Safeguarding Policy

 

SAFEGUARDING POLICY

 

The Poznan British International School fully recognises its responsibilities for child protection.

 

Our policy applies to all Staff, Directors, Teachers and volunteers working in the School. For details regarding safeguarding guidance please refer to guidance contained in: Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015. Also available on our School server, website and in the School Office on request.

 

Aims

  • Ensuring we practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of Staff and volunteers to work with children.

  • Raising awareness of child protection issues and equipping children with the skills needed to keep them safe.

  • Developing and then implementing procedures identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse.

  • Supporting pupils who have been abused in accordance with his/her agreed child protection plan.

  • Establishing a safe environment in which pupils can learn and develop.

  • Dealing with allegations of abuse made against members of Staff, Principal, volunteers.

 

Strategy for implementation

We recognise that because of the day to day contact with children, Staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse. The School will therefore:

  • Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to.

  • Ensure children know that there are adults in the School, whom they can approach of they are worried.

  • Include opportunities in the PSHE/SEAL curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from any type of abuse/bullying.

  • Ensure we have a designated person responsible for Child Protection/Safeguarding – Designated Safeguarding Leader (DSL).

The DSL will have overall responsibility throughout the School.

  • Ensure every member of Staff (including temporary Staff and volunteers), knows the name of the designated person responsible for child protection and their role.

  • Ensure all Staff, student Teachers and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the designated person responsible for child protection.

  • Keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.

  • Ensure all records are kept securely, separate from the main pupil file – in a Child Protection Log of Concerns, kept by DSL.

  • Develop and then follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of Staff or volunteer.

  • Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.

  • Require that any deficiencies or weaknesses in child protection arrangements are remedied without delay

 

Strategies for support

We recognise that children who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. The School may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at School their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn. The School will endeavour to support the pupil through:

  • The content of the curriculum.

  • The School ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued.

  • The School Behaviour/Discipline Policy which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils in the School.

  • Liaison with other agencies as appropriate after discussion with the DSL.

 

The School will consider taking disciplinary action against any member of Staff, where it believes pupils are at risk of abuse from that member of Staff, even in cases where there is to be no criminal prosecution.

 

Reporting cases of abuse

The School recognises that it is not responsible for investigation. If the matter warrants reporting to the local authority, this will be in accordance with Polish law – either through the Niebieska Linia Police Department, or the Miejski Ośrodek Pomocy Rodzinie (MOPR) – local Social Department of Child Protection. In case of serious harm, the Police should be informed from the outset.

 

Safeguarding Checks for all Staff working at the PBIS

If an applicant has lived or worked in the United Kingdom, it is a requirement under Standard 4.2 for Staff and volunteers to have a British DBS check. The School's own DBS checks (important for all new appointments) are undertaken through an umbrella organisation such as COBIS (Council of British International Schools), which acts on behalf of its members and also Schools which are not its members.

Police checks are undertaken from any country where a member of Staff has lived or worked, as well as DBS checks from the UK.

 

Reporting Staff who are unsuitable to work with children

The DSL will report to the appropriate safeguarding authority within one month of leaving the School any person (whether employed, contracted, a volunteer or student) whose services are no longer used because he, or she is considered unsuitable to work with children.

Unexplained absence

  • The School will endeavour to make enquiries about pupils who are removed from School or go missing without reasonable explanation – particularly when concerns have already been raised.

  • Information relating to concerns about pupils will be passed on to the new School – by the DSL, Principal or Polish Director.

This Policy is reviewed annually.

The proprietor undertakes an annual review of Safeguarding Policies and Procedures and of the efficiency with which the related duties have been discharged.

 

The School's Designated Safeguarding Leader is:

Mrs Anna Domaradzka

 

Child abuse

The basis of all child abuse is the failure to recognise a child's basic needs and respond to them. Our duty as professionals is to be open to the possibility that various forms of abuse may take place, to identify the indicators of such abuse and to ensure that our concerns are transmitted to others. Any delay in doing this might leave the child open to further and possibly more serious abuse and might result in a possible loss of evidence which could have been used to improve the child's position. We recognise that because of the day-to-day contact with children, School Staff are ideally placed to monitor and to refer cases as necessary to the DSL. These documents are to be kept separate from the child's academic file – in the Child Protection Log of Concerns kept by the DSL.

 

Child abuse may consist of:

 

Physical abuse

  • 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 feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child whom they are looking after. This situation is commonly described as factitious by proxy, induced or fabricated illness.

 

Neglect

  • Neglect is 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.

  • It may involve a Parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care treatment.

 

Emotional abuse

  • Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development.

  • It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet in the needs of another person.

  • It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.

  • It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploition or corruption of children.

  • Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional needs.

Sexual abuse

  • Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person 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 (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts.

  • They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

  • A bullying incident should be treated as a child protection concern when there is a reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

 

It is important to be aware that according to the Polish law, a child who witnesses abuse is also considered to have been abused.

 

Role of DSL

  1. To lead in facilitating the development of safeguarding and child protection policies, training and procedures.

  2. To receive and coordinate referrals, arranging action and reviewing services for children and families.

  3. To maintain accurate, confidential and up to date documentation on all cases of child protection.

  4. To work directly with children in need and their families in the community in order to promote, strengthen and develop potential and Parents/Guardians and their children in order to prevent children becoming looked after and or suffering significant harm.

  5. To support the care of children and provide support and guidance to Parents/Guardians.

  6. Liaise with outside agencies and professionals to promote the welfare of students. Report to Social Services or Police as appropriate.

  7. To cooperate with the Principal/Polish Director to ensure that actions from strategy meetings and child protection plans are carried out.

  8. Attend child protection training, updated at two-yearly intervals and additional training as appropriate (according to the Polish Ministry of Education or UK compliance).

  9. Develop Staff training strategy to ensure compliance and best practice. Keep Staff aware of child protection procedures.

 

Roles of Staff

 

Duties

Teachers are by law “in loco parentis” whilst a child is in their care. Responsibilities include protecting a child and promoting their welfare. Any member of Staff who has a suspicion of abuse should report their concerns to the DSL immediately.

 

Require training in safeguarding (updated every three years) for the Principal and Staff, and indicate that temporary and voluntary staff who work with children are to be made aware of the arrangements;

 

Guidance

To ensure that their behaviour and actions do not place pupils or themselves at risk of harm or of allegations of harm to a pupil (for example, in oneto-one tuition, sports coaching, conveying a pupil by car, engaging in inappropriate electronic communication with a pupil, and so on);

 

The most important thing to remember: REFER ON – do not keep information to yourself. If you have any doubts or suspicions, please inform the DSL or Principal/ Polish Director in the event of his/her absence. It is a requirement that all concerns should be recorded however minor.

 

If, at any point there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made to children's social care immediately. Anybody can make a referral. It the child's situation does not appear to be improving the Staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration. Concerns should always lead to help for the child at some point (Keeping children safe in education, July 2015).

 

School Staff should not investigate report of physical or sexual abuse themselves. Alleged victims, perpetrators, those reporting abuse and others involved will not be interviewed by School Staff beyond the point at which it is clear that there is an allegation of abuse.

 

Procedures

  1. Dealing with disclosure

  2. Always stop and listen straight away to anyone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse.

  3. Do not give a guarantee of confidentiality. Talk through the issue of confidentiality with the child. You can guarantee that you will only pass on information to the minimum number of people who must be told in order to ensure that the proper action is taken; that you will never tell anyone who does not have a clear 'need to know'; and that you will personally take whatever steps you can to protect the informing pupil or adult from any retaliation or unnecessary stress that might be feared after a disclosure of alleged abuse has been made.

  4. Remain calm, do not panic or express shock.

  5. Reassure the child – tell them they are doing the right thing and that you are please they are confiding in an adult. Praise them for having the courage to talk about it with someone.

  6. Let the child know that you will do your best to protect and support them.

  7. Explain that you would like to make notes of what they are telling you and write a short account of what is being said.

  8. Do not project or assume anything, let the child tell their story; leave your own assumptions out. Listen carefully – do not prompt responses.

  9. Let the child know they are believed.

  10. Use age specific language. Ask for clarification for any meaning of words you didn't understand.

  11. Avoid asking leading questions like, “Who hit you?” Instead try, “How did you get that mark?” or “Is there anything else you'd like to say?”

Open questions normally begin with “what” “where” “how” “who”, also “tell me”, “explain to me”and “describe to me”.

  1. Closed questions that could afford the answer Yes or No should also be avoided upon disclosure.

  2. Avoid making criticism of the alleged perpetrator in front of the pupil.

  3. Check that you have a full understanding of what the child has told you before the end of the discussion.

  4. Explain to the pupil that it is necessary, in order to help him, or her, you will have to tell certain other parties. Assure them however that this will not be general knowledge within the School community.

  5. Ensure the pupil is handed onto a sympathetic, appropriate environment when he or she leaves you. Do not leave them on their own. Ensure that the child in not left in a situation where he/she may be pressured to change their story.

  6. Report the information immediately to the DSL who must then report it to the local agency within 24 hours of any disclosure or any allegations or suspicions of abuse.

  7. After reporting the allegation to the DSL, the Staff member should also make a written record (see Appendix 1) as soon as possible of what they have been told and hand a copy to the DSL/Principal/Polish Director. It is important that the information is recorded in as much detail as possible so that the child does not have to repeat the details of ubuse unnecessarily.

  8. Maintain confidentiality. Do not discuss this with any other members of Staff, children or people outside of School. It will be considered a breach of School protocol if you do this.

  9. Follow any instructions given by the DSL with regard to:

a. Informing a pupil's Parents.

b. Informing pupil of next steps.

c. Medical examination or treatment for the pupil.

d. Immediate protection needed for a pupil who has been the victim of abuse, a pupil who has given information about abuse and a pupil against whom an allegation has been made.

e. Informing people at School (including any other members of Staff) of the allegation.

f. Attending case conferences.

 

Arrangements to deal with allegations of abuse against members of Staff/volunteers/ Principal.

The school has processes in place for reporting any concerns about a member of Staff (or any adult working with children). Any concerns about the conduct of a member of staff will be referred to the Principal/Polish Director. These persons have status and authority in the school to manage employment procedures. Staffing matters are confidential and the school must operate within statutory guidance around Data Protection.

Where the concern involves the Principal, it should be reported direct to the Polish Director/Kuratorium Oświaty (K.O.). Where an allegation against a member of staff is received, the Principal/Polish Director must inform the Kuratorium Oświaty in Poznań (61 854 17 26) within one working day. However, wherever possible, contact with the K.O. should be made immediately as they will then advise on how to proceed and whether the matter requires Police involvement. This will include advice on speaking to pupils and parents/guardians. The school does not carry out any investigation before speaking to the K.O.

 

The School operates safe recruitment procedures in line with Polish regulatory requirements. Each new member of Staff should produce a current Polish DBS document. Our offer of appointment will be conditional on all requested checks having been returned as satisfactory. We will refer to the K.O. any person whose checks reveal that they have sought work when barred from working with children. Any deficiencies or weaknesses found in the Safeguarding Protection arrangements will be remedied without delay.

 

This Policy is in accordance with Polish regulatory requirements and is available to Parents on request, at School and on the School's website.

 

This Policy applies to all pupils, Staff, Parents/Guardians, management, volunteers, students and visitors to our School.

 

Procedures for dealing with abuse by one or more pupils against another pupil

It is essential that any allegation of abuse made by a pupil against another pupil/pupils in the school is dealt with fairly, quickly, and consistently, in a way that provides effective protection for all the children involved.

 

The allegation should be reported to the DSL immediately;

 

The Principal will:

Investigate if the incident is abuse, or an isolated instance of bullying or ‘experimentation’, in which case this will be handled in the normal framework for discipline (see Behaviour/Discipline Policy)

Determine the frequency, nature and severity of the incident

Ascertain if the victim was coerced by physical force, fear or by a pupil or pupils significantly older than himself/herself or with power or authority over him

Ascertain whether the incident involved a potentially criminal act.

 

If it is established that an investigation is necessary the Principal will inform the Parents of all children involved and seek advice from MOPS (Social Care).

 

Where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm, the School will report its concerns to MOPS (Social Care).

 

Role of the Principal/Polish Director

  1. Consider suspension from duty, pending investigation or reporting to Police, any Staff member alleged to have abused a pupil or pupils. In the event that the allegation is made against the Principal/Polish Director or involves the Principal/Polish Director, the DSL will inform the Kuratorium Oświaty (K.O.) in Poznań who will take responsibility for the following actions.

  2. Take any necessary steps for the longer-term protection and support of each pupil who has made allegations of abuse, or is alleged to have suffered from abuse.

  3. Ensure that any pupil being interviewed by the police has a supportive member of Staff of their own choice to accompany them.

  4. Ensure co-operation by the School in any subsequent investigation by local authorities or police.

  5. Make arrangements where feasible for any pupil who has been the subject of abuse to receive any necessary continuing counselling and support by agreement with his/her Parents/Guardians, where appropriate.

  6. Co-operate with the DSL to ensure that all appropriate authorities are informed.

 

 

Staff welfare

The Poznan Brtish International School understands that Staff who identify or who are disclosed to may find the whole matter distressing. The School will make every effort to help that member of Staff, for example by providing paid leave, or counselling.

 

Training

The School recognises the importance of ensuring Staff are made aware of the Safeguarding Policy and procedures on an annual basis at the beginning of each academic year, as a part of the induction programme, so that all those working with children understand their responsibilities and are familiar with expected practice.

 

The School is committed to providing training in safeguarding (updated every three years for the Principal and all Staff, and indicate that temporary and voluntary staff who work with children are to be made aware of the arrangements;

 

General

The School has a Centralised Log of Sanctions, which is updated regularly by all Teachers and kept in the Staff Room.

 

A report of this log is made, by the DSL, at each Staff Meeting.

 

The Log is checked by the Vice Principal weekly and by the Principal every 4-6 weeks.

 

Teachers cannot have social media contacts with past or present pupils under the age of 18.

 

Teachers cannot use private emails, each Teacher must have a School e-mail address to use for all School correspondence with pupils and Parents/Guardians.

 

The Principal is in possession of all the Staff passwords for access to the Internet at School.

 

Amended: February 2016