Child Protection

Child Protection Policy and Guidance - 12 November 2018

Policy Statement

 

The Renton Dance Studio recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. 

We make every effort to provide a safe and welcoming environment underpinned by a culture of openness where both children and adults feel secure, able to talk and believe that they are being listened to. 

We maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” where safeguarding is concerned.

The purpose of this policy is to provide staff and volunteers with the framework they need in order to keep children safe and secure in our school and to inform parents and guardians how we will safeguard their children whilst they are in our care. 

 

Definitions

Studio

means Renton Dance Studio.

Staff

applies to all those working for or on behalf of the school, full time or part time, in either a paid or voluntary capacity. This also includes visiting teachers or contracted creative partners.

Child

refers to all young people who have not yet reached their 18 birthday. On the whole, this will apply to students of our studio; however, the policy will extend to visiting children and students from other establishments.

Parent

refers to birth parents and other adults in a parenting role for example adoptive parents, step parents, guardians and foster carers.

Abuse

could mean neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse or any combination of these. Parents, carers and other people can harm children either by direct acts and / or failure to provide proper care.  Explanations of these are given within the procedure document.

 

Principles and Values

 

  • Children have a right to feel secure and cannot learn effectively unless they do so. 
  • All children regardless of age, gender, race, ability, sexuality, religion, culture or language have a right to be protected from harm.
  • All staff have a key role in prevention of harm and an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may indicate a child is at risk of harm in accordance with the guidance.
  • We acknowledge that working in partnership with other agencies protects children and reduces risk and so we will engage in partnership working throughout the child protection process to safeguard children. 
  • Whilst the studio will work openly with parents as far as possible, the studio reserves the right to contact children’s social care or the police, without notifying parents if this is in the child’s best interests.

 

Confidentiality

  • We maintain that all matters relating to child protection are to be treated as confidential and only shared with personnel and agencies involved. 
  • Information will only be shared with agencies who we have a statutory duty to share with or individuals within the school who ‘need to know’.
  • All staff are aware that they cannot promise a child to keep a disclosure confidential.

 

Staff responsibilities 

 

All staff have a key role to play in identifying concerns early and in providing help for children. To achieve this, they will: 

 

  • Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are listened to.
  • Ensure children know that there are adults at the studio whom they can approach if they are worried about any problems.
  • Treat all students equally and with respect and dignity.
  • Provide professional and constructive feedback in a manner that is not likely to cause confusion or upset.
  • Identify any bullying, oral or physical as unacceptable and take steps to prevent bullying in the studio.
  • Undergo any training identified in order to be aware of and alert to the signs of abuse.
  • Maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” with regards to safeguarding.
  • Record their concerns if they are worried that a child is being abused and report these to the relevant person as soon as practical that day.
  • If the disclosure is an allegation against a member of staff they will notify the Principal.
  • Treat information with confidentiality but never promising to “keep a secret”.
  • In the context of early help, staff will notify colleagues and/or parents of any concerns about a student where appropriate.
  • Liaise with other agencies that support children and provide early help.

 

Studio management responsibilities 

 

Renton Dance Studio acknowledges its duty of care under the following regulations:

Children and Young Persons Act 1963

Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014

Children Act 1989 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 

In Scotland: Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013

 

Studio management will ensure:

 

  • Policies and procedures will be maintained in accordance with changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children and health and safety.
  • A register students will be maintained for every child involved with the school which will include contact details for use in case of emergencies.
  • All staff and contractors receive communication detailing their legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from harm, abuse and exploitation.
  • All staff and volunteers understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a child or young person, or any staff/volunteers conduct towards a child person, to the Principal.
  • The Principal understands her responsibility to refer any child protection concerns to the statutory child protection agencies (i.e. Police and/or Children's Social Care).
  • All procedures relating to the conduct of staff/volunteers are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner.

 

 

 

Guidance for Dealing with Disclosures

 

A member of staff who is approached by a child should listen positively and try to reassure them. They cannot promise complete confidentiality and should explain that they may need to pass information to other professionals to help keep the child or other children safe. The degree of confidentiality should always be governed by the need to protect the child. 

 

Additional consideration needs to be given to children with communication difficulties and for those whose preferred language is not English. It is important to communicate with them in a way that is appropriate to their age, understanding and preference.

 

Ultimately, all staff have the right to make a referral to the police or social care directly and should do this if, for whatever reason, there are difficulties following the agreed protocol, e.g. they are the only adult on the school premises at the time and have concerns about sending a child home.

 

Guiding principles, the seven R’s 

Receive

  • Listen to what is being said, without displaying shock or disbelief
  • Accept what is said and take it seriously
  • Make a note of what has been said as soon as practicable

Reassure

  • Reassure the child, but only so far as is honest and reliable 
  • Don’t make promises you may not be able to keep e.g. ‘I’ll stay with you’ or ‘everything will be alright now’ or ‘I’ll keep this confidential’
  • Do reassure e.g. you could say: ‘I believe you’, ‘I am glad you came to me’, ‘I am sorry this has happened’, ‘We are going to do something together to get help’

Respond

  • Respond to the child only as far as is necessary for you to establish whether or not you need to refer this matter, but do not interrogate for full details.
  • Do not ask ‘leading’ questions i.e. ‘did he touch your private parts?’ or ‘did she hurt you?’ Such questions may invalidate your evidence (and the child’s) in any later prosecution in court
  • Do not criticise the alleged perpetrator; the child may care about him/her, and reconciliation may be possible.
  • Do not ask the child to repeat it all for another member of staff. Explain what you have to do next and whom you have to talk to.

Report

  • Share concerns with the Principal as soon as possible
  • If you are not able to contact the Pricipal, and the child is at risk of immediate harm, contact the Children’s Services Department directly
  • If you are dissatisfied with the level of response you receive following your concerns, you should press for re-consideration.

Record

  • If possible make some very brief notes at the time, and write them up as soon as possible.
  • Keep your original notes on file.
  • Record the date, time, place, persons’ present and noticeable nonverbal behaviour, and the words used by the child. If the child uses sexual ‘pet’ words, record the actual words used, rather than translating them into ‘proper’ words.
  • Indicate the position of any noticeable bruising
  • Record facts and observable things, rather than your ‘interpretations’ or ‘assumptions’.

Remember

  • Support the child: listen, reassure, and be available
  • Complete confidentiality is essential. Share your knowledge only with appropriate professional colleagues.
  • Try to get some support for yourself if you need it.

Review

  • Has the action taken provided good outcomes for the child?
  • Did the procedure work?
  • Were any deficiencies or weaknesses are identified in the procedure? Have these been remedied?
  • Is further training required?
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