Additional Information to support this policy due to COVID pandemic
Staying at home for a prolonged period and the change of routine may have caused difficulties for some children, such as changes in behaviour or mood. Some children may have fallen further behind their peers and many of the children will need more emotional support than before. As a setting we are aware of this and will take the time to reassure children and families and ensure a open dialogue between us so we are all supporting the child.
As more children return to our setting, we will be ensuring that we have support in place for the mental health, pastoral or wider wellbeing support our children may need, including with bereavement. As a team we have discussed and implemented measures on how to support the children to transition into the setting after a long period of absence. This includes tapestry videos sent from their keyperson, home learning ideas and facebook groups. Small stay and play sessions for new families adhering to current government guidelines. We have also made regular phone calls to families that are vulnerable and we will continue this if the children do not return straight away in the Autumn Term, and continue contact with family social workers virtually.
As a settings may we have read and discussed the following advice as a starting point: Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.
We will also ensure we have up to date information regarding signposting families to agencies in Southampton around substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health to ensure the safety of all our families, and any other support they may require.
At Ladybirds Preschool we work with children, parents, external agencies and the community to ensure the welfare and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. Children have the right to be treated with respect, be helped to thrive and to be safe from any abuse in whatever form.
We support the children within our care, protect them from maltreatment and have robust procedures in place to prevent the impairment of children’s health and development. In our setting we strive to protect children from the risk of radicalisation and we promote acceptance and tolerance of other beliefs and cultures (please refer to our inclusion and equality policy for further information). Safeguarding is a much wider subject than the elements covered within this single policy, therefore this document should be used in conjunction with pre-school’s other policies and procedures.
Legal framework and definition of safeguarding
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, in relation to this policy is defined as:
(Definition taken from the HM Government document ‘Working together to safeguard children).
To safeguard children and promote their welfare we will:
The Pre-school is aware that abuse does occur in our society and we are vigilant in identifying signs of abuse and reporting concerns. Our practitioners have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of children. Due to the many hours of care we are providing, staff may often be the first people to identify that there may be a problem. They may well be the first people in whom children confide information that may suggest abuse or to spot changes in a child’s behaviour which may indicate abuse.
Our prime responsibility is the welfare and well-being of each child in our care. As such we believe we have a duty to the children, parents and staff to act quickly and responsibly in any instance that may come to our attention. This includes sharing information with any relevant agencies such as local authority services for children’s social care, health professionals or the police. All staff will work with other agencies in the best interest of the child, including as part of a multi-agency team, where needed.
The Pre-school aims to:
We will support children by offering reassurance, comfort and sensitive interactions. We will devise activities according to individual circumstances to enable children to develop confidence and self-esteem within their peer group.
Contact telephone numbers
Local authority children’s social care team 02380 833 336
Local authority Designated Officer (LADO) Jemma Swann- 07500952037 or 02380 832693
Ofsted 0300 123 1231
MASH – 02380 833 336
Non-emergency police 101
Government helpline for extremism concerns 020 7340 7264
Types of abuse and particular procedures followed
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by harming them or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused within a family, institution or community setting by those known to them or a stranger. This could be an adult or adults, another child or children.
What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused
The signs and indicators listed below may not necessarily indicate that a child has been abused, but will help us to recognise that something may be wrong, especially if a child shows a number of these symptoms or any of them to a marked degree.
Indicators of child abuse
Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures
Staff should make an objective record of any observation or disclosure, supported by the Pre-school manager or Designated Safeguarding Lead. This record should include:
These records should be signed by the person reporting this and the Manager/*DSL/Deputy, dated and kept in a separate confidential file.
If a child starts to talk to an adult about potential abuse it is important not to promise the child complete confidentiality. This promise cannot be kept. It is vital that the child is allowed to talk openly and disclosure is not forced or words put into the child’s mouth. As soon as possible after the disclosure details must be logged accurately.
It may be thought necessary that through discussion with all concerned the matter needs to be raised with the local authority children’s social care team and Ofsted, and/or a Early Hep Assessment (EHA) needs to be initiated. Staff involved may be asked to supply details of any information/concerns they have with regard to a child. The nursery expects all members of staff to co-operate with the local authority children’s social care, police, and Ofsted in any way necessary to ensure the safety of the children.
Staff must not make any comments either publicly or in private about the supposed or actual behaviour of a parent or member of staff.
Action needs to be taken if staff have reason to believe that there has been a physical injury to a child, including deliberate poisoning, where there is definite knowledge or reasonable suspicion that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented. These symptoms may include bruising or injuries in an area that is not usual for a child, e.g. fleshy parts of the arms and legs, back, wrists, ankles and face.
Many children will have cuts and grazes from normal childhood injuries. These should also be logged and discussed with the Manager/Deputy of the pre-school.
Children and babies may be abused physically through shaking or throwing. Other injuries may include burns or scalds. These are not usual childhood injuries and should always be logged and discussed with the Pre-school Manager/DSL.
Female genital mutilation and breast ironing
These types of physical abuse are practised as cultural rituals by certain ethnic groups and there is now more awareness of their prevalence in some communities in England including the effects on the child and any other siblings involved. If we have concerns about a child attending our settings or older siblings that may not be attending the setting that relate to this area we would follow our safeguarding procedures. FGM is illegal in the UK.
This is also a type of physical abuse. This is where a child is presented with an illness that is fabricated by the adult carer. The carer may seek out unnecessary medical treatment or investigation. The signs may include a carer exaggerating a real illness or symptoms, complete fabrication of symptoms or inducing physical illness, e.g. through poisoning, starvation, inappropriate diet. This may also be presented through false allegations of abuse or encouraging the child to appear disabled or ill to obtain unnecessary treatment or specialist support.
Action needs be taken if the staff member has witnessed an occasion(s) where a child indicated sexual activity through words, play, drawing, had an excessive preoccupation with sexual matters or had an inappropriate knowledge of adult sexual behaviour or language. This may include acting out sexual activity on dolls/toys or in the role play area with their peers, drawing pictures that are inappropriate for a child, talking about sexual activities or using sexual language or words. The child may become worried when their clothes are removed, e.g. for nappy changes.
The physical symptoms may include genital trauma, discharge and bruises between the legs or signs of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Emotional symptoms could include a distinct change in a child’s behaviour. They may be withdrawn or overly extroverted and outgoing. They may withdraw away from a particular adult and become distressed if they reach out for them, but they may also be particularly clingy to a potential abuser so all symptoms and signs should be looked at together and assessed as a whole.
If a child starts to talk openly to an adult about abuse they may be experiencing the procedure stated later in this document under ‘recording abuse suspicions’ will be followed.
Action should be taken if the staff member has reason to believe that there is a severe, adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a child, caused by persistent or severe ill treatment or rejection.
This may include extremes of discipline where a child is shouted at or put down on a consistent basis, lack of emotional attachment by a parent, or it may include parents or carers placing inappropriate age or developmental expectations upon them. Emotional abuse may also be imposed through the child witnessing domestic abuse and alcohol and drug misuse by adults caring for them.
The child is likely to show extremes of emotion with this type of abuse. This may include shying away from an adult who is abusing them, becoming withdrawn, aggressive or clingy in order to receive their love and attention. This type of abuse is harder to identify as the child is not likely to show any physical signs.
Action should be taken if the staff member has reason to believe that there has been persistent or severe neglect of a child (for example, by exposure to any kind of danger, including cold, starvation or failure to seek medical treatment, when required, on behalf of the child), which results in serious impairment of the child's health or development, including failure to thrive.
Signs may include a child persistently arriving at pre-school unwashed or unkempt, wearing clothes that are too small (especially shoes that may restrict the child’s growth or hurt them), arriving at pre-school in the same nappy they went home in or a child having an illness or identified special educational need or disability that is not being addressed by the parent. A child may also be persistently hungry if a parent is withholding food or not providing enough for a child’s needs.
Neglect may also be shown through emotional signs, e.g. a child may not be receiving the attention they need at home and may crave love and support at pre-school. They may be clingy and emotional. In addition, neglect may occur through pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.
Staffing and volunteering
Our policy is to provide a secure and safe environment for all children. We only allow an adult who is employed by the pre-school to care for children and who has an enhanced clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to be left alone with children. We do not allow volunteers to be alone with children or any other adult who may be present in the Pre-school regardless of whether or not they have a DBS clearance.
All staff will attend child protection training and receive initial basic child protection training during their induction period. This will include the procedures for spotting signs and behaviours of abuse and abusers/potential abusers, recording and reporting concerns and creating a safe and secure environment for the children in the nursery. During induction staff will be given contact details for the LADO (local authority designated officer), Southampton MASH, the Southampton Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP) and Ofsted to enable them to report any safeguarding concerns, independently, if they feel it necessary to do so. Staff will be trained in all areas of safeguarding including those that are less related to very young children e.g. child sexual exploitation, county lines, trafficked children.
We have a named person within the pre-school who takes lead responsibility for safeguarding and co-ordinates child protection and welfare issues, known as the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). The pre-school DSL liaises with Southampton MASH and the local authority children’s social care team, undertakes specific training, including a child protection training course, and receives regular updates to developments within this field.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) at Porchester Road setting is: Zoe Marler-Hausen
Parents are normally the first point of contact. If a suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, except where the guidance of the Southampton MASH, local authority children’s social care team/police does not allow this. This will usually be the case where the parent or family member is the likely abuser or where a child may be endangered by this disclosure. In these cases the investigating officers will inform parents.
Confidentiality and transfer of information
All suspicions, enquiries and external investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared in line with guidance from Southampton MASH.
Sharing information on transition to other settings/providers/schools
The setting will follow guidance and procedures set out by Southampton City Council School and Education: Guidance on the Retention and Transfer of Child Protection Records for Education and shared by Southampton Safeguarding Children Partnership.
Support to families
The Pre-school takes every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relations among families, staff, students and volunteers within the pre-school.
The Pre-school continues to welcome the child and the family whilst enquiries are being made in relation to abuse in the home situation. Parents and families will be treated with respect in a non-judgmental manner whilst any external investigations are carried out in the best interest of the child.
Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child's parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child, only if appropriate in line with guidance of Southampton MASH with the proviso that the care and safety of the child is paramount. We will do all in our power to support and work with the child's family.
Employees, students or volunteers of the pre-school or any other person working on the pre-school premises
If an allegation is made against a member of staff, student or volunteer or any other person who works on the pre-school premises regardless of whether the allegation relates to the pre-school premises or elsewhere, we will follow the procedure below.
The allegation should be reported to the senior manager on duty. If this person is the subject of the allegation then this should be reported to the DSL/Deputy manager/manager of the other setting instead.
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), Ofsted and Southampton MASH will then be informed immediately in order for this to be investigated by the appropriate bodies promptly:
Extremism – the Prevent Duty
Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 we have a duty to refer any concerns of extremism to the police (In Prevent priority areas the local authority will have a Prevent lead who can also provide support).
This may be a cause for concern relating to a change in behaviour of a child or family member, comments causing concern made to a member of the team (or other persons in the setting) or actions that lead staff to be worried about the safety of a child in their care.
Our Pre-school is aware of the growth of internet use and the advantages this can bring. However it is also aware of the dangers and strives to support children, staff and families in using the internet safely.
Within the Pre-school we do this by:
Other policies that link to this policy:
Our Pre-school has a clear commitment to protecting children and promoting welfare. Should anyone believe that this policy is not being upheld, it is their duty to report the matter to the attention of the Pre-school Manager/Directors/DSL/registered person at the earliest opportunity.
Policy adopted at meeting – Oct 2007
Reviewed by : Ladybirds Directors
September 18 –
Z Marler-Hausen & Diana Buckell
31st January 2020