Child Protection and Safeguarding
The Loddon School® is fully committed to its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people at our school.
Here you can download our policy that provides staff, volunteers and trustees with the guidance they need to keep children and young people safe and secure in our school and to inform parents and guardians of our strategies for safeguarding their children and young people whilst they are in our care.
Child protection and safeguarding policy
THIS POLICY IS WRITTEN TO COMPLY WITH THE CURRENT CHILDREN’S HOMES REGULATIONS, NATIONAL MINIMUM STANDARDS, AND KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION
The Loddon School® is both a residential special school and a registered children’s home but will be referred to asThe Loddon School®.
The Loddon School® admits children and young people who engage in extreme and high risk challenging behaviour, known at Loddon as restrictive behaviour (behaviour that restricts the individual’s opportunities to learn or develop), and who experience severe and complex learning difficulties and usually autism.
Most children and young people will have been excluded from their local special school or will have been separated from the rest of their class or assigned extra staff. Children will have used their restrictive behaviours to avoid class-based activities and will find formal classroom teaching aversive. They are often resistant to perceived demands and lack motivation to learn new skills. For many children and young people residential respite provision will have broken down and the family situation will most often have become too difficult to sustain.
Children are assessed against the school’s “Essential Criteria for Admission” which includes a range of restrictive behaviours. To be considered for admission to the school, children and young people will have been seen to use a number of these behaviours to get their needs met.
All children and young people have a statement of SEN and many have additional diagnoses of autism, epilepsy, ADHD or other health needs. All children and young people need high levels of adult support both day and night to keep them safe to minimise the risks to both themselves and others.
Most children and young people are non – verbal and on admission have few strategies for making their needs known beyond using a range of restrictive behaviours. Those who have some speech or single words may use these in social situations but often without meaning or understanding. Often children and young people need time to process information.
Many children and young people experience extreme anxiety that manifests itself in a variety of behaviours such as aggression, flopping to the ground, running off, laughing inappropriately, perceived non-cooperation, making loud noises, inappropriate removal of clothing, incontinence or sleep difficulties.
The children and young people have difficulties making sense of their world and have little awareness of events beyond their own experiences. They have few social skills. They have difficulty in understanding concepts and in responding appropriately to the consequences of their behaviours.
We must remember that the five statutory principles of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) apply to those young people aged 16 and over:
- A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity.
- A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success.
- A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision.
- An act done, or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests.
- Before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action.
For the avoidance of doubt, they are unlikely to have the capacity to give informed consent.
A young person’s parents count as their “best interests” consultees if they lack capacity, and no step can be taken in relation to their wellbeing or treatment without consulting those persons.
The above introduction to the school outlines the difficulties experienced by the children and young people and justifies the consequent need for intensive staffing. The potential vulnerability of each child is recognised within this policy, the aim of which is to ensure that all children and young people are safeguarded.
The Loddon School® fully recognises its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people at our school. The purpose of this policy is to provide staff, volunteers and trustees with the guidance they need in order to keep children and young people safe and secure in our school and to inform parents and guardians of our strategies for safeguarding their children and young people whilst they are in our care.
We recognise that children and young people have a right to feel secure and cannot learn effectively unless they do so. Children can be harmed either by direct acts (by parents, carers and other people) or failure to provide proper care or both. Children may suffer abuse (neglect, emotional, physical, financial or sexual) or a combination of such types of abuse. All children and young people have a right to be protected from harm.
Whilst the school will work openly with parents as far as possible, the school reserves the right to contact Children’s Social Care, Local Safeguarding Children’s Board or the Police, without notifying parents if this is believed by the school Safeguarding Team to be in the child’s best interests.
These procedures apply to all staff, trustees and visitors working in the school. The aim of our procedures is to prevent children and young people from being harmed and to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people at this school in the following ways:-
Raise awareness of child protection and safeguarding roles and responsibilities with staff, trustees and visitors.
Develop, implement and review procedures in our school that enable all staff to identify and report cases, or suspected cases, of abuse.
Support children and young people who have been abused in accordance with their agreed child protection plan.
Ensure the practice of safer recruitment in checking and recording the suitability of staff to work with children and young people.
Establish a safe environment in which children and young people can live, learn and develop.
Ensure that allegations or concerns against staff are dealt with in accordance with Department for Education (DfE) and Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) guidelines.
The Loddon School®’s Responsibilities in Keeping Children Safe
The Loddon School® recognises that because of their day to day contact with children and young people, school staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse.
NB Interactions between young people over the age of 16 may not necessarily be criminal or indicative of abuse when due regard is given to the developing capacity of the individual and their ability to give informed consent.
The school will therefore:-
- This takes the following forms:
- Provide intensive staff training in Safeguarding
- Have a high staff ratio thus minimising the need for a member of staff to be alone with a child.
- Operate a three month probationary period for all new staff.
- Take up DBS checks and references on all employees prior to employment.
- Operate a policy of careful selection of employees (Safer Recruitment). Two references are taken up and a prospective employee is required to work alongside a Team Co-ordinator or Mentor for a day before a decision on employment is made (at no point are they left unsupervised with the children and young people).
- Ensure that there is a senior designated person/Child Protection Liaison Officer (CPLO) supported by a Safeguarding Team made up of The Principal, Head of Care, Deputy Head of Care, Head Teacher, Head of Staff Professional Development.
- Follow the procedures set out by the LSCB and Hampshire County Council (HCC) and take account of guidance issued by the DfE.
- Treat all disclosures with the strictest confidence. Care should be taken not to unlawfully breach the young person’s right to confidentiality in so far as they may have limited capacity to express their wishes about this,
- Ensure children and young people know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried about any problems.
- Establish and maintain an environment where children and young people feel secure, are encouraged to communicate and are listened to.
- Recognise the vulnerability of the Loddon children and young people.
- one month’s mentoring/shadowing
- 5 full days of orientation and induction training
- formal workshops
- refresher training at least every 2 years
- external courses
- Provide training in the Loddon proactive approaches; the PLLUSS (Personalised Learning for Life Using Supportive Strategies) curriculum and PROACT-SCIPr-UK®, a package of staff training which is accredited within the BILD Code of Practice. Physical interventions taught as part of the PROACT-SCIPr-UK® curriculum are the only ones permitted. [See also Challenging Behaviour Policy]
- Provide training in the principles of Mental Capacity Act (2005) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
- Facilitate visits from the health professionals from various community health teams and the school G.P.
- Facilitate frequent visits from each child’s own local authority social worker.
- Ensure the child’s social worker is informed at least monthly of any physical or restrictive interventions that have had to be used with the child as well as informing them immediately of any harm they may have come to during an incident or at any other time.
- Have “friendly” police visits.
The Leadership Team monitor all incident reports weekly and identify where further or different action may need to be taken to safeguard a particular individual. This will include where issues or concerns need to be notified to other agencies (e.g. local authorities, LSCB, Ofsted, Charities Commission). Where actions need to be taken above and beyond the child’s current written Risk Assessment and Support Guidelines, the Local Authority and parents will be notified immediately and then the guidelines changed with their agreement.
Likewise, practices will be reviewed monthly with restrictions reduced as soon as safe to do so. Every child’s Individual Education and Care Plan will be aimed at reducing restrictive behaviours and the need for restrictive practices.
Local authorities (social workers, placement officers) are kept informed of each child’s wellbeing. This includes information about critical incidents and potentially restrictive practices. Incident reports are sent at least monthly by email by the Positive Behaviour Support Manager.
Since the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) cannot apply in a children’s home, the Safeguarding Team recognises that in exceptional circumstances where there might be concern as to the proportionality of restrictive measures believed to be being taken in the child’s best interests, it has an obligation to alert the local authority that is commissioning the care, as well as the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board, in relation to the statutory authorities considering whether an application needs to be made to the Court of Protection.
- To attend all Safeguarding, MCA and DoLS training.
- To prevent harm to the children and young people wherever possible.
- To be aware of the signs and symptoms of abuse.
- To know the reporting procedures if any abuse is suspected, witnessed or disclosed.
- If the disclosure is an allegation against a member of staff they will follow the allegations procedures attached to this policy.
- Direct care staff to monitor marks (or absence of) on a child’s body during personal care routines and complete body maps for children and young people at least on a weekly basis.
- To understand the risks involved with Loddon children and young people using the internet and to supervise them accordingly. [See also e-safety policy].
- To follow the training given regarding positive interaction and physical interventions using only PROACT- SCIPr –UK®.
- To adhere to the policy for taking children and young people out of the school premises which includes a risk assessment for every outing.
- Safeguarding Co-ordinator /CPLO Responsibilities
- In this school the Designated Safeguarding Lead is Joy Wake – Head of Care. In her absence the Designated Deputy is Ruth Jones, supported by the Safeguarding Team (Principal, Head Teacher, Head of Staff Professional Development, Positive Behaviour Support Manager and Deputy Head of Care). The DSL will:
- Ensure that the Trustees understand their responsibilities under s.175 of the Education Act 2002.
- Ensure staff have received appropriate training and attend regular training.
- Ensure every member of staff and trustees know the name of the designated person (CPLO), their role and their contact details.
- Ensure all staff understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns.
- Ensure that whole school attend training regularly so that every member of staff can fulfil their child protection responsibilities effectively and to comply with the requirements set out in ‘Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education’ guidance (DCSF, updated 2012).
- Keep written records of child protection concerns that are kept securely and separately from the main pupil file and use these records to assess the likelihood of risk.
Other strategies for preventing a child coming to harm
Parents taking their child out are requested to sign their child in and out of the school and make a brief written evaluation of the outing.
- The Loddon School® requires consent from parents for anyone other than themselves or Loddon staff to take a child out of the school premises.
- The Loddon School® provides a team of “waking” night staff, sleep-in staff, additional evening workers and a “senior-on-call sleep-in” each night. In addition to this a member of the Leadership Team/senior staff is available off-site by phone.
- The Loddon School® requires that each child be checked every 20 minutes throughout the night.
- The Loddon School® employs Children’s Services Managers, a Safeguarding Officer and the Registered Manager to monitor child care practice within the school
- The Loddon School® has a complaints procedure available, especially when external agencies report suspected abuse of a child.
Recognition and investigation
The Loddon School® follows its policy whereby all staff are provided with the basic knowledge of how to recognise and report child abuse.
The Loddon School® follows its procedure whereby all allegations are investigated immediately – whether reported by a child, a member of staff or by an external agency.
Procedure for Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Child Abuse
- It is the duty of any member of staff suspecting child abuse to make allegations known directly to the internal Safeguarding Team or to Senior Staff who will report it to the Safeguarding Team
- All staff suspecting abuse must make and record some initial observations which will be used in any subsequent investigation. The observations should be written down, signed and dated and a “body map” used to indicate areas of injury/abuse as appropriate.
- If an allegation is made about a member of staff they will be asked to give an account of the situation to a senior member of staff. Notes will be taken, dated and signed by both parties. The senior staff must avoid asking leading questions.
- The allegation will be considered immediately by members of the school Safeguarding Team who will take responsibility for initiating any referral.
- If it is considered that abuse may have occurred against a child the following procedures will take place:
- The Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) will be notified as soon as the child has been made safe and will take over the responsibility for any investigation.
- The child’s Social Worker or duty social worker will be contacted immediately after the LSCB.
- Ofsted will be notified.
- The school will co-operate with any actions identified by the LSCB, including medical investigation or calling the police.
- The child’s parents/guardians will be notified as soon as practically possible.
- The school Safeguarding Team will notify the Trustees of the incident / allegation who will in turn confirm whether an anonymous referral should be made to the Charity Commission
- Any member of staff who feels a member of the Safeguarding Team are not responding appropriately to any allegation should contact the LSCB or Ofsted or a trustee immediately with their allegations of suspected child abuse.
- Complaints or allegations of suspected abuse to a child made by an external agency will be reported to the Safeguarding Team by the staff member receiving the complaint/allegation and in accordance with the 1989 Children Act: 3.2.2b – ” A detailed note to be made when abuse is alleged and for the SSD to be informed at once.”
- In the unlikely event that the Principal, CPLO and the Registered Manager are unavailable another member of the Safeguarding Team will take on the above responsibility and tasks.
- Recruitment and Selection
- Challenging Behaviour / Physical Intervention
- Personal Care
- Safeguarding mantra (Loddon)
- Types of Abuse
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013)
- 4LSCB Safeguarding Procedures
- Hampshire County Council – Safeguarding Children Policy (updated 2013)
- Safeguarding Children & Safer Recruitment in Education ( DCSF updated 2012)
- What to do if you are worried a child is being abused ( HM Govt. 2006)
- Mental Capacity Act (2005)
- Keeping Children Safe in Education
As a school, we review this policy annually in line with DfE, LSCB and HCC guidance
Approved by the Responsible Individual: Marion Cornick
Date: October 2014
(in response to OFSTED recommendation)
If you suspect that a child is being harmed or abused your priority is to make the child safe and then report your concern through the following channels:
- Within your team: Your Line Manager, Team co-ordinator or Living and Learning Manager.
- Within the school: Any member of senior staff on duty – if possible a Children’s Service Manager, senior on-call staff or a member of the Leadership Team.
- Those with specific responsibility for safeguarding within the school: Designated Safeguarding Lead (Joy Wake), Safeguarding Co-ordinator (Ruth Jones) or a member of the Safeguarding Team: Lynn Young, Karen Rookes, Helen Wood, Jorge Garcia, Dan Chippett.
If you have serious concerns about abuse these can also be reported to professionals outside the school. These include
- Hampshire Local Safeguarding Children Board
Telephone numbers for all of the above can be found in the main office and around the school.
Types of Abuse – Categories of Abuse and Detailed Indicators
Definition of abuse and neglect
(taken from: Working Together to Safeguard Students DfE 2013)
A person may abuse or neglect a student or young person by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Students and young people may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger for example, via the internet.
They may be abused by an adult, adults, or another student or young person or students or young people.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a student’s basic physical and / or psychological needs.
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to the student or young person. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to a student or young person.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a student or young person to take part in sexual activities. The activities may involve physical contact or they may involve non-contact activities including sexual images. Sexual abuse may take the form of grooming, sexting, sexual exploitation, FGM, e-safety or teenage relationship abuse and trafficking.
Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a student or young person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the student or young person’s emotional development. Verbal threats, bullying, cyber-bullying may also cause emotional abuse.
Staff at The Loddon School® are also made aware of Financial abuse, Institutional and Organisational abuse, Living with Domestic Violence and Substance abuse, and Faith abuse. Staff are to understand how these events occurring in either a child’s or staff’s life or background will have an effect on the individual. Staff are given details of what each type of abuse might include and how they might recognise the symptoms.
More importantly, staff at The Loddon School® are given training on preventing any type of abuse.
If you have any questions regarding our Safeguarding Policy please do not hesitate to contact us on 01256 884617.