What is Safeguarding?
Sometimes staff at School talk to parents and might say ‘this is a safeguarding concern’, but unless you work in health, education or social care, you may not know what this means. The Safeguarding Leads thought it may be useful to put together a guide for parents, so you understand key terminology and know how the School keeps your children safe.
At Sir Robert Hitcham the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is Miss Jo Squirrell and the Alternate Designated Safeguarding Lead (ADSL) is Mrs Julia van Ek. The Safeguarding Governor is Mrs Linda Berry.
Safeguarding is an umbrella term to describe all the actions that the School carries out to keep children safe. This includes attendance, policies, training for staff, health and safety procedures, the Prevent agenda, recruitment practices, accessing early help and online safety. It also includes elements of the curriculum and the work we do with children so they know how to look after themselves. Most importantly, it is underpinned by a culture of vigilant staff who listen to children and know how to record, report and act upon concerns.
So that staff are aware of the broad range of things that the School does we created a coloured poster ‘What is Safeguarding’. This shows how the actions are linked. It does not include all that the School does and will continue to change over time.
Child protection describes the School’s procedures for dealing with concerns. Staff and volunteers are taught how to spot behaviour or incidents that may be of concern. This could include unexplained injuries or marks, persistent absence, strange eating behaviour, inappropriate language or sexualised actions, worrying things children say, or a change in the way a child behaves. Staff report these concerns to the DSL or ADSL within School.
Miss Squirrell and Mrs van Ek talk about concerns and agree what to do next. In most cases, the first port of call is to talk with a parent. On other occasions, they may seek advice or practical help from an outside agency. In the most concerning cases, they will make a referral to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). Our DSL and ADSL regularly review any records to see if a child or family may need further help.
Types of Abuse
The types of abuse that staff may be worried about are physical, emotional, sexual or neglect. There is a cross-over as children who suffer from one type of abuse are also likely to suffer emotionally.
Staying up to Date
In order to make sure the School’s safeguarding and child protection procedures are in line with current guidance and areas of concern, the DSL and ADSL attend a range of training. This includes training on their role, working with outside agencies and how to access support. Annually, they also attend training on how to train their colleagues. This training package is used to ensure that staff and volunteers know how to identify and report concerns. Throughout the year, staff updates are provided to ensure that recent training is shared across the School.
An annual Safeguarding audit is carried out by the DSL and ADSL with the Safeguarding Governor. This also helps to identify areas for improvement and an action plan is written to support this. The plan is reviewed termly to ensure that the changes are made and the most important priorities are addressed quickly.
How do we get help? Sometimes families need help in the difficult business of parenting. The Suffolk system for identifying needs and seeking support is through a Common Assessment Framework form (CAF). This is completed by the DSL and the family together. The completed forms are sent off and if it is considered that a Family Support Worker may be able to help you, regular network meetings are set up for the duration of the work. If you are working in this way, it is called ‘Early Help’ with the aim that you work together to improve a situation before it gets serious.
Sometimes, parents and School request help and it is turned down for outside support. This can be frustrating so Miss Squirrell and Mrs van Ek have decided to carry out what they are calling a Pre-CAF. This helps the parents and DSL/ADSL to start by thinking what we can do together before outside help is sought.
If you are concerned about your child and would like support, please talk to the class teacher and he/she will refer you to the DSL or ADSL. It is always advisable to do this early as it can take time to access support with outside agencies. The CAF or pre-CAF is always a collaborative approach and is not ‘done to’ a family. If you are concerned that another family may need help, please encourage them to talk to us directly or raise your concerns with Miss Squirrell or Mrs van Ek.
There are many agencies you can access yourself:
- School Nurse through Chathealth on 07507 333356 (Monday- Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm). The School Nurse is able to advise on a range of concerns including mental health, sleeping, anxiety, diet or bed wetting
- Child in Divorce and Separation (CIDAS) - 07810 358930
- Lighthouse Women’s Centre - 01473 745111 (24 hours)
- Lighthouse Community Centre - 01473 228270
- Lighthouse Education - 01473 220770
- SENDIAS - 01473 265210 for parents of pupils with special education needs
- 4YP Suffolk Young People’s Health Project - 01473 252607
- Emotional Wellbeing Hub for support with mental health - 0345 6002090
- Suffolk Young Carers, who work with children who care for a member of their family or have an ill or disabled sibling - 01473 835477
- Debenham Children’s Centre - 01728 862900
- Suffolk Parent Hub for information on parenting courses and support groups - www.suffolk.gov.uk/theparenthub or 0345 60 800 33