Our Safeguarding designated Officers are:
- Stella Ioakim (Lead DSL)
- Richard Hudson
- Clare Bowkley
- Maria Alexandrou
- Sophie Charles
- Jennie Organ
- Penny Deller (Governor)
It is a sad reality that some children are abused by members of their family or by trusted adults physically, emotionally, sexually or through neglect.
All schools have a legal duty to look for signs of abuse and report suspected cases to Social Services, who will then carry out any necessary investigation. At Merryhills we take this matter very seriously, using the local authority’s guidelines in carrying out our duty of care to our children.
Schools are also required by law to provide relevant information on children to Social Services as part of any investigation and to share that information at multi-agency child protection meetings, to which parents are usually invited.
While we always aim to work in partnership with parents in relation to children’s welfare, the safety and protection of the children are always paramount.
What do I do if I have a concern?
How do I report a concern?
You can approach any member of the Child Protection Team and mention that you are concerned for the safety of a child. If you don’t feel able to approach the Child Protection Team directly, then please speak with any member of staff – they will know how to follow up on your concern. You are also able to email any concern directly to email@example.com - members of the designated safeguarding team have direct access to this account and will follow up on all concerns in line with our safeguarding policy.What does the child protection team do with my concern?
It is hard to say exactly what will happen because it depends on what has been reported and whether or not similar concerns have been expressed. Sometimes concerns can be cleared up by talking with the child or the parents. Sometimes children will be actively monitored for further concerns. More serious concerns may be passed on to Social Care or even the police.
How will I know that my concern has been followed up?
Although the team will not be able to discuss details with you (due to confidentiality), they will be happy to let you know that it is being dealt with.
Key Areas of Safeguarding Responsibilities:
Safeguarding encompasses the following:
- Staff recruitment, vetting, appointment and training
- Volunteers, trainees and visitors to the school
- All aspects of child protection
- Site security and safety, including fire procedures
- Risk assessment of all activities, trips and residential journeys
- E-safety teaching, learning and procedures
- Medical and first aid procedures
- Behaviour, bullying and restraint
- Equalities and discrimination
- Radicalisation and Extremism
- Female Genital Mutilation to protect children and women
All staff receive in-house training with regard to child protection prior to beginning work with children.
The Designated Lead keeps a record of when staff have been trained, so to ensure this is updated every three years. The Designated Lead and Deputy receive central training at least every two years.
There is regular training and updates on all other aspects of safeguarding – for example, several members of support staff receive annual training in emergency first aid and the IT technician provides E-safety updates. A log of training is kept by the school.
Child Protection – the school has a separate, detailed and up-to-date CP policy – this is read and a declaration signed by all staff as part of the in-house child protection training. Merryhills follow the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education' Document.
Prevent Training - All Staff at Merryhills have received Prevent Training and the Senior Leadership Team and Administration Team received the Wrap 3 training. All staff have been made aware of the processes and procedures in place for concerns and referrals. Please see our Policy.
Risk Assessments – the Office Manager maintains a risk assessment file for all school activities and trips, as well as for aspects of the site, and unexpected events such as a strike day or inclement weather plan.
E-safety – the school has separate E-safety guidelines for staff and children and also provides advice and support to parents. This is a constantly changing area and needs regular review. Updates on emerging issues are provided to staff by the IT technician – e.g. sexting is a recent issue emerging on the national news, so staff need to be made aware. E-safety teaching is incorporated regularly into IT and computing lessons.
Allegations Against Staff
Any allegations made are referred to the LADO for advice and relevant procedures followed. Should a member of staff leave or be dismissed as a result of safeguarding concerns the school has a legal duty to make a referral to the DBS and failure to do so would be a criminal offence. This referral would be made by the HT or in the case of an allegation against the HT, by the Governing Body.
The school has adopted the LA Whistle Blowing policy and all staff have a duty to ensure any safeguarding issues concerning staff are brought to the Headteacher’s immediate attention.
Volunteers and Visitors
All volunteers and visitors sign in and read the school information mini-guide on Health and Safety. Volunteers/visitors may not be left unsupervised with any children at any time. Regular volunteers to the school are asked to complete a DBS check.
Behaviour and Bullying
All staff are expected to act as exemplary role models and ensure they create an environment with clear behaviour expectations which create security for the children. Children should feel safe and nurtured and be able to confide in adults in school if they are worried.
The school has a clear Behaviour and a Safe to Learn Policy which staff are familiar with and apply. We encourage all pupils to ensure they inform a trusted adult if they feel unsafe or bullied in any way. All staff are made aware of the importance of listening to children’s concerns. We take a zero-tolerance approach to bullying.
If a parent has any concerns about bullying, it is taken seriously and a full investigation takes place. If unfounded, then a 4-week follow-up phone call will be made to check on the situation. If there are any findings we will work in partnership with both sets of parents and support both children
Equalities and Discrimination
All staff need to have a clear commitment to equality and adhere to our Equalities Policy. All children and staff should be treated with care and respect and the school’s Values Education reinforces our commitment to equality and includes the values of tolerance, respect and kindness (see appendix).
For our children:
- They are explicitly taught that any form of discrimination on grounds of race, religion, sexuality or disability is wrong and there is a zero-tolerance approach.
- A log of discriminatory incidents is maintained by the DHT.
The school is aware of the “Trojan Horse” issue in Birmingham schools and is vigilant with regard to ensuring children and staff are protected from any form of extremism or indoctrination.
Teaching and Learning Around Safety
The school teaches pupils to keep themselves safe and take responsibility for their own safety and well-being. Here are some examples from across our curriculum:
- Our PHSE learning includes sex and relationships education and drugs education in Y5 and 6, learning about healthy diets, exercise in all year groups, learning about road and rail safety, stranger danger and how to deal with bullying.
- Our Values Education Programme ensures pupils also learn about good character development and respect for diversity and for each other.
- E-safety forms an essential part of IT lessons and P4C discussions ensure pupils understand the British values of democracy etc.
- P.E. lessons teach pupils about the safe use of apparatus, warming up and exercising safely.
- Food technology lessons also cover elements of food hygiene and safe use of utensils.
The school reviews its teaching on keeping safe regularly and aims to incorporate any new essential elements as they become relevant or are highlighted from current affairs.
Staff with Key Responsibilities:
The Inclusion Manager, Stella Ioakim (lead DSL), Headteacher, Richard Hudson, Deputy Headteachers, Clare Bowkley and Maria Alexandrou, Assistant Headteachers, Sophie Charles and Jennie Organ and Chair of Governors, Penny Deller are designated Child Protection and Safeguarding Officers.
The Site Manager, Geoff Udall and the Office Manager are responsible for all aspects of site health and safety, medical and first aid procedures, e-safety and risk assessments. Please see our Health and Safety policy for a comprehensive understanding of all procedures here.
Richard Hudson and Sophie Charles are the school’s Educational Visits Coordinators.
The ICT Leader Clare Bowkley is responsible for advising on and providing updates on E-safety. If you need further guidance or support please ask, particularly for game usage and parental restrictions.
The school has a health and safety committee that meets termly and reports back to the Board of Governors.