but do not meet the threshold for Local Authority Social Care Team, a discussion will take place with the family around early help services.
Early help provides support as soon as a concern/area of need emerges, helping to improve outcomes and prevent escalation onto local authority services. Sometimes concerns about a child may not be of a safeguarding nature and relate more to their individual family circumstances. The preschool will work in partnership with parents/carers to identify any early help services that would benefit your child or your individual circumstances, with your consent, this may include family support, foodbank support, counselling or parenting services.
Staffing and volunteering
Our policy is to provide a secure and safe environment for all children. We only allow an adult who is employed by the preschool to care for children and who has an enhanced clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to be left alone with children. We will obtain enhanced criminal records checks (DBS) for all volunteers and do not allow any volunteers to be unsupervised with children.
All staff will attend child protection training and receive initial basic child protection training during their induction period. This will include the procedures for spotting signs and behaviours of abuse and abusers/potential abusers, recording and reporting concerns and creating a safe and secure environment for the children in the preschool. During induction staff will be given contact details for the LADO (local authority designated officer), the local authority children’s social care team and Ofsted to enable them to report any safeguarding concerns, independently, if they feel it necessary to do so.
We have named persons within the preschool who take lead responsibility for safeguarding and co-ordinate child protection and welfare issues, known as the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL), there is always at least one designated person on duty during all opening hours of the setting.
These designated persons will receive comprehensive training at least every two years and update their knowledge on an ongoing basis, but at least once a year.
The preschool DSL’s liaise with the local authority children’s social care team, undertakes specific training, including a child protection training course, and receives regular updates to developments within this field. They in turn support the ongoing development and knowledge update of all staff on the team.
The role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead:
Ensure that the settings safeguarding policy and procedures are reviewed and developed in line with current guidance; and develop staff understanding of the settings safeguarding policies
- Take the lead on responding to information from the staff team relating to child protection concerns
- Provide advice, support and guidance on an on-going basis to staff, students and volunteers.
- To identify children who may need early help or who are at risk of abuse
- To help staff to ensure the right support is provided to families
- To liaise with the local authority and other agencies with regard to child protection concerns
- Ensure the setting is meeting the requirements of the EYFS Safeguarding requirements
- To ensure policies are in line with the local safeguarding procedures and details
- Disseminate updates to legislation to ensure all staff are kept up to date with safeguarding practices
- To manage and monitor accidents, incidents and existing injuries; ensuring accurate and appropriate records are kept
- Attend meetings with the child’s key person
- Attend case conferences and external safeguarding meetings, as requested, by external agencies.
Safeguarding is a high priority at all times. There will always be at least one designated lead on duty at all times our provision is open. This will ensure that prompt action can be taken if concerns are raised.
The DSL’s are: Heather Gardner, Anne Ridgway, Clair Bone, Amanda Head.
- We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of all 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 checks 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 give staff members, volunteers and students regular opportunities to declare changes that may affect their suitability to care for the children. This includes information about their health, medication or about changes in their home life such as
Child protection plans for their own children. This information is also stated within
every member of staff’s contract
- We use the DBS update service (with staff consent) to re-check staff’s criminal history and suitability to work with children annually.
- We abide by the requirements of the EYFS and any Ofsted guidance in respect to obtaining references and suitability checks for staff, students and volunteers, to ensure that all staff, students and volunteers working in the setting are suitable to do so
- We ensure we receive at least two written references BEFORE a new member of staff commences employment with us
- All students will have enhanced DBS checks conducted on them before their placement starts. Volunteers, including students, do not work unsupervised
- We abide by the requirements of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and the Childcare Act 2006 (amended 2018) in respect of any person who is disqualified from providing childcare, is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of child protection concern
- We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the preschool and take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the preschool so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children
- All visitors/contractors will be supervised whilst on the premises, especially when in the areas the children use
- As a staff team we will be fully aware of how to safeguard the whole preschool environment and be aware of potential dangers on the preschool boundaries such as drones or strangers lingering. We will ensure the children remain safe at all times
- All staff have access to and comply with the whistleblowing policy which will enable them to share any concerns that may arise about their colleagues in an appropriate manner. We encourage a culture of openness and transparency, and all concerns are taken seriously
- Signs of inappropriate staff behaviour may include inappropriate sexual comments; excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibilities; or inappropriate sharing of images. This is not an exhaustive list, any changes in behaviour must be reported and acted upon immediately.
- Staff need to take care that they do not accept any gift that might be construed as a bribe by others, or lead the giver to expect preferential treatment. Staff must not give personal gifts to children or their families. This could be interpreted as a gesture to either bribe or groom. It might also be perceived as a favour of some kind is expected in return. Staff will only give gifts to children as part of an agreed reward system
- Ensuring that staff are aware not to contact parents/carers and children through social media on their own personal social media accounts and they will report any such incidents to the management team to deal with.
- All staff will receive regular supervision meetings where opportunities will be made available to discuss any issues relating to individual children, child protection training and any needs for further support.
- We use peer on peer and manager observations in the setting to ensure that the care we provide for children is at the highest level and any areas for staff development are quickly highlighted. Peer observations allow us to share constructive feedback, develop practice and build trust so that staff are able to share any concerns they may have. Any concerns are raised with the designated lead and dealt with in an appropriate and timely manner
- The deployment of staff within the preschool allows for constant supervision and support. Where children need to spend time away from the rest of the group, the door will be left ajar or other safeguards will be put into action to ensure the safety of the child and the adult.
Extremism – the Prevent Duty
Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 we have a duty to refer any concerns of extremism to the police (In Prevent priority areas the local authority will have a Prevent lead who can also provide support).
This may be a cause for concern relating to a change in behaviour of a child or family member, comments causing concern made to a member of the team (or other persons in the setting) or actions that lead staff to be worried about the safety of a child in their care. We have a Prevent Duty and Radicalisation policy in place. Please refer to this for specific details.
We take the safety of our children very seriously and this includes their online safety. Please refer to the E Safety policy for details on this.
Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking EYFS: 3.6, 3.7
Our preschool has a clear commitment to protecting children and promoting welfare. Should anyone believe that this policy is not being upheld, it is their duty to report the matter to the attention of the DSL at the earliest opportunity.
The Modern Slavery Act, received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. The act consolidates slavery and trafficking offenses and introduces tougher penalties and sentencing rules.
Child trafficking and modern slavery is becoming a more frequent form of child abuse. Children are recruited, moved, transported and then exploited, forced to work or are sold on.
Modern slavery is a term that covers: Slavery, Servitude and forced or compulsory labour, Human trafficking.
Victims of modern slavery are also likely to be subjected to other types of abuse such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse. This policy should be used alongside the following policies to ensure all children, staff, parents and visitors are fully safeguarded: Safeguarding children, Whistleblowing, Equality and inclusion.
For an adult or child to have been a victim of human trafficking there must have been:
Action (e.g. recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation)
Means (threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, abuse of power or vulnerability) There does not need to be “means” for children as they are not able to give informed consent
Purpose (e.g. sexual exploitation, forced labour or domestic servitude, slavery, financial exploitation, illegal adoption, removal of organs).
Signs of abuse
Action should be taken if they appear to have some of these possible signs including; under the control of someone else and reluctant to interact with others, the victim has few personal belongings and wear the same clothes every day or wear unsuitable clothes for work. The victim is not able to move around freely and is reluctant to talk to strangers or the authorities including appearing frightened, withdrawn, or show signs of physical or psychological abuse.
When a concern is raised about slavery or trafficking then we will follow our safeguarding procedure. If the child (or adult) is at risk of immediate harm then the police will be called, otherwise the local authority will be contacted and the referral process will be followed as per the safeguarding procedure.
If we suspected and it wasn’t possible to have a confidential conversation, we wouldn’t confront them or cause a scene, as this will likely lead to increased harm for them. Instead we would inform the relevant authorities, or organisations, working in the field.
If you are in the UK and suspect someone might be in slavery, you have several options:
Call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or fill out an online form.
Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
Contact the Police or local children social care teams.
Prevent Duty and Radicalisation EYFS: 3.4, 3.6, 3.7
Extremism – the Prevent Duty
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) defines extremism. It states “Extremism goes beyond terrorism and includes people who target the vulnerable – including the young – by seeking to sow division between communities on the basis of race, faith or denomination; justify discrimination towards women and girls; persuade others that minorities are inferior; or argue against the primacy of democracy and the rule of law in our society.
Extremism is defined in the Counter Extremism Strategy 2015 as the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist”
Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 we have a duty to refer any concerns of extremism to the police (In Prevent priority areas the local authority will have a Prevent lead who can also provide support). This may be a cause for concern relating to a change in behaviour of a child, family member or adult working with the children in the setting, comments causing concern or actions that lead staff to be worried about the safety of a child in their care. Alongside this we will be alert to any early signs in children and families who may be at risk of radicalisation, on which we will act and document all concerns when reporting further.
The NSPCC states that signs of radicalisation may be:
- isolating themselves from family and friends
- talking as if from a scripted speech
- unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
- a sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
- increased levels of anger
- increased secretiveness, especially around internet use.
We will tackle radicalisation by:
- Training all staff to understand what is meant by the Prevent Duty and radicalisation
- Ensuring staff understand how to recognise early indicators of potential radicalisation and terrorism threats and act on them appropriately in line with national and local procedures
- Make any referrals relating to extremism to the police (or the Government helpline) in a timely way, sharing relevant information as appropriate
- Ensure our preschool is an inclusive environment, tackle inequalities and negative points of view and teach children about tolerance through British Values
- Using the Government document Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales3
Domestic Abuse, Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriage
EYFS: 3.4, 3.6, 3.7
This policy should be read alongside our Safeguarding policy:
Safeguarding Children Child Protection Policy
Data Protection and Confidentiality
GDPR Privacy Notice.
The UK’s cross-government definition of domestic abuse is:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This abuse can encompass but is not limited to: psychological, physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and financial.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, social background, religion, sexuality or ethnicity, and domestic abuse can happen at any stage in a relationship.
Where domestic abuse is taking place in a child’s home the child is at risk of harm, whether they witness the violence or not. This may take the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect.
Signs may include:
- Changes in behaviour: for example, becoming very quiet, anxious, frightened, tearful, aggressive, distracted, depressed etc.
- Visible bruising or single, or repeated, injury with unlikely explanations
- Change in the manner of dress: for example, clothes that do not suit the climate which may be used to hide injuries
- Partner or ex-partner stalking employee/parent in or around the workplace; this may include excessive phone calls or messages
- Partner or ex-partner exerting an unusual amount of control or demands over work schedule
- Frequent lateness or absence from work.
As part of our duty to keep children safe we provide the following: Support leaflets and numbers for females and males who may be experiencing domestic abuse
Sharing information with external organisations that can offer support with incidents of domestic violence. Providing all staff with the telephone number for the free 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (0808 2000 247)
The Serious Crime Act 2015 section 76 created a new offence of “controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship”.
The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 extended provisions to help stop domestic abuse and created the new offence of “causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult”. This Act was amended in 2012 by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012 to include ‘causing or allowing serious physical harm (equivalent to grievous bodily harm) to a child or vulnerable adult’.
If we are concerned that domestic violence is happening within a home and a child is at risk, we will follow our safeguarding policies’ reporting procedures (see Child Protection policy).
Where incidents of domestic violence are shared by an employee or parent/carer, we will respect confidentiality at all times and not share information without their permission. However, we will share this information, without permission, in cases of child protection or where we believe there is an immediate risk of serious harm to the person involved.
Honour based violence
Honour based violence (HBV) can be described as ‘a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour’; such as being held against their will, sexual or psychological abuse, threats of violence, assault or forced marriage.
Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code. It is a violation of human rights and may be a form of domestic and/or sexual violence. There is no honour or justification for abusing the human rights of others.
We aim to develop staff knowledge of recognising the signs and symptoms of HBV. These signs may include:
- Changes in how they dress or act, they may stop wearing ‘western’ clothing or make-up
- Visible injuries, or repeated injury, with unlikely explanations.
- Signs of depression, anxiety or self-harm
- Frequent absences
- Restrictions on friends or attending events.
We will raise awareness of domestic abuse within our setting by:
Sharing information with external organisations that can offer support with incidents of HBV. The information will be displayed in visible spaces within the setting
Sharing our HBV, child protection and safeguarding policies with all stakeholders.
Where incidents of HBV are shared by an employee or parent/carer, we will respect confidentiality at all times and not share information without their permission. However, we will share this information without permission in cases of child protection, or where we believe there is an immediate risk of serious harm to the person involved.
A forced marriage is defined as ‘a marriage in which one, or both spouses, do not consent to the marriage but are coerced into it. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure. In the cases of some vulnerable adults who lack the capacity to consent, coercion is not required for a marriage to be forced’.
If we suspect or receive information about a forced marriage being planned then we will follow our safeguarding reporting procedures. If the person concerned is under the age of 18 years then we will report the incident to the children’s social care team.
If we believe a person is in imminent danger of being forced into a marriage we may contact the Police and the Governments Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) on 020 7008 0151.
This policy was reviewed August 2020
Signed on behalf of the Preschool Anne Ridgway and Heather Gardner