Safeguarding - Safe learning at Thistly Meadow Primary School
All staff at Thistly Medow receive regular training to notice possible signs of abuse during their daily contact with children. All staff are responsible for reporting concerns about a child.
Child abuse means:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Neglect, of a child and young person under 18
Signs of abuse may be:
- An injury
- A child tells that they have been ill treated
- A child is showing concern about the way an adult is behaving towards them
- A child telling about another child who is being mistreated, an adult tells that they are concerned about the abuse of a child
Part of a picture over a longer period, such as:
- A child who is regularly dirty, unsuitably clothed or hungry
- A child who is showing unusual behaviour for their age
- Deterioration in work or lack of interest
- A child who is isolated, distressed or angry
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse. Victims are manipulated or forced into taking part in a sexual act, either as part of a seemingly consensual relationship, or in return for attention, gifts, money, alcohol, drugs or somewhere to stay. The young person may think that the abuser is their friend, or even their boyfriend or girlfriend. But they will put them into dangerous situations, making or forcing them to do things that they don’t want to or can’t say no to. The abuser will create some form of dependency between the young person and them and may physically or verbally threaten the young person or be violent towards them. They will try and isolate them from friends and family so that they can control and manipulate them.
What are the signs?
- Having mood swings or being emotionally upset
- Changes in physical appearance
- Changes in eating patterns
- Misusing alcohol or drugs
- Chatting online to people you have never met
- Appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions
- Being in a relationship with or associating with an older person
- Increased or secretive mobile phone and computer use or in possession of multiple phones
- Showing inappropriate sexualized behaviour
- Suffering from sexually transmitted infections
- Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
- Regularly missing school or not taking part in education
- Regularly going missing for periods of time or returning home late
What can Parent/Carers do?
- Discuss with your children the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships to help highlight potential risks to them
- Be aware of the tell-tale signs
- Exercise caution around older friends your child may have, or relationships with other young people where there appears to be a power imbalance
- Understand the risks associated with your child being online and using social networking sites and put measures in place to minimise these risks
- Stay alert to changes in behaviour
- Talk about it. Talk it through with someone else you know and can trust such as a teacher, school nurse or another service your child may be involved with. You can also talk to a social worker or the police
Who to contact for a concern advice and support or to report a concern
You may be unsure about whether you are right to be worried, but it is important that you don’t keep any concerns to yourself.
First Response Children’s Duty line
Leicestershire County Council 0116 305 0005
For non-emergencies you should call 101
Safeguarding Children Boards
The New FUTURES PROJECT
The project supports girls and boys at risk of sexual exploitation
0116 251 0803 www.new-futures.org.uk
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) works across the UK tackling child sex abuse and exploitation www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents
A support and information agency for parents about child sexual exploitation
All Leicestershire County and City schools are part of Operation Encompass which is a safeguarding initiative aimed at improving outcomes for children and families affected by domestic violence and abuse.
Operation Encompass is a protocol whereby schools are formally notified of any reported incident of domestic violence at an address at which children are present or normally resident. It is run in partnership with Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and with Leicestershire Police.
All public agencies currently share information where there are safeguarding concerns or risk of harm to children and the Police now share information about all incidents of domestic abuse through Operation Encompass.
To further support the welfare of children, when any domestic abuse incident has been reported to the Police during the school term and one of our pupils was in the household, the information is shared with the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Headteacher.
This system has been introduced because domestic abuse in a household can have a huge impact on children, even if they do not see what is happening.
This information will be used to ensure the school is able to provide appropriate support to pupils. The information will remain confidential and will only be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis. For example, with the class teacher. It will not be shared with children.
If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about domestic abuse or sexual violence, call the United Against Violence and Abuse (UAVA) helpline on 0800 80 200 28. The helpline is open 8am to 8am Monday to Saturday. You can also visit www.uava.org.uk.
Schools are placed under a duty by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” and “challenge extremist ideas” that support or are shared by terrorist groups.
Our school follows the Home Office guidance for schools which identifies best practice and ways in which schools can comply with their duty. We also work in partnership with the local authority Safeguarding team and Prevent Co-ordinator. Our staff have awareness training in radicalisation and are trained to recognise vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism. We ensure that fundamental British Values are reflected in our activities and general conduct of the school. For more information see our British Values page which sets out how this is included in our curriculum.
All adults working with children at Thistly Meadow Primary School are aware of relevant policies and procedures for safeguarding children. Safeguarding at Thistly is built on the following principles:
- Staff are aware that welfare of the child is paramount
- Staff understand their responsibilities to safeguard and protect children
- Staff apply the same professional standards regardless of age, disability, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marital status or trade union membership
- Staff are responsible for their own actions and behaviour, and avoid any conduct which could lead any reasonable person to question their motives and intentions
- Staff will report any safeguarding concerns about the safety or welfare of a child to the senior designated person
Safe working practices
- Staff should treat information about children and their families discretely
- Staff should be careful not to misuse their power and influence over children
- Staff should ensure that their behaviour remains professional at all times, including their dress, use of language and online communication which is or could become publicly seen
- Physical intervention should follow relevant guidelines and be recorded and reported
- Physical contact should be minimal, time limited, age appropriate and able to be justified
- Intimate care and first aid should only be administered according to relevant procedures
- Staff will not give gifts other than as part of an agreed reward system or given to all children equally
- Staff should not engage in personal email or telephone communication with children (texting, messaging, skypeing, chat rooms, social networking sites etc)
- Any out of school contact should be planned and agreed with senior staff and parents
- Only authorised areas of the curriculum should contain any sexual or other sensitive material
- Internet use should be according to school policy and inappropriate content should not be accessed
- There should be no unauthorised photography of children. Photographs of children should be the property of the school and not retained on personal equipment
- Staff should guard against young people developing an infatuation with them and report any such concerns to senior staff
- Staff should be mindful of situations where a pupil or parent comes to depend on them for support outside their role and discuss this promptly with a senior member of staff