Part one: Safeguarding information for all staff
What school and college staff should know and do

A child centred and coordinated approach to safeguarding

1. Schools and colleges and their staff are an important part of the wider safeguarding system for children. This system is described in statutory guidance Working together to safeguard children.

2. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.

3. No single professional can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. If children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.

4. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance as: protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

5. Children includes everyone under the age of 18.

The role of school and college staff

6. School and college staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early, provide help for children, and prevent concerns from escalating.

7. All school and college staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn.

8. Every school and college should have a designated safeguarding lead who will provide support to staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely with other services such as children’s social care.

9. All school and college staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. In the first instance, staff should discuss early help requirements with the designated safeguarding lead. Staff may be required to support other agencies and professionals in an early help assessment.

10. Any staff member who has a concern about a child’s welfare should follow the referral processes.

11. The Teachers’ Standards 2012 state that teachers, including headteachers, should safeguard children’s wellbeing and maintain public trust in the teaching profession as part of their professional duties.4
What school and college staff need to know.

12. All staff members should be aware of systems within their school or college which support safeguarding and these should be explained to them as part of staff induction. This should include:
• the child protection policy;
• the staff behaviour policy (sometimes called a code of conduct); and
• the role of the designated safeguarding lead.

Copies of policies and a copy of Part one of this document (Keeping children safe in education) should be provided to staff at induction.

13. All staff members should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training which is regularly updated. In addition all staff members should receive safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings), as required, but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.

14. All staff should be aware of the early help process, and understand their role in it. This includes identifying emerging problems, liaising with the designated safeguarding lead, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment and, in some cases, acting as the lead professional in undertaking an early help assessment.

15. All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to children’s social care and for statutory assessments along with the role they might be expected to play in such assessments.

16. All staff should know what to do if a child tells them he/she is being abused or neglected. Staff should know how to manage the requirement to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality whilst at the same time liaising with relevant professionals such as the designated safeguarding lead and children’s social care. Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about an allegation, as this may ultimately not be in the best interests of the child.

What school and college staff should look out for

17. All school and college staff members should be aware of the types of abuse and neglect so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection. Types of abuse and neglect, and examples of safeguarding issues are described below.

18. Staff members working with children are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the best interests of the child.

19. Knowing what to look for is vital to the early identification of abuse and neglect. If staff members are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead.

What school and college staff should do if they have concerns about a child

If staff members have any concerns about a child (as opposed to a child being in immediate danger) they will need to decide what action to take. Where possible, there should be a conversation with the designated safeguarding lead to agree a course of action, although any staff member can make a referral to children’s social care. Other options could include referral to specialist services or early help services and should be made in accordance with the referral threshold set by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Record keeping

All concerns, discussions and decisions made and the reasons for those decisions should be recorded in writing. If in doubt about recording requirements, staff should discuss with the designated safeguarding lead.

Why is all of this important?

It is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating. Research and Serious Case Reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action. Poor practice includes: failing to act on and refer the early signs of abuse and neglect; poor record keeping; failing to listen to the views of the child; failing to re-assess concerns when situations do not improve; sharing information too slowly; and a lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action.

What school and college staff should do if they have concerns about another staff member

If staff members have concerns about another staff member, then this should be referred to the headteacher or principal. Where there are concerns about the headteacher or principal, this should be referred to the chair of governors, chair of the management committee or proprietor of an independent school as appropriate. In the event of allegations of abuse being made against the headteacher, where the headteacher is also the sole proprietor of an independent school, allegations should be reported directly to the designated officer(s) at the local authority. Staff may consider discussing any concerns with the school’s designated safeguarding lead and make any referral via them. Full details can be found in Part four of this guidance.

What school or college staff should do if they have concerns about safeguarding practices within the school or college

1. All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school or college’s safeguarding regime and know that such concerns will be taken seriously by the senior leadership team.

2. Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, which are suitably reflected in staff training and staff behaviour policies, should be in place for such concerns to be raised with the school or college’s senior leadership team.

Types of abuse and neglect

1. All school and college staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another.

2. Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.

3. Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

4. Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and 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 cyberbullying), 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, although it may occur alone.

5. 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 (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

6. Neglect: 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: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Specific safeguarding issues

7. All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues, some of which are listed below. Staff should be aware that behaviours linked to the likes of drug taking, alcohol abuse, truanting and sexting put children in danger.

8. All staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to, bullying (including cyberbullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting. Staff should be clear as to the school or college’s policy and procedures with regards to peer on peer abuse.

Part two: The management of safeguarding

The responsibility of governing bodies, proprietors and management committees
Legislation and the law

1. Governing bodies and proprietors (in Part two, unless otherwise stated, this includes management committees) must ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation. They must have regard to this guidance to ensure that the policies, procedures and training in their schools or colleges are effective and comply with the law at all times.10

2. Schools and colleges should have a senior board level (or equivalent) lead to take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements.11
Safeguarding policies

3. Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure there are appropriate policies and procedures in place in order for appropriate action to be taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote children’s welfare.

4. This should include:
• an effective child protection policy; and
• a staff behaviour policy (sometimes called the code of conduct) which should amongst other things include - acceptable use of technologies, staff/pupil relationships and communications including the use of social media. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. These policies, along with Part one of this guidance (Keeping children safe in education) and information regarding the role of the designated safeguarding lead, should be provided to all staff on induction. Governing bodies and proprietors should take a proportional risk-based approach to the level of information that is provided to temporary staff and volunteers.

5. The child protection policy should describe procedures which are in accordance with government guidance and refer to locally agreed inter-agency procedures put in place by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) or police, be updated annually (as a minimum), and be available publicly either via the school or college website or by other means.

6. Headteachers and principals should ensure that the above policies and procedures, adopted by governing bodies and proprietors, particularly concerning referrals of cases of suspected abuse and neglect, are followed by all staff.

7. Governing bodies and proprietors should put in place appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect including sexual abuse or exploitation and to help prevent the risks of their going missing in future.

The designated safeguarding lead

1. Governing bodies and proprietors should appoint an appropriate senior member of staff, from the school or college leadership team, to the role of designated safeguarding lead. The designated safeguarding lead should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. This should be explicit in the role-holder’s job description.

2. It is a matter for individual schools and colleges as to whether they choose to have one or more deputy designated safeguarding leads. Any deputies should be trained to the same standard as the designated safeguarding lead.

3. Whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead. This responsibility should not be delegated.

4. The designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should liaise with the local authority and work with other agencies in line with Working together to safeguard.