“The welfare of the child is paramount.” (Children Act 1989.)
This school takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of the children and young people in its care.. Our staff and governors are committed to safeguarding the students at St Luke’s Academy.
All adults working in our school maintain an attitude of 'it could happen here'. We recognise that staff, because of their contact with and knowledge of children in their care, are well placed to identify abuse or neglect and offer support to children in need.
In order to ensure the safety of all children in our care, we are required to follow the child protection procedures as agreed by the local education authority. We will endeavour to share with parents/guardians any concerns we may have regarding any injuries noted or other specific issues regarding the welfare of their child. We will keep a record of any concerns raised and will share them with the parents/guardians if it is appropriate to do so.
We do have a duty to refer to social care if we suspect a child is at risk of significant harm. If we make a referral to social care, we will inform the parents/guardians concerned; unless to do so would place the child at increased risk of significant harm. Our first concern will always be the best interests of the child.
We will also advise the designated officer of the local education authority (LADO) if there were concerns about the actions of an adult in a position of trust.
St Luke's Safeguarding Team
Becky O'Brien – Designated Safeguarding Lead
Elysia Potter – Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Designated Safeguarding Leads
The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:
- Refer cases of suspected abuse to the local authority children’s social care as required.
- Support staff who make referrals to local authority children’s social care.
- Refer cases to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern as required.
- Support staff who make referrals to the Channel programme.
- Refer cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child to the Disclosure and Barring Service as required.
- Refer cases where a crime may have been committed to the police as required.
Work with Others
The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:
- Act as a point of contact with the three safeguarding partners.
- Liaise with the headteacher or principal to inform him or her of issues- especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations.
- As required, liaise with the “case manager” (as per Part four) and the designated officer(s) at the local authority for child protection concerns in cases which concern a staff member.
- Liaise with staff (especially pastoral support staff, school nurses, IT Technicians, and SENCOs or the named person with oversight for SEN in a college) on matters of safety and safeguarding (including online and digital safety) and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies.
- Act as a source of support, advice and expertise for all staff.
The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years. The designated safeguarding lead should undertake Prevent awareness training.
In addition to the formal training set out above, their knowledge and skills should be refreshed (this might be via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding leads, or simply taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, as required, and at least annually, to allow them to understand and keep up with any developments relevant to their role. This is so they understand the assessment process for providing early help and statutory intervention, including local criteria for action and local authority children’s social care referral arrangements.
There is a copy of the Swindon Child Protection Procedures and Guidance in the school office if you wish to see it.
What do we mean by early help?
Working Together to Safeguard Children (July 2018) explains that:
“Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child's life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. Early help can also prevent further problems arising, for example, if it is provided as part of a support plan where a child has returned home to their family from care, or in families where there are emerging parental mental health issues or drug and alcohol misuse.” (Chapter 1)
Effective early help relies upon local agencies, including education, working together to:
- Identify children and families who would benefit from early help.
- Undertake an assessment of the need for early help.
- Provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family. This focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for the child.
How are children and families identified for early help?
In our school, staff are alert to the fact that early signs of abuse and/or neglect can be indicators that support is needed. In addition, the following children are more likely to require some form of early help:
- Disabled children.
- Children with special educational needs.
- Young carers.
- Children displaying signs of anti-social or criminal behaviour.
- Those experiencing in-family circumstances that present challenges, including family breakdowns.
- Children who have returned home from care.
What support is provided as part of the school's early help offer?
At St Luke’s, we provide:
- Family support.
- Breakfast club.
- Therapeutic interventions, for example, counselling or drama therapy.
- A weekly TAMHS worker.
- Referrals to external services, such as STEP and SMASH.
Educate Against Hate
As a parent, you may be worried about how extremism and radicalisation might affect your child.
Messages of hate can take many forms. Extremist groups use them to recruit young people. There is a website where you will find information to help parents, teachers, and school leaders to understand the issues and protect children in our community.
For practical advice and information on protecting children from extremism and radicalisation, please visit Educate Against Hate.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to procedures that intentionally alter, mutilate, or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is medically unnecessary and can have serious health consequences, both at the time it is carried out and in later life.
FGM is prevalent in 28 African countries and areas of the Middle and Far East, but it is increasingly practiced in the U.K. in communities with larger populations of first-generation immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
FGM is deeply embedded in some communities and is performed for cultural and social reasons. It is usually carried out on girls before they reach puberty, but in some cases it is performed on newborn infants or on women before marriage or pregnancy. It is often justified by the belief that it is beneficial for the girl or woman, but FGM is an extremely harmful practice which violates basic human rights.
The most significant risk factor for girls and young women is coming from a community where FGM is known to be practised and/or where a mother, sister, or other female family member has been subjected to FGM. Practitioners should be aware of this and provide families with advice and information which makes it clear that FGM is illegal.
Please visit the FGM resource pack for more information and guidance.
Links for Students and Parents