Safeguarding Policy

Learning Hive fully recognises its responsibilities for safeguarding. Our policy applies to all Staff, Management team, external agencies and volunteers working for Learning Hive.

At no point whist in the care of Learning Hive, should any student under the age of 16 be left unsupervised at any Learning Hive school. Please refer to the Failure to Collect policy for information relating to the safeguarding of children before and after a Learning Hive session.

There are six main elements to our policy:

  • Ensuring we practice safer recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children
  • Parent collection
  • Raising awareness of child protection issues and equipping children with the skills needed to keep them safe
  • Developing and then implementing procedures for 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 children can learn and develop

We recognise that because of the day-to-day contact with children, Learning Hive staff have all received ‘Safeguarding & Child Protection’ training and therefore, have the knowledge and skills to observe the outward signs of ‘need’. The Learning Hive 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 at Learning Hive whom they can approach if they are worried

Procedures

We will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education to:

  • Ensure we have a nominated Safeguard Lead (SL)
  • Ensure all Learning Hive staff on school premises know who the Nominated safeguarding lead is, usually the Head Tutor.
  • Ensure all Learning Hive staff understand their responsibilities when they are alerted to the signs of
    need/neglect/abuse and understand their responsibility/procedures for referring any concerns to the SL.
  • Ensure that Learning Hive staff have up to date safeguarding training, so that their knowledge and
    awareness of child protection policies and procedures are up to date
  • Follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer (Whistle Blowing Policy)
  • Ensure safer recruitment practices are strictly adhered to

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. Learning Hive may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at Learning Hive their behaviour
may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn. Learning Hive will endeavour to support such student through:

  • The content of the curriculum
  • Learning Hive’s ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued
  • Learning Hive’s Teaching and Learning policy, which is aimed at supporting pupils at Learning Hive
  • Learning Hive will ensure that all students know that some behaviour is unacceptable, but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred
  • Liaison with the school to support vulnerable students such as social services, Child and Adult Mental Health Service, education welfare service and educational psychology service

Identifying Neglect/Need/Abuse

Dealing with Child Abuse is a complex, multi-agency procedure which is defined within a legal framework. Learning Hive will follow the recommended procedures as set out by the school. Because of the length and close proximity of contact with children, tutors are often best placed to identify the symptoms of need/neglect/abuse.

The role of tutors is basically defined as:
(a) Assisting in the identification of need/neglect/abuse
(b) Providing support to such who have a need/neglect/abuse Learning Hive is not an investigation or an intervention agency for child protection, but it has an important role to play in the recognition of need/neglect/abuse and has a responsibility to notify the school.

A child may be at risk from any combination of the following four categories:

1. Physical Abuse

This involves physical injury to the child, including deliberate poisoning and forcing a child to consume drugs such as tobacco and alcohol. It may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical abuse 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 (sometimes described as fabricated or induced illness by carers).

Symptoms may include:
(a) Bruising - especially about the face and head.
(b) Slap marks.
(c) Cuts and abrasions.

2. Sexual Abuse

This is illegal sexual activity involving a child or young person or, in the case of young people over the age of 16, sexual activity carried out without the person's consent, including coercion, threat and intimidation. Sexual abuse is 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. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or producing pornographic material, watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Pupils with special education needs and/or with behavioural and emotional problems are particularly vulnerable to such abuse.

Symptoms are more difficult to define but may include:
(a) Precocious and/or promiscuous behaviour
(b) Sexual references in interactions with others
(c) Sudden changes in behaviour - withdrawal, avoidance of social contact, truancy, aggression
(d) Abnormal response to particular teaching situations e.g. lessons/discussions on sex and health education and inter-personal relationships
(e) Sudden deterioration of performance
(f) Anxiety and/or low self-esteem
(g) Knowledge of sexual matters beyond what would be expected
(h) Strong need for affection, sometimes expressed in physical terms
(i) Difficulty in trusting or defiance of teacher
(j) Fear of Learning hive medical examinations
(k) Vague pains or aches, possibly arising from psychosomatic illness. (l) Threat of, or actual self-harm

3. Emotional Abuse

This is persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child which causes severe and long lasting 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 the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children or cause children to feel frightened or in danger. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child.

Symptoms may include:
(a) Withdrawal, fear of people or situations, a reluctance to participate in lessons
(b) Inappropriate responses to situations e.g. excessive aggression to a mild reprimand, no or little response to shocking news
(c) Expressions of low self-worth and low self-esteem
(d) Lack of self-confidence, nervousness in group situations
(e) Distorted views of other people (the English teacher hates me)
(f) Negative attitudes and views of significant others (my father is a pig, my family is no good, etc)
(g) Failure to make lasting, secure relationships

4. 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 protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional needs.

Some symptoms are:
(a) Small physical size, poor growth
(b) Dirty, unkempt appearance
(c) Poor awareness of personal hygiene
(d) Symptoms of physical illness in Learning Hive
(e) Evidence of poor care outside Learning Hive e.g. the child is seen wandering the streets late at night, or is in the company of older children/young people
(f) Poor eating habits, an unbalanced diet, constantly asking for food or money to buy food from others, stealing food or money to buy food time.

Identifying Neglect/Need/Abuse

  1. Be aware of pupils' physical condition and behaviour in terms of the criteria listed above.
  2. Report any concerns immediately to the SL. Make a dated note of your concerns and observations
  3. Do not engage the child in a discussion on a suspected problem - this may exacerbate the situation. Direct intervention with a child requires great skill and tact and should only be undertaken by the SL in conjunction with the school.
  4. You may ask a child to explain an obvious physical injury e.g. a bruise or black-eye as this may have a simple and innocent cause. However, it is crucial that a physical injury is reported if:-
    (a) It has a number of similar antecedents
    (b) The explanation given does not match the nature of the injury
  5. Report the following immediately to the SL:
    (a) Statements made directly to you by a child which allege or suggest abuse
    (b) Statements made to you by others, including children, siblings, even members of the public
    (c) Comments overheard by you made by suspected victims or others
    (d) Unusual statements made in pupils' written work e.g. references to close relationships with particular individuals or descriptions of unusual situations
  6. It is possible that (5) above may relate to a member of staff or another person known to you. Under no circumstance should your own relationship influence your response. You are obliged by law to refer any allegation or information on possible abuse to the nominated staff
  7. It is important that if a child reports any form of abuse, that it is believed in the first instance. The NSPCC report that children rarely retract their original disclosures and when they do, it is more likely to be because of pressures upon them. This also applies to reports made by friends
  8. In any interaction with a child, you should never ask leading questions as this can later be interpreted as putting ideas into the child's mind
  9. Treat any information given by the SL in the strictest confidence - never discuss it with anyone else,
    including colleagues.

The role of the Safeguarding Lead (SL)

  1. Attend Level 2 Safeguarding Training and be familiar with Child protection policies.
  2. Based on (1) above, keep Learning Hive's policy and procedures up-to-date.
  3. Provide guidance and training to tutors.
  4. Keep all reports and records in a safe, secure place and ensure their information is shared with the school. Not as part of students general file.
  5. Liaise with the school and other agencies if needed, including receiving and preparing reports.
  6. Give tutors the information necessary for them to respond in the most appropriate way to students at risk bearing in mind, at all times, the need for maximum confidentiality. Information will be given only on a 'need to know' basis.
  7. Children with SEN are particularly vulnerable to abuse. Tutors will work closely with the SENCO at the school. This is especially important when children have poor communication skills.

Protection of Student Identity

At Learning Hive, we work hard to protect children. This includes identity protection. In this respect, we issue parents with a letter seeking their approval for taking and using images of children. If the collection of a student is changed at short notice and there’s a cause for concern, Learning Hive will contact the parent to verify using the contact details provided on enrolment.

Summary

What is child abuse?
• Physical abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Sexual abuse
• Neglect

What to do?
• Report to SL
• Put what you have heard in writing
• Try to use the exact words used by the student if possible
• Offer reassurance to the pupil

What not to do?
• Do not ask the student questions
• Do not try to investigate
• Do not promise confidentiality

Guidelines for all staff
• Never touch student except for their safety
• Corporal or physical punishments are unlawful
• Think about how you talk to student

Abuse could be:
• Excessive restraint
• Rough handling
• Verbal bullying
• Frequent shouting
• Touching a student except for their safety

If an allegation of abuse is made, the following MUST be told:
• The school
• Other authorities/agencies that may be required under the circumstances

Consequences
• Social Services may pursue it as a Child Protection issue
• Police may become involved
• A criminal charge may follow

If such an allegation involves a member of staff, additionally Atif Hussain (Learning Hive Director) must be
told and action taken in relation to the Learning Hive’s Staff Discipline Policy.
• Parents can bring a civil action
• Disciplinary action

Procedure to follow when you have reason to suspect that a child or young person is suffering, or likely to suffer, some form of significant harm, or when an allegation of abuse has been made:

  1. You must inform the SL immediately. The SL must inform the School and the Learning Hive Director immediately.
  2. If at any time a student gives you information about being harmed, or the prospect of being harmed, you must tell them that the information he or she has given to you will have to be shared with the SL and school and cannot be kept confidential.
  3. Record immediately what the student has said and in their own words. If possible, this should be with another suitable adult present, but NOT the person against whom an allegation has been made. Do not probe or ask leading questions.
  4. In conjunction with the SL ensure that the relevant person within the school is informed of the allegation immediately, or within 24hrs.
  5. Provide a copy of your written report to the Learning Hive Director at the earliest opportunity and within 24 hours.
  6. If at any time you have concerns about a student, and especially if you suspect that they are suffering, or likely to suffer, some form of significant harm, you must tell the SL and record your concerns clearly and in writing.

Please note carefully: Any allegation of child abuse against any member of staff including an allegation against you, must be treated with the utmost seriousness.

*This policy links with the following other policies: GDPR policy, Code of Conduct, Behaviour and Anti- Bullying policy, Safer-recruitment policy, Teaching and Learning policy, Whistleblowing policy, Health and

Safety, Diversity and Inclusion.

Reviewed by: Atif Hussain (Director/Safeguarding Lead)
Written by: Shazia Hussain
Date: 20/05/2021
Date of next review: 20/05/2022

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