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Our Safeguarding Policy

Updated & Adopted - April 2019

 

At Little Acorns Kindergarten, we intend to create an environment in which children are safe and where any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to.  We are committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all children and their families.  We recognise our responsibilities to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and neglect.  Little Acorns Kindergarten acknowledges its duty to act appropriately with regards to any allegations towards a member of staff or volunteer, or towards any disclosures or suspicion of abuse.


Little Acorns Kindergarten recognises its duty of care to safeguard children as detailed under the Children Acts’ 1989 and 2004 and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.


Little Acorns Kindergarten Lead Safeguarding Officer is:-     Lianne Millington


Little Acorns Kindergarten Deputy Safeguarding Officer is:- Susanna Allford


Little Acorns Kindergarten believes that:


  • The welfare of all children is paramount

  • All children, whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, ethnicity, religious or spiritual beliefs and/or sexual identity, have the right to protection from abuse

  • All allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to in a swift and appropriate manner


Little Acorns Kindergarten will ensure that:


  • All children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity

  • The welfare of each child will always be of highest priority

  • Bullying (in any form) is neither accepted nor condoned

  • Action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour

  • There is a clear line of accountability with regards to safeguarding concerns

  • Staff and volunteers will be kept updated with regards to changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children and young people

  • Staff and volunteers will undertake relevant and appropriate development and training in relation to safeguarding children

  • All staff and volunteers within the organisation are fully aware of their responsibilities to safeguarding and their duty to the children and young people in their care, and that they fully understand the correct process for reporting concerns



All staff and volunteers working within Little Acorns Kindergarten must:


  • Understand the different categories of abuse and neglect, and how to recognise the signs.

  • Recognise that some parents/carers may require additional support in raising their children, for example as a result of mental health issues, substance misuse or domestic abuse.

  • Understand their responsibility to report any concerns that a child is being, or is at risk of being, abused or neglected. This includes reporting any concern they may have regarding another staff member or volunteer’s behaviour towards a child or children.

  • Understand the line of accountability for reporting safeguarding concerns, and be fully aware of the organisation’s safeguarding lead and their role within the organisation.

  • If appropriate; liaise with other agencies, contribute to safeguarding assessments and attend child protection meetings / core groups / conferences.


Abuse and Neglect are forms 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 institution or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others.  Children can be abused by an adult, or adults, or another child or children.


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 or, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.


Emotional Abuse:

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.

  • not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.

  • age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children, beyond their developmental capacity and normal social interaction.

  • overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.

  • seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.

  • serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.


Sexual Abuse:

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. Woman can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.


Child Sexual Exploitation:

This is 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.


Neglect:

The persistent failure to meet a child’s basis 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 misuse. 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


Be Alert:

Signs to be aware of include:-

  • Significant changes in children’s behaviour

  • Deterioration in children’s general well being

  • Unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect

  • Children’s comments which give cause for concern

  • Any reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting.


In order to achieve this we will:-


1.      Exclude known abusers:

  • Applicants for positions within the kindergarten will be made aware that the position is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

  • All applicants for paid work in the kindergarten will be interviewed before an appointment is made and applicants will be asked to provide two references.Both references will be followed up.A regular volunteer/helper will be asked to provide a character reference.In the case where applicants have had unexplained gaps in their employment history, or who have moved rapidly from one job to another, explanations will be sought.

  • All applicants will be asked for proof of identify and evidence of the right to work in the UK prior to offer of employment.

  • All appointments, both voluntary and paid, will be subject to a probationary period and will not be confirmed unless the trustees of the kindergarten are confident that the applicant can be safely entrusted with children which will include completion of satisfactory DBS safety checks.

  • Where applicants are rejected because of information that has been disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.

  • We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and DBS checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at the provision or has access to the children.DBS checks to be renewed every 3 years.

  • Volunteers do not work unsupervised.

  • We abide by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006 and 2009) requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of children protection concern.

  • We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the setting.

  • We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the provision so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.

  • We take steps to ensure children are not photographed or filmed on video for any other purpose than to record their development or their participation in events organised by us.Parents sign a consent form and have access to records holding visual images of their child.


2.            Seek and supply training, keep records

  • We will seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the setting to ensure that we all recognise the symptoms of possible physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.This will be revisited every 3 years or 2 years for the designated safeguard lead.

  • The Safeguarding and Child Protection policies and procedures will be readdressed at regular opportunities for all staff.

  • Record information about staff qualifications, and the identify checks and vetting processes that have been completed including:-

    • DBS reference number

    • Date disclosure was obtained

    • Details of who obtained it

  • Inform staff they must disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders or reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children (whether received before or during their employment with us).

  • Inform staff they must disclose any changes in medication/social life that may affect their concentration whilst working with children.

  • All staff are asked to regularly complete a Staff Suitability Declaration Form to offer the opportunity to advise of changes to health, wellbeing, medication, circumstances.


2.            Prevent abuse by means of good practice and in conjunction with the Buckinghamshire

            County Council Early Years and Childcare Services ‘Safeguarding/Child Protection

            Information and Guidance for Childcare Providers (currently printed on white paper,

            held in Safeguarding Children file):

  • Adult:child ratios are strictly adhered to (Under 3’s 1:4, Over 3’s 1:8).An example is placed on the staff board for guidance.

  • The layout of the rooms allows for constant supervision.No child is left alone.

  • No adult will be left alone with individual children or small groups.

  • An adult who needs to take a child aside eg. For ‘time out’ after behaviour that needs improvement, will ensure that other adults are within earshot.The layout of the kindergarten allows constant supervision of children.

  • When an adult needs to change a child’s nappy/pull up or clothing due to soiling a second adult will be called into the WC area ensuring there are sufficient staff remaining in the play room, if needed everyone must be called in from outside.This also applies to assisting a child to wipe their bottom.

  • Only registered and DBS checked members of staff will be allowed to take children to the WC.

  • All mobile phones should be placed in a basket and kept in the kitchen.Visitors to the Kindergarten will be asked to leave their mobile phone in a basket in the office.(See more detail in Appendix 1 for further clarification).

  • Parents will not be allowed to use mobile phones whilst in the Kindergarten collection and/or dropping off.

  • No type of photographic equipment will be used/taken into the WC area.Personal belongings will be kept in the office.Only LAK photographic equipment to be used for photographic recording (two designated cameras).

  • DBS checks are renewed every 3 years.Staff/volunteers will be encouraged to join the DBS Update Service.

  • Children will be encouraged to develop a sense of autonomy and independence by receiving adult support in making choices and in finding the words for their own feelings and acceptable ways to express these feelings.This will foster the child’s self-confidence and give the child vocabulary to resist inappropriate approaches.

  • Only authorised adults are allowed to collect a child from the setting.

  • If a unknown or unauthorised adult arrives to collect a child, they will not be given access until a member of staff has checked with the parent/carer.

  • Parents/carers provide us with a unique password if they have designated another adult to collect their child.We use a ‘collection authorisation’ form available each morning for parents to fill in if necessary.


4.            We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms – physical, emotional,

            neglect, sexual, Child Sexual Exploitation, Domestic Violence and Female Genital

            Mutilation.


            This may be demonstrated through:-

  • Significant changes in their behaviour.

  • Deterioration in their general well-being

  • Their comments which may give cause for concern, or the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure).

  • Changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their play

  • Unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect

  • Any reason to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting

  • Unexplained absences, patterns of absences or extended absence


And

  • Take into account factors affecting parental capacity, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, parent’s drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent’s learning disability.

  • We are aware of other factors that affect children’s vulnerability such as abuse of disabled children, fabricated or induced illness, child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession, sexual exploitation of children such as through internet abuse and Female Genital Mutilation that may affect or may have affected children and young people using our provision.


5.            We recognise the new guidelines on British Values and ‘prevent duty’ to help protect

            children from radicalisation and extremism.  Please see separately ‘Policy on British

            Values and Prevent Duties’.



6.            We will respond appropriately to suspicions of abuse:-

  • The first concern/priority will be the child.

  • Listen to the child.Allow them to tell you what has happened in their own way, and at their own pace.Do not interrupt a child who is freely recalling significant events.

  • If changes to child’s behaviour/appearance have been noticed they will be logged and then investigated.

  • Any staff member who has concerns about a child will initially inform the Lead Safeguarding Officer, in confidence.The Manager will be made aware of the facts in relation to all concerns raised.

  • Remain calm. Be reassuring and supportive but try not to respond emotionally.

  • Do not ask leading questions.Only ask questions if you are seeking clarification about something they have said.Use TED: Tell, Explain, Describe.

  • When you are able to, make an accurate record of what you have been told, taking care to note any times, dates or locations mentioned.Use the child’s own words where possible.Do not substitute anatomically correct names for body part names used by the child.

  • Reassure the child that they did the right thing in telling someone and you are glad they told you.Reassure the child that they have not done anything wrong.

  • Do not promise to keep their disclosure a secret, but reassure the child that you will only share the information with the right people who will be able to help them.  Explain what you will do next.

  • At your earliest opportunity, speak to your Safeguarding Lead regarding the disclosure.If your Safeguarding Lead and Deputy Safeguarding Lead are not available, ring First Response for advice.

  • The Safeguarding Lead will take action in line with the BSCB procedure ‘What to do if you are concerned about a child in Buckinghamshire.A flow chart explaining this procedure is available in the safeguarding file and displayed in the office.

  • The Safeguarding Lead should refer to the BSCB Thresholds Document (see safeguarding file) to inform decision making.If unclear as to whether to make a referral to Social Care, call First Response for advice (see below for contact information).


If there is immediate risk of harm to a child DO NOT DELAY, ring 999


  • If the suspicions are with the Manager of the setting, immediate advice should be taken from OFSTED and the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) within 24 hours (see below for contact information) by the Safeguarding Lead or if inappropriate direct contact.Please also see our whistle blowing policy (safeguarding file). Ofsted will be notified ASAP, within 14 days.

  • A record of all concerns will be kept.

  • Parents will be the first point of reference (unless it is not in the child’s best interest).If the parents are unable to allay the Safeguarding Leads concerns about the child, the matter will also be taken up with Social Services, OFSTED and the LADO.

  • In exceptional circumstances, Social Services may be the first point of reference.

  • Advice may be sought from the LADO, OFSTED, and if necessary, the police.

  • The Safeguarding Lead will initiate contact with parents and any relevant outside agencies.

  • All suspicions and investigations will be kept confidential – shared only with those who need to know.The people most commonly involved will be the member of staff/key-person, the Safeguarding Lead(s) and the Manager.

  • If a safeguarding concern is made against a volunteer or member of staff regarding any form of child abuse, contact will be made with the LADO.She/he may be suspended immediately, after consideration of the incident.Alternatively they may be tasked with administrative duties away from the children. If the allegation is confirmed dismissal of the staff member will occur. Staff will inform DBS of the outcome. The Trustees of Little Acorns Kindergarten would then contact OFSTED and the LADO and guidance will be sought in how to proceed. This allows OFSTED to log information about the complaint and keep a record about that person, thereby monitoring any future applications to different settings.Any investigations will be in line with OFSTED and LADO procedures and conducted in conjunction with them.

  • Confidential records will be kept of the allegation and of the subsequent proceedings.

  • In all cases the LADO, DBS, Child Protection and Sexual Crime Unit (police) will be informed immediately or within 24 hours (see contact information below).

  • If the complaint is not of a serious nature (after consultation with the Trustees) the member of staff may continue to work during the investigation – always working alongside another staff member and given duties that do not involve working with the child in question.

  • For all contact information and telephone numbers please refer to the LADO/Child Protection Information and Guidance for Childcare Providers kept in the Safeguarding/Child Protection File.


7.            Keep records

  • We will start a confidential record (not linked to usual observations records) whenever worrying changes are observed in a child’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance.This will be kept separate from child’s observation records of progress and development.These records will be kept in a separate file and will not be accessible to other people other than the Designated Persons and/or Kindergarten Manager as appropriate.

  • The record will include:-

    • Name, age and address of child

    • Timed and dated observations/disclosure describing the child’s behaviour/appearance objectively written down giving facts without practitioners’ personal comment or interpretation.

    • If possible, the exact words of the child will be recorded.

    • The practitioner will the name, sign and date the recording.

    • Include the names of any other person present at the time.

  • A log of referrals to First Respond/LADO will be kept in the safeguarding file along with a log of children subject to a CP plan, identified as a child in need or are subject to a social care led multi-agency plan.

  • Our information is gathered and shared in accordance with guidelines set out by:

  • BSCB Multi Agency Information Sharing Code of Practice

•    HM Government Information Sharing Guidance (2015)
•    Seven Golden Rules for Information Sharing

  • NB: staff should be aware of certain medical conditions of a child that could be misinterpreted, ie. Mongolian Blue Spot etc. Such conditions require open dialogue between parents and practitioners of the kindergarten to ensure there are no misunderstandings.


8.            Liaise with other bodies

  • The kindergarten operates in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB).

  • Sharing information via Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

  • Confidential records kept on the children about whom the kindergarten is anxious will be shared with Social Services Department if we feel that adequate explanations for changes in the child’s condition have not been provided.

  • We will maintain on-going contact with the registering authority, together with names, addresses and telephone numbers of individual social workers, to enable good working relations in the case of an emergency referral or follow-up.

  • Records will be kept of all contact numbers.


9.            Support Families

  • Little Acorns Kindergarten will take every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relationships between families, staff and volunteers within the setting.

  • Where abuse at home is suspected the kindergarten will continue to welcome the child and family while investigations proceed.

  • Confidential records kept on a child will be shared with families if it is in the best interest of the child.

  • Little Acorns Kindergarten will do everything in its power to support and work with the child’s family, with the proviso that the care and safety of the child is paramount.


10.    Escalation and Challenge

  • Little Acorns recognises there may be differences of opinion about the best cause of action when dealing with a safeguarding issue. Little Acorns believe it is very important that all those working with children and families feel able to air their views and constructively challenge the action of others. This includes cases where the difference of opinion is with professionals who are more senior or experienced. Similarly, agencies or professionals should not be defensive if challenged.
    Staff can refer to the following procedure;

BSCB Escalation, Challenge and Conflict Resolution Procedure


11.    e- Safety

  • Little Acorns recognises the need for staff and volunteers to be able to use technology as part of their role. Our confidentiality and email and computer use policy clearly sets out our strict procedures.


Legal Framework

Primary legislation                                 Secondary legislation

Children Act (1989 s47)                           Sexual Offences Act (2003)

Protection of Children Act (1999)                     Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000)

Data Protection Act (1998)                           Equalities Act (2010)

The Children Act (Every Child Matters) (2004)         Data Protection Act (1998) No Statutory

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006&2009) Guidance

                                                                Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009


Further Guidance

Working together to Safeguard Children HMG March 2015)

What to do if you are Worried a child is Being Abused – advice for practitioners (HMG March 2015)

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) April 2017