Enfield Advisory Service for Autism

Enfield Advisory Service for Autism

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 Safeguarding Policy 

  

SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES

 

 

Introduction

Educational services have a statutory duty to promote and safeguard the welfare of children, as laid out in section 17 of the Education Act (2002), the Children Act (1989 and 2004), The Children and Families Act (2014), ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education – statutory guidance for schools and colleges’ (September 2018), Furthermore, schools and services must implement guidance issued by the Secretary of State. This includes ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018), ‘Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education’ (2014) and services must pay due regard to advice including, ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused – advice for practitioners’ (2015).

The Government has defined safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • ensuring children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.’

(Keeping Children Safe in Education, September 2018)

Furthermore ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ states that: Where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action should be taken to protect that child. Action should also be taken to promote the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or are at immediate risk.’

 

The Enfield Advisory Service for Autism (EASA) provides advice, training and support to educational settings and parents to support children and young people with autism from 0-25 years in line with the provision in Enfield.  In most cases the child’s own educational setting will hold responsibility to promote and safeguard the welfare of the child/ren and will follow their own safeguarding producers. The staff of EASA fully recognise the contribution they make to safeguarding children. We recognise that all staff have a full and active part to play in promoting the well-being of our pupils and protecting them from harm. All staff believe that our service should provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment which promotes the social, physical, emotional and moral development of the individual child.

This policy and procedures for safeguarding children are written in line with National, Regional (All London Child Protection Procedures), Local Authority (LA) and Enfield Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) procedures and protocols (including Enfield’s Safeguarding Disabled Children Protocol).

 

Context

Children with autism often understand their own and others’ behaviour in a way that is different to neuro-typically developing children.  They may also behave in ways which may appear to be provocative or sexually explicit and can, therefore, be more vulnerable to inappropriate approaches.  Consequently the service works closely with other educational settings, services and parents to advise on PSHE programmes that focus on relationships, age appropriate behaviours in different settings, self-care, differentiating between right and wrong, the difference between safe and dangerous as well as sex education.

In addition, children with autism may be particularly susceptible to radicalisation, or being enticed into acts of various kinds, because of the challenges they face in being able to differentiate between right and wrong, making right and safe choices as well as their vulnerability arising from their lack of awareness of danger. Staff recognise that radicalisation is a national concern and they recognise the vulnerability of pupils with autism; therefore all staff are made aware of the need to be vigilant in line with the Prevent strategy and guidance.

Adults should be aware that some behaviours, generally accepted to be signs of emotional disturbance, e.g. isolation, rocking and self-harm, can be common features in children with autism and may therefore not be related to child abuse. Some pupils with autism can also find it difficult to understand the difference between fact and fiction and may not always give accurate information.  Furthermore, many pupils may experience difficulty communicating, so liaising with the pupil’s own educational setting or parents to gain knowledge and understanding of each child is crucial when considering safeguarding and child protection issues.

 

Aims

The aims of the service, The Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Safeguarding Protocols are:

 

  1. To keep pupils safe and free from harm.
  2. To help educational settings promote a caring, safe and positive environment for their pupils.
  3. To support the child’s development in ways that will foster security, self-worth, confidence and independence.
  4. To support educational settings to establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure, are encouraged to communicate and are always listened to.
  5. To ensure that all children know there are adults whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty.
  6. To ensure all staff are aware of the need to safeguard children and of their responsibilities in sharing information in order to safeguard children.
  7. To ensure all staff members know the procedures that should be followed if they have cause for concern.
  8. To ensure all staff receive appropriate safeguarding training.
  9. To ensure effective working relationships with other support agencies, especially the Police, Social Services and ESCB in order to safeguard children.
  10. To ensure that all EASA staff have been checked as to their suitability, and recruited in line with the LA Safer Recruitment Guidance, and that a Single Central Record is maintained. It is the responsibility of all other partners within the EASA to ensure that the necessary checks and records are in place.
  11. To ensure that parents are aware that staff have statutory responsibilities to report any concerns they have in order to safeguard children.
  12. To support parents to ensure they are fully aware of the additional potential dangers for children with autism, and how the children can be kept as safe as possible. To help parents to ensure their children are as safe as possible when using the internet.
  13. To protect pupils from extremism and radicalisation and, when appropriate, teach them about this.

 

Responsibilities

The Governing Body are responsible for:

  1. Ensuring that the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and Procedures are reviewed annually.
  2. Ensuring there is a designated governor for safeguarding. He/she will communicate regularly with the lead designated officer for safeguarding. 
  3. Ensuring that a member of the Russet House Senior Leadership Team is appointed as the lead designated teacher for safeguarding to liaise with the service’s designated teacher/officer for safeguarding.
  4. Completing the Safeguarding Compliance Checklist and submitting it to the LA.

 

Designated teachers/officers for safeguarding are responsible for:

  1. Ensuring that at least one designated teacher is available at all times.
  2. Adhering to the ESCB, LA and school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Protocols with regard to referring a child if there are concerns about possible abuse.
  3. Ensuring written records of concern about a child are kept even if there is no need to make an immediate referral.
  4. Ensuring that all such records are kept confidentially and securely and are separate from pupil records.
  5. Making referrals to appropriate agencies (Social Services or the Police) if there is a concern that a child is experiencing harm or is at risk of significant harm.
  6. Working with parents and with relevant agencies (social care, police, health services and any other relevant services) to reduce the harm/ risk of harm to a child.
  7. Ensuring that an indication of further record-keeping is marked on the pupil records when necessary.
  8. Ensuring that Social Services are made aware of any pupil currently on the safeguarding register who is absent without explanation.
  9. The lead designated teacher for safeguarding will report termly to the full Governing Body.
  10. Ensuring that staff understand the issues of radicalisation and recognise signs of vulnerability or radicalisation.
  11. Making referrals to appropriate agencies if concerns about radicalisation exist.
  12. Ensuring that known cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are reported to the police.
  13. Ensuring all staff receive safeguarding and child protection training.
  14. Disseminating information to staff regarding safeguarding and child protection.

 

All staff are responsible for:

  • Adhering to the service’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Protocols.
  • Reporting any cause for concern to a designated teacher.
  • Escalating any concerns which they feel are not being appropriately dealt with to the lead designated teacher for safeguarding and/ or the designated governor, and/ or the LA designated officer for safeguarding.
  • Ensuring all staff read the service’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Protocols, and part 1 and Annex A of ’Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (September 2018). They must then sign the document entitled ‘Safeguarding and Child Protection Information for all Staff’) to state they have read and understood these documents.  

 

Confidentiality

We recognise that all matters relating to Safeguarding and Child Protection are confidential.  The Head of Service or Designated Teacher will disclose any information about a pupil to other members of staff on a need to know basis only.

All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child to keep secrets. All staff must be aware that they should never ask leading questions to a child they have concerns over.

The service will ensure that appropriate information is forwarded in a confidential manner when the child moves to a new school in order to provide continuing support to a pupil about whom there have been concerns.

 

Supporting Children

We recognise that a child who is abused or witnesses violence or abuse may experience many emotions including finding it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self worth, feeling helpless and humiliated, and that he/ she may feel self blame. The behaviour of a child in these circumstances may be perceived to be usual, aggressive or withdrawn.

Staff will support all pupils by providing security and stability, encouraging self-esteem and self-assertiveness whilst not condoning aggression or bullying.

 

Supporting Staff

We recognise that staff working for the service who have become involved with a child who has suffered harm (or appears to be likely to suffer harm) may find the situation stressful and upsetting.

If a member of staff experiences any personal anxiety or distress following their involvement in a safeguarding matter they should speak to the Head of Service or a designated teacher/officer.

In all safeguarding concerns which lead to a referral to social care,the Head of Service or designated teacher/officer will offer support to the staff member who has reported it.

 

Training

Staff and governors are provided with safeguarding training in line with statutory requirements and those of the LA.  A minimum of 1 teacher to be trained at all times as ‘designated teacher’.

  1. A minimum of two teachers to be trained at all times as ‘designated teachers’.

 

Designated teachers will ensure they attend the relevant ‘designated staff’ and ‘safer recruitment’ training provided by the LA, and ensure that this is updated in accordance with LA guidance. The lead designated teacher will also undertake ‘Prevent awareness’ training provided by the Local Authority or online. In addition to this formal training designated teachers will ensure their knowledge and skills are kept up-to-date and share all relevant information and training with school staff.

  1. All members of staff to be provided with relevant and current safeguarding training.

 

All members of staff will attend a half day Safeguarding training once every 3 years which will be provided by the school as part of the Professional Learning and Development programme.

  1. Safeguarding training will be delivered to all new members of staff through their Induction Programme.

 

Through training, staff are made aware of the different forms of abuse (physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect) and the warning signs and indicators of abuse. In addition staff are made aware of current national and local concerns regarding the safeguarding of children. These include so-called ‘honour based violence’ (including Female Genital Mutilation, FGM), child sexual exploitation (CSE) including sexual bullying and cyber bullying, child victims of trafficking, child abduction, victims of sexual violence and harassment, and online safety.

 

Extremism and Radicalisation

We recognise that pupils with autism are vulnerable to suggestion, may follow instructions literally and may repeat language heard without necessarily understanding what it means or copy the actions of other people. If a child or member of their family show any signs of the following it should be reported to the lead designated teacher for safeguarding.

The following are some signs which may cause concern:

  • Possessing illegal or extremist literature
  • Talking about extremist causes
  • Searching for on-line extremist videos
  • Out of character changes in dress or behaviour which may be attributable to religious extremism

 

Child Abduction, Child Sexual Exploitation, Child victims of trafficking, Extremism and Radicalisation and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Online grooming.

Pupils’ own educational setting will hold responsibility for monitoring any concerns in relation to the above areas.  However if staff within service have concerns, these should immediately be brought to the attention of a designated teacher for safeguarding.

All staff are aware of the Prevent duty.

 

Peer on peer abuse

The EASA recognises that pupils can abuse their peers. It is also recognised that children with autism may behave in inappropriate ways towards their peers without being aware of the impact of their behavior on a peer’s physical or emotional well-being. Staff work with pupils to promote their understanding of how to behave in a suitable way towards their peers.

 

Allegations against Staff

We understand that a pupil or a parent may make an allegation against a member of staff.  Allegations may be false, malicious or simply misplaced. They may also be well-founded. It is recognised that no groups of people are exempt from being abusers or from being abused.

If such an allegation is made, the member of staff receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Head of Service.

The Head of Service, on all such occasions, will discuss the content of the allegation with the LA Officer for Safeguarding, Maria Anatasi (tel: 0208 379 2746/ 2850).  If the allegation made to a member of staff concerns the Head of Service, the designated teacher will immediately inform the Chair of Governors who will consult with the Local Authority Designated Officer for Safeguarding.  The service will follow the London Child Protection Procedures for managing allegations against staff.

  • For all staff, the most important consideration is to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children with whom they come into contact.
  • All allegations or suspicions of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect by staff, including the use of restraint other than what is permitted by law or guidance issued by Government or professional bodies, will be taken seriously and will be considered under child protection procedures. This will include allegations made against staff who are working with pupils on-site and off-site on activities, educational visits etc. See ‘Reporting Procedures’ below.
  • If staff feel at risk of allegations by a pupil when working with him/ her either on-site or off-site, the Head of Service or Designated officer should be notified immediately.                                                                                                       

Whistleblowing

We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so. 

All staff are aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, with a designated teacher or the Head of Service teacher about the attitude or actions of colleagues, or school practices.

Staff can also contact the NSPCC whistleblowing advice helpline (0800 028 0285 or email help@nspcc.org.uk) for support in this matter.

 

Safer Recruitment and Maintenance of a Single Central Record

All staff are recruited in accordance with the Local Authority guidance on Safer Recruitment as detailed in the service’s Safer Recruitment Policy. A designated teacher or governor trained in ‘safer recruitment’ will always be present on an interview panel for staff members who will work directly with children.   

The Single Central Record lists the checks which have been carried out by the service on all staff.

All staff members will have an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with Barred List check. For teachers checks will also be carried out against the ‘Teacher Prohibition Order List’, and the list of ‘Teachers Sanctioned in Other EEA Member States’. No member of staff is able to start work at the school when children are present until: school has been notified of their completed enhanced check by the ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’. In accordance with the Childcare Act 2006 (as amended by the 2018 Regulations) all staff are required to sign a declaration prior to undertaking any work for the service stating that they are not disqualified from work with children. 

 

All staff sign the declaration ‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006’ annually as detailed in the Single Central Record of employees which is maintained by the Russet House school administrator.

It is the responsibility of all members of staff to inform the Headteacher immediately if they receive a Final Warning, Caution or Conviction. 

In addition other checks which are carried out prior to a member of staff starting work at the school include:

  • Satisfactory references
  • Satisfactory Health Assessment
  • Relevant qualification(s) evidenced
  • Declaration of Unspent and Relevant Spent Criminal Offences
  • Declaration of right to work in the UK (via Application Form)

 

On an annual basis staff sign the following documents:

  • Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 (as amended in the 2018 Regulations): Employee/Worker/Volunteer Declaration
  • Criminal Record Update
  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • The document to state they have read the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, Procedures and Protocols, and part 1 and Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education.

 

There is ongoing monitoring of staff to ensure their ongoing suitability to work with pupils who are referred to the service.

 

Monitoring and Review

  1. Safeguarding is a standard item on the EASA’s multi-professionals meetings agenda and meetings are held at least once per term.
  2. The Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and Procedures are reviewed annually by Russet House School’s lead designated teacher for safeguarding, Head of Service and designated teacher/s; any amendments are shared with all the staff. They are also reviewed by governors on the ‘Standards, Assessment and Curriculum’ Committee (STAC) and presented to all governors at a meeting of the Full Governing Body.
  3. The service’s lead designated teacher will report to the Russet House School lead designated teacher for safeguarding who writes a report each term to the designated governor for safeguarding. The lead designated teacher and governor meet termly to discuss any concerns, and identify if any improvements can be made to safeguarding and child protection procedures and the service practice regarding safeguarding.
  4. There is ongoing monitoring to ascertain whether any staff members need refresher training sessions in safeguarding procedures.
  5. Record of Concern forms will be monitored to ensure accurate information is recorded in a suitable way. Training will be provided where necessary.
  6. The Head of Service/lead designated teacher for safeguarding will monitor all reports from any disciplinary issues and appeals.
  7. There is an annual audit of safeguarding policies and procedures.

 

Responsibilities of all governors and staff

Staff members and the designated governor for safeguarding must read the school’s Safeguarding Policy, Safeguarding Procedures and Protocols. Additionally, they must read part 1 and Annex A of ’Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (September 2016) annually.

They must sign the form (Safeguarding and Child Protection Information for all staff) to state they have read and understood these documents.

Staff should also be aware of the London Child Protection Procedures (5th Edition, 2017) [www.londoncp.co.uk/index.html].

All staff must be aware of warning signs and indicators in relation to abuse and be vigilant in ensuring children are not at risk of harm or abuse (including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect). This includes so-called ‘honour based violence’ ((including Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, breast ironing, forced marriage and honour based killing), child sexual exploitation (CSE) including sexual bullying and cyber bullying, child victims of trafficking, child abduction and radicalisation.

 

Reporting Procedure for all staff:

If a member of staff is concerned that a child may be at risk of any form of abuse or harm, or has experienced any form of abuse, or if a child makes a disclosure to any member of staff the following procedure must be followed:

 Staff members must:

  • reassure the child
  • respond with tact and care
  • communicate as appropriate according to the age and understanding of the pupil
  • listen and treat the concern seriously, avoiding expressions of shock or disbelief
  • use open questions only, such as ‘What happened?’ or ‘Do you have anything else to tell me?’
  • allow the pupil to tell his/her own story
  • avoid expressions of sympathy
  • reassure the child that the information will only be passed to those who ‘need to know’
  • always be aware that our ‘duty of care’ is to the child.

Staff members must not:

  • promise confidentiality
  • make assumptions or interpretations
  • make suggestions or offer alternative explanations
  • use leading questions e.g. ‘Did they do …. to you?’ or ‘What did they do next?’
  • criticize an alleged abuser
  • ask the pupil to repeat information to another member of staff before reporting it to a designated teacher

In addition, in the case of a verbal disclosure staff members must not:

  • interrupt the child reporting when he/she is recalling significant events
  1. The staff member must complete a ‘Record of Concern’ form and hand this to a designated teacher; an electronic copy is located on the Advisory drive/safeguarding. In the case of a disclosure, record what the child said as exactly as possible on a ‘Record of Concern’ form and include details as to what occurred prior to the disclosure. The information should be as factual as possible and not include opinions.
  • Report the incident and give the ‘Record of Concern’ form to a designated teacher as soon as possible:

                    Suzanne Goddard

Gilly Taylor (lead designated teacher from Russet House School)

 If they are not available or the concern is raised during the school holidays, then contact the Head of Service or the Duty social worker at Cheviots (020 8363 4047).

  1. If there is a known case of Female Genital Mutilation then the staff member must personally report it to the police by phoning 101. They must also inform a designated teacher.

 

Reporting Procedure of designated teacher/s:

Once a concern has been reported to the designated teacher the following procedures are followed:

  1. If the child is at immediate risk linked to radicalisation then the designated teacher will contact the police or the extremism line (020 73407264) and inform social services.
  2. If there is concern that a child may be at risk of harm and:
  • The child is registered to a educational setting (e.g. mainstream school, private nursery), the designated teacher will discuss the specific concern with that setting. That setting will then be responsible for following its safeguarding procedures in relation to that case. 
  • The child is not registered to an educational setting; the designated teacher will contact the child’s parents and discuss the concern with them (see part iii.)
  • If, following discussion with the parent, the designated teacher feels that the information needs to be passed on, the designated teacher will inform the child’s parents of this. The designated teacher will then contact the allocated social worker at Cheviots (020 8363 4047). If the child does not have an allocated social worker or is not known to the social care team at Cheviots an Early Help Assessment Form will be completed by the designated teacher and submitted to the Single Point of Entry (SPOE) – SPOE@enfield.gov.uk. The Early Help Assessment Form can be found on the T drive:\Forms-\Safeguarding.

If there is concern that the child will be at greater risk of harm or abuse should a discussion with the parent take place, the designated teacher will immediately contact the relevant authority without contacting the parents.

  1. Details of all conversations and actions will be documented on the Record of Concern form and the Record of Concern form will be filed in the locked filing cabinet in the Head of Service’s office.
  2. If there is concern that a child is in immediate danger or harm then the designated teacher will contact the police or social services at Cheviots.

Designated teachers must not:

  • Attempt to investigate any suspicion of abuse. Only sufficient information should be sought to clarify whether a concern should be referred to children’s social care and/or police, or dealt with internally.

 

Training

 

  1. ‘Designated teachers’ will ensure they attend the relevant ‘designated teacher’ training provided by the Local Authority every two years, and ensure that this is updated annually in accordance with LA guidance. The lead designated teacher from RHS will also undertake safer recruitment’ training and ‘Prevent awareness’ training provided by the Local Authority or online. In addition to this formal training they will ensure their knowledge and skills are kept up-to-date and share all relevant information and training with staff.
  2. The ‘designated governor’ will ensure they attend the Local Authority designated staff training and training in safer recruitment.
  3. All members of EASA staff will be provided with training at least annually and will attend Safeguarding training once every 3 years which will be provided by Russet Hose school as part of the INSET programme in accordance with LA guidance. It is the responsibility of all other partners with EASA to ensure that the necessary training is completed.
  4. Safeguarding training will be delivered to all new members of staff through their Induction Programme.

 

Safer Recruitment and Maintenance of a Single Central Record

Any recruitment within EASA for educational staff will follow Russet House School protocols for recruitment.

The Single Central Record lists the checks which have been carried out by the service. It is the responsibility of all other partners within EASA to ensure that the necessary checks and records are in place.

All staff members will have an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with Barred List check and Childcare Disqualification requirement check. For teachers checks will also be carried out against the ‘Teacher Prohibition Order List’, the list of ‘Teachers Sanctioned in Other EEA Member States’ and the list ‘Showing Section 128 Barring Directions’ (on the NCTL Teacher Services’ system). No member of staff is able to start work at the service until the service has been notified of their completed enhanced check by the ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’.

All governors will have an Enhanced DBS without Barred List check. 

All staff sign the declaration ‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006’ annually as detailed in the Single Central Record of employees maintained by Russet House School’s administrator.

It is the responsibility of all members of staff to inform the Head of Service immediately if they receive a Final Warning, Caution or Conviction. 

Amended February 2003/ March 2005 / October 2006/ June 2010 / May 2014/ November 2015/ September 2016/ September 2017/ September 2018

 

Signature:

  

Ann Goldstein

Safeguarding Governor

Date: 27.09.2018