Safeguarding Children and Child Protection Policy
This policy must be read and understood by all members of staff at The Midhurst Dance School. We will make sure this policy is accessible to all staff, parents and students, where appropriate, and will make sure that all teachers / staff members can understand this policy by discussing with staff. All staff and volunteers at The Midhurst Dance School must adhere to this policy and must understand their duties and responsibilities regarding safeguarding. A copy of this policy will be available at all times on our website.
All staff and volunteers have a strict duty never to subject a child to any form of harm or abuse. Failure to adhere to these procedures will be treated as gross misconduct.
At The Midhurst Dance School, we recognise we have a responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of all children and young people we work with and have an explicit duty to do so under the Children Act 1989 and 2004 and the Education Act 2002. At the Midhurst Dance School, we believe that the welfare of the child is of paramount importance. That no child should be treated any less favourably than others in accessing services that meet their needs and that all children without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, or beliefs.
A ‘child’ is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently, in further education, or working does not change his/ her entitlement to services or protection as a child. Our guidelines apply to all children and young people until their 18th birthday.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people means:
Protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of a child’s health or development, ensuring that children are growing up with the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to ensure that children have the best life chances.
At the Midhurst Dance School, we will do this by:
- Identifying and responding to concerns about a child or young person
- Providing a safe and happy dance environment
- Using safer recruitment strategies such as all staff having DBS check and references before they join
At The Midhurst Dance School all concerns and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously. It is the responsibility of all staff and volunteers to take steps to protect children, to keep them safe from hazards and to take appropriate action in the event of an accident. It is the responsibility of all staff and volunteers to take reasonable steps to protect children and young people from harm and abuse while in contact with our school and our staff and to report any incident of or suspicion of abuse to the Designated Safeguarding Person or in their absence directly to the appropriate statutory authority.
Designated safeguarding lead:
At The Midhurst Dance School our designated safeguarding person is Debrah Purves. As designated safeguarding lead they have additional training in Safeguarding and its place in the world of dance teaching (interactive webinar 21/06/21).
If a child has a physical injury and there are concerns about abuse attention should be sought for the injury first, then procedures for referring to children’s social care should then be followed. Contacting the emergency services for medical treatment must not be delayed for any reason.
All individuals working at The Midhurst Dance School who have contact with children and young people are required to hold a valid, clear DBS check. All staff and volunteers will be recruited in line with safer recruitment guidance. No staff will be employed or able to volunteer if they are barred from working with children and in the event of an incident where a member of staff has to be dismissed (or chooses to leave) because they have harmed a child, DBS will be notified.
If any member of staff or volunteer has concerns about the behaviour or conduct of another individual within the organisation, the nature of the concern should be reported to Debrah Purves. The member of staff who has a concern or to whom the allegation or concern is reported should not question the child or investigate further. The Designated officer Debrah Purves will report the matter to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
If allegation or concern is raised about a member of staff, outside of work, this may still present a risk of harm to children for whom that member of staff is responsible and as such the general principles of this policy still apply.
Harm to children:
Everybody working with children at The Midhurst Dance School must be alert to the needs of children and the risk of harm. All staff and volunteers should be able to recognise, and know how to act upon evidence that a child’s health or development is being impaired or that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. At The Midhurst Dance School we will make every effort to protect children from harm when they are visiting our setting/ attending our classes.
We will ensure:
- Appropriate recruitment and selection procedures
- Provision of safeguarding training for all staff and volunteers
- Ensuring all staff and volunteers hold clear current DBS checks
- We will take all reasonable steps to ensure health safety and welfare for all those who access our organisation
- We will take all practicable steps to ensure that no one working with us or for us would put a child in a situation of unreasonable risk to their health and safety.
- We will not harm or abuse children within our care and will take all reasonable steps to ensure no one working with us or around us within the community could harm or abuse a child in our care.
- We will ensure good reporting to our DSP and onward to children’s social care wherever we suspect harm and will foster an environment of good communication, transparency and trust.
- All staff and volunteers have a strict duty to never subject a child or young person to any form of harm or abuse. Failure to adhere to these procedures will be treated as gross misconduct.
- During the admissions process relevant contact and medical information shall be collected and access to emergency information will be available to teaching staff and volunteers at every session.
Where we suspect harm and abuse:
Every member of staff has a duty to be alert to the signs of harm and abuse.
Where they have concerns these should be recorded carefully and accurately.
All concerns should be discussed with The Midhurst Dance School’s designated safeguarding lead.
A decision shall then be made with the DPL regarding sharing this concern onward to children’s social care or the police as required.
Where possible and only if it is safe to do so, the teacher who has the concern or the DSP should let the parent / carer of that child know if they intend to raise that concern with children’s social care and they should seek their permission to share information. Please be aware if the parent declines to consent and your concerns regard harm / significant harm you are still duty bound to share with children’s social care.
In the absence of the DSP all concerns should be shared directly with children’s social care.
Their number is tel: 01403229900 their share a concern page is Raise a concern about a child - West Sussex County Council All information sharing must be Data Protection act and GDPR compliant. Sharing must be discrete, appropriate, honest, and accurate but it is important for all staff and volunteers to be aware GDPR and Data Protection law does not create a barrier to sharing safeguarding information and all concerns MUST be shared with the DSL and children’s safeguarding as necessary.
Recognising harms and abuse:
Below are the definitions of harm to children and young people use these to help you recognise harm and ensure you cause no harm.
Physical abuse: A form of abuse that 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 causes illness in a child.
Emotional abuse: The persistent emotional maltreatment off 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, unloved inadequate, or valued in so far as they meet the needs of another person only, 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 the child’s developmental capability, as well as the over protection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the Ill treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (or cyber bullying), causing children to frequently 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.
Sexual abuse: 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, 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.
Neglect: The persistent failure to meet a child’s 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 and abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care givers); ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include an unresponsiveness to a child’s basic emotional needs.
- Where a child tells us about harm and abuse:
- Always listen to what the child has to say with an open mind
- Do not ask leading or probing questions
- Never stop a child who is talking freely about significant events
- Make a note of the discussion, taking care to record the timings, setting and people present, as well as what was said
- Do not ask children to make a written statement
- Never promise a child that what they have told you may be kept secret.
- Explain that you have responsibility to share information
- Inform the DSP for your organisation immediately
Where we believe another teacher or responsible adult has harmed a child:
If any member of staff or volunteer has concerns about the behaviour or conduct of another individual within the organisation, the nature of the concern should be reported to Debrah Purves who will report the matter to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). Their phone number is tel: 03302226450 their email is LADO@westsussex.gov.uk their share a concern page is West Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership - West Sussex County Council
Policy signed by Debrah Purves DATE 08/08/21
Date Notes / Amendments Reviewed By