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COVID-19 School closure arrangements for Safeguarding and Child Protection at Thamesview School (18/05/2020)

From 20th March 2020 parents were asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response - who absolutely need to attend.

Schools and all childcare providers were asked to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

The way Thamesview School is currently operating in response to coronavirus is fundamentally different, however, our safeguarding principles in accordance with ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) 2019, remain the same:

  • the best interests of children will always come first
  • if anyone has a safeguarding concern about any child they should continue to act and act immediately
  • a DSL or deputy DSL is available
  • unsuitable people are not allowed to enter the children’s workforce and/or gain access to children
  • children should continue to be protected when they are online

This addendum of the Thamesview School Safeguarding policy contains details of our individual safeguarding arrangements in the following areas:

  1. Vulnerable Children
  2. Attendance monitoring
  3. Designated Safeguarding Lead
  4. Reporting a concern
  5. Safeguarding training and induction
  6. Safer recruitment/volunteers and movement of staff
  7. Online safety in school
  8. Children and online safety away from school
  9. Supporting children not in school
  10. Supporting children in school
  11. Peer on Peer abuse
  12. Additional Support and Links
  13. Appendix 1 – Mental Health Support Strategies

Key Contacts:

Role

Name

Email

Designated Safeguarding lead

Mr Steven Christopher

s.christopher@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Deputy DSL

Mrs J Whitworth

j.whitworth@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Deputy DSL

Mr P Ferguson

p.ferguson@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Deputy DSL

Mrs E Rafferty-Tally

e.raffertytally@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Deputy DSL

Mrs T Weedon

t.weedon@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Deputy DSL

Mrs M O’Toole

m.otoole@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Deputy DSL

Miss R Frost

r.frost@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Deputy DSL

Mrs S Weller

s.weller@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Headteacher

Mr George Rorke

g.rorke@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

Chair of governors

Mrs Sue Milsom

SMilson133@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

 

  1. Vulnerable children

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those children and young people up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Those who have a social worker include children who have a Child Protection Plan and those who are looked after by the Local Authority. A child may also be deemed to be vulnerable if they have been assessed as being in need or otherwise meet the definition in section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Those with an EHC plan will be risk-assessed in consultation with the Local Authority and parents, to decide whether they need to continue to be offered a school or college place in order to meet their needs, or whether they can safely have their needs met at home. This could include, if necessary, carers, therapists or clinicians visiting the home to provide any essential services. Many children and young people with EHC plans can safely remain at home.

Eligibility for free school meals in and of itself should not be the determining factor in assessing vulnerability.

Senior leaders, especially the Designated Safeguarding Lead (and deputies) know who our most vulnerable children are. They have the flexibility to offer a place to those on the edge of receiving children’s social care support.

Thamesview School will continue to work with and support children’s social workers to help protect vulnerable children. This includes working with and supporting children’s social workers and the local authority virtual school head (VSH) for looked-after and previously looked-after children.

The lead people for this will be: Mr S Christopher, Mrs T Weedon, Mrs M O’Toole & Miss R Frost.

There is an expectation that vulnerable children who have a social worker will attend an education setting, so long as they do not have underlying health conditions that put them at risk. In circumstances where a parent does not want to bring their child to an education setting, and their child is considered vulnerable, the social worker and Thamesview School will explore the reasons for this directly with the parent.

Where parents are concerned about the risk of the child contracting COVID19, Thamesview School or the social worker will talk through these anxieties with the parent/carer following the advice set out by Public Health England.

Thamesview School will encourage our vulnerable children and young people to attend a school, including remotely if needed.

  1. Attendance monitoring

Local authorities and education settings do not need to complete their usual day-today attendance processes to follow up on non-attendance.

Thamesview School and social workers will agree with parents/carers whether children in need should be attending school – Thamesview School will then follow up on any pupil that they were expecting to attend, who does not.  Thamesview School will also follow up with any parent or carer who has arranged care for their child (ren) and the child (ren) subsequently do not attend.

To support the above, Thamesview School will, when communicating with parents/carers and carers, confirm emergency contact numbers are correct and ask for any additional emergency contact numbers where they are available.

In all circumstances where a vulnerable child does not take up their place at school, or discontinues, Thamesview School will notify their social worker.

Thamesview School will complete both the KCC and government daily online attendance form to keep a record of children of critical workers and vulnerable children who are attending school/college.

  1. Designated Safeguarding Lead

Thamesview School has a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and 7 Deputy DSLs.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead is: Mr S Christopher

The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads are: Mrs J Whitworth, Mr P Ferguson, Mrs E Rafferty-Tally, Mrs T Weedon, Mrs M O’Toole, Miss R Frost and Mrs S Weller.

Thamesview School has made the necessary arrangements to ensure a DSL (or deputy) is always available on site during the school day.

On the rare occasions this may not be possible, a trained DSL (or deputy) will be available to be contacted via phone or video call- for example when working from home.

Where a trained DSL (or deputy) is not on site, in addition to the above, a senior leader will assume responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site.

This might include receiving and processing safeguarding referral forms, answering telephone call from safeguarding partners and liaising with the offsite DSL (or deputy) and as required liaising with children’s social workers where they require access to children in need and/or to carry out statutory assessments at the school.

It is important that all Thamesview School staff and volunteers have access to a trained DSL (or deputy). On each day staff on site will be made aware of that person is and how to speak to them.

The DSL or deputy DSLs will continue to engage with social workers, and attend all multi-agency meetings, which can be done remotely.

  1. Reporting a concern

Where staff have a concern about a child, they should continue to follow the process outlined in the school Safeguarding Policy, this includes completing a safeguarding referral form.

To support those working from home, this from has been emailed to all staff suing their work email address, they should also contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead or deputy DSL by email or phone. The DSL (or deputy) will then inform the Headteacher. This will ensure that any concerns are received.

Staff are reminded of the need to report any concern immediately and without delay.

Students are encouraged to report concerns via existing school/college systems, or to a trusted adult at home. Parents/carers are also encouraged to report concerns via the existing school systems or by contacting the DSL on the email address above

Where staff are concerned about an adult working with children in the school, they should report their concerns directly to the DSL and head teacher by email. If there is a requirement to make a notification to the DSL or Headteacher whilst away from school, this should be done verbally and followed up with an email to both the DSL and Headteacher. If a concern is raised about a member of staff or volunteer the LADO service will be consulted with.

Concerns around the Headteacher should be directed to the Chair of Governors: Mrs Sue Milsom. Thamesview School will continue to offer support in the process of managing allegations.

  1. Safeguarding Training and induction

DSL training is very unlikely to take place whilst there remains a threat of the COVID 19 virus.

For the period COVID-19 measures are in place, a DSL (or deputy) who has been trained will continue to be classed as a trained DSL (or deputy) even if they miss their refresher training.

All existing school staff have had safeguarding training and have read part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (2019). The DSL should communicate with staff any new local arrangements, so they know what to do if they are worried about a child.

Where new staff are recruited, or new volunteers enter Thamesview School, they will continue to be provided with a safeguarding induction.

If staff are deployed from another education or children’s workforce setting to our school, we will take into account the DfE supplementary guidance on safeguarding children during the COVID-19 pandemic and will accept portability as long as the current employer confirms in writing that:-

• the individual has been subject to an enhanced DBS and children’s barred list check

• there are no known concerns about the individual’s suitability to work with children

• there is no ongoing disciplinary investigation relating to that individual

Upon arrival, they will be given a copy of the receiving setting’s child protection policy, confirmation of local processes and confirmation of DSL arrangements. 

  1. Safer recruitment/volunteers and movement of staff

It remains essential that people who are unsuitable are not allowed to enter the children’s workforce or gain access to children. When recruiting new staff, Thamesview School will continue to follow the relevant safer recruitment processes for their setting, including, as appropriate, relevant sections in part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (2019) (KCSIE).

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. Where Thamesview School are utilising volunteers, we will continue to follow the checking and risk assessment process as set out in paragraphs 167 to 172 of KCSIE. Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been checked be left unsupervised or allowed to work in regulated activity.

Thamesview School will continue to follow the legal duty to refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult. Full details can be found at paragraph 163 of KCSIE.

Thamesview School will continue to consider and make referrals to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) as per paragraph 166 of KCSIE and the TRA’s ‘Teacher misconduct advice for making a referral.

During the COVID-19 period all referrals should be made by emailing Misconduct.Teacher@education.gov.uk

Whilst acknowledging the challenge of the current National emergency, it is essential from a safeguarding perspective that any school is aware, on any given day, which staff/volunteers will be in the school or college, and that appropriate checks have been carried out, especially for anyone engaging in regulated activity. As such, Thamesview School will continue to keep the single central record (SCR) up to date as outlined in paragraphs 148 to 156 in KCSIE.

  1. Online safety in school

Thamesview School will continue to provide a safe environment, including online. This includes the use of an online filtering system. Where students are using computers in school, appropriate supervision will be in place.

  1. Children and online safety away from school 

It is important that all staff who interact with children, including online, continue to look out for signs a child may be at risk. Any such concerns should be dealt with as per the Child Protection Policy and where appropriate referrals should still be made to children’s social care and as required, the police.

Students are encouraged to report concerns to a member of staff or a trusted adult at home. Where this is not possible, additional support can be accessed online via:

All communication with students and parents/carers will take place using school provided or approved communication channels; for example, the school email account, approved online learning platforms, and Microsoft Office 365 (Including Teams).

Any pre-existing relationships or situations which mean this cannot be complied with will be discussed with the DSL.

Staff and students will engage with any remote/online teaching and learning in line with existing behaviour principles as set out in our school Behaviour Policy and Code of Conduct.

Thamesview School will ensure any use of online learning tools and systems is in line with privacy and data protection/GDPR requirements.

Below are some things to consider when delivering virtual lessons, especially where webcams are involved:

• No 1:1s, groups only

• Staff and children must wear suitable clothing, as should anyone else in the household.

• Any computers used should be in appropriate areas, for example, not in bedrooms; and the background should be blurred.

• The live class should be recorded so that if any issues were to arise, the video can be reviewed.

• Live classes should be kept to a reasonable length of time, or the streaming may prevent the family ‘getting on’ with their day.

• Language must be professional and appropriate, including any family members in the background.

• Staff must only use platforms provided by Thamesview School to communicate with pupils

• Staff should record, the length, time, date and attendance of any sessions held.

Thamesview School has also issued guidance to all parents and carers regarding the online safety of their child (ren) with advice and tips on how to ensure students stay safe online when not in school.

  1. Supporting children not in school

Thamesview School is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all its Children and Young people.

Where the DSL has identified a child to be on the edge of social care support, or who would normally receive pastoral-type support in school, they should ensure that a robust communication plan is in place for that child or young person. The DSL will also consider whether they would benefit from external support, such as Early Help, and make any necessary referrals.

Details of this communication plan are being recorded by the WSMs, as is a record of contact that has been made, which is to be sent to the DSL weekly.

The communication plans can include; remote contact, phone contact, door-step visits. Other individualised contact methods should be considered and recorded.

Thamesview School and its DSL will work closely with all relevant agencies to maximise the effectiveness of any communication plan. This plan must be reviewed regularly (at least once a fortnight) and where concerns arise, the DSL will consider any referrals as appropriate.

The school will share safeguarding messages on its website and social media pages.

Thamesview School recognises that school is a protective factor for children and young people, and the current circumstances, can affect the mental health of pupils and their parents/carers. Teachers at Thamesview School need to be aware of this in setting expectations of pupils’ work where they are at home.

Thamesview School has two mental health first aiders has provided parents with some additional support to help students who may suffer with poor mental health (see Appendix 1 below)

In addition to this, parents and students have been made aware of the contact details for all staff at Thamesview School as well as the option to report issues using the schools website. This reporting system is monitored daily any concerns which are received through the website will be forwarded on to the appropriate member of staff.

  1. Supporting children in school

Thamesview School is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all its students.

Thamesview School will continue to be a safe space for all children to attend and flourish. The Headteacher will ensure that appropriate staff are on site and staff to pupil ratio numbers are appropriate, to maximise safety.

Thamesview School will refer to the Government guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement social distancing and continue to follow the advice from Public Health England on handwashing and other measures to limit the risk of spread of COVID19.

Thamesview School will ensure that where we care for children of critical workers and vulnerable children on site, we ensure appropriate support is in place for them.

Where Thamesview School has concerns about the impact of staff absence – such as our Designated Safeguarding Lead or first aiders – will discuss them immediately with the governors.

  1. Peer on Peer Abuse

Thamesview School recognises that during the closure a revised process may be required for managing any report of such abuse and supporting victims.

Where the school receives a report of peer on peer abuse, they will follow the principles as set out in part 5 of KCSIE and of those outlined within of the Child Protection Policy.

Thamesview School recognises that the current circumstances and the changeable nature of current Government guidance may mean that the school/college may need to adapt elements of the process in some cases to ensure that they are able to respond in line with Government advice when required.   

The DSL will continue listen and work with the young person, parents/carers and any multiagency partner required to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing is not compromised when incidents of peer on peer abuse are brought to their attention.  

Concerns and actions must be recorded on a safeguarding referral form and appropriate referrals made.

  1. Additional Support and Links

As well as through existing school mechanisms, learners, staff and parents/carers can access age appropriate and practical support and advice via a range of national and local services:

DfE Guidance

Specific Links relating to Coronavirus for Learners and Parents/Carers

Online Safety

Domestic Abuse

  • Domestic Abuse Services: www.domesticabuseservices.org
  • Victim Support: 0808 16 89 111 www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help/supportline
  • Clarion Housing Association – Service provider for North and South Kent
    • North Kent: (Dartford & Gravesham, Swale and Maidstone) Clarion DA confidential Helpline: 07376 637069 (Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm)
    • South Kent: (Ashford, Folkestone & Hythe and Canterbury) Rising Sun Domestic Abuse service helpline: 01227 452852 (Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm)
  • National Women’s Aid Domestic Abuse 24hr helpline:0800 2000247

 

Appendix 1 – Mental Health Support Strategies

Mhc19

Documents

Page Downloads Date  
Covid-19 Domestic Abuse Guidance 14th Apr 2020 Download
Covid-19 Mental Health Support Guidance 14th Apr 2020 Download
What Parents need to know about Playstation 4 18th May 2020 Download
What Parents need to know about Online Grooming 18th May 2020 Download
Coronavirus advice for parents and carers leaflet 18th May 2020 Download
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