Safeguarding, Safety and security
It is the policy of Lawnswood Childcare to give a warm welcome to each child on arrival.
Parents are requested to pass the care of their child specifically to a member of staff, who will ensure their safety and that their attendance is recorded in the register. The staff member must also record any specific information provided by the parents, including the child’s interests, experiences and observations from home.
If the parent requests the child is given medicine during the day the staff member must ensure that the medication procedure is followed. (PP2.4)
Parents should ensure that they give bags containing any bottles, foodstuffs or other items needed for nursery to a member of staff. A child’s outside coat and garments are to be removed by the parent before they are handed over.
Under no circumstances will a child be allowed to depart from nursery unless accompanied by a previously identified, authorised person. A member of staff must always acknowledge and record the departure of a child.
When a parent has notified the nursery in advance that a child will be collected by another person, then the nursery will take all the necessary steps to make sure that it is the duly authorised person who is taking the child away. The password supplied at the child’s induction to nursery will be required from the designated adult. In all cases of uncertainty a manager will always consult with parents by telephone.
Nursery staff will always challenge strangers and persons with no obvious reason for being in the vicinity of the nursery. Staff are instructed to lock doors and summon assistance immediately if they are at all concerned.
The safety of the children will take the highest priority at all times
The child’s key person or other nominated staff member must plan the departure of the child. This should include opportunities to discuss the child’s day with the parent, e.g. meals, sleep time, activities, interests, progress and friendships. The parent should be told about any accidents or incidents and the appropriate records must be signed by the parent before departure.
Arrivals and Departures of Visitors
For arrivals and departures of visitors the nursery requires appropriate records to be completed on entry and exit e.g. in the visitors’ book. Please refer to supervision of visitors policy for further information.
This Policy is intended to be used in conjunction with our Safeguarding Policy and Promoting Positive Behaviour Policy.
We wholeheartedly support the Children Act guidelines on behaviour and sanctions. These state that sanctions applied in the case of unacceptable behaviour must take account of the age and stage of development of the child, be given at the time, be relevant to the actions or reactions and be fair.
The statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets out the specific legal requirements in relation to early years settings and provides the following guidance:
‘Physical Intervention should only be used to manage a child’s behaviour if it is necessary to prevent personal injury to the child, other children or an adult, to prevent serious damage to property or in what would reasonably be regarded as exceptional circumstances.’
Slapping, smacking or shaking – never has been and never will be acceptable practice at Lawnswood Childcare and will not be used.
It is never acceptable to manage behaviour by shoving, pushing or man-handling a child in any way, this includes pulling children by the wrist/arm and/or lifting them off the ground by the arms, wrist or legs. The only exception to this being to maintain immediate safety within the stipulations of the above legal guidance.
Our expectations of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable methods of behaviour managements are made explicit to all staff, agency workers, students and volunteers, in doc 233 – Staff Behaviour Policy.
The named behaviour management person
- Streetsbrook Road nursery – Lisa Hayter
- Shirley Heath nursery – Natalie Dutton
- Castle Bromwich nursery – Kay Dorris
The named person will ensure that:
- This policy in conjunction with our Staff Behaviour Policy and Promoting Positive Behaviour Policy is complied with and understood by all staff, agency workers, student and volunteers.
- When children display unwanted behaviour, staff record formal observations on a Behaviour Incident Record (Doc 235).
- Following incidents of unwanted behaviour staff make every effort to identify any behavioural concerns and the causes of that behaviour.
- When a child’s behaviour involves aggressive actions towards others, for example hitting, kicking or biting, they will complete a Behaviour Risk Assessment (Doc 234), identifying any potential triggers or warning signs to ensure other children and staff’s safety.
- Any instance of staff physical intervention in the management of a child’s behaviour is recorded on a Physical Intervention Incident Record (Doc 236), which will be shared with parents on the same day or at the earliest possible opportunity.
- Respectful and confidential discussions are held with parents about all significant instances of behaviour. To be available If any parent has a concern about their child’s behaviour or the nurseries management of their child’s behaviour
What is Physical Intervention?
Physical intervention is when an adult restricts a child’s movements against his or her will. Physical intervention differs from positive handling which is a normal part of everyday interaction between staff and children and is appropriate in a range of different situations, for example:
- Providing the child with emotional support, such as cuddling
- Helping the child with personal care needs
- To give guidance in activities
Physical intervention is not the same as positive handling. Physical intervention occurs when a practitioner uses physical force to restrict a child’s movements against their will. Any physical intervention used should be a supportive act of care and control, not a punitive action by the adult.
When is Physical Intervention used?
The foremost responsibility of nursery practitioners is to keep the children in our care safe. If a child is behaving in a way that could cause them to hurt themselves, or someone else, we have to try and prevent this from happening.
Physical intervention is always used as a last resort and reduced at the earliest possible time. If appropriate other strategies must be used first. When all other strategies have been exhausted, it may become necessary to physically intervene, for instance if:
- A child attacks a member of staff or another child
- Children are fighting, causing risk or injury to themselves or others
- A child is committing, or on the verge of committing, deliberate damage to property
- A child is causing, or at risk of causing, injury or damage by accident, by rough play, or by misuse of dangerous materials or objects.
- A child absconds from or tries to leave the setting, other than at an authorised time
- Outside of the setting a child tries to runaway which may result in injury
- A child is placing themselves in danger or hurting themselves
Physical intervention should be used when there is no other way to keep children safe. It should be a supportive act of care. Where possible, staff will receive training to support them with making good judgements for physical interventions.
However, it does not matter if staff have received any formal training in physical intervention. If necessary, they are permitted to use reasonable force to manage a dangerous situation.
When using physical intervention practitioners should:
- Aim for side by side contact between themselves and the child
- Leave no gap between the adult and the child’s body
- Keep their backs as straight as possible
- Avoid holding the child at joints to avoid pain and damage
- Avoid lifting the child
- Not restrict the child’s ability to breathe
Positive strategies to prevent behaviour that may require physical intervention?
The most effective way to prevent the need for physical interventions is to create a supportive environment, where relationships are positive, and expectations of behaviour are clear. Examples are below;
- Creating a calm and supportive environment that minimises the risk of incidents arising that might require using force.
- Developing positive relationships between children, staff and parents
- Ensuring that staff have appropriate expectations of behaviour, and that these are conveyed to children and parents
- Taking a structured approach to professional development that helps staff to acquire the skills of positive behaviour management. Promoting Positive Behaviour training is available to all staff through our Early Years Alliance (PLA) online platform.
- De-escalating incidents as they arise
- Recognising that situations which trigger challenging behaviours
- Completing risk assessments and behaviour plans for individual children, where appropriate.
Lawnswood Childcare believes that children have the right to be completely secure from both the fear and reality of abuse and we are committed to protecting all the children in our care from harm.
We have robust procedures in place to protect children from maltreatment and to prevent the impairment of children’s health and development. In our setting we strive to protect children from the risk of radicalisation and we promote acceptance and tolerance of other beliefs and cultures. Safeguarding is a much wider subject than the elements covered within this single policy, therefore this document should be used in conjunction with the nursery’s other policies and procedures.
Legal Framework and Definition of Safeguarding
Relevant legislation and guidance:
- Children Act 1989 and 2004
- Childcare Act 2006
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2017
- Working together to safeguard children 2018
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
- Keeping children safe in education 2016
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2015
- Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, in relation to this policy is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing the impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
(Definition taken from the HM Government document ‘Working together to safeguard children 2018’).
Our safeguarding procedures comply with all relevant legislation and other guidance or advice received from the Local Authority.
Lawnswood Childcare is committed to reviewing its safeguarding policy and procedures at regular intervals. The policy and its procedures will be shared with parents/carers during their child’s settling in period.
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Lawnswood Childcare will appoint named members of staff as the Designated Safeguarding Lead’s (DSL), to take lead responsibility for safeguarding and to co-ordinate child protection and welfare issues.
The DSL will have suitable experience, training and expertise, and will be responsible for liaising with the directors, social services, the Solihull Local Safeguarding Children Board, Local authority designated officer and Ofsted in any safeguarding matter.
Although, under the EYFS, we are only required to have one DSL, for best practice and to ensure cover at all times, we have three designated leads in place. This enables safeguarding to stay high on our priorities at all times. There will always be at least one DSL on duty at all times our provision is open. This will ensure that prompt action can be taken if concerns are raised.
The DSL will receive comprehensive training in safeguarding and child protection procedures through the local authority. This training must be refreshed every two years as a minimum. However, the DSL must regularly update themselves on relevant changes to legislation and guidance on an ongoing basis, but at least once per year. The DSL will in turn provide ongoing training and development of safeguarding knowledge and awareness in the wider staff team.
This responsibility extends to ensuring that all staff receive refresher training in safeguarding and our local and company child protection procedures at least annually, and to ensure that gaps in staff knowledge and understanding are identified and supported efficiently.
Streetsbrook Road nursery DSL – Lisa Hayter – Deputies Joanne Danaher/ Meera Jogia
Shirley Heath Nursery DSL – Nikki Williams – Deputies Natalie Dutton/ Jeannie Lee
Castle Bromwich Nursery DSL – Gemma Lloyd – Deputies Kay Dorris / Neelam Rani
Recognising Child Abuse
Child abuse manifests itself in a variety of different ways, some overt and others much less so. All staff undertake safeguarding training and will be vigilant to signs and evidence of physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect.
Due to the many hours of care we are providing, staff may often be the first people to identify that there may be a problem. They may well be the first people whom children confide information that may suggest abuse or to spot changes in a child’s behaviour which may indicate abuse.
Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by harming them or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused within a family, institution, or community setting by those known to them or a stranger. This could be an adult, adults or another child or children.
The signs and indicators listed below may not necessarily indicate that a child has been abused, but will help us to recognise that something may be wrong, especially if a child shows a number of these symptoms or any of them to a marked degree.
We ask staff to use their professional judgement and seek the advice of the DSL when concerns arise.
Indicators of Child Abuse
Failure to thrive and meet developmental milestones
Fearful or withdrawn tendencies
Unexplained injuries to a child or conflicting reports from parents or staff
Unaddressed illnesses or injuries
Significant changes to behaviour patterns.
Softer signs of abuse as defined by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) include:
- Low self-esteem
- Wetting and soiling
- Recurrent nightmares
- Aggressive behaviour
- Withdrawing communication
- Habitual body rocking
- Indiscriminate contact or affection seeking
- Over-friendliness towards strangers
- Excessive clinginess
- Persistently seeking attention.
Action needs to be taken if staff have reason to believe that there has been a physical injury to a child, including deliberate poisoning, where there is definite knowledge or reasonable suspicion that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented.
Babies and Children may be abused physically through hitting, shaking, throwing, burning, suffocating or any other physical harm. Deliberately causing a child’s ill health also constitutes physical abuse. These symptoms may include bruising or injuries in an area that is not usual for a child for example the fleshy parts of the arms and legs, back, wrists, ankles and face. Other injuries may include burns or scalds, these are not usual childhood injuries and should always be logged and discussed with the nursery manager.
This is also a type of physical abuse where a child is presented with an illness that is fabricated by the adult carer. The carer may seek out unnecessary medical treatment or investigation. The signs may include a carer exaggerating a real illness or symptoms, complete fabrication of symptoms or inducing physical illness for example through poisoning, starvation, inappropriate diet. This may also be presented thorough false allegations of abuse or encouraging the child to appear disabled or ill to obtain unnecessary treatment or specialist support.
This involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. Showing children pornographic materials, sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways also constitutes sexual abuse.
Action needs to be taken if a staff member witnessed an occasion(s) where a child indicates sexual activity through words, play, drawing, has an excessive preoccupation with sexual matters or has an inappropriate knowledge of adult sexual behaviour. This may include acting out sexual activity on dolls/toys or in role play areas with their peers, drawing pictures that are inappropriate for a child, talking about sexual activities or using sexual language or words. The child may become worried when their clothes are removed for example at nappy changes.
Physical symptoms may include genital trauma, discharge, and bruises between the legs or signs of sexually transmitted disease.
Emotional symptoms could include a distinct change in the child’s behaviour. They may be withdrawn or overly extroverted and outgoing. They may withdraw form a particular adult and become distressed if they reach out for them but they also may be particularly clingy to a potential abuser so all signs and symptoms should be looked at together and assessed as a whole.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 defines CSE as “…a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.”
We will be aware of the possibility of CSE and the signs and symptoms this may manifest as. If we have concerns we will follow the same procedures as for other concerns and we will record and refer as appropriate.
Action should be taken if a staff member has reason to believe that there is a severe, adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a child, caused by persistent or severe ill treatment or rejection.
Varying degrees of emotional abuse is present in virtually all child protection incidents, but can also constitute abuse in its own right. Emotional abuse involves persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or torture causing, or likely to cause, severe adverse effects on the emotional stability of a child. Such behaviour may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved, or inadequate, or making them feel unnecessarily frightened or vulnerable.
Emotional abuse may include extremes of discipline where a child is shouted at or put down on a consistent basis, lack of emotional attachment by a parent, or it may include parents or carers placing inappropriate age or developmental expectations upon them. Emotional abuse may also be imposed by the child witnessing domestic abuse and alcohol or drug misuse by adults caring for them.
The child is likely to show extremes of emotion with this type of abuse. This may include shying away from an adult who is abusing them, becoming withdrawn, aggressive or clingy in order to receive love and attention. This type of abuse is harder to identify as the child is not likely to show any physical signs.
What is domestic abuse? 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:
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. This is not a legal definition. It’s often difficult to tell if domestic abuse is happening, because it usually takes place in the family home and abusers can act very differently when other people are around.
Children who witness domestic abuse may:
- become aggressive
- display anti-social behaviour
- suffer from depression or anxiety
- not do as well at school – due to difficulties at home or disruption of moving to and from refuges.
Living in a home where there’s domestic abuse is harmful. It can have a serious impact on a child’s behaviour and wellbeing. Children are individuals and may respond to witnessing abuse in different ways. These are some of the effects described in a briefing by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2004):
- They may become anxious or depressed
- They may have difficulty sleeping
- They have nightmares or flashbacks
- They can be easily startled
- They may complain of physical symptoms such as tummy aches
- They may start to wet their bed
- They may have temper tantrums
- They may behave as though they are much younger than they are
- They may have problems with school
- They may become aggressive or they may internalise their distress and withdraw from other people
- They may have a lowered sense of self-worth
- Older children may begin to play truant or start to use alcohol or drugs
- They may begin to self-harm by taking overdoses or cutting themselves
- They may have an eating disorder
Children may also feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless or confused. They may have ambivalent feelings towards both the abuser and the non-abusing parent. Parents or carers may underestimate the effects of the abuse on their children because they don’t see what’s happening.
Female genital mutilation
This form of physical abuse is practiced as a cultural ritual by certain ethnic groups and there is now more awareness of it prevalence in some communities in England including its effect on the child and any other siblings involved. This procedure may be carried out shortly after birth and during childhood as well as adolescence, just before marriage or during a woman’s first pregnancy and varies widely according to the community.
Symptoms may include bleeding, painful areas and acute urinary retention, urinary infection, wound infection, septicaemia, and incontinence, vaginal and pelvic infections with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physiological concerns. If you have concerns about a child relating to this area, you should contact the local children’s social care team in the same way as with other types of physical abuse.
There is a mandatory duty to report to the police any case where an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, we will ensure this is followed in our setting.
Action should be taken if a staff member has reason to believe that there has been any type of neglect of a child (for example, by exposure to any kind of danger, including cold, starvation or failure to seek medical treatment, when required, on behalf of the child), which results in serious impairment of the child’s health or development, including failure to thrive.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical, emotional or psychological needs, such as is likely to have a severe impact on their health, development or emotional stability. Neglect may involve failing to provide adequate food, shelter or clothing for a child, or failing to adequately protect them from physical harm or ill health. Neglect can also manifest itself in a failure to meet the basic emotional needs of child.
Signs may include a child persistently arriving at nursery unwashed or unkempt, wearing clothes that are too small, especially shoes, arriving at nursery with the same nappy they went home in or having an illness, or identified special educational need or disability that is not being addressed properly by the parent. A child may also be persistently hungry if a parent is withholding food or not providing enough to meet the child’s needs.
Neglect may also be shown through emotional signs for example a child may not be receiving the attention they need at home and may crave love and support at nursery. They may be clingy and emotional. In addition, neglect may occur through pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.
Peer on Peer Abuse
We are aware that peer on peer abuse does take place, so we include children in our policies when we talk about potential abusers. This may take the form of bullying, physically hurting another child, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse. We will report this in the same way as we do for adults abusing children, and will take advice from the appropriate bodies on this area.
Staff Reporting Procedures
All staff have a responsibility to report safeguarding concerns and suspicions of abuse. These concerns must be discussed with the DSL as soon as possible.
Any signs of marks/injuries to a child or information a child has given will be recorded and stored securely. Existing injury forms should be completed where necessary.
In circumstances where a child makes an allegation or a disclosure, the member of staff concerned will:
- Listen fully to all the child has to say.
- Make no observable judgment.
- Ask open questions that encourage the child to speak in their own words.
- Ensure the child is safe, comfortable and not left alone.
- Make no promises that cannot be kept; such as promising not to tell anybody what they are being told.
If appropriate, the incident will be discussed with the parent/carer, such discussions will be recorded and the parent will have access to these records on request.
If there are queries/concerns regarding the injury/information given then the following procedures will take place:
The DSL will contact the local authority children’s social care team, follow the reporting procedures as set out below, to refer the concerns and seek advice. If it is believed a child is in immediate danger then the DSL will contact the police.
Record the information and action taken relating to the concern raised.
Speak to the parents (unless advised not do so by LA children’s social care team).
The DSL will follow up action taken by the Local children’s social care team if they have not contacted the setting within the timeframe set out in Working Together to Safeguarding Children 2018.
Keeping children safe is our highest priority and if, for whatever reason, staff do not feel able to report concerns to the DSL or deputy DSL, or they feel that their concerns have not been taken seriously, they have a duty to call, a director, the Local Children’s social care team or the NSPCC and report their concerns independently and anonymously if necessary.
Staff Support and Training
Lawnswood Childcare is committed to ensuring that it meets its responsibilities in respect of safeguarding through the provision of support and training to staff. Therefore, Lawnswood will ensure that:
- All staff and volunteers are carefully recruited, have verified references and have a relevant DBS enhance disclosure and barred list check, as per 2 -Safer Recruitment.
- All staff and volunteers are given a copy of the safeguarding policy during their induction to read and have its implications explained to them. This includes pointing out the location of the LADO / MASH/ Birmingham Social Services/ Ofsted contact numbers, to enable them to refer any concerns independently, if they feel it necessary to do so.
- All staff and volunteers receive regular training and supervision in safeguarding issues and are provided with any relevant information and guidance including the prevent duty.
- All new staff are provided with supervision and management support commensurate with their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding and their requirement to maintain caring and safe relationships with children.
- All staff are made aware of the main signs and indicators of child abuse.
- All staff are aware of their statutory requirements in respect of the disclosure or discovery of child abuse and the procedure for doing so. All students and volunteers are instructed to report the disclosure or discovery of abuse to the nursery Manager as per Documents 182, 182a & 182b ‘Referral Flow Chart’[*].
Lawnswood Childcare will take appropriate action in relation to the findings of any investigation into allegations of abuse, consistent with its duties to protect the safety of children and uphold fair processes for staff, students and volunteers.
Any member of staff under investigation for the alleged abuse of a child will be subject to the provisions of the Company’s disciplinary policy. Any student or volunteer under investigation for the alleged abuse of a child will have their placement suspended pending the conclusion of the investigation.
All staff must understand our safeguarding procedures and have had appropriate training and guidance in the principles of safe caring. To this end:
Every effort will be made to avoid or minimise time when members of staff are left alone with a child. Students and volunteers must never be left unsupervised in charge of children. If staff are alone with a child, the door to the room must be kept open and another member of staff should be informed. If a child makes inappropriate physical contact with a member of staff, student or volunteer, this will be recorded fully in the Incident Book.
Staff will never carry out a personal task for children that they can do for themselves. Where this is essential, staff will help a child whilst being accompanied by a colleague. Unless a child has a particular need, staff should not accompany children into the toilet. Staff are aware that this and other similar activities could be misconstrued.
Staff will be mindful of how and where they touch children, given their age and emotional understanding. Unnecessary or potentially inappropriate physical contact will be avoided at all times.
All allegations made by a child against a member of staff will be fully recorded, including any actions taken, in the Incident Book. In the event of there being a witness to an incident, they should sign the records to confirm this. If it is necessary to talk with the child concerned about the allegation, then the conversation will be held in the presence of their parent or guardian.
New staff awaiting their current DBS check will not be left unsupervised in charge of children or assist in toileting and nappy routines. A duties restriction memo will be circulated to all staff to sign on this subject.
Disqualification and Staff Suitability
We give staff regular opportunities to declare changes that may affect their suitability to care for children, during supervision, appraisal and annual induction renewal. This includes disclosing information regarding their health, medication, whether they have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offence and changes to their resident status, including co-habiting with an individual who has committed an offence or has been involved in an incident that disqualifies them from working with children.
It is an offence to knowingly co-habit with an individual who is disqualified from working with children and not to disclose this information to your employer. By not making a disclosure of your potential disqualification by association, you will be committing gross misconduct and will be subject to the companies’ disciplinary procedures, including suspension pending investigation.
In certain circumstances a waiver can be granted by Ofsted. Applying for this disqualification by association waiver is the responsibility of the employee.
A childcare disqualification staff declaration form will be completed by staff annually at appraisal.
Managing Allegations against Staff/Students/Volunteers
Lawnswood Childcare is committed to ensuring that it meets its responsibilities in respect of safeguarding by treating any allegation seriously and sensitively.
Where actual or suspected abuse and or inappropriate behaviour comes to the attention of staff, they will report this to the nursery manager and or the DSL at the earliest possible opportunity. If this person is the subject of the allegation then this should be reported to the nursery manager, deputy manager, DSL or a director as necessary.*
If an allegation is made against a member of staff, student or volunteer or any other person who works on the nursery premises regardless of whether the allegation relates to the nursery premises or elsewhere, we will follow the procedure set out in this policy.
On receiving the allegation, the DSL, or their deputy in absentia, will immediately refer the case to the local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) on 0121 788 4310. The LADO’s advice and guidance will be sought on how to proceed.
Ofsted will be informed of any allegations of abuse against a member of staff, student or volunteer, or any abuse that is alleged to have taken place on the premises or during a visit or outing within the advised time limit of 14 days on 0300 123 4666.
Further to this, the following principles will govern any suspected or reported case of abuse:
Staff are encouraged and supported to trust their professional judgment and if they suspect abuse has, or is taking place to report this.
Full written records of all reported incidents will be produced and maintained. Information recorded will include full details of the alleged incident; details of all the parties involved; any evidence or explanations offered by interested parties; relevant dates, times and locations and any supporting information or evidence from members of staff. All staff will demonstrate great care in distinguishing between fact and opinion when recording suspected incidents of child abuse.
The DSL, or deputy in absentia, will be responsible for ensuring that written records are dated, signed and kept confidential.
If an allegation of abuse is made against the Manager or the DSL, the directors will be informed as soon as possible. The directors will then assume responsibility for the situation or delegate this role to a senior member of staff. The deputy supervisor will assume the nursery Managers role during any investigation against the Manager.
Allegations against students will be reported to their school and/or training provider.
Staff will ensure that all concerns and allegations are treated with sensitivity and confidentiality. Any children involved in alleged incidents will be comforted and reassured.
If as an individual staff member you feel your concerns will or are not being taken seriously then it is your duty to inform the LADO yourself directly.
A full investigation will be carried out by the appropriate professionals to determine how the allegation will be handled
The nursery will follow all instructions from the LADO, Ofsted, Local Authority and ask all staff members to do the same and to co-operate where required.
Support will be provided to all those involved in an allegation throughout the external investigation in line with LADO support and advice
The nursery reserves the right to suspend any member of staff during an investigation.
All enquiries/ investigations/interviews will be documented and kept in a locked file and accessed by the relevant persons /authorities only.
Unfounded allegations will result in all rights being reinstated.
Founded allegations will be passed on to the relevant organisations following the advice of the LADO, and can include the local authority children’s social care team and where an offence is believed to have been committed, the police. The nursery will also make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to ensure their records are updated.
Founded allegations, following internal procedures, will result in the dismissal of employees on the grounds of gross misconduct. Ofsted will be notified of this decision on completion of the companies’ disciplinary procedures.
All records will be kept until the person reaches normal retirement age or for 21 years and 3 months if that is longer. This will ensure accurate information is available for references and future DBS checks and avoids any unnecessary reinvestigation.
Referring Allegations to Child Protection Agencies
If the DSL has reasonable grounds for believing that a child has been – or is in grave danger of being – subject to abuse, the following procedure will be activated:
Contact will be made at the earliest possible opportunity with the directors who will be informed of the situation. The DSL will contact the Solihull MASH team without delay on 0121 788 4333 or, if out of hours on 0121 605 6060. Alternatively, if the child is resident in a Birmingham post code area the DSO will contact Birmingham social services team 0121 303 1888 or out of hours on 0121 675 4806.
The DSO will communicate as much information about the allegation and related incidents as is consistent with advice given by social services and the police.
At all times, the safety, protection and interests of children concerned will take precedence. All involved staff will work with and support parents/carers as far as they are legally able.
Lawnswood Childcare will assist the social services and the police, as far as it is able, during any investigation of abuse or neglect. This will include disclosing written and verbal information and evidence.
A Children & Families Inter Agency Referral Form will be completed & forwarded to MASH or Birmingham social services team within 48 hours of a telephone referral.
Parents are normally the first point of contact. If a suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, except where the guidance of the LSCB / local authority social care team / police does not allow this. This is usually the case where the parent or family member is the likely abuser, or where a child may be endangered by the disclosure. In these cases the external investigating officer will inform the parents.
Support to families
The nursery makes every effort to build up trusting relationships between families, staff, students and volunteers within nursery.
The nursery continues to welcome the child and the family whilst enquiries are being made in relation to abuse in the home situation. Parents and families will be treated with respect in a non-judgemental manner whilst external investigations are carried out, in the best interests of the child.
If a referral is made by nursery confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child, only if appropriate and in line with guidance from the LSCB and with the understanding that the care and safety of the child is paramount. We will do all in our abilities to support and work with the child’s family.
On occasions staff will be required to discuss children’s details with outside agencies i.e. family support workers, health workers, SISS. Staff must be aware of the strict confidentiality of information gained during the course of their duties, which in many cases includes access to personal information relating to children, their families and other staff. It is expected that staff understand the importance of treating information in a discreet and confidential manner.
Information regarding the nursery and children must not be disclosed either orally or in writing to unauthorized persons. Conversations relating to confidential matters affecting the nursery, employees and children should not take place in situations when they can be overheard.
Unless the person is already known, a telephone call received from a professional seeking information must have their identity verified before information is divulged. Staff must request that the caller provide their head office number, full name and job title. Staff must then telephone the head office number to confirm the callers’ identity and association with the issue at hand. If the caller works from a company mobile and this is the preferred method of contact this should also be verified.
A password should then be agreed for all further communications.
Any breach of confidentiality will render a staff member liable to disciplinary action, which may result in dismissal.
Parents of children arriving at nursery with an injury that has occurred at home are asked to complete an existing injuries form (doc HS026).
This form allows us to comply with our responsibilities in terms of accident recording and safeguarding of the children in our care.
The form records information on the circumstances of an accident, outcomes, treatment and medical advice given.
Extremism – the prevent duty
Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and as part of the OFSTED inspection framework; we have a “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”
Following guidance from “Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015” & “Prevent Duty – Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers 2015.” Lawnswood provide staff with appropriate and regular training which includes the identification of those at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
Through a varied curriculum we build resilience to extremism and radicalisation by promoting fundamental British values
Lawnswood liaise with the local community through networking to build up an understanding and awareness of the risks affecting the children in the vicinity of our sites.
We have a duty to report any concerns to the relevant authorities. This may be a cause for concern relating to a change in behaviour of a child or family member, comments causing concern made to a member of the team (or other persons in the setting) or actions that lead staff to be worried about the safety of a child in their care.
If the DSL has reasonable grounds to report the concerns relating to terrorism and extremism, the following procedure will be executed:
Contact will be made at the earliest possible opportunity with the directors who will be informed of the situation. The DSL will contact the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit without delay on 0121 251 0241. If at any time the safeguarding officer feels the concerns raised put the child at risk of significant harm a referral will be made to Solihull’s MASH team or Birmingham social services team.
The Safeguarding Lead will communicate as much information about the concerns and related incidents as is consistent with advice given by social services and the police.
Referrals under the prevent duty can be made via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monitoring Attendance of Children
Although it is not compulsory to attend an early years setting, under our safeguarding responsibilities we are required to monitor children’s attendance and patterns of absence. If a child is not going to attend a session, we ask parents/carers to share the length and reason for their child’s absence. This will help us monitor illnesses across the setting.
If your child is attending nursery under the early education entitlement conditions, it is important that they attend their registered sessions on a consistent basis. This is not only so that they can receive the most benefit from the learning and development opportunities provided at nursery but because of the funding regulations under which your free sessions are provided. Persistent failure to attend contracted sessions funded by the local authority may result in your place being discontinued.
The manager of the setting is required to monitor all absences in order to safeguard children and demonstrate this during Ofsted inspections, so please help our team by letting us know of any planned or unplanned absences as soon as possible.
Our nursery is aware of the growth of internet use and the advantages this can bring. However, it is also aware of the dangers and strives to support children, staff and families in using the internet safely.
Within the nursery we do this by:
- Ensuring we have appropriate antivirus and anti-spyware software on all devices and updating them regularly
- Ensuring content blockers and filters are on our computers, laptops and any mobile devices
- Ensure management monitor all internet activities in the setting
- Using approved devices to record/photograph in the setting
- Reporting emails with inappropriate content to the internet watch foundation (IWF www.iwf.org.uk)
- Ensuring children are supervised when using internet devices
- Integrating e-safety into nursery daily practice by discussing computer usage ‘rules’ deciding together what is safe and what is not safe to do online
- Talking to children about ‘stranger danger’ and deciding who is a stranger and who is not, comparing people in real life situations to online ‘friends’
- We encourage staff and families to complete a free online e-safety briefing which can be found at https://moodle.ndna.org.uk
We abide by an acceptable use policy, ensuring staff only use the work IT equipment for matters relating to the children and their education and care. No personal use will be tolerated.
Our nursery has a clear commitment to protecting and promoting the welfare of all the children in our care. Should anyone believe that this policy is not being upheld, it is their duty to report the matter to the attention of the designated safeguarding lead, the deputy safeguarding lead, nursery manager or a company director as appropriate.