Child Protection Policy

Rationale

All children have the right to thrive in a safe, nurturing environment both at home and at nursery.

At The Limes, we work with children, parents, the wider community and other professionals to ensure the safety of children and to help them to have the best possible start in life.

The school recognises that it has an explicit duty to safeguard and protect children from abuse as defined in the Children Act 2004 and the Education Act 2002. The overall intention and purpose behind the school’s child protection policy is underpinned by the fundamental principle of the Children Act 1989:

‘The welfare of the child is paramount’

 Principles and Practices

  • We are committed to creating a ‘culture of safety’ in which children are protected from abuse and harm.
  • All adults working with or on behalf of children have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
  • We will respond promptly and proportionately to all incidents and concerns in accordance with local safeguarding guidelines (Bristol Children’s Safeguarding Board) and the procedures set out in the South West Child Protection Procedures guidance (www.swcpp.org.uk).
  • All staff are trained to at least Level 1 in Child Protection. This training is updated at least every two years and will be included within the first six months’ of employment as part of an induction programme for all staff from April 2012.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer and deputy will be receive advanced training every three years.
  • We promote awareness of safeguarding and child protection issues through our prospectus, family induction, displays and wider training programmes, including some for parents and other professionals.
  • We work closely with parents to build their understanding and commitment to the principles of safeguarding.

 Curriculum

  • We believe in children’s right to be listened to. We provide frequent opportunities for speaking and listening in small groups and one-to-one with an adult.
  • Through our curriculum, children learn to express feelings.
  • We use the ‘key person’ approach –as far as possible, children will have the same key worker for at least a year – to promote trust and appropriate attachment.
  • We aim to support children in developing a positive self image, including their race, colour and ethnicity, faith, home language, family background and culture: We intervene sensitively and promptly when any of these issues arise.
  • We use Conflict Resolution (see our Behaviour Policy) to help children develop resilience and autonomy.

 Recruitment

  • Applicants for posts at The Limes are clearly informed that posts are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and that we will carry out ‘enhanced disclosure’ checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service before appointments can be confirmed.
  • These DBS checks are kept in a locked Personnel file.
  • If an applicant is rejected because of information that has been disclosed, they have a right to know and to challenge incorrect information.

 Security

  • Governors, students and volunteers are DBS checked and appropriate references are taken to ensure that no unsuitable person has access to the children.
  • Students and volunteers are always supervised by a qualified and experienced member of staff.
  • We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the setting.
  • We take steps to ensure that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children; for example, by keeping careful records of family and friends who pick up children.

 Designated Persons

  • Our Head of Centre is our Designated Child Protection Lead Person.
  • In her absence, our deputy head, Kathryn Kempster takes responsibility.
  • In the absence of both Lead Persons, concerns should be referred to one of our Team Leaders.
  • Senior staff will be kept aware of any ongoing safeguarding concerns through the weekly team leader and teacher team meetings.
  • Our Child Protection Link Governor is Nicole Hambidge.

 Procedures

  •  Any incident or concern is recorded as soon as possible that day by the member of staff concerned using the Centre’s pro forma, available in the reception office.
  • Where a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, the adult;
    • Does not question the child
    • Listens to the child
    • Offers reassurance to the child
    • Records as far as possible exactly what the child said and what the circumstances were.
  • The report is handed confidentially to one of the Designated Lead Persons, who discusses it with the practitioner.
  • They may decide that the practitioner will share his/her concerns with the parent or that it is more appropriate for the Head/Manager to do so.
  • The parent’s views are recorded and the parent is asked to sign the record. They may keep a copy.
  • In most cases, staff and parents work together to address any safeguarding issues. This may involve;
    • enhanced support from the setting, for example, through offering therapeutic play
    • a single referral, such as a request for counselling or support from another agency
    • A referral to the Bristol City Council First Response Team who will advise the appropriate course of action.
  •  Only in very rare cases, and in accordance with SWCPP guidance, when a child is deemed to be at significant risk, a referral to Social Care may be made without the parent or carer’s consent. 
  • The Practitioner will always be informed of the outcome and given appropriate supervision to deal with any difficult feelings. 
  • The head teacher, or deputy head in her absence, speaks privately to parents who are planning a long holiday to a part of the world where female genital mutilation is routinely practised, to be sure that there is no risk. If there appears to be a risk, a referral to Social Care will be made immediately. 
  • The setting will always be represented at Core Groups, Child Protection Reviews MARAC and other inter-agency safeguarding meetings at which Centre children are due to be discussed.

Allegations against staff

  • All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues. 
  • If a child makes an allegation against a member of staff, the Head Teacher should be informed immediately. 
  • Any allegation will be handled strictly in accordance with CYPS guidelines and the Local Authority Designated Officer and Child Protection Governor will be informed as soon as possible by the Head Teacher.
  • If the allegation concerns the Head Teacher, the chair of governors will be immediately informed.
  • From April 2012, all staff will receive training in ‘whistle blowing’ during their induction, as part of safer recruitment practice.

Confidentiality

  • Safeguarding and Child Protection records are strictly confidential and are kept in locked storage. Safeguarding records are kept separately from children’s general records.
  • All records are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (2000) and the Data Protection Act (1998). If there is any doubt as to the rights of any party to access information, we may seek legal advice prior to releasing any information.
  • Information is shared according to the Protocol displayed in the staff room and parents’ room.
  • In every case, unless it increases risk to the child, the parent or carer’s permission will be sought before any information is shared.
  • Children and families where there is a protection plan in place will continue to be welcomed to the Centre and treated consistently with respect.
  • Staff do not discuss confidential issues with parents, children or colleagues in public areas and it is the duty of all staff to ensure this policy is respected by visitors to our setting.
  • Confidential records are stored for seven years and then shredded.
  • Records will be shared with the on-going primary school in line with the Bristol City Council protocol for transfer of child protection records.

This policy replaces the previous policy for Child Protection. It was drawn up through a process of consultation with staff and approved by Governors in September 2009.

 Revised May 2012

Revised January 2014