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Steeple Road, Antrim,
Co. Antrim, BT411AF
Child protection Policy
Agreed by Board of Governors: June 2018 To be reviewed: June 2019
We in Parkhall Integrated College have a responsibility for the Pastoral Care, general welfare and safety of the children in our care and we will carry out this duty by providing a caring, supportive and safe environment, where each child is valued for his or her unique talents and abilities, and in which all our young people can learn and develop to their full potential. All staff, teaching and non-teaching should be alert to the signs of possible abuse and should know the procedures to be followed. This Policy sets out guidance on the action, which is required where abuse or neglect of a child is suspected and outlines referral procedures within our school.
The general principles, which underpin our work, are those set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and are enshrined in the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) guidance "Safeguarding and Child Protection – A Guide for Schools” April 2017. (DENI Circular 2017/04,
The Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.
The following principles form the basis of our Child Protection Policy.
- It is a child’s right to feel safe at all times, to be heard, listened to and taken seriously.
- We have a pastoral responsibility towards the children in our care and should take all reasonable steps to ensure their welfare is safeguarded and their safety is preserved.
- In any incident the child’s welfare must be paramount, this overrides all other considerations.
- A proper balance must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights and needs of parents and families; but where there is conflict the child’s interest must always come first.
All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests of the young person as a primary consideration. Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust, and that their behaviour towards the child and young people in their charge must be above reproach.
A Code of Conduct has been drawn up for all staff (Appendix 1)
1. School Safeguarding Team
The following are members of the schools Safeguarding Team
§ Designated Senior School Teacher - Mr P Connolly
§ Deputy Designated Senior School Teacher - Mrs J Davidson-Brown
§ Designated Junior School Teacher - Mrs L McKibbin
§ Deputy Designated Junior School - Teacher Mr P Harbinson
§ Principal - Mr G Beattie
§ Designated Governor for Child Protection – Mrs S McCallion
§ Chair of the Board of Governors Mr M Alexander
2. Roles And Responsibilities
2.1 The Board of Governors
Board of Governors must ensure that:
- the school has a Child Protection Policy in place and that staff implement the policy
- relevant Child Protection training is kept up-to-date by at least one governor and a record kept of the same
- confidentiality is paramount. Information should only be passed to an entire Board of Governors on a need-to-know basis.
2.2 The Chair of the Board of Governors
The Chair of the Board of Governors must:
- Ensure that a safeguarding ethos is maintained within the school
- Ensure that the school has a Child Protection Policy in place and that staff implement the policy
- Ensure that Governors undertake appropriate child protection and recruitment & selection training provided by the EA Child Protection Support Service for Schools, the EA Governor Support and Human Resource departments.
- Ensure that a Designated Governor for Child Protection is appointed
- Assume lead responsibility for managing any complaint/allegation against the School Principal
- Ensure that the Board of Governors receive termly updates and a full written annual report in relation to child protection activity
2.3 The Designated Governor for Child Protection
The Designated Governor will provide the child protection lead in order to advise the Governors on:
- The role of the designated teachers
- The content of child protection policies
- The content of a code of conduct for adults within the school
- The content of the termly updates and full Annual Designated Teachers Report
- Recruitment, selection and vetting of staff, in line with EA Recruitment and selection Policy/Procedures
2.4 The Principal
The Principal must ensure that:-
- DENI Circular 2017/04 is implemented within the school
- That a designated teacher and deputy/deputies are appointed
- That all staff receive child protection training
- That all necessary referrals are taken forward in the appropriate manner
- That the Chairman of the Board of Governors (and, when appropriate, the Board of Governors) is kept informed
- That child protection activities feature on the agenda of the Board of Governors meetings and termly updates & annual report are provided
- That the school child protection policy is reviewed annually
- A summarised copy of the Child Protection Policy is sent to parents annually and the full policy is available for parents on request from the School Office
- That confidentiality is paramount. Information should only be passed to the entire Board of Governors on a need to know basis.
2.5 The Designated Teacher and Deputy Designated Teacher/s
The designated teacher and deputy designated teacher/s must:
- Avail of training so that they are aware of duties, responsibilities and role
- Organise training for all staff (whole school training)
- Lead in the development of the school’s Child Protection Policy
- Act as a point of contact for staff and parents
- Assist in the drafting and issuing of the summary of our Child Protection arrangements for parents
- Make referrals to Social Services Gateway team or PSNI Public Protection Unit where appropriate
- Liaise with the EA’s Designated Officers for Child Protection
- Maintain records of all child protection concerns
- Keep the School Principal informed
- Provide written annual report to the Board of Governors regarding child protection
- Communicate to the Designated Teachers in other schools/educational establishments concerns for Parkhall Integrated College pupils attending such
2.6 Other Members of School Staff
Staff in school see children over long periods and can notice physical, behavioural and emotional indicators and hear allegations of abuse.
Remember the 5 Rs: Receive, Reassure, Respond, Record and Refer
The member of staff must:
- refer concerns to the Designated/Deputy Teacher/s for Child Protection;
- listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief and support the child
- act promptly;
- make a concise written record of a child’s disclosure using the actual words of the child (Appendix 2);
- Avail of whole school training and relevant other training regarding safeguarding children;
- Not give children a guarantee of total confidentiality regarding their disclosures;
- Not investigate;
- Not ask leading questions.
In addition, the Class Teacher should:
- Maintain the school pastoral policy through constant vigilance about poor attendance and punctuality, poor presentation, changed or unusual behaviour, deterioration in educational progress, discussions with parents about concerns relating to their child. Heads of Year should liaise with the designated teacher if an overall concern is generated.
- Concerns about pupil abuse or serious bullying, concerns about home conditions including disclosures of domestic violence should be passed directly to the Designated Teacher using Appendix 2.
Parents should play their part in Child Protection by:
- telephoning the school on the morning of their child’s absence and sending in a note on the child’s return to school, so the school is reassured as to the child’s situation;
- informing the school of any parental responsibility issues or court orders;
- informing the school whenever anyone, other than themselves, intends to pick up the child during school;
- letting the school know in advance if their child is going to stay at an address other than their own home;
- familiarising themselves with the School’s Pastoral Care, Anti Bullying, Discipline, Internet and Child Protection Policies;
- reporting to the office when they visit the school
- raising concerns they have in relation to their child with the school.
2.8 Other Schools/Educational establishments
Where pupils are migrating to other schools/Educational Establishments for their studies, the Designated Teacher or delegated Deputy Designated Teacher will liaise directly with the importing school/Educational Establishment’s Designated Teacher for Child Protection to identify those pupils who are at risk or are currently on the Child Protection Register. The Child Protection Policies of other schools/Educational Establishments will be held on file during the period of time that Parkhall Integrated College pupils are in attendance, in such schools/establishments. The importing school/Educational Establishment will provide a summary document on Child Protection to Parkhall Integrated College pupils, and make clear their procedures for dealing with Child Protection Issues.
2.9 Transport to Other Schools/Educational establishments
Parkhall Integrated College will establish appropriate methods of transporting pupils between schools, this may include:
· the use of EA buses/mini buses and/or escorts if required
· EA approved taxis which are used in the "Home to School Service”. For this method of transport, it would be seen as good practice for the Taxi firm to provide a bank of Child Protection trained staff that could be deployed to transport pupils, in the absence of the regular driver. Parkhall Integrated College may ask to retain copies of identification of such drivers.
· No member of staff ever being alone with one child.
Where there is to be taxis used as a means of transport between schools, parents will be informed and appropriate permission sought. At no stage, will parents be permitted to transport pupils on the behalf of Parkhall Integrated College during the normal school day.
3. What Is Child Abuse?
The following definitions of child abuse are taken from the Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures (2005).
3.1 Definition of Abuse
Child abuse occurs when a child is neglected, harmed or not provided with proper care. Children may be abused in many settings, in a family, in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or more rarely, by a stranger. There are different types of abuse and a child may suffer more than one of them. The procedures outlined in this document are intended to safeguard children who are at risk of significant harm because of abuse or neglect by a parent, carer or other with a duty of care towards a child.
3.2 Types of Abuse
Physical Abuse is deliberately physically hurting a child. It might take a variety of different forms, including hitting, biting, pinching, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child.
Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse and it can have severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development.
Emotional abuse may involve deliberately telling a child that they are worthless, or unloved and inadequate. It may include not giving a child opportunity to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. Emotional abuse may involve bullying - including online bullying through social networks, online games or mobile phones - by a child’s peers.
Neglect is the failure to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, supervision or shelter that is likely to result in the serious impairment of a child’s health or development. Children who are neglected often also suffer from other types of abuse.
Sexual Abuse occurs when others use and exploit children sexually for their own gratification or gain or the gratification of others. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape, or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing. It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via e-technology). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Exploitation is the intentional ill-treatment, manipulation or abuse of power and control over a child or young person; to take selfish or unfair advantage of a child or young person or situation, for personal gain. It may manifest itself in many forms such as child labour, slavery, servitude, engagement in criminal activity, begging, benefit or other financial fraud or child trafficking. It extends to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation can be sexual in nature.
Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
A child may suffer or be at risk of suffering from one or more types of abuse and abuse may take place on a single occasion or may occur repeatedly over time.
When we become aware of young people below the age of consent engaging in sexual activity or, where we have concerns about a 16/17 year old in a sexual relationship the Designated Teacher has a duty to share this information with Social Services.
3.3 Signs and symptoms of abuse ~ Possible Indicators
Unexplained bruises – in various stages of healing – grip marks on arms;
slap marks; human bite marks; welts; bald spots; unexplained/untreated burns; especially cigarette burns (glove like); unexplained fractures; lacerations; or abrasions;
bruising on both sides of the ear – symmetrical bruising should be treated with suspicion; injuries occurring in a time pattern e.g. every Monday
Self destructive tendencies;
aggressive to other children;
behavioural extremes (withdrawn or aggressive);
appears frightened or cowed in presence of adults;
improbable excuses to explain injuries; chronic runaway;
uncomfortable with physical contact;
come to school early or stays last as if afraid to be at home;
clothing inappropriate to weather – to hide part of body; violent themes in art work or stories
Well below average in height and weight; "failing to thrive”;
poor hair and skin; alopecia;
swollen extremities i.e. icy cold and swollen hands and feet;
recurrent diarrhoea, wetting and soiling; sudden speech disorders;
signs of self mutilation;
signs of solvent abuse (e.g. mouth sores, smell of glue, drowsiness);
extremes of physical, mental and emotional development (e.g. anorexia, vomiting, stooping).
Apathy and dejection;
inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations;
inability to play;
indifference to separation from family
reluctance for parental liaison;
fear of new situation;
attention seeking/needing behaviour;
poor peer relationships.
Looks very thin, poorly and sad;
constant hunger; lack of energy;
untreated medical problems;
special needs of child not being met;
constant tiredness; inappropriate dress;
repeatedly unwashed; smelly;
repeated accidents, especially burns.
Tired or listless (falls asleep in class);
steals food; compulsive eating;
begging from class friends;
withdrawn; lacks concentration;
misses school medicals;
reports that no carer is at home;
persistent non-attendance at school;
exposure to violence including unsuitable videos.
Bruises, scratches, bite marks or other injuries to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs;
bruises or bleeding in genital or anal areas;
torn, stained or bloody underclothes;
chronic ailments such as recurrent abdominal pains or headaches;
difficulty in walking or sitting;
frequent urinary infections;
avoidance of lessons especially PE, games, showers;
unexplained pregnancies where the identity of the father is vague; anorexia/gross over-eating.
What the child tells you;
Withdrawn; chronic depression;
excessive sexual precociousness; seductiveness;
children having knowledge beyond their usual frame of reference e.g. young child who can describe details of adult sexuality; parent/child role reversal;
over concerned for siblings;
poor self esteem; self devaluation;
lack of confidence; peer problems;
lack of involvement;
massive weight change;
suicide attempts (especially adolescents); hysterical/angry outbursts;
lack of emotional control;
sudden school difficulties e.g. deterioration in school work or behaviour;
inappropriate sex play;
repeated attempts to run away from home; unusual or bizarre sexual themes in children’s art work or stories;
vulnerability to sexual and emotional exploitation; promiscuity;
exposure to pornographic material.
Indicators may vary depending on which form of exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation
Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phones etc. without plausible explanation.
Truanting/leaving school without permission.
Persistently going missing or returning late.
Receiving lots of texts/ phone calls prior to leaving.
Appearing distraught/dishevelled or under the influence of substances.
Physical symptoms e.g. bruising; bite marks.
Collected from school by unknown adults or taxis.
New peer groups.
Significantly older boyfriend or girlfriend.
Self harm and other expressions of despair.
Evidence or suspicion of substance abuse.
Change in mood - agitated/stressed.
Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age.
Increasing secretiveness around behaviours.
Change in personal hygiene (greater attention or less).
4. Procedures for making complaints in relation to child abuse
4.1 How a Parent can make a Complaint
At Parkhall Integrated College we aim to work closely with the parents/guardians in supporting all aspects of the child’s development and well-being. Any concerns a parent may have will be taken seriously and dealt with in a professional manner. If a parent has a concern they can talk to the class teacher or the Principal/Designated teacher for child protection. If they are still concerned they may talk to the Chair of the Board of Governors. At any time a parent may talk to a social worker in the local Gateway team or to the PSNI Public Protection Unit. Details of who to contact are shown in the flowchart.
I have a concern about my/a child’s safety
I can talk to the class/form teacher
If I am still concerned, I can talk to the designated teacher for child protection
(Mr Connolly/Mrs McKibbin) or the Principal (Mr Beattie)
If I am still concerned, I can talk/write to the
Chairman of the Board of Governors,
4.2 Where the school has concerns or has been given information about possible abuse by someone other than a member of the school staff including volunteers
Where staff become aware of concerns or are approached by a child they should not investigate – this is a matter for Social Services – but should report these concerns immediately to the designated teacher and full notes should be made. These notes or records should be factual, objective and include what was seen, said, heard or reported. They should include details of the place and time and who was present and should be given to the designated teacher. The person who reports the incident must treat the matter in confidence.
The designated teacher will decide whether in the best interest of the child the matter needs to be referred to Social Services. If there are concerns that the child may be at risk, the school is obliged to make a referral. Unless there are concerns that a parent may be the possible abuser, the parent will be informed immediately.
The designated teacher may consult with the North-Eastern Education & Library Board’s Designated Officer for Child Protection or Social Services Gateway Team before a referral is made. During consultation with the Designated Officer the child’s details will be shared. No decision to refer a case to Social Services will be made without the fullest consideration and on appropriate advice. The safety of the child is our prime priority.
Where there are concerns about possible abuse and a referral needs to be made the designated teacher will telephone Social Services Gateway Team. He/she will also notify the NEELB Designated Officer for Child Protection. A UNOCINI (Understanding the Needs of Children in Northern Ireland) referral form will also be completed and forwarded to the Gateway team with a copy sent to the NEELB Designated Officer for Child Protection.
If the Principal has concerns that a child may be at immediate risk from a volunteer, the services of the volunteer will be terminated immediately.
4.3 Where a complaint has been made about possible abuse by a member of the school’s staff
If a complaint about possible child abuse is made against a member of staff, the Principal (or Designated teacher if he/she is not available) must be informed immediately. The above procedures will apply (unless the complaint is about the Principal/Designated teacher)
If a complaint is made against the Principal, the Designated Teacher will inform the Chairperson of The Board of Governors immediately, who will ensure that necessary action is taken.
Where the matter is referred to Social Services the member of staff may be removed from duties involving direct contact with pupils (and may be suspended from duty as a precautionary measure pending investigation by the appropriate authorities). The Chairman of the Board of Governors will be informed immediately.
Child protection procedures as outlined in Appendix will be followed in keeping with current Department of Education guidance.
Guidelines for use by staff should a child disclose concerns of a child protection nature.
The following are guidelines for use by staff should a child disclose concerns of a child protection nature.
v Listen to what the child says
v Assure the child they are not at fault
v Explain to the child that you cannot keep it a secret
v Document exactly what the child says using his/her exact words
v Remember not to promise the child confidentiality
v Stay calm
v Explain what you are going to do
v Record accurately
v Seek support for yourself
v Ask leading questions.
v Put words into the child’s mouth.
v Ignore the child’s behaviour.
v Remove any clothing.
v Promise to keep secrets
v Ask leading questions
v Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily
v Start to investigate
v Do Nothing
5. Attendance at Child Protection Case Conferences and Core Group Meetings
The Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher or Year Heads may be invited to attend an initial and review Child Protection Case Conferences and/or core group meetings convened by the Health & Social Care Trust. They will provide a written report which will be compiled following consultation with relevant staff. Feedback will be given to staff under the ‘need to know ’principle on a case-by-case basis. Children whose names are on the Child Protection register will be monitored and supported in accordance with the child protection plan.
6. Confidentiality and Information Sharing
Information given to members of staff about possible child abuse cannot be held "in confidence”. In the interests of the child, staff have a responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with other professionals particularly the investigative agencies. Where abuse is suspected schools have a legal duty to refer to the Statutory Agencies. In keeping with the principle of confidentiality, the sharing of information with school staff will be on a ‘need to know’ basis.
7. Record Keeping
All child protection records, information and confidential notes are kept in separate files in a locked drawer. These records are kept separate from any other file that is held on the child or young person and are only accessible by the Designated Teacher, Deputy Designated Teacher and Principal.
Should a child transfer to another school whilst there are current child protection concerns, these concerns will be shared with the Designated Teacher in the receiving school.
In Parkhall College we use photographs for a wide variety of purposes - displays, PowerPoint presentations, fundraising events, school prospectus, magazine, newspaper articles, sporting events and special initiatives/celebrations. Parental permission for the use of photographs featuring pupils will be sought annually through the Guidelines to Pupils Booklet. Parental Permission Slips will be collated and stored centrally. Staff will be informed of exempted pupils. Current photographs will be displayed and stored at various locations throughout the school.
Storing of Photographs
Mounted photographs relating to former pupils will be stored in a central location and will be used for display purposes during special events in school e.g. Prize Distribution, Transfer Evening and School Anniversaries. Additional prints not used for display purposes should be destroyed.
Staff storing pupil photographs within computer hardware in the school must ensure that these images are downloaded and recorded onto disk for secure storage within their own Department.
Departments wishing to use video/DVD footage of pupils need to seek parental permission via the Pro forma Letter (see Appendix 4). Videos/DVDs should be stored securely by the member of staff responsible.
CCTV Cameras are in operation in our school for the purposes of staff and pupils’ personal safety and security. The footage is stored centrally and kept for 28 days.
9. Vetting Procedures
All staff paid or unpaid who are appointed to positions in the School are vetted in accordance with relevant legislation and Departmental guidance.
(a) Parents and other volunteers are from time to time assisting staff to supervise pupils in and out of school. Staff should always be present
(b) A parent seeking to volunteer should be informed of the requirement to undergo an Access NI police records check through the school. This will be sought through the EA. The individual member of staff utilising volunteer support is responsible for ensuring that this requirement is met.
10. Visitors to School
All visitors to school must sign the Visitors Book on arrival and departure. They will be given a ‘Visitor’ Badge which should be worn and returned to the General Office at the end of the visit. The member of staff who issued the invitation will accompany the visitor throughout.
11. Staff Training
Parkhall Integrated College is committed to in-service training for its entire staff. Each member of staff will receive general training on Policy and procedures with some members of staff receiving more specialist training in line with their roles and responsibilities. All staff will receive basic child protection awareness training and annual refresher training. The Principal/Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher/s, Chair of the Board of Governors and Designated Governor for Child Protection will also attend relevant child protection training courses provided by the Child Protection Support service for Schools.
When new staff or volunteers start at the school they are briefed on the school’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct and given copies of these policies.
12. The Preventative Curriculum
In the classroom, opportunities are provided as a means of encouraging children to raise social and emotional concerns in a safe environment and to build self confidence, respect and sensitivity among classmates.
Throughout the school year child protection issues are addressed through assemblies and there are permanent pastoral notice boards including Child Protection information in the main foyer of the school providing advice and displaying child helpline numbers. Child Protection information is also displayed in every classroom.
Other initiatives which address child protection and safety issues:
Ø E safety/Internet safety is built into the ICT curriculum
Ø PSNI link officer visits annually to deliver workshops on internet safety and cyber bullying
Ø Family Works counselling provide a counselling service in school
Ø Where opportunities arise for outside agencies to work with Parkhall Integrated College to further enrich the pupil experiences, these will be encouraged
The school has a duty to ensure that safeguarding permeates all activities and functions. This policy therefore complements and supports a range of other school policies including:
· Pastoral Care
· Use of Reasonable Force
· Acceptable Internet Use
These policies are available to parents and any parent requiring a copy should contact the School Office.