Safe Guarding Policy
SOTA’s first responsibility and priority is towards the children in our care. If we have any cause for concern we will report it, following the Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures. We understand that child abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional and neglectful, or a mixture of these and we will notify Ofsted/CSSIW of any allegations of abuse that are alleged to have taken place while the child is in SOTA’s care.
SOTA has a designated officer for child protection, who liaises with Social Service departments (if necessary) and teachers in school. Juliette Caton is the designated person responsible for child protection.
SOTA has a policy of partnership between home and school but with child abuse, or suspicion of child abuse, our first and only responsibility is to the child. Parent’s permission should be sought before discussing a referral about them with other agencies, unless permission seeking may itself place a child at risk of significant harm. This may mean that parents are not always informed or consulted. Suspected cases are reported, procedures adhered to and subsequent actions are left to the appropriate agencies.
All Staff who work for SOTA will be CRB checked and references will be checked.
We have copies of, and are familiar with, the Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures. Every six months we check that we have the latest version of the relevant procedures (or any documents that may replace them in the future).
If we are concerned about a child’s welfare, we will contact the local authority, the NSPCC, or other relevant support services for advice, confidentially will be assured only when it is clear that there is no risk of harm to a child.
Child protection concerns that could identify a particular child are kept confidential and only shared with people who need to know this information.
Parents must notify us of any concerns they have about their child and any accidents, incidents or injuries affecting the child, which will be recorded.
SOTA will work together with parents to make sure the care of their child is consistent.
If we notice:
significant changes in children’s behaviour
unexpected bruising or marks or signs of possible abuse
any comments made which give me cause for concern
deterioration in general wellbeing which causes concern
signs of neglect
We will implement the Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures without delay to minimise any risk to the child. We will call the local social services’ duty desk immediately, if it is known that a child is at risk of harm. We will then follow it up with a letter within 48 hours. We will keep a factual record of the concern and will ask the parents for an explanation, providing it would not put the child at risk.
If a child tells any member of staff that they or another child is being abused, we will:
1. show that we have heard what they are saying, and that we take their allegations seriously
2. encourage the child to talk, but will not prompt them or ask them leading questions. We will not interrupt when a child is recalling significant events and will not make a child repeat their account
3. explain what actions we must take, in a way that is appropriate to the age and understanding of the child
4. write down what we have been told using exact words where possible
5. make a note of the date, time, place and people who were present at the discussion
6. then report our concerns immediately to the duty social worker who has the experience and responsibility to make an assessment of the situation.
If an allegation is made against a member of SOTA’s staff, we will report it to Ofsted and social services, following the Safeguarding Children Board procedures.
In all instances we will record:
the child’s full name and address
the date and time of the record
factual details of the concern, for example bruising, what the child said, who was present details of any previous concerns details of any explanations from the parents any action taken such as speaking to parents.