Safeguiding Policy and Guidance - Reviewed 4 February 2022

Policy Statement


Safeguarding determines the actions that we take to keep children safe and protect them from harm. As a dance school, we are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all of our students. The actions that we take to prevent harm; to promote wellbeing; to create safe environments; to educate on respect and responsibilities; to respond to specific issues and vulnerabilities all form part of the safeguarding responsibilities of all educational settings.


The purpose of this policy is to provide Staff with the framework to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children and in doing so ensure they meet their statutory responsibilities, to ensure consistent good practice across the school and to demonstrate our commitment to protecting children. 



means Renton Dance Studio.


is defined in the Children Act 2004 as protecting from maltreatment; preventing impairment of health and development; ensuring that children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care; and work in a way that gives the best life chances and transition to adult hood. Our safeguarding practice applies to every child.


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.


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.


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


Principles and Values


Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding processes are intended to put in place measures that minimise harm to children. There will be situations where gaps or deficiencies in the policies and processes we have in place will be highlighted. In these situations, a review will be carried out in order to identify learning and inform the policy, practice and culture of the studio.  


All students at our studio are able to talk to any member of staff to share concerns or talk about situations that are giving them worries. The staff will listen to the student, take their worries seriously and share the information with the relevant authority.


High risk and emerging safeguarding issues


Preventing Radicalisation and Extremism


The prevent duty requires that all staff are aware of the signs that a child maybe vulnerable to radicalisation. The risks will need to be considered for political; environmental; animal rights; or faith-based extremism that may lead to a child becoming radicalised. All staff have received either prevent WRAP training/undertaken e-learning/received awareness training in order that they can identify the signs of children being radicalised.


As part of the preventative process resilience to radicalisation will be built through the promotion of fundamental British values through the curriculum.


Any child who is considered vulnerable to radicalisation will be referred to Hampshire Children’s Social Care, where the concerns will be considered. 


Gender based violence / Violence against women and girls


The government have a strategy looking at specific issues that women and girls face. Within the context of this safeguarding policy the following sections are how we respond to violence against girls. Female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour based violence and teenage relationship abuse all fall under this strategy. 


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)


FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and hence interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies. 


The age at which girls undergo FGM varies enormously according to the community. The procedure may be carried out when the girl is new-born, during childhood or adolescence, just before marriage or during the first pregnancy. However, the majority of cases of FGM are thought to take place between the ages of 5 and 8 and therefore girls within that age bracket are at a higher risk.


FGM is illegal in the UK.




On the 31 October 2015, it became mandatory for teachers to report known cases of FGM to the police. In these situations, the Principal will be informed and that the member of teaching staff has called the police to report suspicion that FGM has happened. 

At no time will staff examine pupils to confirm this.


For cases where it is believed that a girl may be vulnerable to FGM or there is a concern that she may be about to be genitally mutilated the staff will inform the Principal who will report it as with any other child protection concern. 


Forced Marriage


In the case of children: ‘a forced marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses cannot consent to the marriage and duress is involved. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.’ In developing countries 11% of girls are married before the age of 15.  One in 3 victims of forced marriage in the U.K. are under 18. 


It is important that all members of staff recognise the presenting symptoms, how to respond if there are concerns and where to turn for advice. 


Advice and help can be obtained nationally through the Forced Marriage Unit and locally through the local police safeguarding team or children’s social care.

Policies and practices in this school reflect the fact that while all members of staff, including teachers, have important responsibilities with regard to pupils who may be at risk of forced marriage, teachers and school leaders should not undertake roles in this regard that are most appropriately discharged by other children’s services professionals such as police officers or social workers. 


Characteristics that may indicate forced marriage:


While individual cases of forced marriage, and attempted forced marriage, are often very particular, they are likely to share a number of common and important characteristics, including: 


  • an extended absence from school/college, including truancy; 
  • a drop in performance or sudden signs of low motivation; 
  • excessive parental restriction and control of movements; 
  • a history of siblings leaving education to marry early; 
  • poor performance, parental control of income and students being allowed only limited career choices; 
  • evidence of self-harm, treatment for depression, attempted suicide, social isolation, eating disorders or substance abuse; and/or 
  • evidence of family disputes/conflict, domestic violence/abuse or running away from home. 


On their own, these characteristics may not indicate forced marriage. However, it is important to be satisfied that where these behaviours occur, they are not linked to forced marriage. It is also important to avoid making assumptions about an individual pupil’s circumstances or act on the basis of stereotyping. For example, an extended holiday may be taken for entirely legitimate reasons and may not necessarily represent a pretext for forced marriage




If staff believe that a pupil is at risk from forced marriage they will report their concerns to the Principal who will seek professional guidance for referral, including if appropriate contacting the police. 


Honour Based Violence


Honour based violence is a violent crime or incident which may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family or community. 


It is often linked to family or community members who believe someone has brought shame to their family or community by doing something that is not in keeping with their unwritten rule of conduct. For example, honour-based violence might be committed against people who:


  • become involved with a boyfriend or girlfriend from a different culture or religion
  • want to get out of an arranged marriage
  • want to get out of a forced marriage
  • wear clothes or take part in activities that might not be considered traditional within a particular culture
  • convert to a different faith from the family


Women and girls are the most common victims of honour-based violence however it can also affect men and boys. Crimes of ‘honour’ do not always include violence. Crimes committed in the name of ‘honour’ might include: 


  • domestic abuse
  • threats of violence
  • sexual or psychological abuse
  • forced marriage
  • being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to go
  • assault



If staff believe that a pupil is at risk from honour-based violence the Principal will seek professional guidance for referral, however, if it is clear that a crime has been committed or the pupil is at immediate risk the police will be contacted in the first place. It is important that if honour-based violence is known or suspected that communities and family members are NOT spoken to prior to referral to the police or social care as this could increase risk to the child.  


Teenage Relationship Abuse


Research has shown that teenagers didn't understand what constituted abusive behaviours such as controlling behaviours, which could escalate to physical abuse, e.g. checking someone's phone, telling them what to wear, who they can/can't see or speak to and that this abuse was prevalent within teen relationships. Further research showed that teenagers didn't understand what consent meant within their relationships. They often held the common misconception that rape could only be committed by a stranger down a dark alley and didn't understand that it could happen within their own relationships.   


This led to these abusive behaviours feeling ‘normal’ and therefore left unchallenged as they were not recognised as being abusive.




In response to this the studio staff will, where appropriate provide advice to prevent teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of abusive relationships by encouraging them to rethink their views of violence, abuse and controlling behaviours, and understand what consent means within their relationships.  Students will be advised to seek further guidance from their school and studio.


The Toxic Trio


The term ‘Toxic Trio’ has been used to describe the issues of domestic violence, mental ill-health and substance misuse which have been identified as common features of families where harm to women and children has occurred. 

They are viewed as indicators of increased risk of harm to children and young people. In a review of Serious Cases Reviews undertaken by Ofsted in 2011, they found that in nearly 75% of these cases two or more of the issues were present. 


Domestic Abuse


Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: 


  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional


Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.


Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.


Research indicates that living within a home where domestic abuse takes place is harmful to children and can have a serious impact on their behaviour, wellbeing and understanding of what a normal relationship is. 

Children witnessing domestic abuse is recognised as ‘significant harm’ in law.  These children may become aggressive; display anti-social behaviours; suffer from depression or anxiety; or fail to reach their educational potential. 


Indicators that a child is living within a relationship with domestic abuse include:

  • withdrawn
  • suddenly behaves differently
  • anxious
  • clingy
  • depressed
  • aggressive
  • problems sleeping
  • eating disorders
  • wets the bed
  • soils clothes
  • takes risks
  • misses school
  • changes in eating habits
  • obsessive behaviour
  • nightmares
  • drugs
  • alcohol
  • self-harm
  • thoughts about suicide


These behaviours themselves do not indicate that a child is living with domestic abuse, but should be considered as indicators that this may be the case. 


If staff believe that a child is living with domestic abuse, this will be reported to the Principal for referral to be considered to Children’s Social Care. 


Parental mental health


The term "mental ill health" is used to cover a wide range of conditions, from eating disorders, mild depression and anxiety to psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Parental mental illness does not necessarily have an adverse impact on a child's developmental needs, but it is essential to always assess its implications for each child in the family. It is essential that the diagnosis of a parent/carer's mental health is not seen as defining the level of risk. Similarly, the absence of a diagnosis does not equate to there being little or no risk.


For children the impact of parental mental health can include:

  • The parent / carer's needs or illnesses taking precedence over the child's needs
  • Child's physical and emotional needs neglected
  • A child acting as a young carer for a parent or a sibling
  • Child having restricted social and recreational activities
  • Child finds it difficult to concentrate- impacting on educational achievement
  • A child missing school regularly as (s)he is being kept home as a companion for a parent / carer
  • Adopt paranoid or suspicious behaviour as they believe their parent’s delusions.
  • Witnessing self-harming behaviour and suicide attempts (including attempts that involve the child)
  • Obsessional compulsive behaviours involving the child



If staff become aware of any of the above indicators, or others that suggest a child is suffering due to parental mental health, the information will be shared with the Principal to consider a referral to Children’s Social Care. 


Parental Substance misuse


Substance misuse applies to the misuse of alcohol as well as 'problem drug use', defined by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs as drug use which has: 'serious negative consequences of a physical, psychological, social and interpersonal, financial or legal nature for users and those around them.


Parental substance misuse of drugs or alcohol becomes relevant to child protection when substance misuse and personal circumstances indicate that their parenting capacity is likely to be seriously impaired or that undue caring responsibilities are likely to be falling on a child in the family.


For children the impact of parental substance misuse can include:

  • Inadequate food, heat and clothing for children (family finances used to fund adult’s dependency)
  • Lack of engagement or interest from parents in their development, education or wellbeing
  • Behavioural difficulties- inappropriate display of sexual and/or aggressive behaviour
  • Bullying (including due to poor physical appearance) 
  • Isolation – finding it hard to socialise, make friends or invite them home
  • Tiredness or lack of concentration 
  • Child talking of or bringing into school drugs or related paraphernalia
  • Injuries/accidents (due to inadequate adult supervision)
  • Taking on a caring role
  • Continued poor academic performanceincluding difficulties completing homework on time 
  • Poor attendance or late arrival 


These behaviours themselves do not indicate that a child’s parent is misusing substances, but should be considered as indicators that this may be the case. 




If staff believe that a child is living with parental substance misuse, this will be reported to the Principal for referral to be considered for Children’s Social Care.  


Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)


Sexual exploitation of children is not limited by the age of consent and can occur up until the age of 18. CSE involves children being in situations, contexts or relationships where they (or a third person) receive ‘something’ as a result of them performing sexual activities. The something can include food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, or money. 


Child sexual exploitation can happen via technology without the child’s being aware; for example, being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain.  


In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.


Indicators a child may be at risk of CSE include:

  • going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late; 
  • regularly missing school or education or not taking part in education; 
  • appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions; 
  • associating with other young people involved in exploitation; 
  • having older boyfriends or girlfriends; 
  • suffering from sexually transmitted infections; 
  • mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing; 
  • drug and alcohol misuse; and 
  • displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour. 


CSE can happen to a child of any age, gender, ability or social status. Often the victim of CSE is not aware that they are being exploited and do not see themselves as a victim.




If staff believe that a child is at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation, this will be reported to the Principal for referral to be considered for Children’s Social Care.  


We recognise that we may have information or intelligence that could be used to both protect children and prevent risk. Any relevant information that we have will be shared with Children’s Social Care and other appropriate agencies. 




Technological hardware and software is developing continuously with an increase in functionality of devices that people use. The majority of children use online tools to communicate with others locally, nationally and internationally.   Access to the Internet and other tools that technology provides is an invaluable way of finding, sharing and communicating information.  While technology itself is not harmful, it can be used by others to make children vulnerable and to abuse them. 

Online Safety and Social Media


With the current speed of on-line change, some parents and carers have only a limited understanding of online risks and issues. Parents may underestimate how often their children come across potentially harmful and inappropriate material on the internet and may be unsure about how to respond.  Some of the risks could be:

  • unwanted contact 
  • grooming
  • online bullying including sexting
  • digital footprint


The studio staff will therefore seek to provide information and awareness to both pupils and their parents through: 


  • Awareness raised during discussion in class 
  • Building awareness around information that is held on relevant web sites and or publications




Central to the studio’s ethos is the principle that ‘bullying is always unacceptable’and that ‘all students have a right not to be bullied’.


The studio staff should also recognise that it must take note of bullying perpetrated outside studio activities which spills over into the studio and so we will respond to any cyber-bullying we become aware of carried out by students when they are away from the site.


Cyber-bullying is defined as “an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual using electronic forms of contact repeatedly over time against a victim who cannot easily defend himself/herself.”


By cyber-bullying, we mean bullying by electronic media:

  • Bullying by texts or messages or calls on mobile phones
  • The use of mobile phone cameras to cause distress, fear or humiliation
  • Posting threatening, abusive, defamatory or humiliating material on websites, to include blogs, personal websites, social networking sites
  • Using e-mail to message others
  • Hijacking/cloning e-mail accounts
  • Making threatening, abusive, defamatory or humiliating remarks in on-line forums

Cyber-bullying may be at a level where it is criminal in character. 


It is unlawful to disseminate defamatory information in any media including internet sites.

Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to send, by public means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or one of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it an offence to knowingly pursue any course of conduct amounting to harassment.




If we become aware of any incidents of cyberbullying, including bullying outside the studio which spills over into studio, we will consider each case individually so as to assess if any criminal act may have been committed. The school will pass on information to the police if it feels that it is appropriate or are required to do so.




'Sexting' often refers to the sharing of naked or ‘nude’ pictures or video through mobile phones and the internet. It also includes underwear shots, sexual poses and explicit text messaging. 

While sexting often takes place in a consensual relationship between two young people, the use of Sexted images in revenge following a relationship breakdown is becoming more commonplace. Sexting can also be used as a form of sexual exploitation and take place between strangers. 


As the average age of first smartphone or camera enabled tablet is 6 years old, sexting is an issue that requires awareness raising across all ages. 




The studio will report any incident to the student’s parent, to promote safety and deal with pressure. Parents should be aware that they can seek advice from the child’s school. 


Online reputation


Online reputation is the opinion others get of a person when they encounter them online.  It is formed by posts, photos that have been uploaded and comments made by others on people’s profiles.  It is important that children and staff are aware that anything that is posted could influence their future professional reputation.  The majority of organisations and work establishments now check digital footprint before considering applications for positions or places on courses.




Online grooming is the process by which one person with an inappropriate sexual interest in children will approach a child online, with the intention of developing a relationship with that child, to be able to meet them in person and intentionally cause harm. 


Other safeguarding issues impacting pupils



Prejudice based abuse

Prejudice based abuse or hate crimeis any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s real or perceived: 

  • Disability 
  • Race 
  • Religion 
  • Gender identity 
  • Sexual orientation 

Although this sort of crime is collectively known as 'Hate Crime' the offender doesn't have to go as far as being motivated by 'hate', they only have to exhibit 'hostility'. 


This can be evidenced by:

  • threatened or actual physical assault 
  • derogatory name calling, insults, for example racist jokes or homophobic language 
  • hate graffiti (e.g. on school furniture, walls or books) 
  • provocative behaviour e.g. wearing of badges or symbols belonging to known right wing, or extremist organisations 
  • distributing literature that may be offensive in relation to a protected characteristic 
  • verbal abuse 
  • inciting hatred or bullying against pupils who share a protected characteristic 
  • prejudiced or hostile comments in the course of discussions within lessons 
  • teasing in relation to any protected characteristic e.g. sexuality, language, religion or cultural background 
  • refusal to co-operate with others because of their protected characteristic, whether real or perceived 
  • expressions of prejudice calculated to offend or influence the behaviour of others 
  • attempts to recruit other pupils to organisations and groups that sanction violence, terrorism or hatred.




As a dance school we will respond by:

  • clearly identifying prejudice based incidents and hate crimes and monitor the frequency and nature of them within the studio 
  • taking preventative action to reduce the likelihood of such incidents occurring 
  • recognising the wider implications of such incidents for the school and local community 
  • ensuring that staff are recording and dealing with prejudice based incidents and hate crimes 
  • ensuring that staff are reporting incidents to address bullying and prevent it happening again




All parents will struggle with the behaviour of their child(ren) at some point. This does not make them poor parents or generate safeguarding concerns. Rather it makes them human and provides them with opportunities to learn and develop new skills and approaches to deal with their child(ren). 


Some children have medical conditions and/or needs e.g. Tourette’s, some autistic linked conditions, ADHD; that have a direct impact on behaviour and can cause challenges for parents in dealing with behaviours. This does not highlight poor parenting either. 


Parenting becomes a safeguarding concern when the repeated lack of supervision, boundaries, basic care or medical treatment places the child(ren) in situations of risk or harm. 


In situations where parents struggle with tasks such as setting boundaries and providing appropriate supervision, timely interventions can make drastic changes to the wellbeing and life experiences of the child(ren) without the requirement for a social work assessment or plan being in place. 




As a dance school we will look to support parents in seeking professional assistance through their child’s school or social services:


Safeguarding processes


Safer Recruitment


The studio operates a separate safer recruitment process as part of recruitment.


The process checks the identity, criminal record (enhanced DBS), mental and physical capacity, right to work in the U.K., professional qualification and seeks confirmation of the applicant’s experience and history through references.  


Health and Safety


The site, the equipment and the activities carried out as are all required to comply with the Health and Safety at Work act 1974 and regulations made under the act. 


All risks are required to be assessed and recorded plans of how to manage the risk are in place. The plans should always take a common sense and proportionate approach to allow activities to be safe rather than preventing them from taking place. The studio will comply with all Health and Safety regulations.


First Aid


The dance school will ensure there is an adequate number of First Aid trained staff and maintain records of any First Aid administered.

Taking and the use and storage of images


As a dance school we will seek consent from the parent of a student and from teachers and other adults before taking and publishing photographs or videos that contain images that are sufficiently detailed to identify the individual in publications, printed media or on electronic publications. 


We will not seek consent for photos where you would not be able to identify the individual. 

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