Staff working in the preschool have a duty of care towards the children attending and this duty brings with it the responsibility to ensure that all efforts are made to safeguard children from suspected and actual harm. Children attending the nursery have a right to feel safe and staff in partnership with parents/carers, have a responsibility to act on any concerns they may have regarding a child’s welfare and well‐being.
The Legal framework for this policy
• Children act (2004/1989)
• Working together to safeguard children (2006)
• Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006)
Practitioners have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Due to the many hours of care we provide, staff will often be the first people who sense that there is a problem. They may well be the first people in whom children confide about abuse. The preschool has a duty to be aware that abuse does occur in our society. This statement lays out the procedures that will be followed if we have any reason to believe that a child in our care is subject to welfare issues including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
Our prime responsibility is the welfare and well being of children in our care. As such we believe we have a duty to the children, parents/carers and staff to act quickly and responsibly in any instance that may come to our attention. All staff will work as part of a multi‐agency team where needed in the best interest of the child.
All staff will be familiar with their own responsibilities to act swiftly upon any suspicions or concerns they may have about any child or member of staff at the preschool. The preschool will follow the procedures set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework and Worcestershire Safeguarding children’s board Guidance, and as such will seek advice on all steps taken subsequently. The preschool has a duty to report any suspicions around abuse to the Children’s Services access centre who under the children Act 1989 have an obligation to investigate such matters.
Staff must not make comment either publicly or in private about a parent’s supposed or actual behaviour, strict confidentiality will be observed at all times.
Staff must raise any concerns initially with the’ Designated senior member of staff for Safeguarding’, who will discuss these concerns with the manager/registered person on a need to know basis and appropriate action will be considered.
Staff responsibilities do not include investigating the suspected abuse and all related information must be kept in a locked filling cabinet. Parents and families will be treated with respect in a non-judgmental manner whilst investigations by the appropriate authorities are being carried out in the best interests of the child.
It is the policy of the preschool to provide a secure and safe environment for all children from abuse. The preschool will therefore not allow an adult to be left alone who has not received their enhanced CRB check clearance and all our staff will receive safeguarding training. We know how important staff ratios are and ensure that we follow the legal requirements for the minimum numbers of staff present with the children at any time as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework.
Morning glory preschool aims to:
• Ensure that children are never placed at risk while in the charge of the nursery staff.
• Ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times.
• Ensure that all staff are alert to the signs and understand what is meant by safeguarding and are aware of the different ways in which children can be harmed, including by other children i.e. bullying.
• Ensure that all staff are familiar with safeguarding issues and procedures when they register with the nursery and kept informed of all updates when they occur.
• Regularly review and update this policy.
What is child abuse?
A person may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Staff in the nursery recognise that child abuse can and does happen in all types of families. The different social and cultural backgrounds of the children do not constitute barriers to child abuse and in most cases children are abused by individuals known to them, rather than strangers. Child abuse can take many formats, but all instances can be broadly categorised under one of four headings; neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. The following
indentifies some possible manifestations of child abuse; however these lists are not exhaustive.
Neglect – is the persistent failure to meet basic physical and psychological needs, which may result in the serious impairment of the child’s health and development. For example; poor hygiene, untreated medical problems, emaciation or under nourishment. Staff may notice behavioural signs such as a child who always seems to be hungry, is constantly tired or talks of being left alone.
• The concern should be discussed with the parent/carer.
• Such discussions will be recorded and the parent/carer will have access to such records.
• If there appears to be any queries regarding the circumstances the children’s services access centre will be notified.
Physical abuse – physical signs may involve unexplained bruising in unlikely areas, facial bruising, hand/finger marks, bite marks, burns, lacerations or abrasions. Staff may notice certain behavioural signs that also indicate physical abuse such as a child that shy’s away from physical contact, is withdrawn or aggressive towards others or their behaviour changes suddenly.
• All signs of marks/injuries to a child when they come into nursery will be recorded as soon as noticed by a staff member
• The incident will be discussed with the parent/carer at the earliest opportunity.
• Such discussions will be recorded and a signature obtained from the parent/carer who will have access to such records.
• If there appears to be any queries regarding the injury, the children’s services access centre should be informed immediately.
Sexual Abuse – Physical signs may include bruising consistent with being held firmly, discomfort in walking/sitting, pain or itching in the genital area, discharge or blood on under clothes, or loss of appetite. Behavioural signs may include drawings or play showing indicators of sexual activity, sexual explicit language, knowledge of adult sexual behaviour, seductive behaviour towards others, poor self esteem and a child who is withdrawn.
• The observed instances will be detailed in a confidential report.
• The observed instances will be reported to the DSMS/Nursery manager.
• The matter will be referred to the children’s services access centre immediately.
Emotional Abuse – Physical signs of emotional abuse may include a general failure to thrive, not meeting expected developmental milestones and behaviourally a child may be attention seeking tells lies, have an inability to have fun, low self esteem, speech disorders, and be inappropriately affectionate towards others.
• The concerns should be discussed with the parent/carer by the DSMS/Manger.
• Such discussions will be recorded and the parent/carer will have access to such records.
• If there appears to be any queries regarding the circumstances, the children’s services access centre will be notified.
However, when identifying any potential instances of abuse, staff must at all times be aware that children may demonstrate individual or combinations of the indicators detailed, but may not be the subject of abuse. Individual or isolated incidents do not necessarily indicate abuse. However, staff should always remain vigilant and must not ignore warnings signs and contact Children’s services access centre at any stage for support.
Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosers
Staff will make an objective record of any observation or disclosure and include:
• Child’s name
• Child’s address
• Child’s age and date of birth
• Date and time of the observation or the disclosure
• EXACT words spoken by the child/injuries or marks seen
Name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time and the names of any other person that was present at the time
Any discussion held with parent/carer
The records are signed and dated and kept in a separate confidential file. All members of staff should know the procedures of recording information. It may be thought necessary that through discussion will all concerned the matter needs to
be raised with the children’s services access centre and OFSTED. All staff will attend safeguarding training or complete the E learning training and receive basic training as part of their induction.
Informing the parents
Parents are normally the first point of contact. If suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, expect where the guidance of the safeguarding children’s board does not allow this. This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the investigating officer will inform the parents.
All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and only shared with those who need to know.
Support to families
Morning glory preschool takes every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relations among families, staff and volunteers within the school.
The preschool continues to welcome a child and their family whilst investigations are being made in relation to abuse within home.
Confidential records are kept on a child are shared with parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child, only if appropriate under the guidance of the local safeguarding children’s board.
Employees of the preschool/allegations of abuse by staff member
If an allegation is made against a member of staff the DSMS will inform the children’s access centre. It is important to take a name of the person spoken to and they will advice on the next steps to be taken. The local authority officer will also be on hand to convene a strategy meeting and offer advice and support. OFSTED and the independent safeguarding authority will also need to be informed and this will be investigated
Staff will cooperate with the investigating authority
The preschool reserves the right to suspend any member of staff on full pay during an investigation.
all investigation/interviews will be documented and kept in a locked file.
Unfounded allegations will result in all rights being re-instated.
Counseling will be available for ay member of the nursery who is affected by the allegation, their colleagues in the preschool and the parents
If an allegation of abuse is made about the preschool manager/ registered person, the person making the complaint is likely to contact OFSTED, children’s services or the police directly.