Child Protection And Staff Behaviour Policy

1. STATEMENT OF INTENT

The safety and welfare of all our pupils at Berzerk Productions is our highest priority. Our business is to know everyone as an individual and to provide a secure and caring environment so that everyone can learn in safety. In all matters relating to child protection we will follow the procedures laid down by our own (or where appropriate the relevant child's) Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), Reading’s Safeguarding Children’s Board is contactable on 0118 955 3641, together with DfE guidance contained in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013 and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2014: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education.

All members of staff have a duty to safeguard our pupils' welfare and must therefore familiarise themselves and comply at all times with this policy. All staff should be aware that safeguarding incidents can happen at any time and anywhere and are required to be alert to any possible concerns.

2. WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE?

Child abuse can fall within the following categories:

  • Physical Abuse – actual or threatened physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury or suffering to a child
  • Sexual Abuse – actual or threatened sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. Sexual abuse includes: grooming a child with the intention of sexually abusing them; all forms of penetrative and non-penetrative sex; sexually exploiting a child in return for gifts, money or affection; and making, looking at and distributing indecent images of a child.
  • Neglect – persistent or severe neglect of a child, or the failure to protect the child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold or starvation, or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s health or development
  • Emotional Abuse – severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection. NB All abuse involves some emotional ill-treatment; this category should be used where it is the main or sole form of abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse

These are some of the signs and symptoms and types of behaviour which may indicate that a child is being abused. In themselves they may not be proof of abuse, but they may suggest abuse if a child exhibits several of them or if a pattern emerges. There is a good deal of overlap between the signs and symptoms of the different categories of abuse.

Possible Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained injuries or burns, particularly if they are recurrent
  • Refusal to discuss injuries
  • Improbable explanations for injuries
  • Untreated injuries or lingering illness not attended to
  • Admission of punishment which appears excessive
  • Shrinking from physical contact
  • Fear of returning home or of parents being contacted
  • Fear of undressing
  • Fear of medical help
  • Aggression, bullying
  • Over-compliant behaviour
  • Running away
  • Significant inexplicable changes in behaviour
  • Deterioration of work
  • Unexplained pattern of absence, which may serve to hide injuries

Possible signs of neglect

  • Constant hunger
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Inappropriate clothing
  • Frequent lateness or non-attendance at school
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor social relationships
  • Compulsive stealing or scrounging
  • Constant tiredness

Possible signs of sexual abuse

  • Bruises, scratches or bite marks on the body
  • Sexual awareness inappropriate to the child’s age – shown, for example, in drawings, vocabulary, games etc.
  • Attempts to teach other children about sexual activity
  • Refusing to stay with certain people or to go to certain places
  • Aggressiveness, anger, anxiety, tearfulness
  • Withdrawal from friends

Possible signs of emotional abuse:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Withdrawal
  • Extreme aggression or passivity
  • Air of detachment - ‘I don’t care’
  • Mistrust of adults
  • Over-compliance
  • Social isolation
  • Frequent tummy pains and other pains
  • Repression
  • Depression
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Running away
  • Reluctance to go home
  • High level of attention-seeking behaviour
  • Flinching from contact
  • Sudden speech disorders

Possible signs of bullying:

  • Physical pushing, kicking, hitting and punching
  • Verbal name calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, humiliation and continuous ignoring of individuals
  • Racial taunts, graffiti and gestures
  • Sexual and abusive comments and unwanted physical contact
  • Abusive telephone calls, text messages or e-mails

3. TRANSPARENCY

Berzerk Productions prides itself on its respect and mutual tolerance. Parents/guardians have an important role in supporting Berzerk Productions. Copies of this policy, together with our other policies relating to issues of child protection are on our website and we hope that parents and guardians will always feel able to take up any issues or worries that they may have with Berzerk Productions. Allegations of child abuse or concerns about the welfare of any child will be dealt with consistently in accordance with this policy. Open communications are essential.

4. SAFER EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

Berzerk Productions follows the Government's recommendations for the safer recruitment and employment of staff who work with children. In addition to carrying out safer recruitment procedures as set out in the DfE's guidance 'Keeping Children Safe in Education 2014', members of Berzerk Productions are subject to the necessary statutory child protection checks before starting work.

PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH ALLEGATIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT A CHILD

Berzerk Productions treats the safeguarding of the pupils in its care as the highest priority and recognises the important role it has to play in the recognition and referral of children who may be at risk. All our staff are made aware of their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in our care. Staff members are alerted to the particular potential vulnerabilities of looked after children.

Every member of staff is required to report instances of actual or suspected child abuse or neglect to Matt Whitelock. This includes alleged abuse by one or more pupils against another pupil.

PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH ALL DISCLOSURES/ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE

Allegations of abuse may be made against a member of staff, a volunteer, a pupil, parent or other person connected to the classes.

If a member of staff is made aware of any allegation of abuse, or if knowledge of possible abuse comes to his/her attention it is his/her duty to listen to the child, to provide re-assurance, but not to probe or put words into the child's mouth.

On hearing an allegation of abuse or complaint about abuse directly from a child, a member of staff should limit questioning to the minimum necessary for clarification. Leading questions should be avoided. No inappropriate guarantees of confidentiality should be given; rather the child should be told that the matter will be referred in confidence to the appropriate people in positions of responsibility.

The member of staff should inform Matt Whitelock immediately so that appropriate actions can be taken and the matter resolved without delay. If it is suspected that a crime has been committed the matter will be referred to the police from the outset by Matt Whitelock.

Borderline cases will be discussed with Matt Whitelock without identifying individuals in the first instance and following discussions Matt Whitelock will judge whether or not an allegation or concern meet the relevant threshold. Matt Whitelock will decide in the circumstances what further steps should be taken. This could involve informing parents and calling the police.

If the allegation concerns a member of staff, a volunteer or another pupil he/she would normally be informed as soon as possible after the result of any initial investigation authorised or conducted by Matt Whitelock is known. Advice will always be sought from Matt Whitelock first, however. Berzerk Productions will normally appoint a member of staff to keep the person informed of the likely course of action and the progress of the case.

If Matt Whitelock or any of the statutory child protection authorities decide to take the case further, any staff member concerned may be suspended if this is felt appropriate. The reasons and justification for suspension will be recorded and the staff member informed of them. In the case of staff the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure. During the course of the investigation Berzerk Productions will decide what information should be given to parents, staff and other pupils and how press enquiries are to be dealt with.

Any pupils who are involved will receive appropriate care. If an investigation leads to the dismissal or resignation prior to dismissal of a member of teaching staff, Berzerk Productions will consider making a referral to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and a prohibition order may be appropriate (because that teacher has displayed unacceptable professional conduct, conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute or a conviction at any time for a relevant offence).

5. POSITION OF TRUST

As a result of their knowledge, position and/or the authority invested in their role, all adults working with children and young people in education settings are in positions of trust in relation to the young people in their care. A relationship between a member of staff and a pupil cannot be a relationship between equals. There is potential for exploitation and harm of vulnerable young people and all members of staff have a responsibility to ensure that an unequal balance of power is not used for personal advantage or gratification.

Wherever possible, staff should avoid behaviour which might be misinterpreted by others, and report and record any incident with this potential.

6. STAFF BEHAVIOUR AND CODE OF CONDUCT

In general, pupils should be encouraged to discuss with their parents or guardians issues that are troubling them. It may be appropriate to suggest that a pupil sees their tutor.

Staff need to ensure that their behaviour does not inadvertently lay them open to allegations of abuse. They need to treat all pupils with respect and try, as far as possible, not to be alone with a child or young person. Where possible, a gap or barrier should be maintained between teacher and child at all times. Any physical contact should be the minimum required for care, instruction or restraint. Staff should avoid taking one pupil on his/her own in a car.

Communication with Pupils

Please refer to our policy on social media, social networking and communication.

Physical contact with pupils

There are occasions when it is entirely appropriate and proper for staff to have physical contact with pupils, but it is crucial that they only do so in ways appropriate to their professional role. Staff should, therefore, use their professional judgement at all times. Staff should not have unnecessary physical contact with pupils and should be alert to the fact that minor forms of friendly physical contact can be misconstrued by pupils or onlookers.

A member of staff can never take the place of a parent in providing physical comfort and should be cautious of any demonstration of affection.

Physical contact should never be secretive, or of the gratification of the adult, or represent a misuse of authority. If a member of staff believes that an action could be misinterpreted, Matt Whitelock should be informed immediately.

Physical Restraint

Any physical restraint is only permissible when a child is in imminent danger of inflicting an injury on himself/herself or on another, and then only as a last resort when all efforts to diffuse the situation have failed. Another member of staff should, if possible, be present to act as a witness. All incidents of the use of physical restraint should be reported immediately to Matt Whitelock who will decide what to do next.

Transporting pupils

It is inadvisable for a teacher to give a lift in a car to a pupil alone. Wherever possible and practicable it is advisable that transport is undertaken other than in private vehicles, with at least one adult additional to the driver acting as an escort. If there are exceptional circumstances that make unaccompanied transportation of pupils unavoidable, the journey should be made known to a senior member of staff.

Confidentiality

Staff members should never give absolute guarantees of confidentiality to pupils or adults wishing to tell them about something serious. They should guarantee only that they will pass on information to the minimum number of people who must be told in order to ensure that the proper action is taken to sort out the problem and that they will not tell anyone who does not have a clear need to know. They will also take whatever steps they can to protect the informing pupil or adult from any retaliation or unnecessary stress that might be feared after a disclosure has been made.

7. EQUAL TREATMENT

We are committed to equal treatment for all pupils regardless of sex, race, disability, religion or belief.

We aim to create a friendly, caring and perceptive environment in which every individual is valued. We endeavour to contribute positively towards the growing autonomy, self-esteem and safety of each pupil.

8. BULLYING

Bullying, harassment and victimisation and discrimination will not be tolerated. We treat all our pupils and their parents fairly and with consideration and we expect them to reciprocate towards each other and the staff. Any kind of bullying is unacceptable.

9. WHISTLEBLOWING

If a teacher or member of staff has concerns about the behaviour of another member of staff towards a pupil, he or she should report it at once to Matt Whitelock. Any concern will be thoroughly investigated. Where there are allegations of criminal activity, the statutory authorities will always be informed. Wherever possible, and subject to the rights of the pupil, the member of staff will be informed of the outcome of the investigation. No one who reports a genuine concern in good faith needs to fear retribution.

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