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At Top Tots our priority is the saftey and welfare of all children and adults.
All staff are trained in safeguarding and how to recongnise symptoms and identfy concerns and forms of abuse as part of their induction process.
All staff are fully aware of how to report (and the time scale to do so) any child protection concerns to the designated safeguarding officer of the setting - Sue Forsyth
Responding to concerns raised directly by a child
Where a child
makes comments to a member of staff that gives cause for concern (disclosure),
observes signs or signals that give cause for concern, such as significant
changes in behaviour; deterioration in general well-being; unexplained
bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect that member of staff
These records are signed and dated and kept in the safeguarding children file which is kept securely and confidentially. Staff involved will not discuss the concerns with those who do not need to know.
Respond appropriately to suspicions of abuse
All staff have a responsibility to report safeguarding concerns and suspicions of abuse. These concerns will be discussed with the safeguarding Officer (Sue) as soon as possible.
The designated safeguarding officer will:
Keeping children safe is our highest priority and if, for whatever reason, staff do not feel able to report concerns to the Safeguarding officer or deputy Officer they should call the Local Authority children’s social care team or the NSPCC and report their concerns anonymously.
The Safeguarding Officer will provide advice and support to the staff member, apprentice or volunteer and where necessary support them in making a referral to:
M.A.S.H (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) - 023 9266 8793 or 0845 671 0271, out of hours 0300 555 1378, [email protected]
The DOSC may seek advice from the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub where there is uncertainty about whether what has been said indicates abuse. This will not constitute as a referral.
When contacting the MASH, the Safegurding oficer will make a clear statement of
o Known facts
o Suspicions and allegations
o Any contact with the family
We will work in partnership with all agencies in order to protect the child and the family; this may mean the Police or
another agency identified by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership. We take care not to influence the outcome either through the way we speak to children or by asking questions of children.
Parents are usually contacted immediately.
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 Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub does not allow this. This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In this case investigating officers will inform the parents.
Preventing children from being drawn into extremism
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) defines extremism. It states “Extremism goes beyond terrorism and includes people who target the vulnerable – including the young – by seeking to sow division between communities on the basis of race, faith or denomination; justify discrimination towards women and girls; persuade others that minorities are inferior; or argue against the primacy of democracy and the rule of law in our society.
Extremism is defined in the Counter Extremism Strategy 2015 as the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist”
As an early years
provider we are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.
All staff have undertaken Prevent awareness training as part of the setting safer recruitment induction procedure.
The Safeguarding officer can provide advice and support to other members of staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation. It is their responsibility to ensure that an appropriate risk assessment has been undertaken for our setting. Our staff will
be alert to what is happening in the child's life at home or elsewhere and any changes in the child's behaviour that gives cause for concern. In line with our commitment to staff training and development; will identify individual and whole team needs alongside the risk assessment and in line with the identified priorities of the Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Partnership.
Top tots work in partnership with other organisations and parents to prevent children from being drawn into extremism. Parents and children will be supported to understand how to stay safe online. We will use both local Safeguarding Board resources www.portsmouthscb.org.uk and national resources www.saferinternet.org.uk.
Where there are concerns that a child could be at risk of radicalisation the setting will follow normal safeguarding procedures and contact the MASH team. Portsmouth City council have a Prevent Coordinator who can be contacted for advice and support [email protected], 023 9268
Top tots will build children's resilience to radicalisation by providing a safe environment and by
promoting British values through the curriculum offered; Personal Social Emotional development and understanding the world. We promote British Values which includes democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We provide children with the opportunity to learn how to discuss and debate points of view and to understand a range of faiths and ensure that all children are valued and listened to. All staff are made aware of the importance of identifying indicators of children being radicalised and all concerns are reported immediately to the lead professional. The nursery will make appropriate referrals in respect of any child whose behaviour or comments suggest that they are vulnerable to being radicalised and drawn into extremism and terrorism in order to ensure that children receive appropriate support. The nursery expects all staff, students, and volunteers, visiting professionals, contractors and individuals or agencies that use the premises to behave in accordance with the nursery’s Staff Behaviour Policy (Code of Conduct). We will challenge the expression and/or promotion of extremist views and ideas by any adult on nursery premises or at special events and, when necessary, will make appropriate referrals in respect of any such adult.
Female genital mutilation
This type of physical abuse is practised as a cultural ritual by certain ethnic groups and there is now more awareness of its prevalence in some communities in England including its effect on the child and any other siblings involved. This procedure may be carried out shortly after birth and during childhood as well as adolescence, just before marriage or during a woman’s first pregnancy and varies widely according to the community. Symptoms may include bleeding, painful areas, acute urinary retention, urinary infection, wound infection, septicaemia, incontinence, vaginal and pelvic infections with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physiological concerns. If you have concerns about a child relating to this area, you should contact children’s social care team in the same way as other types of physical abuse. There is a mandatory duty to report to police any case where an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, we will ensure this is followed in our setting.
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. Any concerns will be reported to MASH.
Children known to social care
Where a child is subject to involvement of Children's Social Care we will ensure that:
· The key person is aware that the child is known to Children's Social Care.
· The key person is responsible for monitoring and recording patterns of attendance.
· Pre-existing injuries are recorded, monitored and shared with the allocated social worker
· Any concerns will be shared immediately with the Safeguarding Officer - Sue and the allocated Social Worker.
Looked after children
The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse or neglect. If a looked after child attends the nursery the lead professional will have all the appropriate information about a child’s looked after status including their background, their social workers name and contact details and details of the carer the child is living with. The lead professional will ensure that information is passed onto staff on a need to know basis only.
Management of allegations against staff, students or volunteers
This framework for managing cases should be used in respect of all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:
Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he would pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children.
(Keeping children safe in education 2018)
The following process should
Any allegation of abuse made against a member of staff, student or volunteer in top tots will be dealt with fairly, quickly and consistently, in a way that provides effective protection for the child and at the same time supports the person who is the subject of the allegation.
All allegations of serious harm or abuse must be reported to the Safeguarding officer immediately who must inform the Local Authority Designated Officer:
The Portsmouth Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) officer Hayley Cowmedow:
02392 882500 / 02392 841261
within 24hrs to determine the next steps. If the allegation is made against the DOSC, then Mel White will inform the LADO. There may be up to three strands in the consideration of an allegation:
A police investigation of a possible criminal offence;
Enquiries and assessment by children's social care about whether a child is in need of protection or in need of services; and
Consideration by an employer of disciplinary action in respect of the individual
The setting will notify Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by a person working or looking after children at the premises (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere). Ofsted will be informed as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made. Contact should be made via email, using the 'LADO NOTIFICATION FORM' contained in this policy.
Allegations will be treated seriously and the decision to inform parents or carers, if they do not already know, will be made in conjunction with the LADO. In circumstances where the Police or children's social care is involved, the LADO will consult with these agencies as to how the parents should be informed.
The person of concern (POC) will be informed of the allegation as soon as appropriate after the DOSC has consulted with the LADO. In circumstances where a strategy meeting is required with Police and children's social care, the POC should not be informed until those agencies have agreed that information can be disclosed to the individual. If the person is a member of a union or professional association, they should be advised to seek support from that organisation. At this stage consideration should be given to appropriate employee support e.g. directed to their GP.
A full investigation of the allegation will be carried out by the appropriate agencies in liaison with the LADO and the DOSC.
In some cases, where there is immediate risk of harm posed to children or vulnerable adults by a POC, consideration will be given to looking at alternative temporary arrangement (i.e. gardening leave, time away from the place of employment, alternative duties, suspension).
The LADO will chair meetings to consider the strategy and action plan. The action plan will be reviewed through meetings until the conclusion of the investigation. The LADO's role is to monitor and oversee the investigation and conclusion of the case. At conclusion of the case there will be one of four outcomes:
Substantiated - there is sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegation;
False - there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation;
Malicious - there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive;
Unsubstantiated - there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence.
(Keeping children safe in education 2018)
If a substantiated allegation is serious enough to warrant dismissal, the LADO will consider whether referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service, Ofsted and the registered body is required.
If it is decided on conclusion of the investigation that the member of staff should return to work, the appropriate manager will consider how best to facilitate this. Help and support will be provided to the individual to return to work and depending on the individual’s circumstances, a phased return with the provision of a mentor will be considered.
On the conclusion of a case in which an allegation is substantiated, the management of Top Tots will oversee a review of the circumstances of the case to determine whether there are any improvements to be made to the organisations procedures or practice to help prevent similar events in the future.
Top Tots also has whistle blowing guidance for serious concerns, such as:
This guidance is for all staff, apprentice or volunteer working at Top Tots.
You can of course raise any matter anonymously, but if you do not share who you are it will be much more difficult to look into the matter. It means it will be difficult to clarify understanding of the issues raised, or able to protect your position, or to let you know the outcome. It will also mean that it is more difficult to provide you with the same support and assurances.
You do not need to have firm evidence before raising a concern, but you will need to provide as much information as possible. The earlier you raise a concern the easier it is to resolve it.
Staff, apprentices or volunteers must acknowledge their individual responsibilities to bring matters of concern to the attention of the manager /owner and/or relevant agencies –
Ofsted on 0300 123 3155 (Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.00pm)
Email: [email protected]
Although this can be difficult this is particularly
important where the welfare of children may be at risk.
You may be the first to recognise that something is wrong but may not feel able to express your concern out of a feeling that this would be disloyal to colleagues or you may fear harassment or victimisation. These feelings, however natural, must never result in a child or young person continuing to be unnecessarily at risk. Remember it is often the most vulnerable children or young people who are targeted. These children need someone like you to safeguard their welfare.
Don't think what if I am wrong - think what if I am right.
Reasons for whistle blowing
What stops people from whistleblowing?
How to raise a concern
People to contact
Whenever worrying changes are observed in a child’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance, a specific and confidential record will be set up, quite separate from the usual on-going records of children’s progress and development.
The record will include, in addition to the name, address and age of the child: timed and dated observations, describing objectively and child’s behaviour/appearance, without comment or interpretation; where possible, the exact words spoken by the child; the dated name and signature of the recorder.
If a child starts to talk openly to an adult about abuse they may be experiencing the procedure below will be followed:
The adult should reassure the child and listen without interrupting if the child wishes to talk
The observed instances will be detailed in a confidential report
The observed instances will be reported to the safeguarding officer – Sue Forsyth
The matter will be referred to the local authority children’s social care team (see reporting procedures).
A body map may also be used. Such records will be kept in a separate secure file and will not be accessible to people in the Nursery other than the management team and other members of staff as appropriate.
· Management and staff members will follow the appropriate action in the Government's statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children 2018’
Monitoring children’s attendance
As part of our requirements under the statutory framework and guidance documents we are required to monitor
children’s attendance patterns to ensure they are consistent and no cause for concern.
Parents should please inform the nursery prior to their children taking holidays or days off, and all sickness should be called into the nursery on the day so the nursery management are able to account for a child’s absence.
This should not stop parents taking precious time with their children but enables children’s attendance to be logged so we
know the child is safe.
Maintaining Records, Confidentiality and E- Safety
At Top tots records relating to Safeguarding and Child Protection issues are kept securely/safely and separately to the child’s learning records. Records will be kept until the child is 25 years of age. They are accessible in line with the nurseries information sharing policy and only those who have a right or professional need to see them.
Any member of staff who has concerns about the welfare of a child must record and share this information, without delay to the safeguarding officer of the nursery. The information is shared with Staff and other Professionals only on a “need to know basis”.
The child protection record must be transferred confidentially to the Safeguarding officer at the receiving setting/school when a child leaves the setting. At Top Tots our staff are expected to maintain confidentiality at all times as outlined in our Confidentiality Policy and our Staff Code of Conduct. However, they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
Confidential discussions with parents/carers will take place in the staff/parent office. Staff are also made aware of their responsibilities for the safe use of technology such as mobile phones, cameras and e safety as outlined in our e safety policy.
Liaise with other bodies
The Nursery operates in accordance with local authority guidelines. Confidential records kept on children about whom the nursery have concerns for are stored securely.
If a report on a child is to be made to the authorities, the child’s parents will be informed at the same time as the report is made, providing it is safe to do so.
The group will maintain ongoing contact with the registering authority, including names, addresses and telephone numbers of individual social workers, to ensure that it would be easy, in any emergency, for the Nursery, and the Local Safeguarding Children Board to work well together. A intervention sheet on the child’s individual file (which is stored securely in the main office) will be completed to ensure all information of contacts are logged.
The Nursery will take every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relationships between families and staff and volunteers in the group. Where abuse at home is suspected, the Nursery will continue to welcome the child and family while investigations proceed.
Confidential records kept on a child will be shared with the child’s parents. With the provision that the care and safety of the child must always be paramount, the Nursery will do all in its power to support and work with the child’s family.
Children who may be particularly vulnerable
Some children are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect than others. Several factors may contribute to that increased vulnerability such as social attitudes and assumptions including prejudice and discrimination; child protection procedures that are inadequately responsive to children’s diverse circumstances; isolation; social exclusion; communication issues; a reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse can occur; as well as an individual child’s personality, behaviour, disability and family circumstances.
To ensure that all of our children receive equal protection, we will give special consideration to children who are:
· disabled or have special educational needs
· living in a domestic abuse situation
· affected by parental substance misuse
· asylum seekers
· looked after by the Local Authority
· otherwise living away from home
· vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying behaviours
· living in temporary accommodation
· living transient lifestyles
· living in chaotic and unsupportive home situations
· vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, 13 disability or sexuality
· involved directly or indirectly in child sexual exploitation (CSE)
· do not have English as a first language
· at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) or forced marriage
· at risk of becoming radicalised, involved in gangs and/or violent extremism
This list provides examples of additionally vulnerable groups and is not exhaustive.
Abuse can happen to anyone but deaf and disabled children are over 3 times more likely to be abused or neglected than non-disabled children (Jones et al, 2012).
Staff will receive appropriated training regarding any vulnerabilities as and when required.
Early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life.
Children and families may need support from a wide range of external agencies. Where a child and family would benefit from co-ordinated support from more than one agency (e.g. education, health, housing, Police), we will use the Early Help Assessment (EHA) tool process to identify what help the child and family require to prevent their needs escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989. This assessment will then be registered with the MASH team and kept on a secure capita data base held within the council.
Children with Disabilities
The Recommendation Support Tool (RST) must be completed and submitted along with the Early Help Assessment for contacts made to the Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) when a professional feels a child meets the criteria for a S17 Children Act 1989 assessment due to having a disability. The RST is required to help guide and inform the statutory assessment process. Upon completion both the Recommendation Support Tool and the Early Help Assessment must be sent to the MASH along with a completed Inter-Agency Contact Form.
We are committed to working in partnership with children, parents/carers and other agencies to:
· identify situations in which children and/or their families would benefit from early help
· undertake an assessment of the need for early help, using the EHA process
· provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family, developing an action plan that will focus on activity to improve the child’s outcomes
We will be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for any child who:
· is disabled and has specific additional needs
· has special educational needs
· is showing signs of engaging in anti-social behaviour
· is in a family whose circumstances present challenges for the child, such as substance abuse, adult mental ill health, domestic abuse
· is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect
· is particularly vulnerable in any of the ways identified above
The EHA process can only be effective if it is undertaken with the agreement of the child’s parents/carers. The eha should involve the child and family as well as all the professionals who are working with them. If parents and/or the child do not consent to the EHA process being initiated, we will make a judgement about whether, without help, the needs of the child will escalate. If so, a referral into Children’s Social Care may be necessary.
Children Missing from Education
A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. The nursery safeguarding lead professional will monitor unauthorised absence, particularly where children go missing on repeated occasions. Where a child has 10 consecutive days of unexplained absence and all reasonable steps* have been taken by the nursery to establish their whereabouts without success, we will make an immediate referral to MASH. All parents/carers are expected to contact nursery each day their child will be absent from nursery, this will be recorded and kept on file.
*Reasonable steps include:
· Telephone calls to all known contacts
· Letters home (including recorded delivery)
· Contact with other schools where siblings may be registered
· Possible home visits where safe to do so
· Enquiries to friends, neighbours etc. through school contacts
· Enquiries with any other Service known to be involved with the child/family
· All contacts and outcomes to be recorded on the child’s file
The management team recognise that those staff involved in child protection issues may find it distressing and will offer support accordingly. Regular one to one key worker meetings/supervisions will be held and all safeguarding issues can be discussed, as well as agreeing plans on how to deal with safeguarding issues.
Staff are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders, reprimands and warnings that may affect their suitability to work with children whether received before or during their employment at Top Tots. All staff will have a
DBS check carried out. A person may start work before the DBS is through providing, they do not have unsupervised contact with children and are not allowed to assist with personal care of the children i.e toileting support/nappy change.
We give staff members, volunteers and students regular opportunities to declare changes that may affect their suitability to care for the children. This includes information about their health, medication or about changes in their home life such as child protection plans for their own children
We abide by the 'Protection of vulnerable group' act requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of child protection concerns. Management provide regular supervision that provides opportunity for staff, apprentices and volunteers to discuss any issues concerning children's development or well-being. Supervisions also provide opportunity for staff, apprentices and volunteers to raise concerns if a colleague's behaviour and conduct is putting children at risk.
Helping children to keep themselves safe
Children are taught to understand and manage risk through the personal, social and emotional aspect of the EYFS. Our approach is designed to help children to think about risks they may encounter and with staff work out how those risks might be overcome. Discussions about risk are empowering and enabling for all children and promote sensible behaviour rather than fear or anxiety. Children are taught how to conduct themselves and how to behave in a responsible manner. The nursery continually promotes an ethos of respect for children and children are encouraged to speak to a member of staff about any worries they may have.
Regular supervisions will be contacted to support staff when dealing with case-work/concerns of a child. All supervisions will be recorded as stored securely within the nursery staffing records. Any contact from other professionals regarding a child and concerns raised are logged onto a contact sheet and kept on the child’s file which is securely stored in the main office of nursery.
All staff, apprentices and volunteers will be required to attend relevant training to ensure that they are competent and confident in carrying out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare. Additional and particular training will be provided for those where it is appropriate and relevant to their job role in relation to:
Reviewed August 2021