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Child Protection Policy

CHARD SCHOOL CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

Chard School fully recognises its responsibilities for child protection.  Whilst we strive to minimise risk, we are fully aware that child protection risk cannot be eliminated.

Our policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working for and on behalf of the School and is available to parents on request.  There are five main elements to our policy:

  • Establishing a positive, supportive, secure environment in which children can learn and develop, together with a School ethos, which promotes, in all pupils, a sense of being valued.
  • Ensuring we practise safer recruitment in checking the suitability of all staff who work at Chard School
  • Raising awareness of child protection issues and equipping children with the skills needed to keep themselves safe through the content of the curriculum.
  • Developing and implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse.
  • Supporting pupils who have been abused in accordance with his/her agreed child protection plan.

 

We recognise that because of the day-to-day contact with children, staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse Chard School will therefore:

  • ·         Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to.
  • ·         Ensure children know that there are adults in Chard School whom they can approach if they are worried.
  • ·         Include opportunities in the PSHE curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.

 

We will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and take account of all guidance issued by the DfE, National Minimum Standards in force from 1st September 2011 (particularly Standard 11) and the Independent School Standards 2010.

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  • ·         Ensure we have a Designated Child Protection Person and a deputy for child protection who have received appropriate training and support for this role (currently Mrs Jane Bruce and Mrs Moragh Squires).  Training in child protection and inter-agency working is carried out every two years for the designated person and the deputy.
  • ·         Ensure we have a Nominated Governor responsible for child protection. The Governing Body undertakes an annual review of the child protection policy and procedures and the efficiency with which the related duties have been discharged.
  • ·         Ensure safer recruitment practices are always followed for all staff and volunteers who have a role in the school, including enhanced Criminal Record Bureau checks.  The following people have completed the DfE Safer Recruitment training and have updated this training every 5 years (as required) subsequently:  Mrs Jane Bruce (June 2012)
  • ·         Ensure every member of staff (including temporary, supply staff and volunteers) and the governing body knows that Mrs Jane Bruce is the Designated Child Protection Person, what her role is, how to contact her and who to go to in her absence.
  • ·         Ensure all staff and volunteers are CRB checked, 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. Through regular staff training we will foster a culture of mutual respect between pupils and members of staff, with adults modeling good practice in this context.  Training in child protection is provided every three years for the Head and all staff. New staff are given a Child Protection briefing as part of their induction. All part-time and voluntary staff are made aware of the arrangements for child protection.
  • ·         Notify Children’s Social Care if there is an unexplained absence of more than two days of a pupil who is in receipt of a child protection plan.
  • ·         Develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters including attendance at case conferences.
  • ·         Keep written, dated and signed records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.
  • ·         Ensure all child protection records are regularly reviewed, kept secure and separate from the main pupil file, in locked locations accessible only to specified staff.
  • ·         Follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff.  Ensure that there are robust procedures to deal with allegations not only against members of staff, but against anyone who has contact with students including volunteers, the Head and Governors; in the case of an allegation against the Head, the chair of Governors should be informed.
  • ·         Clear records of investigations and outcomes of allegations are held on staff files
  • ·         Notify the DfE and/or any other designated authority (e.g. the Independent Safeguarding Authority) within one month when the services of a person are discontinued because he / she was considered unsuitable to work with children.
  • ·         Risk assess all activities organised by the school that take place off the school site.  This includes ensuring that the off site providers have undertaken appropriate CRB checks for their staff that will have contact with pupils from the school. 
  • ·         Ensure that any deficiencies or weaknesses in child protection arrangements are remedied without delay.

 

The Children Act (1989), the 2004 (updating) Children Act and Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education (2007) state/confirm that the “welfare of the child is paramount”. This means that considerations of confidentiality which might apply to other situations should not be allowed to override the right of children to be protected from harm.  However, every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned when an allegation has been made and is being investigated (see DfE Guidance “Dealing with Allegations of Abuse against Teachers and other Staff – July 2011)

 

We recognise that children who suffer any form of abuse may find it difficult to develop a sense of self worth.  They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. The school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk.  When at School their behaviour may be challenging or they may be withdrawn.  (See DfE Behaviour and Discipline in Schools guidance – July 2011). In such cases, we will liaise with other agencies that support the pupil such as Children’s Social Care, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Education Attendance Service and Educational Psychology Service.  We will also ensure that, should  a pupil in receipt of a child protection plan move schools, their information is securely transferred to the new school immediately and that the child’s social worker is informed.

Chard School’s policies on Bullying and Cyber-bullying are to be read in conjunction with the Child Protection Policy. (See DfE Preventing and Tackling Bullying – Advice for School Leaders, staff and Governing Bodies, 2011).  Any serious bullying concerns will be referred to the Child Protection Person and appropriate action will be taken (see Procedure for dealing with Bullying / Cyber-bullying incidents – Appendix 1)

 

Role and Responsibilities of the Designated Child Protection Person (CPP)

(see Chapter 2 Working Together – 2010)

 

Chard School has a Designated Child Protection Person who is responsible for dealing with any concerns about the protection of children.

 

Role of the designated person (currently Mrs Jane Bruce) is to:

  1. recognise how to identify signs of abuse and know which outside child protection agency to contact in the event of a child protection matter coming to his/her attention;
  2. ensure that appropriate information is available at the time of referral and that the referral is confirmed in writing under confidential cover;
  3. liaise with Somerset Direct/local Children’s Social Care and other agencies, as appropriate;
  1. 4.      act as a source of advice and expertise and keep relevant people within the School informed about any action taken and any further action required
  2. 5.      ensure that a proper record is kept of any referral and action taken, and that this is kept safely and in confidence,  (cross reference with model child protection record keeping) and
  3. 6.      manage and deliver staff child protection training and review the operation of the Child Protection Policy annually (with the appropriate Nominated Governor) to ensure the procedures are working and that it complies with current best practice.

 

 

 

 

Responsibilities for all staff:

 

      Staff have a duty to report all suspicions of abuse to the Child Protection Person, (or the Deputy Child Protection Person in their absence), who will then inform the Head.  The Head will inform the Governor with responsibility for child protection (currently Mr Neil Griffin). If the allegation involves any of the persons named here, the member of staff should report to one of the other designated persons.

 

      It then becomes the responsibility of the Child Protection Person, working with the Head, to pass these concerns on to Children’s Social Care.

 

This is the inescapable, personal and professional responsibility of all staff for the protection of children from harm.


1.         CHILD ABUSE

Introduction

 

All members of the School staff should be alert to the possible signs of abuse of a pupil.  Abuse may take several forms, which are not mutually exclusive:

 

Physical abuse

 

Physical abuse 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 of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

 

Emotional abuse

 

Emotional abuse is 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 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.

 

Sexual abuse

 

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

 

Neglect

 

Neglect is 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 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.

 

There will be other circumstances, not amounting to abuse, which give cause for serious concern about the welfare of pupils.  Questions of the young person being in moral danger, being uncared for, engaging in antisocial or inappropriate behaviour and so on may be referred to the Designated Child Protection Person, who will discuss the matter with the Head, and through them, as necessary, to Children’s Social Care.  Such cases may also be referred to the Health Centre and through them to Children’s Social Care. In each case the School’s Child Protection Person must be informed.           

 

2.         PROCEDURES

 

(a)       Cases where abuse may have been inflicted by parents or carers

 

            (i)   Suspicion or knowledge of abuse must be reported to the Designated              Child Protection Person or her Deputy who will share such information           with the relevant agencies straight away.   

(ii)   Any adult to whom abuse is reported by a pupil has a duty to listen to the       pupil, to provide reassurance, and subsequently to record the pupil’s   statements.  He / she must not press the pupil, ask probing questions or     suggest answers.  The situation should then be reported and discussed      with the Designated Child Protection Person (the Head).

            (iii)   Expert medical diagnosis may be required quickly.  The Designated Child     Protection Person, their Deputy or the Head will arrange this following consultation with Children’s Social Care.

 

 Note – The online South West Child Protection Procedures must be referred to at all stages (www.swcpp.org.uk).

 

(b)       Cases where abuse may have been inflicted by staff or volunteers

 

(See DfE 2011 Dealing with Allegations of Abuse Guidance)

If an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer it must be responded to; there is an obvious need to act immediately and with utmost discretion.  The informant should be told that the matter will be referred in    confidence to the appropriate people.  This must be done, and the written record passed on the same day to the Child Protection Person (The Head).

 

The circumstances should be kept strictly confidential until the Head has been able to consult with Somerset’s Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to judge whether or not an allegation or concern indicates possible abuse.  It will always be the Somerset LADO even if the student’s family home is in another county/country because the geographic location of the school is Somerset.

 

If it is decided, by the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), that an investigation is called for, it is the responsibility of the LADO to arrange a meeting (called a Strategy Meeting) to discuss how the next steps are handled.  The strategy meeting is initiated by the LADO referring to Somerset Direct.  The strategy meeting would normally involve the Police, Children’s Social Care, the Designated Child Protection Person, the Head and preferably a member of the Governing Body of the School. The arrangements agreed upon in the strategy meeting will include informing the parents and seeking their consent for any immediate medical examination

 

The strategy meeting will decide when the member of staff against whom the allegation has been made, should be informed and no discussion should take place about the allegation without the permission of the LADO or the strategy discussion chair. The staff member against whom the allegation is made would normally be informed as soon as possible after the initial strategy meeting (or as a result of a discussion with the LADO).

 

If, at the strategy meeting, it is established that the allegation is not criminal but is still of concern it will be agreed what further action, if any, needs to be taken.  At the conclusion of the investigation, if criminal proceedings don’t ensue, there is a range of possible sanctions available to the school including, where the circumstances warrant it, dismissal.  These decisions will be taken by the school in conjunction the school’s legal advisers and human resources advisers.  Details of all investigation and outcomes should be carefully recorded and securely stored in staff personnel files.

 

The strategy meeting will also recommend to the employer whether the member of staff can remain on the school site or not, pending further investigation.  It is the employer’s decision alone whether suspension/leave of absence is implemented. If the allegation is against a member of staff, and the Police/Children’s Social Care decide to take the case further, it is reasonable to ask the Police to give some indication of their timescales.  The LADO can also advise in terms of process.

 

            There is understandable concern amongst many teachers that careers may be irreparably damaged by flimsy or malicious allegations by children.  This is actually extremely rare, though some incidents do end up only as “unproven” one way or the other which is generally unsatisfactory.  It is always better for a school to anticipate possible risks and to seek to prevent all reasonable risk of misunderstandings and false allegations.  Proper policy and procedures are also likely to deter any individual seeking to use the school as a basis for inappropriate relationships with pupils; the staff “Code of Conduct” may be helpful.  This will help staff to know what behaviours are generally considered to be inconsistent with their professional status.  Infringements should then be subject to disciplinary procedures as required.  (Ensure all staff are aware of DfE July 2011 Guidance re. Use of Reasonable Force)

       

(c)               Cases where abuse may have been inflicted by the Head

 

If an allegation or complaint is made against the Head, the person receiving the allegation should immediately inform the Chair of Governors, or in his / her absence Mr Neil Griffin (the Nominated Child Protection Governor), without first notifying the Head

 

(d)              Cases where abuse may have been inflicted by a pupil

 

A student against whom an allegation of abuse has been made may be suspended from the School during the investigation and the School’s Behaviour Policy will apply.  The School will take advice from the Somerset Direct on the investigation of such allegations and will take all appropriate action to ensure the safety and welfare of all students involved including the student or students accused of abuse.  If it is necessary for a student to be interviewed by the police in relation to allegations of abuse, the School will be informed as soon as possible and that the student is supported during the interview by an appropriate adult.

 

(e)               Complaint or Allegation?

 

            It is important to draw a distinction between complaints and allegations. Complaints are made about a process; allegations are made about behaviour.  Concerns relating to behaviour are therefore categorised as allegations.  

 

           Any allegation which involves the possibility of physical, emotional or sexual abuse will always be discussed with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and their advice taken.  If the matter is a child protection concern, an investigation will be carried out by Children’s Social Care and the Police, as happens with any other referral.  The Designated Child Protection Person, the Head and Governors must not carry out investigations themselves in these circumstances. They will be invited to a Strategy Meeting at a very early stage

       

            (See Appendix 2)

 

            Decisions about suspension and the use of disciplinary procedures are for the Head and Governors alone, but action may need to be co-ordinated where there is a wider investigation involving Children’s Social Care and/or the Police and where for example, bail condition may apply.

 

3.         ALLEGATIONS INVOLVING SEXUAL IMPROPRIETY

 

Whenever a member of staff is informed by a pupil of an event involving sexual impropriety of any kind, whether between pupils or staff and pupils, the following steps should be taken:

 

(i)         Listen sympathetically and afterwards briefly note the content of what            was     disclosed, sign and date it.

 

            (ii)    Contact the Designated Child Protection Person immediately, who will          discuss with the Head and the LADO whether Children’s Social Care should be notified.

 

            (iii)   Once they are notified and if it is agreed that the school alone should            follow up the issue, the Designated Child Protection Person will interview             the complainant and report as quickly as possible to the Head, who will            oversee the disciplinary aspects of the enquiry;

 

(iv)               If Children’s Social Care seeks further investigations, they will themselves open an enquiry. This would normally involve the Police and Designated Child Protection Person and the Head. In these circumstances           the School’s disciplinary enquiry will be suspended until cleared by Children’s Social Care. 

 

            This policy should be implemented regardless of whether the complainant is over or under 16 because of the potential for an abuse of trust.  Parents should be informed as soon as possible that a referral to Children’s Social Care will be made by the Child Protection Person, unless to do so would put the pupil at greater risk of harm.  If there is any doubt, the Designated Child Protection Person will consult with the Police / Children’s Social Care beforehand.

 

4.         STAFF CODE OF CONDUCT

Cordial relations between teaching staff and pupils are at the heart of a happy and thriving school. At the same time, in the interests of all parties, professional boundaries must be observed on all occasions.  There is guidance on how staff should conduct themselves in the Staff Handbook.

We must all be aware of the possibility of accusations and try to avoid hazardous situations.  A teacher should never speak to or touch a pupil in a manner that could be construed as having sexual overtones or that could be interpreted as a physical assault.  Both the action and the intention may subsequently give rise to problems.  One-to-one meetings between staff and a pupil (particularly those who may be more vulnerable) should be approached with caution.  If in doubt it is advisable to have somebody else present, or let someone else know the meeting is taking place/ inform a manager, record the reason and circumstance of the meeting, leave the door open, sit behind a desk etc.

Good practice includes valuing and respecting children as individuals, and the adult modeling of appropriate conduct will always exclude bullying, shouting, racism or sexism.

For further advice on good practice see: Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with children and Young People in Education Settings.

5.         PROCEDURE FOR REPORTING CONCERNS

            Staff could have their suspicion or concern raised in a number of ways, the most likely of which are:

  1. 1.          the conduct of a member of staff;
  2. 2.          a child, parent or member of staff “disclosing” abuse;
  3. 3.          bruising or evidence of physical hurt; which may or may not be accompanied by;
  4. 4.          unusual behaviour by a child.

If a member of staff has such concerns they should be reported to the Child Protection Person immediately (in person or by telephone) and confirmed in writing within 24 hours.  Delay could prejudice the welfare of a child.  If the concerns relate to the conduct of a member of staff these also should be reported directly to the Child Protection Person (the Head); there is an obvious need to act immediately and with utmost discretion.

            The Child Protection Person will consider the report and either refer this immediately (and certainly within 24 hours) to the authorities or, after taking appropriate advice (which may include discussing the circumstances on a confidential basis with Children’s Social Care or the Police Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT), decide not to refer the concerns to the authorities but keep a full record of the concerns.

6.         WHAT TO DO IF A CHILD DISCLOSES

 

            The following information is intended to assist you if you become involved in a potential child protection situation when a child or young person makes a disclosure.

 

Note that this is a different procedure to interviewing pupils on disciplinary issues.

 

  • ·         Listen, allow the pupil to finish and do not stop them. Do not ask direct or leading questions.  Let them tell you what they want to and no more.  They may need to disclose to a specialist later and too much detail now may interfere with later investigation.

 

  • ·         When the pupil has finished, make sure they feel secure and explain what you are going to do next.

 

  • ·         Write down notes, including date and time of the interview and sign the notes.  Record as much as you can remember, as soon as possible (preferably immediately) afterwards, using the pupil’s own words.

 

  • ·         Stay calm and convey this through word and action; reassure the child or young person that you are taking what they have to say seriously.

 

  • ·         Report to the Child Protection Person and give them the written record of the incident the same working day.

 

            CONFIDENTIALITY

 

  • ·         The management of confidentiality is an essential factor in all issues relating to Child Protection.

 

  • ·         Staff should never give pupils or adults an absolute guarantee of confidentiality, but must ensure that the information is disclosed only to the people who need to know.  Make sure that this is clear early on, not sprung on the pupil at the end.

 

  • ·         It should be explained to children and young people that secrets cannot and should not be kept if keeping them means that they, or others, will continue to be harmed.

 

7.         AFTER DISCLOSURE

 

STAY CALM (Try not to transmit your anger, shock, distress, or    embarrassment to the child – either verbally or through body language.

 

      BEHAVE AS THOUGH YOU BELIEVE IN THE CHILD

 

      REASSURE THE CHILD  (Not your fault; glad they told you etc.)

 

      ALLOW CHILD TO TALK / FINISH STORY (Don’t question the child)

     

 

REPORT THE INCIDENT IMMEDIATELY TO THE DESIGNATED CHILD PROTECTION PERSON, or in his absence, the Deputy Child Protection Person or Head, passing on the notes you have made.

 

            (Explain to the child that you will need to talk to someone in another agency        whose job it is to help and protect children and that they will want to talk to the            child but offer to stay with the child and support them – see Appendix 3)

 

 

Appendix 1

 

 

 

 


CHARD SCHOOL

Policy on Safeguarding and ICT (Cyber-bullying)

 

Protecting young people in the online world means thinking beyond the school environment.  As well as the computer to access the Internet, now many mobile phones and games consoles offer broadband connections.  Pupils may be working online in school, at home, in an Internet café or using free Wi-Fi access points.  Increasingly pupils will have access to personal devices not covered by network protection and therefore the emphasis needs to be on educating all users as to the risks involved and their obligation to act responsibly while online.                        

 

Safeguarding pupils in both the real and virtual world is everyone’s responsibility and all staff should be aware of this policy and how to respond to e safety incidents.

 

All pupils and staff should be made aware of the school’s acceptable user policy and what to do if they have any ICT safeguarding concerns.  Harassment, grooming of another person using technology, breaching their right to privacy, poses a serious threat to physical and emotional safety, and may have legal consequences.

 

Procedures for dealing with Inappropriate / Illegal Internet Access or Material

 

If staff or pupils discover unsuitable websites, this should be immediately reported to the Designated Child Protection Person who in liaison with the ICT Co-ordinator for the school will consider a referral to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and the Police.  As with any safeguarding issue, all staff should record and report all concerns (e.g. text insults, Facebook comments, cyber-bullying etc.) to the DCPP, even if they do not result in a ‘bigger investigation’.  The DCPP will keep a secure record of these reports.  Illegal material within the school’s network is a very serious situation and must always be reported to the Police.  Our school ensures processes are in place to minimise the risk of students gaining access to inappropriate materials, through supervision and monitoring.  Any incident that involves inappropriate adult access to legal material on the school premises will be dealt with by the school’s disciplinary policy.

 

What to do in the event of discovery of illegal material

 

  • ·         Seek immediate and specific advice from the Designated Child Protection Person who will consult with the ICT co-ordinator, the Head and the Police.

 

  • Prevent any further physical access to the device until the correct advice is gained.

 

  • Unless absolutely necessary, DO NOT remove the power from a working PC and definitely DO NOT start a PC if it is already turned off.

 

  • Consider if it is necessary to prevent remote access to the device.

 

  • If you believe that a member of staff or pupil who has left the site, could remove or damage evidence on the device remotely, unplug ONLY the network cable from the back of the device to prevent this access from taking place.

 

  • If the PC is already turned off and it is no longer realistically possible to prevent further physical access to the device (i.e. lack of supervision, high levels of access or an unoccupied location) disconnect the power at the base unit (not the wall) and remove the battery from a laptop.  Store this device securely in a location where no one else can gain access to it and make a note of the date, time and name of the individual who performed this action.

 

Under no circumstances should the ICT co-ordinator, network manager or Head attempt to conduct an investigation of their own or bring in an outside expert to do so as this may compromise the evidence if a legal case were to result.  In some cases this may constitute a criminal offence in itself.

 

Combating Cyber-bullying

 

Cyber-bullying can be defined as ‘the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else’. It can be an extension of face-to-face bullying, with technology providing the bully with another route to harass their target.  However, it differs in several significant ways from other kinds of bullying: the invasion of home and personal space; the difficulty in controlling electronically circulated messages, the size of the audience, perceived anonymity, and even the profile of the person doing the bullying and their target. 

Cyber-bullying takes different forms: threats and intimidation, harassment or ‘cyber-stalking’ (e.g. repeatedly sending unwanted texts or instant messages), vilification / defamation; exclusion or peer rejection, impersonation, unauthorised publication of private information or images and manipulation. 

Some cyber-bullying is clearly deliberate and aggressive, but it is important to recognise that some incidents of cyber-bullying are known to be unintentional and the result of simply not thinking about the consequences. What may be sent as a joke may not be received as one, and indeed the distance that technology allows in communication means the sender may not see the impact of the message on the receiver.  There is also less opportunity for either party to resolve any misunderstanding or to feel empathy.  It is important that pupils are made aware of the effects of their actions.

In cyber-bullying, bystanders can easily become perpetrators, e.g. by passing on or showing to others images designed to humiliate, or by taking part in online polls or discussion groups. They may not recognise themselves as participating in bullying, but their involvement compounds the misery for the person targeted. It is recommended that anti-bullying policies refer to those ‘bystanders’ — better termed ‘accessories’ in this context — who actively support cyber-bullying and set out sanctions for this behaviour.  It is important that pupils are aware that their actions have severe and distressing consequences, and that participating in such activity will not be tolerated.

There are particular features of cyber-bullying that differ from other forms of bullying which need to be recognised and taken into account when determining how to respond effectively.  The key differences are:

  • Impact — the scale and scope of cyber-bullying can be greater than other forms of bullying.
  • Targets and perpetrators — the people involved may have a different profile to traditional bullies and their targets.
  • Location — the 24/7 and any-place nature of cyber-bullying.
  • Anonymity — the person being bullied will not always know who is attacking them.
  • Motivation — some pupils may not be aware that what they are doing is bullying.
  • Evidence — unlike other forms of bullying, the target of the bullying will have evidence of its occurrence.

Sexting is a growing problem amongst young people.  It is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between mobile phones.

Those involved may face charges of producing, possessing, and/or distributing child pornography.

Legal consequences are not the only outcomes that children face. They may face social repercussions, such as being judged or excluded by their peers, communities, and families. Youth that send the images may become targets of damaging comments, rumours, and harassment. Furthermore, the image may follow them forever, compromising academic, social, and employment opportunities.

Sexting may also profoundly affect the emotional and psychological development of a child. Trust is broken when an image is forwarded without the creator’s consent. Once an image is spread via cell phone or posted online, it is impossible to get back and can potentially circulate forever; youth who engage in sexting risk reoccurring embarrassment and victimization. These pictures can even find their way into the hands of those individuals who prey on children and collect child pornography. This kind of exploitation can be psychologically devastating.

Prevention

 

We seek to instil values in all members of the School, which should, ideally, preclude all bullying.  These are reinforced by a PSHE programme which requires tutors at all levels of the School to spend time talking to their groups about cyber-bullying and its effects and consequences.  In essence, these seek to inculcate respect for others, their property and their individuality and these values underpin ordinary curricular lessons too.

 

It is crucial to the School’s success in dealing with cyber-bullying that all members of the community are made aware that it is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.  It is the responsibility of all members of the community to take action if they are aware of it happening.  To remain silent is to condone the action of the bully.

                         

 

 

Process:

 

Information is crucial to dealing with the problem.  Those who feel that they are being bullied, or who are witnesses to what they believe is bullying/cyber-bullying, should always tell a member of staff.

Advice, support and counselling will be offered to all parties involved, and, if necessary, their parents.  While recognising that both victim and bully need help, we do not adopt a ‘no blame’ position.

 

1.         If a pupil receives an abusive e-mail, Facebook comment, text or similar, they should report the matter to a member of staff as soon as possible.   A copy of the e-mail (or any other media used) with full headers, plus dates and times should be saved.  Staff will investigate all complaints of abuse and take action accordingly.

 

2.         Depending on the nature of the allegation, the case will be dealt with either          by the tutor, house staff, a deputy head, Designated Child Protection Person or a combination of these             people. In all instances the Designated Child Protection Person will be informed. As a rough guide, the more serious the allegation, the more likely it is to involve senior staff and/or the Police.

 

3.         Interviews will be conducted fairly, giving all sides the opportunity to state their case, so as to establish the truth in what seldom turn out to be straightforward issues.  In all cases, pupils will be warned not to do or say anything that may prejudice their position vis-à-vis the pupil who has been bullied.  (No revenge/stirring up support among friends, no taking the law into their own hands.)

 

4.         Except for the most straightforward cases, in which truth has been established and the matter has been resolved swiftly, an interview will be conducted; a pupil would be invited to bring a friend or member of staff to support them in any such interview.  This will enable a record to be kept of the interview, and what is said, to be corroborated.  Notes, both rough copies and, where necessary, a brief summary and copies of any letters sent to parents will be put on files with cross referencing where appropriate.

 

5.         Letters written to parents will detail the nature of the offence and any sanctions imposed, and will set out what improvements the School expects to be made in behaviour as well as the consequences of failure to improve.  Recommendations may be made about visits to the Medical Centre and counselling for everyone involved.

 

6.         At the conclusion of the investigation, if appropriate, one of the members of staff involved will contact parents of all pupils directly involved and inform them of action taken.  Wherever possible, the identity of “informers” and pupils other than the son or daughter of the parent will not be disclosed.

 

Sanctions

 

In practice, the sanctions applied range from a verbal warning or a ban on use of the School’s computer network to a temporary or permanent exclusion, depending on the gravity of the offence and the pupil’s previous record with reference to bullying / cyber-bullying.  In the most severe cases, it can result in criminal prosecution.

The aims of sanctions are to:

  • Help the person harmed to feel safe again and be assured that the bullying will stop.
  • Hold the perpetrator to account getting them to recognise the harm caused and deter them from repeating the behaviour.
  • Demonstrate to the school community that cyber-bullying is unacceptable and that the school has effective ways of dealing with it, so deterring others from behaving similarly.

When cyber-bullying is investigated, reference will be made to the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP); sanctions for breaches are set out in the AUP and the ‘Procedure for dealing with Bullying/Cyber-bullying incidents’.  Technology-specific sanctions for pupils engaged in cyber-bullying behaviour could include limiting Internet access for a period of time or removing the right to bring a mobile phone into school (although issues of child safety will be considered in relation to the latter).

Cyber-bullying will have an impact on the education and wellbeing of the person being bullied, and the physical location of the bully at the time of their action is irrelevant in this.  Schools now have broad new powers to discipline and regulate the behaviour of pupils, even when they are off the school site.  These are set out in the Education and Inspections Act 2006 and are currently subject to review with a view to according schools even greater powers.  Misconduct outside of school will be subject to school discipline if the welfare of another pupil or the culture or reputation of the school is placed at risk.

 

 

This is a link to some e-safety incident flowcharts which can be adapted for individual school use:

 

https://slp.somerset.gov.uk/cypd/elim/somersetict/Site%20Pages/e-safety%20pages/e-sense%20flowcharts.aspx          

Appendix 2

 

 

 


CHARD SCHOOL

Allegations Management

 

Allegations relate to all situations where a person has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.

 

If an allegation is made against any member of school staff (including volunteers) this needs to be dealt with fairly, quickly and consistently in a way that provides protection for the child and supports the person who is the subject of the allegation.

 

Every Local Authority has a Designated Officer for Allegations Management (LADO) who is available to provide support and advice to any organisation where staff work with children.  This role also incorporates a monitoring function to ensure that all organisations work to complete allegations processes in a timescale appropriate for both the victim and the alleged perpetrator.

 

The Local Authority Designated Officer must be informed immediately if an allegation has been made, and they will consult as necessary with the relevant personnel in Human Resources, and other agencies such as the Police, as appropriate.

 

In Somerset the LADOs are:

 

Claire Winter

CWinter@somerset.gov.uk

(01823 357823)

 

Mim Cartwright

Senior Practitioner Allegations management – Schools

MCartwright@somerset.gov.uk

(01823 357727)

 

The Deputy LADO is:

Matthew Turner

MZTurner@somerset.gov.uk

(01823 357868)

 

 

Useful Publications:

 

 

  1. Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010) – General guidance and an overview of the framework for managing allegations against people who work with children, (electronic version available).  This guidance is likely to be updated in 2012

 

  1. Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education 2007 – Chapter 5 deals with allegations of abuse and the flowchart in Appendix 5 details the safer recruitment process and gives details of the procedures and guidance on how allegations should be handled.  General safer recruitment and safeguarding advice for schools/governing bodies.

 

  1. The South West Child Protection Procedures (www.swcpp.org.uk) continually updated electronic general safeguarding guidance

 

 

Confidential Reporting (previously know as ‘whistle-blowing)

 

1. Introduction

 

The School has adopted this policy and the accompanying procedures on confidential reporting, to enable members of staff to raise concerns within the school and in a clear but confidential fashion. The policy also provides if necessary, for such concerns to be raised outside the School’s internal organisation.

 

2. Elements of the policy

 

The School’s policy on confidential reporting demonstrates that the School:

 

a) will not tolerate malpractice;

b) respects the confidentiality of staff raising concerns and will provide procedures to maintain confidentiality so far as is consistent with progressing the issues effectively;

c) will provide the opportunity to raise concerns outside of the normal line management structure where this is appropriate;

d) will provide a clear and simple procedure for raising concerns, which is accessible to all members of staff.

 

Procedure

 

 

 

This confidential reporting policy is separate from the School’s procedures regarding grievances. Employees should not use the confidential reporting procedure to raise grievances about their personal employment situation. Rather, this procedure is to enable members of staff to express a legitimate concern regarding the behaviour of another staff member within the School including any concerns, no matter how remote or apparently unsubstantiated,  These may be related to child protection issues, fraud, financial irregularities, corruption, bribery, dishonesty, acting contrary to the staff code of ethics, criminal activities, or failing to comply with a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, or creating or ignoring a serious risk to health, safety or the environment.

 

 

 

 

Confidentiality

 

Employees who wish to raise a concern under this procedure are entitled to have the matter treated confidentially, and their name will not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator of malpractice without their prior approval. It may be appropriate to preserve confidentiality that concerns are raised orally rather than in writing, although members of staff are encouraged to express their concern in writing wherever possible. If there is evidence of criminal activity then the Police will in all cases be informed by the person to whom it is reported (the Head).

 

The Investigation

 

Any member of staff is at liberty to express their concern to the Head.  Any concern raised will be investigated thoroughly and in a timely manner, and appropriate corrective action will be pursued. The member of staff making the allegation will be kept informed of progress and, whenever possible and subject to third party rights, will be informed of the resolution. A member of staff who is not satisfied that their concern is being properly dealt with will have a right to raise it in confidence in the first instance with the nominated Governor for Safeguarding.and thereafter, if the matter is not resolved, with the Chair of Governors

 

External Procedures

 

Where all internal procedures have been exhausted, staff have a right of access to the Governors. It should be noted that under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, there are circumstances where a member of staff may be entitled to raise a concern directly with an external body where the employee reasonably believes:

 

a)   that exceptionally serious circumstances justify it;

b)  that the School would conceal or destroy the relevant evidence;

c)   where they believe they would be victimised by the School; or,

d)   where the Secretary of State has ordered it.

 

Malicious Accusations

 

False, malicious, vexatious or frivolous accusations will be dealt with under the School’s Disciplinary Procedure.

 

Protection from Reprisal or Victimisation

 

No member of the staff will suffer detriment or be disciplined for raising a genuine and legitimate concern, providing that they do so in good faith and follow the confidential reporting procedures.

 

 


 

 

 

      Appendix 3

 

 

Worries And Complaints – A Pupil’s Guide

 

 

“What do I do if I just want to talk to someone?”

 

Worried about something?                                             Talk to someone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who can I talk to?

 

There are lots of people you can talk to either in school or out of school –

 

Your parents, friends, Mrs Bruce, Mrs Dumble or any of your teachers. 

 

 

 

There are also other people you can talk to:

 

 

Child Line – FREEPHONE 0800 1111

 

NSPCC Child Protection Helpline FREEPHONE 0808 800 5000

 

 

 

To be displayed for children in Changing Rooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNUAL REVIEW

 

This complete document was reviewed and approved by the Chair of the Board of Governors on:  October 3rd 2012

 

 

Approved by Head on: October 9th 2012

 

 

Will next be reviewed on: October 2013