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Safeguarding Policy

Introduction

It is the moral and statutory responsibility of The Barbara Roberts School of Dance to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children, young people and at risk adults. 

 

This policy is reviewed annually prior to the start of each new academic year. If an incident occurs or a change in legislation takes place an earlier review date will be scheduled.

 

The Barbara Roberts School of Dance, will provide, as far as is reasonably practicable, an environment that is safe and with minimum risk to all who take part.

 

All staff members of The Barbara Roberts School of Dance are trained to identify signs of abuse and neglect. The procedures outlined in this document ensure that all children and at risk adults receive effective support, protection and justice.

 

The procedures in this document apply to all paid and voluntary staff. The principal pieces of legislation governing this document include but are not limited to the below:

  • Working together to Safeguard Children 2010

  • The Children Act 1989

  • The Adoption and Children Act 2002: 

  • The Children act 2004 

  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

  • Care Standards Act 2000

  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

  • The Police Act – CRB 1997

  • Mental Health Act 1983

  • NHS and Community Care Act 1990

  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Principles

The Barbara Roberts School of Dance believes that no child, young person or at risk adult should experience abuse of any kind and we are committed to protecting them to the best of our abilities.

 

All children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection and all staff members have equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of harm in accordance with this document.

 

Aims

The Barbara Roberts School of Dance endeavors to keep children, young people and at risk adults safe by:

  • Ensuring all staff receive the appropriate training and information to enable them to meet their statutory responsibilities to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children, young people and at risk adults.

  • Ensuring consistent good practice throughout the school by reviewing policies and renewing staff training annually. 

  • Endeavoring to listen, value and respect all children, young people and at risk adults.

  • Ensuring that all staff members and volunteers pass all necessary checks when recruited. 

  • Only suitably qualified individuals will be employed in a teaching capacity; student teachers will work under the supervision of a qualified member of staff. 

  • Ensuring that no child is videoed or photographed without the prior consent of a parent or guardian.

  • No form of discrimination will be tolerated. This applies to parents, pupils and members of staff. 

  • Ensuring that all children, young people and at risk adults will be treated equally with respect and dignity.

 

Definitions

Abuse

Abuse is a selfish act of oppression and injustice, exploitation and manipulation of power by those in a position of authority. This can be caused by those inflicting harm or those who fail to act to prevent harm. Abuse is not restricted to any socio-economic group, gender or culture.

It can take a number of forms, including the following:

  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Bullying

  • Neglect

  • Financial (or material) abuse

 

Child

Any person under the age of 18 (as defined in the United Nations convention on the Rights of a Child).

 

Child Protection

Child protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child (NSPCC). 

 

Parents/Carers

Birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, e.g. step-parents, foster carers and adoptive parents.

 

Safeguarding

Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.

Safeguarding means:

  • protecting children from abuse and maltreatment

  • preventing harm to children’s health or development

  • ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care

  • taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

(NSPCC)

 

At Risk Adults

An at risk adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. 

This may include a person who:

  • Is elderly and frail

  • Has a mental illness including dementia 

  • Has a physical or sensory disability

  • Has a learning disability

  • Has a severe physical illness

  • Is a substance misuser

  • Is homeless

Key Personnel

Designated Senior Person (DSP) for child protection at Barbara Roberts School of Dance is:

Anne Millington - Principal

0151 653 9673

anne@brs-dance.co.uk

 

Senior Members of the Safeguarding team for child protection at Barbara Roberts School of Dance are:

 

Rebecca Gardner - Dance Teacher

07714030741

Rebecca_Gardner@hotmail.co.uk

 

Hannah Laidlaw - Dance Teacher

07429989157

hannahlouise1305@gmail.com


 

Roles and Responsibilities

Barbara Roberts School of Dance has ensured that the Designated Senior Person and the Safeguarding Team are appropriately trained in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2014 and Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education.

  • Understand Local Safeguarding regulations

  • keep written records of all concerns which are noted and reported by staff or when disclosed by a child

  • Keep any such records separately from the child’s general file

  • Refer cases of suspected neglect and/abuse to children's social care or police, in accordance with this document and local procedure

  • Notify children’s social care if a child with a child protection plan is absent for more than two days without explanation

  • Ensure that when a child with a child protection plan leaves the care of Barbara Roberts School of Dance,his/her information is passed to his/her new school and the child’s social worker is informed in accordance with GDPR

  • Attend and/or contribute to child protection conferences in accordance with local procedure

  • Ensure that all staff sign to indicate that they have read and understood this policy

  • Ensure that the child protection policy is updated annually

 

Good Practice Guidelines

Barbara Roberts School of Dance Staff staff agree to the following standards of good practice:

  • treating all children with respect

  • setting good examples by their own conduct

  • involving children in decision-making that affects them

  • encouraging positive and safe behaviour among children

  • being a good listener

  • Being alert to changes in a child's behaviour

  • Recognising that challenging behaviour may be an indicator of abuse  asking the child's permission prior to any physical contact

  • Maintaining appropriate standards of conversation and interaction with and between children

  • Avoiding the use of sexualised or derogatory language

  • Being aware that the personal and family circumstances and lifestyles of some children lead to increased risk of neglect and/or abuse

  • To be aware that disabled children may be especially vulnerable to abuse as they may have an impaired capacity to resist abuse

  • Speak to DSP for advice BEFORE talking to parents/carers or contacting a social care agency as this could potentially place the child at further risk


 

Abuse of Trust

Barbara Roberts School of Dance recognises the power imbalance between children and staff and ensures that authority is never misused.

 

Sexual relationships with a child under the age of 18, and where the adult is in a position of trust is an offence, even if it is a consensual relationship. (Sexual Offences Act, 2003).

 

Staff avoid compromising situations by ensuring that one-to-one interviews/tutoring etc. are conducted where participants can be seen but not heard by others. When possible more than one adult is to be present during classes.

Concerns of Misconduct or Poor Practice

Any concerns towards a child, should be reported to the Designated Senior Person. 

 

Reports about the DSP should be reported to another senior member of the Safeguarding team.

Staff who are the subject of an allegation 

Staff have the right to have their case dealt with fairly, quickly and be kept informed of its progress. Suspension is not mandatory, but in some cases, staff may be suspended where this is deemed the best way to ensure that children are protected.

Staff Training
  • All new staff are to receive mandatory training on how to recognise the possible signs of abuse, and what to do if they have concerns.

  • All staff members training is to be refreshed annually and updated at least every three years.

Recruitment

All applicants whose role will involve regular work with children must:

  • complete an application form

  • Provide two referees, including at least one who can comment on the applicant's suitability to work with children

  • provide evidence of identity and qualifications

  • have a face to face interview which 

  • Are currently checked through the Disclosure and Barring Service.

  • If appointed, sign to confirm that they have received and read a copy of this safeguarding protection policy.

Off-Site Activities

When Barbara Roberts School of Dance arranges activities elsewhere, our own safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures still apply.

Photography and Images

To protect children, Barbara Roberts School of Dance:

  • Seeks theirs and parental consent for photographs/video/film images to be taken or published  

  • Ensures minors remain unidentifiable, reducing the risk of inappropriate contact

  • Ensures that children are appropriately dressed

Recognising Abuse

There are four categories of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, neglect

 

Physical abuse

May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, and burning, 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. Physical abuse can happen in any family but children can be more at risk if their parents have problems with drugs, alcohol and mental health or live in a home where domestic abuse occurs. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is also form of physical abuse that is a cultural ritual that occurs in some communities in the UK. FGM is partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Physical harm can also be caused when a parent/carer fabricates the symptoms of or deliberately induces illness in a child. (fabricated illness)

 

Emotional abuse

The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects to the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children 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 the 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 cyber bullying), 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, though it may occur alone.

 

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 danger or harm, ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers), ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment, it may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.

 

Sexual abuse and exploitation

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 include assault by penetration (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may include non-conduct activities, such as involving children in looking at, or 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. Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse where children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. In some cases young people are forced or persuaded into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. Sexual exploitation doesn’t have to involve physical contact and can happen online.

 

Working together to safeguard children (2014)

What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2015)

Indicators of Abuse

It is the duty of all Barbara Roberts School of Dance staff to report signs of abuse to the DSP. It is then the responsibility of the DSP to assess the situation and decide how to proceed. Below are some indicators that staff members should look out for.

 

Some of the following signs may be indicators of physical abuse:

  • frequent injuries

  • Unexplained or unusual fractures or broken bones, bruises, cuts, burns and bite marks

  • Wearing cover up clothing, avoiding changing for class

  • Show signs of pain and discomfort

 

Some of the following signs may be indicators that FGM has or is about to occur may be: 

  • Taking longer than normal in the bathroom

  • Difficulty walking, sitting or standing

  • Unusual behaviour after a prolonged absence

  • Talking about being taken ‘home’ on a special visit or a special occasion to ‘become’ a woman or an older relative visiting the UK.

 

Some of the following signs may be indicators of emotional abuse:

  • Children who are excessively withdrawn, fearful, anxious about doing something wrong  

  • parents/carers who withdraw their attention from their child

  • parents/carers blaming their problems on and humiliating their child

 

Some of the following signs may be indicators of neglect:

  • Looking unkempt

  • Wearing dirty clothes

  • Inappropriate clothing

  • being hungry

  • Children who fail to receive basic healthcare

  • parents/carers who fail to seek medical treatment when their children are ill or are injured

 

Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual abuse:

  • Children who display knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to their age

  • Children who use sexual language and have a sexual knowledge that wouldn't expect them to have

  • Children with physical sexual health problems including soreness in the genital or anal areas, sexually transmitted infections or underage pregnancy

  • Children who ask others to behave sexually or play sexual games

 

Some of the following signs may be indicators of sexual exploitation

  • Children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions

  • Children who have older girlfriends/boyfriends

  • Children who go missing, don’t attend lessons for long periods of time

 

Other general indicators may also be:

  • Appearing fearful

  • A change to their eating habits

  • Having difficulty in making or sustaining friendships

  • having a reckless regard for their own or others’ safety

  • Deliberately self-harm

  • Showing signs of not wanting to go home

  • Displaying a change in behaviour, which can often be an extreme change  

  • Challenging authority

  • Being constantly tired or preoccupied

  • Becoming disinterested in their work

  • Being wary of physical contact

 

N.B. Individual indicators will rarely, in isolation, provide conclusive evidence of abuse but may well be part of a bigger picture of which bbodance is unaware. Always discuss even low level concerns with your DSP.

Taking Action
  • In an emergency situation take the action necessary to help the child e.g.999  

  • Report your concern to the DSP or his/her deputy before the end of the day

  • don't start your own investigation

  • do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family

  • complete a written record of your concern

  • seek support for yourself if you are distressed

If a Child Discloses Information

If a child discloses information to a member of staff:

  • allow them to speak freely

  • only ask factual, open questions for clarification

  • Do not press, coerce or ask leading questions 

  • At an appropriate time (not the start of the conversation nor the end) tell the child that in order to help them, you must pass the information on

  • remain calm and don't over-react

  • Give reassuring nods or words of comfort

  • remember how hard this must be for the child

  • tell the child what will happen next

  • Report orally to the DSP

Notifying Parents

The DSP will make contact with the child’s parents in the event of a concern, suspicion or disclosure. However, if the DSP believes contacting the parents could increase the risk to the child, advice will be sought from children’s social care.

Confidentiality and Sharing Information

Staff should only discuss concerns with the DSP, who will decide who else needs the information. Child protection information will be handled and stored in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

Information is:

  • processed for limited purposes

  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive

  • accurate

  • Kept no longer than necessary

  • processed in accordance with the data subject's rights  

  • secure

  • shared with colleagues on a need to know basis

 

Written information will be stored in a secure location. Electronic information will be password protected and only available to relevant individuals. The child’s general file will be ‘tagged’ to indicate that separate information is held.

 

Child protection records are normally exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act, i.e. parents and children do not have an automatic right to see them.

 

The Data Protection Act does not prevent Barbara Roberts School of Dance staff from sharing information with relevant agencies, where that information may help to protect a child, e.g. children’s social care, police and NSPCC. Information can be disclosed to third parties without consent in child protection cases where there is reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm. In some cases it may be necessary to forego seeking parental consent as this may place the child at further risk.