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Return to School Child Protection Policy: Covid-19 Addendum (08/06/2020)

Policy Author: Mr Steven Christopher, Deputy Headteacher & DSL

Date written/Updated: 3rd June 2020

Date shared with staff: 8th June 2020

This addendum will be reviewed following any updates to national and local guidance and procedures and reshared as required.

  1. Key School Contacts

Role

Name

School 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

SMilsom133@thamesview.kent.sch.uk

  1. Policy Context
  • From the week commencing 1 June 2020, the government is asking schools and colleges to plan to welcome back more children, as part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Secondary schools and colleges are expected to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils.
  • The way Thamesview School is currently operating in response to coronavirus continues to be different, however, as more children return, 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
  • Any wider opening risk assessments and related Health and Safety risk assessments will be appropriately linked into our safeguarding approach and child protection policy.
  • This addendum of Thamesview School’s Child Protection policy contains details of any amendments to our existing safeguarding arrangements and should be read alongside our current policies and procedures: https://www.thamesviewsch.co.uk/374/policies-1
  • All staff and volunteers will be aware of the policy addendum and any revisions; the addendum will be made available publicly.
  1. Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs)
  • Thamesview School has one Designated Safeguarding Lead and 7 Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads.
  • Thamesview School’s Lead Designated Safeguarding Lead is: Mr Steven Christopher
  • Thamesview School’s 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.
  • The DSL (or a deputy) will be available on-site. However, if in exceptional circumstances this is not be possible, a named DSL will be available to be contacted via phone or video call. 
  • If a trained DSL (or deputy) is not on site, in addition to the above, the senior leader on site will assume responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site. 
    • This will include updating safeguarding files and liaising with the offsite DSL (or deputy) and as required liaising with social workers where they require access to children and/or to carry out statutory assessments at the Thamesview School.
  • All staff and volunteers on-site will have access to a trained DSL (or deputy) and know on any given day who that person is, and how they can speak to them. 
    • Up to date details of the DSL/Deputy DSLs will be visible to staff and children.
  • The DSL/Deputy DSLs will continue to engage with social workers, and attend all multi-agency meetings, which can be done remotely.
  • Thamesview School will ensure that the DSLs (and deputies) have time to support staff and children regarding new concerns, and making referrals as appropriate, as more children return.
  1. Vulnerable Children
  • Vulnerable children in all year groups continue to be encouraged and expected to attend school where it is appropriate.
  • Vulnerable children for the purposes of continued attendance during the coronavirus outbreak are those across all year groups who:
    • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child.
    • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan and it is determined, following risk assessment, their needs can be as safely or more safely met in Thamesview School.
    • have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable and could therefore benefit from continued attendance. This might include children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services, adopted children, those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’), those living in temporary accommodation, those who are young carers and others at the school/college and local authority’s discretion.
  • There is an expectation that children with a social worker will attend, unless in consultation with the child’s social worker and family it is agreed they are at less risk at home or in their placement for example due to underlying health conditions. 
  • Where vulnerable children are not attending Thamesview School, we will regularly keep in contact with them. This will continue to be through weekly phone calls from the DSL or DDSL as well as regular door stop visits.
  • Thamesview School will continue to work with professionals involved with children and share relevant information with them, such as social workers, early help workers and virtual school heads (VSH).  This is especially important during the COVID-19 period.
    • This will include information about attendance and any welfare concerns.   
    • If there is a safeguarding concern, this will be shared with the relevant professional as soon as possible. 
  1. Attendance
  • From the 1st June, children in specified year groups and vulnerable children will be returning to school as agreed.
    • No one with symptoms should attend Thamesview School for any reason.  
    • Vulnerable children’s attendance is expected, where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household, and/or following a risk assessment for children with an EHC plan.
    • Parents and carers will not be penalised if their child does not attend educational provision whilst current Covid-19 restrictions are in place.
  • For learners agreed to be in school, we will resume our usual day-to-day attendance registers and processes in accordance with existing policies.
  • Thamesview School will continue to complete the Educational Setting Status form to keep a record which gives the DfE daily updates on how many children and staff are attending. 
  • Thamesview School will:
    • Continue to notify social workers where children with a social worker do not attend.  Thamesview School will also follow up directly with their parent/carer. 
    • Continue to follow up with any parent/carer whose child has been expected to attend and doesn’t.
  • Thamesview School will ensure that regular contact is maintained with children (and their families) who are not yet returning to school.
    • With support from the DSL, teaching and/or pastoral staff who are encouraged to make contact directly with children, where possible and appropriate.
      • Staff can make calls from the school site and/or via school phones and devices, whenever possible.
      • If a school phone is not available or accessible, phone calls will be made from withheld numbers so personal contact details are not visible.
      • Staff will record the date, time and attendance of calls.
      • Staff can also make contact directly with students using their school email address.
  • To ensure contact can be maintained, Thamesview School will confirm emergency contact numbers are correct with parents/carers and ask for any additional
  • emergency contact numbers where they are available.
  1. Reporting Concerns
  • Where any concerns are raised about learners or staff, Thamesview School will follow existing and updated local arrangements as set out by Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-Agency Partnership (KSCMP) and as outlined in our existing child protection policy.
  • Thamesview School recognises that new safeguarding concerns may arise regarding individual children as we see them for the first time in person following partial school closures.
  • All staff will continue to look out for any signs that indicate a child may be at risk, both on and off site, including online.
    • If a member of staff/volunteer has any safeguarding concerns about a child, they should complete the required Safeguarding Referral Form and this will be emailed to the DSL as soon as possible.
    • If the concern is urgent, the member of staff/volunteer will speak to a DSL in person or via phone/video call if they are not on site, immediately.
    • In the event a member of staff or volunteer cannot contact a DSL, this will not delay them taking immediate action to safeguard a child in line with our existing child protection policy. 
    • Concerns will be recorded using existing school safeguarding processes as outlined in our Child Protection Policy.
  • Prevent is a vital part of our work to safeguard children from radicalising influences; the school will continue to follow local processes where we have concerns during this challenging time.
  • Learners are encouraged to report concerns via existing school systems, or to a trusted adult at home.
  • Parents/carers are encouraged to report concerns via existing school systems.
  • Where staff are concerned about an adult working with learners, they should report the concern to the headteacher.
    • If there are concerns about any member of staff or volunteer, the LADO service will be consulted with.
    • Concerns around the headteacher should be directed to the Chair of Governors.
  1. Movement of Children
  • If children are attending another setting, the school will continue to do whatever they reasonably can to provide the receiving institution with any relevant welfare and child protection information, especially if children are vulnerable.
    • For looked-after children, any change in school will be led and managed by the virtual school head with responsibility for the child.
  • The receiving institution will be aware of the reason any child is vulnerable and any arrangements in place to support them. This will take place ideally before a child arrives or as soon as reasonably practicable.
  • Any exchanges of safeguarding information will take place between DSLs (or a deputy) and SEND information will be shared by special educational needs co-ordinators/named individual with oversight of special educational needs (SEN) provision for children with EHC plans.
    • If this is not possible, Mr Steven Christopher, Deputy Headteacher, will take responsibility.
  • The school will continue to have appropriate regard to data protection law but is aware this does not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe.
  1. Safer Working Practice, Including Safeguarding Training and Induction
  • All staff will follow our existing staff Code of Conduct and any addendum updates with regards to safer working practice, both on and off site.
    • Staff will continue to follow any updates to the school Code of Conduct which have been made to reflect current Covid-19 measures and increased numbers of learners on site from 1st June.
  • All staff have read KCSIE 2019 Part 1 and accessed safeguarding training. 
  • Staff will be made aware if any local processes or arrangements have changed as more children return, so they know what to do if there are concerns about a child.
  • Any new staff and volunteers will receive child protection induction training from the DSL and will be provided with a copy of the school Child Protection Policy and Covid-19 Addendum. 
  • Staff may continue to move between school on a temporary basis; consideration will be given by the receiving school DSL as to what induction they need on a case by case basis, dependent on existing skills and knowledge.  Transferring staff will always be given a copy of the receiving setting’s child protection policy, confirmation of local processes and confirmation of DSL arrangements.
  • Face to face DSL refresher training is 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. 
    • Formal DSL refresher training will be undertaken as soon as possible; the DSLs (and deputies) will continue to do what they reasonably can to keep up to date with safeguarding developments.
  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.
  • During the return to school period, if Thamesview School recruit new staff, we will continue to follow the relevant safer recruitment practices including those set up in part 3 of KCSIE 2019.
  • If volunteers are recruited Thamesview School will continue to follow the guidance in accordance with KCSIE 2019 and with a mind to updates to the Safer Working Practice Guidance produced as a response to Covid-19. 
    • Volunteers who have not had the relevant checks will not be left unsupervised with a child.
  • If staff from other settings volunteer or begin working at Thamesview School we will ensure they have a relevant DBS check following DfE guidance at this time.  Thamesview School will risk assess staff from other settings, as we would for a volunteer.
  • If staff are deployed from another education or children’s workforce setting to our school we will consider the DfE supplementary guidance on safeguarding children during the COVID-19 pandemic and will accept portability if 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
  • A new DBS check for returning staff who have continued to be employed but have not been working in regulated activity is not required, however, if for any reason the school have concerns about an individual, we may obtain a new check.
  • 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. The Home Office and Immigration Enforcement have also temporarily adjusted the Right to work checks due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • Thamesview School will continue to refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child in accordance with KCSIE 2019.
  • Thamesview School will continue to consider and make referrals to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) where appropriate.  During Covid-19 measures, all referrals will be made by emailing Misconduct.teacher@education.gov.uk
  • Thamesview School will continue to update the single central record in line with KCSIE. (Paragraphs 148 to 156)
    • The SCR will provide the means to log everyone that will be working or volunteering in the school on any given day, including any staff who may be on loan from other institutions.
    • The SCR will be used to log details of any risk assessments carried out on volunteers and staff on loan from elsewhere.
  1. Supporting Wellbeing
  • Thamesview School recognises that staff, parents/carers and learners may experience some degree of emotional wellbeing or anxiety challenges as more children return to school. 
  • Thamesview School recognises that many children consider school to be a safe place and the current situation may impact on learners’, staff and parent/carers mental health.
  • Thamesview School will plan to ensure everyone feels supported through an inclusive culture and that everyone returns to a positive working environment to help relieve any anxiety or fear.
  • Thamesview School will ensure the whole community are welcomed. Staff and learners and will be given the opportunity for wellbeing check ins within trusted relationships.
  • Thamesview School will ensure that all children who are categorised as vulnerable or children of critical workers, as well as those children returning to school from 1st June onwards, are appropriately supported.
    • Staff will address the wellbeing of learners through a range of approaches including age/ability appropriate activities.
  • Pastoral staff will be available for learners and will be given the time to provide support as required. 
  • Thamesview School is conscious of the wellbeing of all staff and the need to implement flexible working practices in a way that supports staff and promotes good work-life balance.
    • Senior leaders and the DSL (or deputy) will be available to provide support to staff as required.
  • Teachers will be aware of the impact the current circumstances can have on the mental health of learners (and their parents) who are continuing to work from home, including when setting expectations of children’s’ work.
  • Thamesview School will continue to signpost staff, learners and parents/carers, on or off site, to a range of appropriate sources of support, internally and externally.
  1. Supporting Children in School
  • Thamesview School is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all its learners.
  • Thamesview School will be mindful of the specific needs of learners in Years 10 and 12 who have been identified as the first to return to school. 
  • Thamesview School is aware that children of different ages with differing needs will be accepted as the weeks progress, so will keep this under review.
  • Thamesview School needs to be confident we have up to date information on learners returning to site which reflects any changes in circumstances which could impact on their welfare. 
    • Thamesview School led by DSL or deputy, will do all we reasonably can to ask parents and carers to advise us of any changes regarding welfare, health and wellbeing that we should be aware of before a child returns to school.
  • Thamesview School will be a safe space for all children to attend and flourish. A senior member of staff will ensure that there is an appropriate number of staff on site and that staff to learner ratios have been considered to maximise the safety of children.
  • Thamesview School will follow the current government guidance in relation to social distancing and all matters relating to public health from the respective authorities.
  • Thamesview School will continue to record any support provided to children in relation to safeguarding issues in line with our existing safeguarding recording system. 

Peer on Peer Abuse

  • Thamesview School continues to recognise and respond to cases of peer on peer abuse by considering each incident on a case by case basis and basing any intervention on usual processes outlined within KCSIE 2019. 
  • Thamesview School recognises that the current circumstances and the changeable nature of Government guidance may mean that the school needs to adapt elements of the process in some cases to ensure that they are able to respond in line with advice when required.
  • Government guidance has recommended smaller class sizes, staggered lunch breaks, social distancing, and several adaptions to the school day that will require a range of strategies to help manage children’s interactions with one another and their own understanding of what is appropriate behaviour at this time.   
  • The DSL will continue to consult as appropriate with multi-agency professionals to ensure that children’s safety and wellbeing is not compromised when incidents of peer on peer abuse are brought to their attention. 

Online safety

  • Thamesview School expectations with regards online behaviour and education when using school provided devices or internet access on site will continue to be implemented in line with existing polices.
    • Any concerns regarding onsite online behaviour or use will be responded to in line with existing policies.
  • Thamesview School will continue to provide a safe online learning environment where learners use school provided devices on site; appropriate filtering and monitoring will continue to be implemented.
    • Learners internet use will be supervised by staff according to their age and ability and learners will be directed to use appropriate online resources and tools.
  • Use of staff and learner personal devices, including mobile phones, will be managed in line with our existing mobile technology policy.
  1. Supporting children not in school
  • The Government has strongly encouraged children in eligible year groups to return to     school unless they are self-isolating or shielding, however there may be a significant number of children still not attending school.
    • Thamesview School will continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people on the school roll but who may not be physically attending.
  • All DSLs will continue to identify vulnerable children who would benefit from Early Help as identified in KCSIE 2019, provide pastoral support and consider whether they would benefit from external support.
  • There will be clear plans around how best to communicate with learners who are identified as vulnerable, as well as those whom DSLs have concerns about, who do not receive a statutory service.
    • This could include telephone contact and/or doorstep visits at the discretion of the DSL. 
  • Thamesview School and the DSL will work closely with all relevant agencies and professionals regarding safeguarding a child who has been identified as able to return but for whatever reason is not doing so.
    • Any plans will be reviewed regularly and if concerns become significant, the DSL will consider any requests for support if considered appropriate.
  • Where parents/carers opt to supplement the school remote learning offer, we emphasise the importance of securing online support from a reputable organisation/individual who can provide evidence that they are safe and can be trusted to have access to children.
  • The school will utilise its website and social media presence to ensure that safeguarding messages are shared with children and their families. This will include links to appropriate services and resources that are aimed at supporting them throughout this period.
  • 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)

Online safety away from school

  • All staff will continue to look out for any signs that indicate a child may be at risk online and will report and respond to concerns in line with the Child Protection Policy addendum.
    • Where necessary, referrals will be made to LADO, children’s social care and as required, the police.
  • Learners 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:
  • Parents/carers will continue to be made aware of what their children are being asked to do online, including the sites they will be asked to access. Thamesview School will continue to be clear who from the school (if anyone) their child is going to be interacting with online.
  • Parents/carers will continue to be encouraged to ensure children are appropriately supervised online and that appropriate parent controls are implemented.
  • Thamesview School will ensure any sharing of information, communication and use of online learning tools and systems is in line with privacy and data protection/GDPR requirements.
  • All communication with learners and parents/carers will take place:
    • within school hours as much as possible.
    • with staff using school devices over personal devices wherever possible and in line with our existing Acceptable Use Policy.  Where this is not possible, staff will speak with SLT.
    •  using school provided or SLT approved communication channels; for example, school provided email accounts and phone numbers or agreed systems such as Microsoft 365 (including Microsoft Teams).
      • Any pre-existing relationships or situations which mean this cannot be complied with will be discussed with the DSL.
  • Staff and learners will engage with remote teaching and learning in line with existing behaviour principles as set out in our school’s Behaviour Policy and Code of Conduct.
  • When delivering remote learning, staff will:
    • only use online tools that have been evaluated and agreed by leadership.
    • ensure remote learning activities are planned in accordance with our curriculum policies, taking learner needs and technology access into account.
    • record the length, time, date and attendance of any online lessons/contact held or made.
    • revisit relevant policies such as our acceptable use of technology policy with learners as necessary.
  • Where remote learning is taking place ‘live’ for example using webcams or chat facilities, staff and learners will ensure a safe and professional environment is maintained in line with our Remote Learning Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
  • 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.
  1. Additional support and links

DfE Guidance

Specific Links relating to Coronavirus for Learners and Parents/Carers

Online Safety

 

Domestic Abuse

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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