At Little Lambs Preschool, the safety and wellbeing of all the children is always our paramount concern, at all times.
Our key commitments are;
1. Building a ‘culture of safety’ in which children are protected from abuse and harm
2. To responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents and concerns of abuse that may occur and work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018)
3. To promoting awareness of child abuse issues throughout its training and learning programmes for adults. We are also committed to empowering young children, through the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, promoting their right to be strong, resilient and listened to and embedding the Fundamental British Values throughout.
4. To respond promptly and appropriately to all incidents and concerns of the risk of radicalization and involvement in potential acts of terrorism – this is known as Prevent Duty. We work in accordance to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015,
Key commitment 1
Sharon Cole is the Designated Lead who co-ordinates child protection issues, in her absence, Hannah Davies.
At Little Lambs Pre-school, all staff are trained to understand our child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures and that parents are made aware of them too. All staff have an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding issues.
We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of the children. Applicants for posts within the setting are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Candidates have an ‘Enhanced’ Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check – previously known as CRB, done before confirmed in post.
We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and DBS checks for all staff and volunteers, to ensure no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at Little Lambs or have access to the children.
Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
All information is recorded about staff qualifications, identity checks and DBS checks, including DBS reference number and date of issue.
Staff are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders or reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children (whether received before or during their employment) and that of the people living in their household.
We abide by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006), any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of a child protection concern.
We have procedures in place for recording details of visitors to Little Lambs.
We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the setting so that no unauthorized person has unsupervised access to the children.
We take steps to ensure that children are not photographed or filmed for any other purpose than to record their development or their participation in events organised by us. Parents sign a consent form and have access to the images of their child.
Key commitment 2
Responding to suspicions of abuse
We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms – physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.
When children are suffering from physical, sexual, emotional abuse, or experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through:
- Significant changes in their behaviour
- Deterioration in their general wellbeing
- Their comments which may give cause for concern, or the things they say (direct or indirect disclosures)
- Changes in their appearance, behaviour or their play
- Unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect and
- Any reason to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting
We take into account factors affecting parental capacity, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, parent’s drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent’s learning disability.
We are aware of other factors that affect children’s vulnerability such as, abuse of disabled children or those with Special Educational Needs, fabricated or induced illness, child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession and sexual exploitation of children; that may affect, or have affected children and young people using our provision. If we believe a child in our care is affected by any of these issues, along with concerns that a child has gone missing (unexpectedly left the setting and their home), we will follow the procedures for child protection concerns. We have a mandatory duty to report known cases of Female Genital Mutilation.
We refer concerns to the local children’s social care department and will co-operate fully in any subsequent investigation.
We take care not to influence the outcome either through the way we speak to children or by asking questions of children.
We take account to protect young people aged 16-19 as defined by the Children Act 1989. This may include students or school children on placement, young employees or young parents. Where abuse is suspected we follow the procedure for reporting any other child protection concerns. The views of the young person will always be taken into account, but Little Lambs may override the young person’s refusal to consent to share information if it is felt that child or young person is at risk of harm.
Recording and referring suspicions of abuse and disclosures
Where a child makes comments to a staff member that gives cause for concern (disclosure), or a member of staff observes signs or signals that give cause for concern, such as significant changes in behaviour; deterioration in general wellbeing, unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect; that member of staff:
- Listens to the child, offers reassurance and gives assurance that he or she will take action
- Does not question the child
- Makes a written objective record of the observation or disclosure, including date, time, and exact words spoken by the child, name of the person to whom the concern was reported, and names of any other person present at the time on our incident report form.
- The records are kept securely and confidentially.
- The Designated Lead will be informed at the earliest possible opportunity.
- Where necessary, a referral to children’s social care will be made using the procedures set down in the ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018)
Parents are normally the first point of contact. We discuss concerns with parents to gain their views of events, unless it is felt that this may put the child in greater danger. We inform parents when a record for concern (Incident Report Form) has been recorded and will make a note of any discussion we have had with them regarding the concern. This will be signed by the parent too.
If a suspicion of abuse warrants a referral of social care, parents are informed at the same time as the referral will be made, except where the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership does not allow this, where we believe the child may be placed in greater danger.
In the case where the parent is likely to be the abuser, social workers will inform parents.
Liaison with other agencies
We work within the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership guidelines and ‘Working together to Safeguard Children’ guidance (2018).
We notify Ofsted of any incident or accident and any changes in our arrangements which may affect the wellbeing of children or where an allegation has been made against a member of staff, within 14 days of the allegation.
Allegations against staff
We ensure that all parents know how to complain about the behaviour or actions of staff or volunteers, which may include an allegation of abuse.
We respond to any inappropriate behaviour displayed by staff members which includes; inappropriate sexual comments, inappropriate sharing of images, and excessive one to one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibility.
We follow the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership when responding to any complaint that a member of staff or volunteer has abused a child.
We respond to any disclosure by children or staff that abuse by a member of staff may have taken place or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
We refer any such complaints immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Officer (formerly known as Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to investigate (Finola Owen) 020 8314 7280
We also report any such alleged incidents to Ofsted, as well as what measures we have taken. We are aware that it is an offence not to.
We co-operate entirely with any investigations carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police.
If agreed between Sharon Cole and Children’s Social Care, the staff member will be suspended on full pay, or volunteer, for the duration of the investigation. This is to protect children and staff throughout the process and not an indication of admission that the alleged incident has taken place.
Where a member of staff or volunteer has been dismissed due to engaging in activities that cause concern for the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults, we will notify the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) of relevant information, so that individuals who pose a threat to children (and vulnerable groups) can be identified and barred from working with these groups.
Key commitment 3
At Little Lambs Pre-school, all staff are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of possible physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as neglect and are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals. Staff also know the procedures for reporting and recording any concerns they may have about the provision. All staff receive updates annually or more.
Sharon Cole (Designated Lead) and Hannah Davies have received training in accordance with the recommendations of the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership every two years and refreshed annually.
The layout of the room allows for constant supervision. No child is left alone with staff or volunteers in a one to one situation without being visible to others.
At Little Lambs Pre-School, information given to staff by parents / carers is treated in confidence and is used to support and enhance the development and welfare of the child.
Parents can request to see their own child’s file at any time. Information is shared on a ‘need to know’ basis. However, any recorded concerns relating to the safety and wellbeing of the child will be kept separately in a secure file. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership.
To comply with Data Protection rules we will not divulge a child’s name if they have been involved in an incident with another child. Given the constraints of the building, confidential discussions with parents will take place out of earshot of others.
We introduced developmentally appropriate key elements of keeping children safe, which supports their personal, social and emotional development, so they can grow to be strong, resilient and listened to and so they develop an understanding of why and how to keep safe.
Support to families
We believe in building trusting and supportive relationships with families, staff and volunteers.
We make clear for parents, our role and responsibilities in relation to child protection, e.g. reporting concerns, information sharing, monitoring of the child, and liaising at all times with the local children’s social care team.
We will continue to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to alleged abuse.
We follow the Child Protection Plan as set by the child’s social worker in relation to the setting’s designated role and tasks in supporting that child and their family, subsequent to any investigation.
Support to staff
Staff receive reflective, child focused supervision each term. This offers an opportunity for staff to discuss any concerns on their key children’s welfare and development in a confidential space and at an allocated time, actions are agreed with realistic timescales.
Safeguarding is embedded within our practice during the pandemic. We continue to work in accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) guidance, whereby the children’s best interests come first and by offering a safe space for them. Lewisham services continue to support children, families and settings throughout.
We will ask parents if there have been any changes regarding the child/families welfare, health and wellbeing
We will ensure contact details and emergency numbers are accurate and up to date
As children return, we may have new safeguarding concerns and we will follow our policy and act immediately.
Children that do not physically returned will not be penalised but we will maintain regular contact with families either via Class Dojo, telephone or email.
Attendance of those with an EHCP is expected, following a Risk assessment that their needs are safely being met in the setting.
Vulnerable children changing schools – the receiving school will be made aware of the child’s needs and how to support them, ideally before they start.
Staff are aware that negative experiences and distressing life changing events such as the pandemic can affect the mental health of the children and their families. This can bring changes to the children’s behaviour and emotional state, which can be displayed in a number of ways but could also be an indicating of an underlying problem.