High Seaton, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 1NP

01900 66982

admin@seatonacademy.co.uk

“Educating our children with the skills they need to live fulfilling lives.”

COVID19 - Child Protection

 

This Addendum must be read in conjunction with the School’s own Child Protection Policy available on the school website.

 Seaton Academy

 

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES – COVID 19 ADDENDUM

March 2020

 

At the time of publishing the following roles were held:

Head teacher

Mrs C L Banks

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Mrs C L Banks

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead(s)

Mrs W Durham

Mrs D Midwood

Designated Teacher for looked-after or previously looked-after children

Mrs W Durham

Trustee  with safeguarding responsibility

Mrs S Walsh

 

Please note:  The above roles are held by individuals in attendance at the Academy when it is operating normally.  In relation to the Childcare Hub the name of the DSL and Deputy DSL may change on a daily basis. 

 If you have a concern about a child, please call the Childcare Hub Senior Manager on 01900 604565

 REVIEW SHEET

The information in the table below provides details of the earlier versions of this document and brief details of reviews and, where appropriate amendments which have been made to later versions. 

Version Number

Version Description

Date of Revision

1

Original

March 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

This addendum has been created following DfE guidance on safeguarding in schools and other providers issued by GOV UK on 27 March and applies to all schools, whether maintained, non-maintained or independent (including academies, academy trusts, free schools and alternative provision academies), maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units.  It is an addendum to the School’s Child Protection Policy and procedures which in turn complies with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019 statutory guidance and must be read in conjunction with that Policy and procedures.  The Child Protection Policy and procedures is available on the school website or in hard copy on request.

Context

From 20th March 2020 parents were asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response - who absolutely need to attend.  Schools and all childcare providers were asked to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Despite the changes, the school’s Child Protection Policy and procedures is fundamentally the same: children and young people always come first, staff will respond robustly to safeguarding concerns and contact the DSL in line with our established safeguarding procedure.

This addendum sets out some of the adjustments we are making in line with the changed arrangements in the school and following advice from government and local agencies.

 

The current school position and local advice

At Seaton Academy the current position is that the school is closed to all pupils.  This is following advice from the Local Authority and their safeguarding partners (Health Authority and Police).  Further advice on this issue can be found on Cumbria County Council website.  This includes information issued to schools regarding children with education, health and care (EHC) plans, details of the Designated Officer (DO) appointed by the Local Authority (see also section on managing allegations below) and children’s social care, referral thresholds and children in need.

Details on the definition of a vulnerable child are outlined below.  Further supporting information on this is outlined in the Government advice ‘Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision’.  This is following advice from the Local Authority and their safeguarding partners (Health Authority and Police).  Further advice on this issue can be found on Cumbria County Council website.  This includes information issued to schools regarding children with EHC plans, details of the Designated Officer (DO) appointed by the Local Authority and children’s social care, referral thresholds and children in need.

Vulnerable children/groups

Vulnerable children include those who have an allocated social worker and those children and young people up to the age of 25 with an education, health and care (EHC) plan. 

Those who have a social worker include children who have a Child Protection Plan and those who are looked after or have in the past been looked after by the Local Authority.   A child may also be deemed to be vulnerable if they have been assessed as being in need or otherwise meet the definition in section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Those with an EHC plan will be risk-assessed in consultation with the Local Authority and parents to decide whether they need to continue to be offered a school place in order to meet their needs or whether they can safely have their needs met at home.  This could include, if necessary, carers, therapists or clinicians visiting the home to provide any essential services.  Many children and young people with EHC plans can safely remain at home.

Eligibility for free school meals in and of itself is not necessarily the determining factor in assessing vulnerability.  Senior leaders, especially the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and deputy know who most vulnerable children are and have the flexibility to offer a place to those on the edge of receiving children’s social care support.

The School will continue to work with and support children’s social workers to help protect vulnerable children.  This includes working with and supporting children’s social workers and the local authority virtual school head (VSH) for looked-after and previously looked-after children.

There is an expectation that vulnerable children who have a social worker will attend an education setting, so long as they do not have underlying health conditions that put them at risk.  In circumstances where a parent does not want to bring their child to an education setting, and their child is considered vulnerable, the social worker and the school will explore the reasons for this directly with the parent.

Where parents are concerned about the risk of the child contracting COVID-19, the school DSL/Head teacher or the social worker will talk through these anxieties with the parent/carer following the advice set out by Public Health England.

We will encourage our vulnerable children and young people to attend a school, including remotely if needed.

Attendance and monitoring

Department for Education (DfE) advice is that Local Authorities and education settings do not need to complete their usual day-to-day attendance processes to follow up on non-attendance.  Childcare Hubs will, however, complete a daily attendance return for the Centre to be sent back to the DfE by 12 noon each day.

The Head teacher/SLT and social workers will agree with parents/carers whether children in need should be attending school – school staff will then follow up on any pupil that they were expecting to attend school or a designated Childcare Hub but who does not.  We will also follow up with any parent or carer who has arranged care (via the Designated Childcare Hub) for their child/ren and they subsequently do not attend.

To support the above, the school will, when communicating with parents/carers, confirm emergency contact numbers are correct and ask for any additional emergency contact numbers where they are available.  In all circumstances where a vulnerable child does not take up their place at school or a designated Childcare Hub, or discontinues, the school will notify the child’s social worker, as stated in the flow chart at Appendix A.  This will then result in the application of a Critical Absence Plan approved by the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

 

Safeguarding Arrangements

The school has both a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and a Deputy DSL as outlined on the first page of our Child Protection Policy and procedures and replicated on the first page of this addendum.  These staff will liaise with the nominated DSL or senior manager at the Designated Childcare Hub where there are child protection concerns relating to a child or young person normally in the care of the school.

It is important that all our school staff and volunteers have access to a trained DSL (or deputy).  Where a trained DSL or deputy is not on site, in addition to the above, the Head teacher (or appropriately trained SLT member) will assume responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding.  This might include updating and managing access to child protection online management system (e.g. CPOMS) or the normal school recording system and liaising with the offsite DSL or deputy and, as required, liaising with children’s social workers where they require access to children in need and/or to carry out statutory assessments at the school.

 

Reporting a concern

Where staff or other adults have a concern about a child, they should continue to follow the procedures outlined in the School’s Child Protection procedures.  Staff and volunteers are reminded of the need to report any concern immediately and without delay to the DSL or deputy DSL.  In the absence of an onsite DSL or deputy DSL, all concerns must be directed to the Hub Senior leader.

Any concerns or allegations made against staff or other adults in the Childcare Hub must be directed to the Hub Senior leader.  Concerns or allegations made against the Hub Senior leader should be directed to the Chair of Governors in accordance with our existing Child Protection Policy and procedures.  Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership have procedures for reporting and dealing with allegations against adults and details of the Designated Officer (DO) appointed by the Local Authority.

If at any point there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral will be made Cumbria Safeguarding Hub immediately – anybody can make a referral.  If a referral is made by a member of staff or other adult, they should inform the DSL or deputy DSL as soon as possible.

Cumbria Safeguarding Hub - 0333 240 1727

E mail:       safeguardinghub.fax@cumbria.gov.uk

Peer on peer abuse

We recognise that during the closure a revised process may be required for managing any report of peer on peer or child on child abuse and supporting victims.

Where school staff receive a report of peer on peer abuse either online or in the wider school community, they will follow the principles as set out in part 5 of KCSiE 2019 and those outlined within our Child Protection Policy procedures.

The school will listen to and work with the young person, parents/carers and any multiagency partner required to ensure the safety and security of that young person.  Concerns and actions must be recorded on the normal school recording system and appropriate referrals made.

Child Protection Training and Induction

Statutory DSL training is very unlikely to take place whilst there remains a threat of the COVID 19 virus.  For the period COVID-19 measures are in place, a DSL (or deputy) who has been trained will continue to be classed as a trained DSL (or deputy) even if they miss their refresher training.  All existing school staff (including those contracted by other employers but who regularly work in the school) have had safeguarding training, have read part 1 and Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSiE), 2019, the Child Protection Policy and procedures, the school staff Code of Conduct, Whistleblowing procedures and the school Whole School Behaviour Policy and procedures.  Regular volunteers have also read part 1 and Annex A of KCSiE in relation to their role in school.

The DSL will communicate with staff any new local arrangements, so they know what to do if they are worried about a child or have concerns about the behaviour of another adult in school.  Where new staff or volunteers are recruited, they will be given a safeguarding induction and be provided with a copy of the School staff Code of Conduct and appropriate school Policies as outlined above.

 

Safe Recruitment

It remains essential that people who are unsuitable are not allowed to enter the children’s workforce or gain access to children.  When recruiting new staff, we will continue to follow the relevant safer recruitment processes for our setting, including, as appropriate, relevant sections in part 3 of KCSiE 2019.

In response to COVID-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has made changes to its guidance (COVID-19: Free-of-charge DBS applications and fast-track Barred List check service) on standard and enhanced DBS ID checking to minimise the need for face to face contact.

Where we are utilising volunteers, we will continue to follow the checking process as set out in paragraphs 167 to 172 of KCSiE 2019.  A risk assessment will also be put in place for any volunteer used in the setting.  Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been appropriately checked be left unsupervised or be allowed to work in regulated activity.

The school will continue to follow the legal duty to refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult.  Full details can be found at paragraph 163 of KCSiE 2019.

The school will continue to consider and make referrals to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) as per paragraph 166 of KCSiE 2019 and the TRA’s ‘Teacher misconduct advice’ for making a referral.

During the COVID-19 period all referrals to the TRA should be made by emailing Misconduct.Teacher@education.gov.uk.

Whilst acknowledging the challenge of the current National emergency, it is essential from a safeguarding perspective that any school is aware, on any given day, which staff/volunteers will be in the Childcare Hub, and that appropriate checks have been carried out, especially for anyone engaging in regulated activity.  As such, the school will continue to keep the single central record (SCR) up to date as outlined in paragraphs 148 to 156 in KCSIE 2019

 

Online Safety

The Childcare Hub will continue to provide a safe environment, including online.

This includes the use of the online filtering system.  Where children and young people are using computers in the setting, appropriate supervision will be in place.

 

Safety of children using online systems remote from school

It is important that all staff who interact with children, including online, continue to look out for signs that a child may be at risk.  Any such concerns should be dealt with in accordance with our Child Protection Policy and procedures and where appropriate, referrals will be made to children’s social care and as required, the Police.  Any member of staff who has concerns about a child must report this to the DSL in the first instance and failing the availability of the DSL, the Head teacher.  Online teaching should follow the same principles as set out in the school Code of Conduct.

The school will ensure any use of online learning tools and systems is in line with privacy and data protection (GDPR) requirements.  The delivery of any live lessons must be agreed with the Head teacher or other senior leader in advance.  Consent must be sought from both parents and pupils. 

We will ensure that children who are being asked to work online have very clear reporting routes in place so they can raise any concerns with the school whilst online e.g. incidents of cyberbullying and we will apply the same child-centred safeguarding practices as if children were learning at school.

The school has taken on board guidance from the UK Safer Internet Centre on safe remote learning.  We have reviewed the code of conduct and information sharing policy accordingly.  Staff have discussed the risk that professional boundaries could slip during this exceptional period and been reminded of the school’s code of conduct and importance of using school systems to communicate with children and their families.

Children and young people accessing remote learning receive guidance on keeping safe online and know how to raise concerns with the school.  

We also recommend the following to pupils:

Parents and carers have received information about keeping children safe online with peers, the school, other education sites they may access and the wider internet community.  We have set out the sites children will be asked to access.

Free additional support for staff in responding to online safety issues can be accessed from the Professionals Online Safety Helpline at the UK Safer Internet Centre.

 

Supporting children not in school

The school is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all its children and young people.

Where the DSL has identified a child to be on the edge of social care support, or who would normally receive pastoral-type support, they will ensure that a robust communication plan is in place for that child.

Details of this plan must be recorded on the school normal recording system as should a record of any contact made.  The communication plans can include: remote contact; phone contact; or socially distant door-step visits.  Other individualised contact methods should be considered and recorded.

The school and its DSL will work closely with all stakeholders to maximise the effectiveness of any communication plan.  This plan must be reviewed regularly (at least once a fortnight) and where concerns arise, the DSL will consider any referrals as appropriate.

We will share safeguarding and child protection messages on its website and social media pages.

We recognise that school is a protective factor for children and young people and the current circumstances can affect the mental health of pupils, their parents/Carers and immediate family.  To this end, we will do everything we can to minimise the effects in relation to any online resources made available to pupils’ home learning.

Teachers at our school need to be aware of the above in setting expectations of pupils’ work where they are at home.

We will endeavour to support our pupils and their families in the current circumstances using the existing school systems and processes.  We will also make reference to DfE guidance mental health and behaviour in schools 2018.

The DfE have also issued advice for parents/carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Welfare checks will be made on all pupils.  The frequency and method of communication will be decided by the Head teacher working with the DSL and SENCO.

 

Appendix A:      WEEKLY (MON-FRI) PHONE CALL TO FAMILIES OF CHILDREN WITH A SOCIAL WORKER WORKER (CP, CIN, CLA)

 

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