1)         INTRODUCTION

a)    This summary is available on the Dartford Excelsior website. We also inform parents and carers about this policy when their children join our school as part of the induction process and through our regular safeguarding updates to parents and students.

b)    We recognise the expertise our staff build by undertaking safeguarding training and managing safeguarding concerns on a daily basis and we therefore invite staff to contribute to and shape this policy and associated safeguarding arrangements.

c)     The policy is provided to all staff at induction alongside our staff code of conduct, and behaviour policy. In addition, all staff are provided relevant parts of the statutory safeguarding policy. All staff are required to confirm they have read, understood and will adhere to the documents supplied.

d)    This policy will be reviewed in full by the Company Board on a regular basis.

2)    POLICY STATEMENT

Dartford Excelsior aims to assure the safe and secure education provision for all its students. Safeguarding the welfare of its students is part of our core business and all staff must be aware of their responsibilities in this regard. This policy has been developed with regard to government guidance and industry best practice.

3)    STATE OF INTENTION

a)    We recognise our legal and moral duty to promote the well-being of children, protect them from harm and respond to safeguarding concerns.

b)    Everyone who comes into contact with children has a role to protect them from neglect and abuse (including identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action).

c)     In order to achieve this, all our members of staff , in whatever capacity, will at all times act proactively in child welfare matters especially where there is a possibility that a child may be at risk of harm, we will act immediately.

d)    We believe that every child regardless of age or background has, at all times and in all environments, a right to feel safe and protected from any situation or practice that results in that child being physically or psychologically damaged.

e)     Dartford Excelsior seeks to adopt an open and accepting attitude towards children as part of our responsibility for pastoral care. The school encourages students and parents to talk about any concerns and to see school as a safe place if there are any difficulties in any situation.

f)     Children’s worries and fears will be taken seriously when they seek help from a member of staff. However, staff cannot offer secrecy if concerns are such that referral must be made to the appropriate agencies in order to safeguard the child’s welfare.

4)    NATURE OF CONCERN

a)    There are various forms of child abuse including physical harm, psychological harm, neglect, sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation. The possible signs of abuse and neglect can include:

Bruising; scarring; bandages and plasters; rubbing part of the body; abstaining from physical activities and avoiding using the changing room at school; apathy; withdrawal from social contact; loss of enthusiasm and energy; tearfulness; missing school or frequently late; socially withdrawn; untidy and unkempt; infrequent mention of parents and family life; slow emotional development; overly self- reliant; poor learning progress, low self-esteem, unease or unusual behaviour with adults, mood swings; changes in emotional wellbeing; self-harming; drug and alcohol misuse; changes in behaviour; displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour; and appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions.

b)    Children can be abused by other children, as well as by adults. Abuse by children can take many forms and some types can be gender specific. It can include bullying (including cyberbullying), gender-based violence and assault and sexting.

5)    DUTY TO REPORT

a)    If you have any concerns about a child (including concerns regarding possible peer abuse and concerns about how another member of staff is behaving towards a child) you should report the matter straight away to the Director. Alternatively, you can report the matter directly to your local child services department.

b)    If a child informs you of abuse:

  • Listen calmly and patiently
  • Take the matter seriously and reassure the child
  • Tell the child what will happen next (i.e. that you will need to speak to a the Director about it)

c)     When speaking to the child in this situation: Do not ask leading or closed questions, do not judge or condemn the alleged abuser, do not assume you know how the child feels and do not promise to keep things secret.

d)    As soon as the child has finished speaking to you, you should then immediately report the matter to the Director.

6)    RELATIONSHIP WITH STUDENTS

a)    Staff should not establish or seek to establish friendships or social contact with students.

b)    Staff should not give students their personal mobile numbers or personal email addresses.

c)     Any sexual behaviour by a member of staff with or towards a student is inappropriate and may be illegal.