"Children have a right to protection from being hurt, and from violence, abuse and neglect" (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 19). Oxford Brookes University Nursery takes seriously its responsibility under Section 11 of the Children Act 1989 and duties under Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 to promote the welfare of children. Also, to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements exist within our setting to identify and support those children who are suffering harm or are likely to suffer harm.
The role of staff
Most injuries to children are accidental and can be simply explained. Bruises, scrapes and cuts are part of the normal rough and tumble of a young child’s life. There are, however, some children who suffer injuries that are not accidental and give rise to concerns. Our staff are particularly important as they are in a position to identify concerns early, provide help for children and prevent concerns from escalating.
- Our setting has a trained Safeguarding Lead Professional (Shane Page) who will provide support to staff to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely with other services such as children’s social care.
- In addition to the Lead Professional we also have 5 other members of staff who all attended the Specialist Safeguarding training and can take on the role of Designated Lead in Shane’s absence. These staff are: Sarah Hinkin, Gemma Buy, Bernie Gaughan, Megan Hale and Vikki Millar.
- The Lead Professional and additional Designated Leads are most likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate people to advise on the response to safeguarding concerns.
- All staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life.
- Any staff member who has a concern about a children’s welfare should follow the referral processes as detailed at the end of this policy. Staff should expect to support Social Workers and other agencies following any referral.
- Staff should understand that their responsibility to safeguard children requires that we all appropriately share any concerns that we may have about children.
- Staff should support the child’s development in ways that will foster security, confidence and resilience.
- Staff should provide an environment in which children feel safe, secure, valued and respected and feel confident about approaching adults if they are in difficulties.
- Staff should provide a systematic means of monitoring children known or thought to be at risk of harm and ensure they contribute to assessments of need and support plans for those children where appropriate.
- Staff should ensure that detailed and accurate written records of concerns about a child are kept even if there is no need to make an immediate referral.
What staff should look out for:
Any child may benefit from early help, but our staff are particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:
- is a young carer
- is disabled and has specific additional needs
- has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory education, health and care plan)
- is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as substance abuse, adult mental health problems or domestic abuse
- has retuned home to their family from care
- is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect
- is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
- is a privately fostered child
All staff are aware of the indicators of abuse and neglect so they are able to identify children who may be in need of help or protection (see definitions of abuse appendix)
Staff at our setting are advised to maintain an attitude of “it could happen here” where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the best interests of the child.
Knowing what to look for is vital to the early identification of abuse and neglect. If staff members are unsure they should always speak to the Lead Professional or one of the Designated Leads.
What staff should do if they have concerns about a child:
If staff have any concerns about a child’s welfare they should act on them immediately (refer to flow chart in referral appendix). They should initially speak to the Lead Professional or one of the Designated Leads. Options will then include:
- Managing any support for the child internally via the setting’s own pastoral support processes
- An early help assessment
- A referral for statutory services, for example if the child is in need or suffering or likely to suffer harm.
Staff should not assume a colleague or another professional will take action and share information that might be critical in keeping children safe. If a staff member has reported a concern about a child which the senior nursery team decide not to refer at this stage, it is the responsibility of any member of staff unhappy with this decision to make their own referral.
If early help is appropriate, the Lead Professional, or Designated Leads, will generally lead on liaising with other agencies and setting up an inter-agency assessment as appropriate. The ‘Threshold of Needs’ document should be used to help determine the most appropriate level of support and service.
Staff may be required to support other agencies and professionals in an early help assessment, in some cases acting as the lead professional. Any such cases should be kept under constant review and consideration given to a referral to children’s social care for assessment for statutory services, if the child’s situation does not appear to be improving or is getting worse.
Reporting immediate concerns about a child
Reporting immediate concerns about a child:
The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the front door to Children’s Social Care for all child protection and immediate safeguarding concerns. If there is an immediate safeguarding concern, for example:
- Allegations/concerns that the child has been sexually/physically abused
- Concerns that the child is suffering from severe neglect or other severe health risks
- Concerns that a child is living in or will be returned to a situation that may place him/her at immediate risk
- The child is frightened to return home
- The child has been abandoned or the parent is absent
Call the MASH team immediately on 0345 050 7666.
Emergency Duty Team (outside office hours): 0800 833 408
A No Names Consultation should not be used for the above scenarios.
No Names Consultations
If you would like to make a no names consultation contact the;
Locality and Community Support Service (LCSS) on 0345 2412705
All concerns, discussions made and the reasons for those decisions, should be recorded in writing. If in doubt about recording requirements staff should discuss with the Lead Professional or Designated Leads who are responsible for ensuring that necessary paperwork is completed, sent to the relevant people and stored in a safe and confidential place.
Front page chronologies should be used and be part of all individual safeguarding files. Information to be recorded:
- Child’s name and date of birth
- Child in normal context
- The incident with dates and times
- A verbatim record of what the child has said
- If recording bruising/injuries, indicate position, colour, size, shape and time on a body map
- Action taken
If a child arrives at nursery with injuries the staff should
- Ensure immediate medical attention, if necessary
- Ask the parent/carer how the injuries occurred (explanations, however puzzling, should be accepted and accusations must not be made)
- Make a written record by completing a home incident form, including diagrams of observations and explanations given – have a witness wherever possible. This recording of information is to ensure that reasonably full and clear information is obtained in order to be able to make an appropriate referral if necessary
- If there is a real concern that the injuries have been caused by assault or a failure to protect the child, the manager or person in charge must be notified immediately. The person in charge will then contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0845 050 7666 for support and advice.
Dealing with Disclosures
Always stop and listen straight away to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse. Listen quietly and actively, giving your undivided attention. Allow silences when needed. Do not show shock or disbelief but take what is said seriously.
Stay calm, no judgements, empathise. Never make a promise that you can keep what the child has said a secret. Reassure the child that they were right to tell you.
React only as far as necessary for you to establish whether or not you need to refer this matter, but don’t interrogate for full details.
Don’t ask leading questions – keep to open questions e.g. “is there anything else you want to say?”
If you need to try to get more details again keep to open questions e.g. “tell me a bit more about that”
Do not criticize the perpetrator; the child may have affection for him/her.
If possible make brief notes about what they are telling you at the time. Keep these notes, however rough they are. If you are unable to make notes at the time, write down what was said as soon as you can.
Record what was actually said by the child rather than your interpretation of what they are telling you, be factual at all times.
Record the date, time, place and any noticeable non-verbal behaviour.
Report the incident to the Lead Professional or Designated Lead and do not tell any other adults what you have been told.
Allegations against a member of staff
To protect the children, all staff who work in the nursery are required to have completed a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS). It is our practice for those staff waiting for their check to clear and other nursery visitors/helpers to always be supervised and never left alone with the children.
If a member of staff has concerns about another staff member they should;
- refer their concerns to the manager
- where there are concerns about the manager this should be referred to the Director of HR, Ruth Davies 01865 485978 Staff may consider discussing any concerns with the setting’s Lead Professional and make any referral via them
- The name of any member of staff considered not suitable to work with children will be notified to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with advice from Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and the university’s HR department.
The manager will discuss the content of the allegation with the LADO before taking any action.
Our LADO is;
- Jo Lloyd 01865 815956
- LADO team 01865 810603
Our setting will follow procedures for managing allegations against staff as outlined in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021.
Suspension of the member of staff against whom an allegation has been made needs careful consideration, and we will consult with the Designated Officer’s team and HR before making any decisions around suspension.
All staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with a child. It is always advisable for work with individual children or parents to be conducted in view of other adults.
Following any referral of abuse, enquiries will be undertaken by Social Services and possibly the Police. Staff may be required to provide statements and attend an initial Child Protection Conference.
Ofsted would be informed of any action taken.
Procedure for dealing with irate parents
In the unlikely event that a parent starts to act in an aggressive or abusive way at the nursery, the member of staff should direct the parent away from the children and into a private area such as the office. If the area is out of view, a second member of staff should be in attendance. The staff should act in a calm and professional way and ask the parent to calm down, whilst making it clear that we can not tolerate aggressive or abusive language or behaviour.
Once the parent calms down, the member of staff should then listen to their concerns and respond appropriately.
If the parent does not calm down, then a member of staff should contact security on 01865 60 3060 or the Police and ask for additional assistance.
The nursery has a right to share any information regarding child protection with other childcare professionals. All information will be kept confidential.
Mobile phones and cameras
Mobile phones are strictly prohibited from the children’s rooms and garden. Staff and visitors are required to keep their phones in their bags or lockers in the staff room. Parents are only permitted to use mobiles in the entrance hall. Photographs can only be taken by nursery cameras and be used for displays or the children’s profiles. The two occasions in the year when parents are permitted to take photographs are our Fun Day and the Christmas Party.
This policy was reviewed and amended in November 2021.