Safeguarding children policy

  • Statement

    Children have a right to protection frombeing 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 Spiers. 

    • 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. 

    This policy was reviewed and amended in April 2019.

  • 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 bestinterests 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.

    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.

    Early Help

    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:

    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 0345050 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

    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.

    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.
    The nursery has a right to share any information regarding child protection with other childcare professionals.  All information will be kept confidential.
    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 three occasions in the year when parents are permitted to take photographs are our Fun Day, the Christmas Party and the Nativity performance.

    Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child.  Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm.  Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others.  They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.

    There are many forms of abuse and the following list is by no means exhaustive:

    A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.  Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

    The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.  It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.  It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.  It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.  These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.  It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.  Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.


    Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.  The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing.  They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).  Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males.  Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

    Child Sexual Exploitation:

    The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affections, gifts, money) as a result of them performing and/or others performing on them, sexual activities.  CSE can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; e.g. being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain.  In all cases those exploiting the child have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources.  Violence, coercion and intimidations are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child’s limited availability or choice, resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability. 


    The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.  Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.  Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.  It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. 


    Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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.  The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

    • Psychological
    • Physical
    • Sexual
    • Financial
    • Emotional

    Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children.  In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.  Domestic abuse affecting young people can also occur within their personal relationships as well as in the context of their home life. 

    Female Genital Mutilation:

    FGM is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls.  It is illegal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

    Other than in excepted circumstances e.g. medical grounds, it is an offence for any person (regardless of their nationality or residence status) to:

    • Perform FGM in England, Wales or Northern Ireland (section 1 of the Act)
    • Assist a girl to carry out FGM on herself in England, Wales or Northern Ireland (section 2 of the Act)
    • Assist (from England, Wales or Northern Ireland) a non-UK person to carry out FGM outside the UK on a UK national or permanent UK resident (section 3 of the Act)

    See policy on the Prevent Duty and Promoting British Values.