Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
Designated Safeguarding Lead – Ruth Kestenbaum 07761 809 175
This policy applies to all staff and volunteers working at Ealing Street Dance Academy. It reflects current legislation, accepted best practice and complies with government guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children (2022) and Keeping Children Safe in Education (2022) Children Act (2004), The London Safeguarding Children Board Procedures and HM Prevent Duty Guidance (2021 & 2015). What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2015).
At ESDA we recognise the fundamental importance of safeguarding and its centrality to all our work. We believe that all children have the right to learn in a safe environment. “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”. To do this, staff must know how to work to keep children safe, identify risks, signs of harm or potential harm and how to seek advice from the school’s designated safeguarding leader. (Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022)
Staff at ESDA are aware that many children are the victims of different kinds of abuse and that they can be subjected to social factors that have an adverse impact upon their lives – including domestic violence, substance misuse, bullying, mental health and radicalisation. We also acknowledge that safeguarding incidents could happen anywhere and staff should 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 interests of the child.
The dance school adopts the definition used in the Children Act 2004 and in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’.
This can be summarised as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing 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
Safeguarding relates to a wide range of aspects of a child’s life which are interconnected including:
- health and safety including pupils’ health and safety
- pupils’ attendance and wellbeing
- meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions
- safe use of images
- safer recruitment and DBS checks
- first aid
- equality and diversity
Safeguarding can involve a range of specific issues:
- bullying including cyberbullying and prejudice-based bullying such as racist, disability, homophobic or transphobic abuse (see anti-bullying policy)
- radicalisation and extremist behaviour
- child sexual exploitation
- drug and substance misuse
- gang and youth violence
- domestic violence
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- fabricated or induced illness
- faith abuse
- gender-based violence/violence against women and girls
- So-called ‘honour-based’ violence
- mental health
- private fostering
- missing children and adults strategy
- children missing education
- child on child abuse and Online abuse
The aims of this policy are to:
- Ensure we practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children
- Support the children’s development in ways that will foster security, confidence and independence, equipping them with the skills needed to keep them safe
- Raise the awareness of both teaching and non-teaching staff of the need to safeguard children and of their responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse.
- Develop and implement procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse.
- Support pupils who have been abused in accordance with the agreed child protection plan
- Establish a safe environment in which children can learn and develop.
- Emphasise the need for good levels of communication between all members of staff.
We follow the procedures set out by Ealing Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) and take account of guidance issued by the DfE to:
- Ensure we have a designated person for child protection
- Ensure every member of staff (including volunteers) knows the name of the designated senior person responsible for child protection and their role
- Ensure all staff, students and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the designated senior person responsible for child protection
- Keep records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately
- Ensure all records are kept securely.
- Develop and then follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer and report to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), as appropriate
- Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed, by ensuring staff are DBS checked at the appropriate level.
5. The role of the Director
- To promote child protection and safeguarding as a priority.
- To support the designated child protection lead in logging and reporting child protection concerns.
- Ensure all recruitment is carried out appropriately.
- To deal with allegations of abuse which are made against staff or volunteers
6. The role of the Designated Child Protection Lead
- To raise the awareness of all staff, students and volunteers to the need for child protection and of their responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse.
- To provide a systematic means of monitoring children thought to be at risk.
- To emphasise the need for good levels of communication between all staff.
- To develop a structured internal procedure to be followed by all members of the dance school community in cases of suspected abuse.
- To ensure all new staff and volunteers are informed about the dance school’s child protection and safeguarding policy during their induction.
- Ensure all staff receive safeguarding updates at least annually.
- To seek advice from and report cases to social care when appropriate.
- Promote early intervention by supporting staff to identify and report emerging problems and support staff in liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment as appropriate.
7. Procedures for dealing with disclosures
It is vital that our actions do not abuse the child further or prejudice further enquiries.
If a member of staff receives a disclosure from a child they should:
– take what the child says seriously
– accept what the child says
- Stay calm
– and in control.
– and make the child feel safe.
- Use open questions
– such as “is there anything else you want to tell me?” or “yes?” or “and?”
- Do not ask leading or probing questions
– it is not our role to investigate
- Make notes
about what was said – noting the position of any physical injuries/marks if appropriate, on a body map.
- Don’t promise confidentiality
reassure the pupil that they have done the right thing, and explain whom you will have to tell (the Designated Safeguarding Lead) and why.
- Inform the designated teacher
– as soon as possible (see reporting procedures) and give them the notes made.
USE TED – Tell me what happened, Explain how this happened, and Describe how this happened.
8. Reporting arrangements for Child Abuse Concerns
- All concerns should be reported as soon as possible and by the end of the session in which the concern arose to the DSL.
- Staff members who are unsure or have any doubts should always consult with the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
- The designated safeguarding lead will plan a course of action as a matter of urgency, and ensure that a written record is made
- The designated safeguarding lead will decide whether, in the best interests of the child, the matter needs to be referred to Social Care. If there are concerns that the child may be at risk, we are obliged to make a referral. Unless there are concerns that one or both of the parents may be the possible abuser (sexual or physical), the parents will be informed. In the case of a disclosure of sexual or physical abuse where a parent is the alleged abuser a conversation between the school and children’s services will take place as to who is the best agency to inform parents.
- In exceptional circumstances, such as in an emergency staff should speak directly to Social Care or the Police.
9. Early Help
Dance school staff should bring all concerns to the attention of the designated lead. The designated lead will make an informed decision about whether the pupil is in immediate danger or risk of harm. If a concern is raised but the child is not in immediate danger or risk of harm, the designated lead will decide if early help is appropriate and if so, what action to take.
All staff have a responsibility to identify children who may benefit from early help in order to provide support as soon as a problem emerges.
Concerns that may trigger Early Help include:
- marks on child’s body
- poor standard of appearance or change in standard of appearance
- unusual/different behaviour -including academic functioning and mood changes
- puzzling statements or stories from the child
- information from others
- Being without necessary equipment or clothing such as their usual dance clothes, a coat in cold weather etc.
Pupils and their families are entitled to confidentiality but dance school staff have a duty to share confidential information with other professionals if a pupil is at risk, particularly investigating agencies. A child’s welfare will always take precedence in information sharing.
If a pupil confides in a member of staff and requests that the information is kept secret, it is important that the member of staff tells the child sensitively that he/she have a responsibility to refer for the child’s own sake. Within that context, the child should, however, be reassured that the matter will be disclosed only to the people who need to know about it.
Personal information about all pupils’ and their families is regarded by those who work in this dance school as confidential. Staff who receive the information about children and families in the course of their work should have the information only within their professional context.
All records relating to child protection incidents will be maintained by the Designated Safeguarding Lead and deputy, stored securely and only shared as is consistent with the protection of children.
Under the Data Protection Act parents have a right to see all notes, unless the content could jeopardise a child’s safety.
11. Working with Parents/Carers
ESDA will work with parents to support the needs of their child. The welfare of children is paramount however and it is the dance school’s duty to safeguard all children, should a concern arise professional advice may be sought prior to contacting parents. The dance school aims to help parents understand that the dance school has a responsibility for the welfare of all pupils and a duty to refer cases to Social Care in the interests of the child. When working with parents, staff will need to have a non-judgmental attitude; respect confidentiality and recognise feelings of guilt, shame, betrayal and anger that may be evident in some circumstances.
This policy is available to all parents on the ESDA website.
12. Responding to concerns of abuse against staff and volunteers
All dance school staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a child. Staff should always conduct work with individual children or parents with or in view of other adults. All staff must understand that they are employed in a ‘Position of Trust’.
Staff must report to the director any concerns which they have about the safeguarding practice of colleagues and volunteers. The director on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the LA Designated Officer (LADO) for Child Protection.
A referral to the DBS must be made if someone has harmed, or poses a risk of harm to a child and who has been removed from working (paid or unpaid) in regulated activity, or would have been removed had they not left. Referrals should be made to both DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) and the TRA (Teaching Regulation Agency) in cases where there is alleged serious teacher misconduct as well as harm or risk of harm to a child.
ESDA has adopted the local authority procedures for dealing with allegations against staff; ‘ Ealing Council model procedure for schools responding to allegations of abuse by teachers and other staff’.
The Ealing LADO is:
- Maggie Scarlett Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Landline: 020 8825 8930
In the absence of the LADO please contact the child protection advisors on the same number who have delegated LADO responsibilities.
Low- Level Concerns
The school takes all concerns raised about members of staff seriously. The concerns will be shared with the member of staff sensitively and the DSL, deputy DSL and the director will collaborate to ensure appropriate action is taken. This may include consulting with the LADO.
13. About this policy
- Date of policy: September 2023
- Review date: September 2024