Safeguarding and Child protection - Covid -19 Addendum
Child protection and safeguarding: COVID-19 addendum
Amended following the new national lockdown which came into effect on Wednesday 6th January 2021
|Deputy DSL||Alexandra Ryan|
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
|Martha Sharpe||01305 221122|
|Chair of Governors||Barbara Southcott||01300 341319|
1. Scope and definitions
This addendum applies during the period of school closure due to COVID-19, and reflects updated advice from our local authority Dorset Council.
It sets out changes to our normal child protection policy in light of the Department for Education’s Coronavirus: safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers and should be read in conjunction with that policy.
Unless covered here, our normal child protection policy continues to apply.
The Department for Education’s (DfE’s) definition of ‘vulnerable children’ includes those who:
- Have a social worker, including children:
- With a child protection plan
- Assessed as being in need
- Looked after by the local authority
- Have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
2. Core safeguarding principles
We will still have regard to the statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Although we are operating in a different way to normal, we are still following these important safeguarding principles:
- The best interests of children must come first
- If anyone has a safeguarding concern about any child, they should continue to act on it immediately
- A designated safeguarding lead (DSL) or deputy should be available at all times (see section 4 for details of our arrangements)
- It’s essential that unsuitable people don’t enter the school workforce or gain access to children
- Children should continue to be protected when they are online
3. Reporting concerns
All staff and volunteers must continue to act on any concerns they have about a child immediately. It is still vitally important to do this. All concerns to be logged on ‘My Concern’.
As a reminder, all staff should continue to work with and support children’s social workers, where they have one, to help protect vulnerable children.
4. DSL (and deputy) arrangements
We aim to have a trained DSL or deputy DSL on site wherever possible. Details of all important contacts are listed in the ‘Important contacts’ section at the start of this addendum.
If our DSL (or deputy) can’t be in school, they can be contacted by mobile – see front page.
We will ensure that DSLs (and deputies), wherever their location, know who the most vulnerable children in our school are.
5. Working with other agencies
We will continue to work with children’s social care, and with virtual school heads for looked-after and previously looked-after children.
We will continue to update this addendum where necessary, to reflect any updated guidance from
- The local authority about children with education, health and care (EHC) plans, the local authority designated officer and children’s social care, reporting mechanisms, referral thresholds and children in need
- Updates from the Government DFE.
6. Monitoring attendance
As most children will not be attending school during this period of school closure, we will not be completing our usual attendance registers or following our usual procedures to follow up on non-attendance.
The exception to this is where any child we expect to attend school during the closure doesn’t attend, or stops attending. In these cases we will:
- Follow up on their absence with their parents or carers, by phoning them daily.
- Notify their social worker, where they have one
We are using the Department for Education’s daily online attendance form to keep an accurate record of who is attending school. We are also sending this information to Dorset Council and our Cluster lead, Mike Foley.
We will make arrangements with parents and carers to make sure we have up-to-date emergency contact details, and additional contact details where possible.
7. Peer-on-peer abuse
We will continue to follow the principles set out in part 5 of Keeping Children Safe in Education when managing reports and supporting victims of peer-on-peer abuse.
Staff should continue to act on any concerns they have immediately.
8. Concerns about a staff member or volunteer
We will continue to follow the principles set out in part 4 of Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Staff should continue to act on any concerns they have immediately.
We will continue to refer adults who have harmed or pose a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
We will continue to refer potential cases of teacher misconduct to the Teaching Regulation Agency. We will do this using the email address Misconduct.Teacher@education.gov.uk for the duration of the COVID-19 period, in line with government guidance.
9. Support for children who aren’t ‘vulnerable’ but where we have concerns
We have the option to offer places in school to children who don’t meet the Department for Education’s definition of ‘vulnerable’, but who we have safeguarding concerns about. We will work with parents/carers to do this. If these children will not be attending school, we will put a contact plan in place, as explained in section 10.1 below.
10. Safeguarding for children not attending school
10.1 Contact plans
We have contact plans for children with a social worker and children who we have safeguarding concerns about, for circumstances where:
- They won’t be attending school (for example where the school, parent/carer and social worker, if relevant, have decided together that this wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests); or
- They would usually attend but have to self-isolate
These plans set out:
- How often the school will make contact
- Which staff member(s) will make contact
10.2 Safeguarding all children
Staff and volunteers are aware that this difficult time potentially puts all children at greater risk.
Staff and volunteers will continue to be alert to any signs of abuse, or effects on pupils’ mental health that are also safeguarding concerns, and act on concerns immediately. In particular, children are likely to be spending more time online (see section 11 below).
11. Online safety
11.1 In school
We will continue to have appropriate filtering and monitoring systems in place in school.
11.2 Outside school
Where staff are interacting with children online, they will continue to follow our existing staff behaviour policy/code of conduct/IT acceptable use policy
Staff will continue to be alert to signs that a child may be at risk of harm online, and act on any concerns immediately, following our reporting procedures as set out in section 3 of this addendum.
We will make sure children know how to report any concerns they have back to our school, and signpost them to other sources of support too.
11.3 Working with parents and carers
We will make sure parents and carers:
- Are aware of the potential risks to children online and the importance of staying safe online
- Know what our school is asking children to do online, including what sites they will be using and who they will be interacting with from our school
- Are aware that they should only use reputable online companies or tutors if they wish to supplement the remote teaching and resources our school provides
- Know where else they can go for support to keep their children safe online
13. Staff recruitment, training and induction
13.1 Recruiting new staff and volunteers
We continue to recognise the importance of robust safer recruitment procedures, so that adults and volunteers who work in our school are safe to work with children.
We will continue to follow our safer recruitment procedures, and part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education.
In urgent cases, when validating proof of identity documents to apply for a DBS check, we will initially accept verification of scanned documents via online video link, rather than being in physical possession of the original documents. This approach is in line with revised guidance from the DBS.
New staff must still present the original documents when they first attend work at our school.
We will continue to do our usual checks on new volunteers, and do risk assessments to decide whether volunteers who aren’t in regulated activity should have an enhanced DBS check, in accordance with paragraphs 167-172 of Keeping Children Safe in Education.
13.2 Staff ‘on loan’ from other schools
We will assess the risks of staff ‘on loan’ working in our school, and seek assurance from the ‘loaning’ school that staff have had the appropriate checks. We will also use the DBS Update Service, where these staff have signed up to it, to check for any new information.
13.3 Safeguarding induction and training
We will make sure staff and volunteers are aware of changes to our procedures and local arrangements.
New staff and volunteers will continue to receive:
- A safeguarding induction
- A copy of our children protection policy (and this addendum)
- Keeping Children Safe in Education part 1
We will decide on a case-by-case basis what level of safeguarding induction staff ‘on loan’ need. In most cases, this will be:
- A copy of our child protection policy and this addendum
- Confirmation of local processes
- Confirmation of DSL arrangements
13.4 Keeping records of who’s on site
We will keep a record of which staff and volunteers are on site each day, and that appropriate checks have been carried out for them.
We will continue to keep our single central record up to date.
- Everyone working or volunteering in our school each day, including staff ‘on loan’
- Details of any risk assessments carried out on staff and volunteers on loan from elsewhere
14. Children attending other settings
Where children are temporarily required to attend another setting, we will make sure the receiving school is provided with any relevant welfare and child protection information.
Wherever possible, our DSL (or deputy) and/or special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) will share, as applicable:
- The reason(s) why the child is considered vulnerable and any arrangements in place to support them
- The child’s EHC plan, child in need plan, child protection plan or personal education plan
- Details of the child’s social worker
- Details of the virtual school head
Where the DSL, deputy or SENCO can’t share this information, the senior leader(s) identified in section 4 will do this.
We will share this information before the child arrives as far as is possible, and otherwise as soon as possible afterwards.
15. Monitoring arrangements
This policy will be reviewed as guidance from the LA or DfE is updated, Catherine Cresswell and Alexandra Ryan. At every review, it will be approved by the full governing board.
16. Links with other policies
This policy links to the following policies and procedures:
- Child protection policy
- Staff Code of Conduct
- IT acceptable use policy
- Health and safety policy
- Online safety policy
- Anti Bullying
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