At Acorns Nursery School we are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and expect all staff to share the commitment through:
- SAFE RECRUITMENT
- RAISING AWARENESS OF CHILD PROTECTION ISSUES AND EQUIPPING CHILDREN WITH SKILLS NEEDED TO KEEP THEMSELVES SAFE
- IMPLEMENTING PROCEDURES FOR IDENTIFYING AND REPORTING CASES OR SUSPECTED CASES OF ABUSE
- SUPPORTING CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN ABUSED
- ESTABLISHING A SAFE, NURTURING ENVIRONMENT
The designated persons for Safeguarding at nursery are Emma Deacon and Jenny Whitfield.
The Acorns Nursery School operates a Safer Recruitment Policy. We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and DBS checks for suitability of staff. New staff will be required to prove their identity, have evidence of their qualifications, give full details of all previous employment, explain (with proof) any gaps in their employment record, be interviewed by an interview panel and references will be rigorously followed up. They will also be DBS checked. All existing staff are regularly reviewed, DBS and health checked.
We record information about staff qualifications, identity checks and vetting processes that have been completed including:
The DBS reference number
The date disclosure was obtained
The Acorns Nursery School recognises the unique status of children, and seeks to ensure that they are respectfully treated as individuals. All staff accepts that the welfare of the child is paramount at all times. The highest standards towards children will be maintained in all circumstances. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
Where staff are concerned about the health and well-being of a family/parents/carers/children, we will undertake to initiate Early Help to support the family if there are difficult issues/problems being faced.
We have a procedure for recording the details of visitors to the setting. Visitors must sign in and out and are never left alone with the nursery children.
All members of staff have attended a Safeguarding Children course (and new staff are recommended to attend the Universal safeguarding course within 12 weeks of the commencement of their employment) and are aware of the local authority procedures. All existing staff will be under taking refresher courses regularly to ensure that their safeguarding knowledge is kept up to date.
Staff complete training which enables them to recognise signs of potential abuse and neglect (sexual, physical, emotional and neglect). Staff undertake a face-to-face safeguarding training every 3 years in accordance with regulations and undergo an online course each year.
It is the duty of all staff to prevent abuse and unsafe situations occurring. All staff are also required to report any abuse disclosed, discovered or suspected to Mrs Deacon who is the designated Child Protection/ Safeguarding Children officer or Mrs Whitfield, her safeguarding deputy. The designated Safeguarding Officer received training in accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) The designated officer must ensure that all staff know the procedures for reporting and recording any concerns of abuse/neglect. The designated officer attends a refresher course every two years and is also responsible for liaising, and information sharing, with the LSCB and other agencies. They also support and guide staff when needed. They can also contact Ofsted or the Local Authority Designated Officer.
The local Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub telephone number is: 01635 503190 (Office hours only)
The out of hours contact information for the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub is: 01344 786543 (Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team)
The contact details for Love Your Community’s Safeguarding Officer is Gareth Owen whose mobile telephone number is: 07834 288436.
The Acorns Nursery School will collaborate fully with the statutory and voluntary authorities concerned with investigating abuse. It is important to note that it is the responsibility of the local children’s services or the police (not Acorns) to investigate the truth of any allegation of abuse. Ofsted will be informed.
Collection of children
Every parent is asked to provide a password for their child in case an adult who is not known to nursery has to pick up their child. The parent must also inform nursery that a different adult will be collecting their child on that occasion. The collecting adult must then give the password to the member of staff in charge. Failure to do so will mean that the child’s parent or guardian must be contacted before the child is released.
- People not known by staff should be challenged by the staff member in charge.
- No child will be released into the care of an adult who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If a child is not collected within 15 minutes of the end of nursery, the parents are to be contacted or the person listed as responsible on the registration document. Inability to contact anybody within 2 hours will necessitate contacting social services. During this time, two members of staff will stay with the child and continue to attempt to reach the parent/emergency contact person.
There is no place for extremist views of any kind in our Nursery, whether from internal sources – pupils, staff, visiting adults, directors etc. or external sources – nursery community, external agencies or individuals. Any prejudice, discrimination or extremist views, including derogatory language, displayed by pupils, staff, visitors or parents will always be challenged and, where appropriate, dealt with. Where misconduct by a member of staff is proven, the matter will be referred to the directors of Love Your Community for their consideration. At Acorns we encourage pupils to respect the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We ensure that partisan political views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject in the nursery and where political issues are brought to the attention of the pupils; reasonably practicable steps are taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to pupils.
Any concerns staff raise regarding the Prevent agenda will be reported via the normal safeguarding procedures. The Department for Education has dedicated a telephone helpline (020 7340 7264) to enable staff and directors to raise concerns relating to extremism directly.
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
Staff at Acorns Nursery School have had relevant training concerning the illegal practice of FGM. Where any evidence is found regarding this, the matter will be referred to the Police straight away as this is a criminal offence. FGM is also a safeguarding issue, all staff must remain vigilant regarding the possibility of children being affected. Staff are aware that they need to look out for physical effects of FGM as well as the possibility of a child, or older sibling being taken abroad/receiving visitors from abroad who might be involved in this practice.
Information about children, whether gained within nursery or from parents/carers/professionals will be treated as highly confidential by all staff.
Whenever there is a need for a child to be changed owing to toilet issues or being wet/muddy, the member of staff changing the child’s clothing/nappy will alert another member of staff to witness their actions. This is recorded in the nappy/clothes changing record for the child together with the witness signature and the parent will also countersign the form.
Under Section 39 (Suitable People) of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, we have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. To ensure the suitability in terms of health of people who work in this setting, in any capacity, we ask staff to complete a termly health and suitability declaration. This includes confirmation that the individual has not received any police convictions in the past or recently and neither have they lived with anyone now in the past who has any allegations of serious harm, or abuse or has been disqualified from working with children. It confirms that staff’s own children haven’t been removed from their care by Social Services.
Staff are able to find further information and guidance on safeguarding via the desktop file on the office laptop where they will also find copies of the two key documents.
“Working together to safeguard children” HMG September 2019
“What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” HMG March 2013
Keeping children safe in Education HMG 2018
The key folder for reference to the telephone number etc is in the pink folder which is kept in the office. Ofsted’s phone number is on the display board in the Nursery cloakroom and the LSCB phone number is 01635 503090
The local Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub telephone number is: 01635 503190 (Office hours only)
The out of hours contact information for the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub is: 01344 786543 (Out of hours Emergency Duty Team)
The contact details for Love Your community’s Safeguarding Officer is Gareth Owen whose mobile telephone number is: 07834288436
Under Section 39(Suitable People of the Statutory Framework for the Early Year Foundation Stage), we have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. To ensure the suitability in terms of health of staff they are asked to complete a declaration every term to confirm that their health and suitability to work with children remains the same. This includes confirmation that the individual has not received any policy convictions in the past or recently and neither have they lived with anyone now, or in the past, who has been the subject of any allegations of serious harm, or abuse or has been disqualified from working with children. It confirms that staff’s own children haven’t been removed from their care by the Social Services. Any declaration made MUST BE FOLLOWED UP BY THE NURSERY UNDER THE WAIVER OF DISQUALIFICATION BY OFSTED. This process enables staff who may declare any convictions, allegations, or association with any person with allegations of serious harm or abuse or disqualification from working with children to continue to work at nursery ONLY ONCE THE WAIVER HAS BEEN APPLIED BY OFSTED. Acorns Safeguarding Officer is responsible for requesting a waiver from Ofsted on behalf of the member of staff concerned.
All staff will read the document “Keeping children safe in Education” on an annual basis.
USE OF MOBILE PHONES, CAMERAS, IWATCHES AND NETWORKING
- The use of mobile phones in nursery is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. No parent is allowed to take any photos of the nursery premises or the nursery children whilst they are on the premises.
- Cameras are used to photograph the children at play and to record significant steps in each child’s development. Photographs are ONLY taken with the parent/guardian’s signed permission and are printed to use in the child’s ‘Look What I Can Do’ folder, also published on the nursery website or Facebook page only after permission has been obtained. The cameras are used exclusively for nursery purposes and are kept at nursery unless taken out for nursery visits or walks. Although any member of staff (or child) can take photographs of the children at play or their achievements, the supervisor or deputy upload the photographs which are printed but NEVER emailed or used for any purpose other than the child’s records.
- N.B. There may be rare occasions when a child’s photo is used for training (e.g. ECAT or as an example to follow up a training session) or for advertising purposes. If this is the case, direct permission will be sought from a parent or guardian. The photos may be posted on Facebook with the parents permission.
- All members of staff are required to obey the confidentiality rule when networking with friends and NO information whatsoever about nursery, any of the children or member of staff is permitted to be shared through this or any other facility e.g. Facebook, twitter, email, etc.
GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES
It is essential that any child abuse issues are not trivialised or exaggerated and that the proper steps are followed.
Staff must not be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance. Staff to check any medication does not interfere with any duties, or affect their ability to work with children.
Words and actions may be open to misinterpretation, and therefore great care is taken to avoid situations in which actions could be misunderstood.
Nursery staff are responsible for ensuring that abusive peer activities (such as bullying etc) do not occur. Steps are regularly taken to ensure that the nursery site is safe for the children and staff. Any concerns that you may have should be reported to Mrs Deacon or Mrs Whitfield with immediate effect. Any visitor to the Acorns Nursery School will be made to show identification at the door prior to entry and will NEVER be left alone with the children. A record of the visit will be entered in the diary and all staff will be made aware of any visitor on the premises.
Physical contact with the children complies with good practice and a record of physical intervention will be kept and parents will be notified.
Staff will follow procedures when changing any child’s clothing or nappy.
DEALING WITH AN ALLEGATION
For all staff, the most important consideration is to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children. Any allegation of abuse will be taken seriously. The Acorns Nursery School has a duty and legal obligation to report all allegations of abuse to the relevant statutory and voluntary authorities. Allegations may come directly from a child, or from a member of staff, or from a parent or carer. Allegations may refer to a family member or someone outside the family as well as referring to a member of staff.
- Abuse falls into four broad categories which can be defined as follows:
- Physical injury Any injury to a child caused by a parent or family member, or another person who is responsible for their care or in “loco parentis”.
- Neglect Failure to meet a child’s basic needs for food, warmth, protection and care.
- Emotional The persistent, severe, emotional ill-treatment or rejection that severely affects the emotional and/or behavioural development of a child.
- Sexual The use of a child to meet an adult’s sexual needs.
If a child begins to tell us about abuse, we follow the guidance below:
- Do NOT promise not to tell anyone, or say you’ll keep it secret.
- Listen carefully but do not ask questions (a trained professional will do this in due course)
- Reassure the child that by disclosing the abuse, they have done the right thing.
- Report the child’s disclosure to the Supervisor/Authority immediately
- As soon as possible, write down what you were told by the child, using their own words to describe the abuse, and pass this report to the Supervisor giving the date, time, and location when the child spoke to you.
If there are any concerns that a child may have been abused, please speak to Mrs Deacon or Mrs Whitfield who will take up the matter with the Local Statutory and Voluntary Authorities (LSCB) which are responsible for investigating allegations. It is important to remember that what has been disclosed is confidential and will only be shared with others on a need-to-know basis. After telling of abuse, a child can be distressed, and concerned about what will happen next. They will be reassured that they have done the right thing and someone will stay with them. It is important that the best interests of the child and the need for this abuse to stop comes before the interests of the abuser or anyone else. All information given should be recorded as soon as possible and be kept separate from the child’s records but should be place in a Safeguarding file kept in the office.
Allegations of abuse against a member of staff (whistle blowing):
Any allegation of abuse made against a member of staff or a volunteer should also be referred to Mrs. Deacon / Mrs. Whitfield or directly to Gareth Owen who is the Safeguarding Officer for Love Your Community or could report it to LADO (Local Authority Designated Officers) or Ofsted (in case of allegations against managers). If an allegation of abuse or poor practice is made against a member of staff, the officer in charge/ owner will consider the nature of the allegation before making a decision on action to be taken.
Staff are aware that options available to the registered provider may range from:
A training need identified and implemented as soon as possible.
A verbal warning
A written warning
Suspension (to dismissal in situations of gross misconduct, following an investigation)
If a member of staff is suspended, the employer should continue paying a full salary to the member of staff whilst a full investigation takes place.
Where the Acorns Nursery School becomes aware of relevant information which may lead to disqualification of an employee, appropriate action will be taken to ensure the safety of the children. Ofsted will be informed and that person will cease to be employed unless Ofsted consider a waiver of the disqualification.
Any grievance should be reported to the officer in charge, or his, or her deputy. On the 1st October 2004 a new 3 step process for resolving disputes in the workplace came into effect.
- Reasons for disciplinary action put in writing. Similarly employees must put reasons for a grievance in writing to the officer in charge.
- A face-to-face meeting will take place between the officer in charge and the employee (both must be given time to consider the facts of the other’s complaint prior to the meeting) Employee will be informed of the officer in charge’s decision under their right to appeal.
- An appeal meeting – this may happen after sanctions have already been imposed. The employee will be informed of the outcome of the appeal. If necessary contact Ofsted to report grievance (see chart in Nursery cloakroom)
It is nursery policy that no member of staff is allowed to babysit any nursery child on behalf of its parents outside of nursery.
Children Missing in Education Policy
Children missing in education statement
This policy has been adopted as guidance for knowing about, and understanding, children missing in education even though Nursery education is non-statutory education.
At Acorns Nursery School, we monitor absences and record information regarding children’s attendance. If children are absent and we receive no notification from the parents about the absence we will phone/email to check on the welfare of the child. If the absence is prolonged we may undertake a home visit to establish the welfare of the child. When children move settings a forward address of the new setting is requested as well as the home address, Acorns will contact the new setting to ensure transfer has been completed. Acorns will offer the new setting any records held relevant to the child.
All nursery school leavers have documents which are transferred to their new school. This ensures that each child has been registered at a school. When children are ‘missing’ advice is sought from the Children’s Centre and/or Starting Point and/or health visitors in the relevant locality.
We are also vigilant surrounding family members or children from the local community that we know of that this policy might apply to and follow the guidelines below if needed.
Edited: Sept 2021 Review date: Sept 2022