At Olney Middle School, safeguarding and child protection are paramount and we are fully committed to ensuring the welfare and safety of all our children.
We believe that students have a right to learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment which includes the right to protection from all types of abuse; where staff are vigilant for signs of any student in distress and are confident about applying the processes to avert and alleviate any such problems.
Our key aims are to ensure;
- All our pupils are safe and protected from harm.
- Other elements of provision and policies are in place to enable pupils to feel safe and adopt safe practices;
- Staff, pupils, governors, visitors, volunteers and parents are aware of the expected behaviours’ and the school’s legal responsibilities in relation to the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all of our pupils.
We believe that Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and as such our school aims to create the safest environment within which every pupil has the opportunity to strive and reach their potential. We recognise the importance of us ensuring our pupils know how to seek support, feel that they will be listened to and appropriate action taken. We will do this by endeavouring to work in partnership with other agencies and seek to establish effective working relationships with parents, carers and other colleagues to develop and provide activities and opportunities throughout our curriculum that will help to equip our children with the skills they need. This will include materials and learning experiences that will encourage our children to develop essential life skills and protective behaviours.
At Olney Middle School, we follow and adhere to the Milton Keynes Local Safeguarding Children Board procedures and a direct link to their website is available at this link: www.mkscb.org
Any concerns or support sought will be via the Children and Families Practices at the Children and Families Referral Hub, who strive to offer families with the support they require. They will work with us in an integrated way to improve outcomes for our children and their families.
Safeguarding is about ensuring that everyone is safe from harm – safe from bullying, safe from people who could abuse, safe from discrimination or harassment – and that we all feel safe in our environment.
If you have any concerns with regards to your or another child talking helps. The Designated Safeguarding Staff at Olney Middle are as follows:-
- Adam Palmer (Assistant Head and Safeguarding Lead)
- Laura Circuitt(SENCo and Safeguarding Team)
- Linda McCabe Smith (Safeguarding Team)
- Heather Lamble (Safeguarding Trainer )
They will then work together with other people to address the problems and ensure everyone is safe. Please note the information will remain confidential but if there are concerns in relation to the safety of the child, we will have to refer it to the Children and Families Referral Hub.
Responsibilities & Expectations – The Central Role of The Governing Body
Olney Middle School has a Governing body whose legal responsibility it is to make sure that the school has an effective safeguarding policy and procedures in place and monitors that the school complies with them. The Governing body should also ensure that the policy is made available to parents and carers if requested. It is also the responsibility of the Governing body to ensure that all staff and volunteers are properly checked out to make sure they are safe to work with the pupils who attend our school and that the school has procedures for handling allegations of abuse made against members of staff (including the Head Teacher) or volunteers.
Our designated safeguarding governor is Hannah King.
It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Adam Palmer, under the direction of Glenn Young and the governing body, to ensure that all safeguarding issues raised in school are effectively responded to, recorded and referred to the appropriate agency. They are also responsible for arranging whole school safeguarding training for all staff and volunteers who work with children and young people in our school. The DSL has a role in ensuring that the whole school safeguarding training takes place at least every three years.
The DSL is required to attend or ensure that a senior member of staff who has the relevant training and access to appropriate supervision, attends where appropriate, all conferences, core groups or meetings where it concerns a child at our school and to contribute to multi-agency discussions to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.
The DSL will complete the MKSCB audit and Safeguarding Self-Evaluation. These will then be used to inform our Safeguarding Action Plan and the cycle continues. These documents will be shared with the MKSCB who monitor the provision for safeguarding across Milton Keynes and who have an auditing role in ensuring the school is meeting its Safeguarding requirements under sec 175/157 of the Education Act 2002 for both maintained and independent schools, including academies. The DSL is also required to provide an annual safeguarding governors report and with the headteacher, to ensure the governors remain fully informed with regards to safeguarding within the school.
Information for children
Staying Safe Online
- Keep your privacy settings as high as possible – ask an adult if you are unsure!
- Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself – once you’ve put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
- Never give anyone your passwords.
- Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
- Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
- Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer if anyone asks you to meet them.
- Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are – think carefully about what you say before you post something online.
- Think carefully about what you say before you post something online.
- Don’t be rude – respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree.
- If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell a trusted adult immediately: leave the website!
Information for parents
The internet is amazing! Children can play, learn, create and connect – opening up a whole world of exciting possibilities. But how do you keep track of what they’re doing and make sure they’re staying safe?
Here are 4 key tips
- talk to your child about staying safe online
- manage the software and tools your family use
- explore the online world together
- agree on rules about what’s OK and what’s not
Some useful websites for parents about online safety.
Do you know
¨ What apps your children are using?
¨ What your children are doing online?
¨ If they having any social media problems?
¨ How can you keep safe online?
Recognising Concerns, Signs & Indicators of Abuse
Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. For our school it includes such things as pupil safety, bullying, racist abuse and harassment, educational visits, intimate care, children missing education and internet safety etc. The witnessing of abuse can also have a damaging affect on those who are party to it, as well as the child subjected to the actual abuse, and in itself will have a significant impact on the health and emotional well-being of the child. Abuse can take place in any family, institution or community setting, by telephone or on the internet. Abuse can often be difficult to recognizs as children may behave differently or seem unhappy for many reasons, as they move through the stages of childhood or their family circumstances change. However, it is important to know the indicators of abuse and to be alert to the need to consult further.
This can involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, punching, kicking, scalding, burning, drowning and suffocating. It can also result when a parent or carer deliberately causes the ill health of a child in order to seek attention through fabricated or induced illness. This was previously known as Munchhausen’s Syndrome by Proxy.
Emotional Abuse is where a child’s need for love, security, recognition and praise is not met. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of someone else such as in Domestic Violence or Domestic Abuse. A parent, carer or authority figure is considered emotionally abusive when they are consistently hostile, rejecting, threatening or undermining toward a child or other family member. It can also occur when children are prevented from having social contact with others or if inappropriate expectations are placed upon them. Symptoms that indicate emotional abuse include:
- Excessively clingy or attention seeking.
- Very low self-esteem or excessive self-criticism.
- Withdrawn behavior or fearfulness.
- Lack of appropriate boundaries with strangers; too eager to please.
- Eating disorders or self-harm
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. This may include physical contact both penetrative and non-penetrative, or viewing pornographic material including through the use of the internet. Indicators of sexual abuse include: allegations or disclosures, genital soreness, injuries or disclosure, sexually transmitted diseases, inappropriate sexualized behavior including words, play or drawing.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs that can significantly harm their health and development. Neglect can include inadequate supervision (being left alone for long periods of time), lack of stimulation, social contact or education, lack of appropriate food, shelter, appropriate clothing for conditions and medical attention and treatment when necessary.
The following Safeguarding issues are all considered to be Child Protection issues and should be referred immediately to the most relevant agency. The issues featured below are linked to guidance and local procedures which can be found on the Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children Board website at: www.mkscb.org
Some members of our communities hold beliefs that may be common within particular cultures but which are against the law of England. Milton Keynes does not condone practices that are illegal and which are harmful to children. Examples of particular practices are:
Milton Keynes does not support the idea of forcing someone to marry without their consent.
In England, a young person cannot legally marry until they are 16 years old (without the consent of their parents or carers) nor have sexual relationships.
Genital Mutilation / Female Circumcision
This is against the law yet for some communities it is considered a religious act and cultural requirement. It is illegal for someone to arrange for a child to go abroad with the intention of having her circumcised. If any of the above areas of concern is brought to our attention, we will report those concerns to the appropriate agency in order to prevent this form of abuse taking place.
Some faiths believe that spirits and demons can possess people (including children). What should never be considered is the use of any physical or psychological violence to get rid of the possessing spirit. This is abusive and will result in the criminal conviction of those using this form of abuse even if the intention is to help the child.
Children Missing Education
“Basic to safeguarding children is to ensure their attendance at school.” (OFSTED 2002). Children are best protected by regularly attending school where they will be safe from harm and where there are professionals to monitor their well-being. At OMS, we will encourage the full attendance of all of our children at school. Where we have concerns that a child is missing education because of suspected abuse, we will liaise with the appropriate agency including the Education Attendance Service to effectively manage the risks and to prevent abuse from taking place.
Sexually Active under Eighteen years old
It is acknowledged by those working with young people that most young people under the age of 18 will have an interest in sex and sexual relationships. The Protocol for Sexually Active Young People under 18 years old has been designed to assist those working with children and young people to identify where these relationships may be abusive, and the children and young people may need the provision of protection or additional services. At OMS we will ensure our policy for managing this issue links to the available protocol.
Safeguarding Disabled Children
Disabled children have exactly the same human rights to be safe from abuse and neglect, to be protected from harm and achieve the Every Child Matters outcomes as non-disabled children.
Disabled children do however require additional action. This is because they experience greater risks and ‘created vulnerability’ as a result of negative attitudes about disabled children and unequal access to services and resources, and because they may have additional needs relating to physical, sensory, cognitive and/ or communication impairment (Safeguarding Children, DCSF, July 2009) OMS will ensure that our disabled children are listen too and responded to appropriately where they have concerns regarding abuse. In order to do this we will ensure that our staff and volunteers receive the relevant training to raise awareness and have access to specialist staff in the event they have concerns regarding abuse of a child.
Safer Recruitment & Selection
It is a requirement for all agencies to ensure that all staff recruited to work with children and young people are properly selected and checked. At OMS, we will ensure that we have a member on every recruitment panel who has received the appropriate recruitment and selection training. That all of our staff are appropriately qualified and have the relevant employment history and checks to ensure they are safe to work with children in compliance with the Key Safeguarding Employment Standards.
Honour Based Violence
Honour based violence’ is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community’. It is important to be alert to signs of distress and indications such as self-harm, absence from school and truancy, infections resulting from female genital mutilation, isolation from peers, being monitored by family, not participating in school activities, unreasonable restrictions at home. Where it is suspected that a child/young person is at risk form Honour based violence. OMS will report those concerns to the appropriate agency in order to prevent this form of abuse taking place.
Child trafficking involves moving children across or within national or international borders for the purposes of exploitation. Exploitation includes children being used for sex work, domestic work, restaurant/ sweatshop, drug dealing, shoplifting and benefit fraud. Where OMS is made aware of a child is suspected of or actually being trafficked/exploited, we will report our concerns to the appropriate agency.
The Government defines domestic abuse as “Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality”.
Staff need to understand what is required of them if children are members of the household where domestic abuse is known or suspected to be taking place. Our policy includes action to be taken regarding referrals to the Police and Children and Young People’s Services and any action to be taken where a member of staff is the alleged perpetrator or victim of domestic abuse. At OMS, we will follow our safeguarding policy and report any suspected concerns regarding Domestic Abuse to the relevant agency.
Private fostering is an arrangement made between the parent and the private foster carer, who then becomes responsible for caring for the child in such a way as to safeguard and promote his/her welfare.
A privately fostered child means a child under the age of 16 (18 if a disabled child) who is cared for and provided with accommodation by someone other than:
- A parent.
- A person who is not a parent but has parental responsibility.
- A close relative.
- A Local Authority.
for more than 28 days and where the care is intended to continue. It is a statutory duty for us at OMS to inform the Local Authority where we are made aware of a child or young person who may be subject to private fostering arrangements.
Child Exploitation & Online Safety
Children and young people can be exploited and suffer bullying through their use of modern technology such as the internet, mobile phones and social networking sites. In order to minimize the risks to our children and young people, OMS will ensure that we have in place appropriate measures such as security filtering, and an acceptable use policy linked to our Online Safety policy. We will ensure that staff are aware of how not to compromise their position of trust in or outside of the school and are aware of the dangers associated with social networking sites.
Our Online Safety policy will clearly state that mobile phone or electronic communications with a student at our school is not acceptable other than for approved school business e.g. coursework, mentoring. Where it is suspected that a child is at risk from internet abuse or cyber bullying we will report our concerns to the appropriate agency.
The above list is not exhaustive and as new policy guidance and legislation develops within the remit of Safeguarding we will review and update our policies and procedures as appropriate and in line with the Local Safeguarding Children Board and Local Authority.
Please refer to the Policies page of this website for our current policies in relation to Safeguarding and Child Protection.
Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children Board
Keeping Children Safe is Everybody’s Business; MKSCB works with partner agencies in Milton Keynes to protect children and young people from harm. The MKSCB agrees how local services and professionals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
If you are worried about a child or Young Person in Milton Keynes please contact our Multi-Agency Referral Hub (MASH) on 01908 253169/253170 for advice or to make a referral, 9am – 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am – 4.30pm Friday. Our out of hours Emergency Social work team can be contacted on 01908 265545.
Contacts and Support
MASH 01908 253169 or 253170
Please click the links below to view some of the support materials available:
NSPCC – Staying safe online
NSPCC – Preventing abuse, keeping children safe and share aware