Created: July 2020 by Jenny Owen

Last Reviewed/Updated: Reviewed and Approved by Nancy Monaghan 5/8/20

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Policy Statement

We believe that we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practice in a way that protects them.

We recognise that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may have caused significant mental health or wellbeing difficulties for some children and they may be at increased risk of harm or abuse. 

Safeguarding and Child Protection

Due to the current circumstances, vulnerable children may be particularly isolated, meaning that the family, community and professional networks they usually rely on may be unavailable or hard to access. 

Our staff are aware of the safeguarding issues that can put children at risk, such as abuse and neglect, and the signs to look out.

Signs to look out for which may suggest that a child is being harmed or is at risk of harm include:

  • unusual injuries, including bruises, burns, fractures, bite marks or signs of self-harm
  • consistently poor hygiene, poor living conditions or inappropriate clothing
  • communicating aggressively or using sexual language
  • appearing withdrawn, guarded, anxious or frightened, particularly around certain individuals

If safeguarding issues come to light, they will be addressed using our Child Protection Policy. This has been reviewed ahead of reopening our setting for face-to-face classes, and has been shared with Staff to ensure they understand their responsibilities and the procedures. It includes details of our Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) and Deputy, and how to contact them, as well as contact details for local safeguarding services.

We recognise that it is especially important for us to ensure that:

  • the best interests of children must always continue to come first
  • if anyone has a safeguarding concern about any child they should act immediately
  • appropriate designated safeguarding lead arrangements are in place
  • unsuitable people are not allowed to enter the children’s workforce and/or gain access to children
  • any volunteers are appropriately supervised. Under no circumstances should a volunteer who has not been checked be left unsupervised or allowed to work in regulated activity.

Online Practice

It is important that Staff, Students and Parents/Guardians are vigilant and follow our Online Code of Conduct in order to protect themselves and each other.

We have created an Online Code of Conduct, detailing how we expect Staff and Students to conduct themselves when engaging with our Online activity provision.

The following measures are in place to promote Safeguarding online:

  • All online activities and content will be moderated. Staff will not permit content or language that others may find inappropriate, upsetting or intimidating.
  • During group activities, Nancy Monaghan will be present to supervise, along with the coach running the class.
  • During private lessons, or activities where no other staff member is present, Staff will use Zoom’s “Record” function to record the activity.
  • Students are asked to participate in classes from a shared living space, rather than their bedroom.
  • Staff and Students are asked to be mindful of their space, and what is visible in their video background. They are asked to avoid personal images/information, and content others may find inappropriate
  • Staff and Students must be appropriately dressed

Supporting Children’s Wellbeing

We also need to consider how to support:

  • individual children who have found the long period at home hard to manage
  • those who have developed anxieties related to the virus

Some children may also have experienced bereavements in their immediate family or wider circle of friends or family, or had increased or new caring responsibilities.

We will consider providing:

  • opportunities for children to talk about their experiences of the past few months
  • opportunities for conversations with trusted adults where this may be supportive
  • some lessons on relevant topics, for example, mental wellbeing or staying safe