Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) is the Governments statutory Safeguarding guidance that we need to continue to have regard to as per our legislative duty and funding agreement requirements.
The Guidance from the Government is that we review and revise our Safeguarding policy and keep it under review as circumstances continue to evolve.
The way we are currently operating in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) is fundamentally different to business as usual, however, a number of important safeguarding principles remain the same:
- With regard to safeguarding, the best interests of our learners must always continue to come first
- If anyone in a school or college has a safeguarding concern they should continue to act and act immediately
- A DSL or deputy should be available
- Learners should continue to be protected when they are online
We will review this document to add any updated advice received from the Safeguarding boards and both adults and children’s social care regarding reporting and referring of concerns. We will also be liaising with the LA and social care regarding learners who have Education, health care plans (EHCP’s).
Designated Safeguarding Team
If there are any concerns regarding either young or vulnerable learners these must be acted on immediately following the usual process. We will ensure that all staff and volunteers have access to a trained DSL or deputy and know on any given day who that person is and how to speak to them. Contact can be made with the Safeguarding Lead, or Safeguarding Officer via TEAMs, mobile or by logging a concern on MyConcern. If availability changes staff will be advised.
We will continue to ensure support for vulnerable groups such as looked-after and previously looked-after children. Staff will continue to work with and support social workers to help protect vulnerable adults and children. Provision will be offered for those learners on EHCP’s and others who are very vulnerable, unless in consultation with social workers and family it is agreed this is not in the best interests of the person. In the case where a learner is expected to attend and does not, this will be followed up and social workers notified. Contact numbers will be checked, and emergency numbers obtained.
If needed, we will look at revising processes for managing concerns such as peer on peer abuse particularly around concerns during online learning.
Any concerns regarding a member of staff who it is felt may pose a safeguarding risk to learner must still be reported and will be responded to following guidance in the ECC whistle blowing policy.
Learners who staff may be concerned about but who do not meet the definition for ‘vulnerable’ can be referred to the safeguarding team
If recruitment is taking place the relevant safer recruitment processes must be followed. In response to COVID-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has made changes to its guidance on standard and enhanced DBS ID checking to minimise the need for face-to-face contact.
For staff already engaging in regulated activity and who already have the appropriate DBS check, there is no expectation that a new DBS check should be obtained where that member of the workforce temporarily moves to another school or college to support the care of children. The type of setting on the DBS check, for example a specific category of school, is not a barrier. The same principle applies if childcare workers move to work temporarily in a school setting. The receiving institution should risk assess as they would for a volunteer. Whilst the onus remains on schools and colleges to satisfy themselves that someone in their setting has had the required checks, including as required those set out in part 3 of KCSIE, in the above scenario this can be achieved, if the receiving institution chooses to, via seeking assurance from the current employer rather than requiring new checks.
Negative experiences and distressing life events, such as the current circumstances, can affect the mental health of learners, and staff need to be aware of this impact both on learners and on themselves. Relevant information and links to appropriate support organisations will be made available. If any staff have concerns, they need to follow the usual process to refer to the safeguarding team.
It is more important than ever that we provide a safe environment, including online. Although learners will not be physically attending the centres. It is important that all staff who interact with young people and vulnerable learners, including online, continue to look out for signs they may be at risk. Any such concerns should be dealt with as per the safeguarding policies and where appropriate DO’s referrals should still be made to social care and as required the police.
A Privacy Online document is being been sent to staff who are supporting learners through online delivery, this gives guidance on safe ways of delivery as well as reminders to still refer concerns to the safeguarding team.
It is important that we make all staff aware of the new policy and that they are kept up to date as it is revised. The revised policy will continue to be made available publicly.