Safeguarding and Student Welfare

Safeguarding Policy

At Wilkes Safeguarding is everyone’s business…

  1. Overview
    This policy has been authorised by the Principals and is addressed to all members of the Wilkes Academy community (staff, visitors, parents, guardians’ volunteers and students). It applies wherever members of the Wilkes community are working with students, even when this is away from the College’s premises, for example on an educational visit.

Wilkes recognises that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of students is defined as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • taking action to enable all children to achieve the best outcomes.

Wilkes is a small community with approximately 200 students, ranging from the ages of 16-25. 

Wilkes prides itself on providing excellent safeguarding support that can have a significant positive impact on student performance.

Wilkes is committed to the promotion and development of equality and diversity. We believe that all students, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, ethnicity, race, language, religion, beliefs, caste, disability or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection: to feel safe, secure, valued and respected, and feel confident, and know how to approach adults if they have any concerns. 

2.Important Contacts

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Mr Dean Parsons
Email: dean@wilkesacademy.co.uk

Phone: 01793 313996

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

Miss Jo Scanlan

Email: jo@wilkesacademy.co.uk

Related policies
This information relates closely with a number of other important academy policies, available on request which include the following:

  • Acceptable Use of ICT Policy and Agreement
  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Communication and Complaint Policy
  • Data Protection Policy
  • E-Safety Policy
  • Equal Opportunities Policy
  • Risk Assessment for Educational Visits Policy
  • Safer Recruitment and Selection of Staff
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Policy
  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy
  • Whistleblowing Policy

Guidance

This policy has been developed having regard to a number of different guidance documents and legislation, with particular focus on the following Department for Education (DFE) guidance: Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) – 2020

DfE summary of changes that update on KCSIE 2020: “We have made changes in three circumstances. Firstly, where legislation has required it, e.g. reflecting mandatory Relationship Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education from September 2020.

Secondly, where we have helpful additional information that will support schools and colleges protect their children e.g. mental health, domestic abuse, child criminal and sexual exploitation and county lines. Finally, important clarifications which will help the sector better understand and/or follow our guidance.”

KCSIE also refers to the non-statutory advice for practitioners:

  • What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children
    This also refers to the non-statutory advice: Information sharing 
  • The Revised Prevent duty guidance: for England and Wales (Prevent).
    Prevent is supplemented by non-statutory advice and a briefing note: The Revised Prevent duty: Departmental advice for schools and childminders The following guidance is also connected to the Prevent duty guidance – The use of social media for on-line radicalisation 
  • The NPCC Guidance on when to call the police. 

Relevant legislation and guidance consistently makes reference to ‘child’ or ‘children’. As noted earlier, Wilkes has students up to the age of 25. Therefore, where any statute or guidance makes reference to ‘child’, this guidance will refer to ‘student’ as a reference to Wilkes commitment to safeguarding all students.

However, when handling individual safeguarding cases the DSL will always consider carefully the age of the student in terms of any safeguarding decisions made. In these cases, the following shall be noted in reference to ‘child’, ‘Young people aged 18+’ and ‘Vulnerable Adult’:

  • Child – in accordance with The Children Act 1989, (and also in the Children Act 2004) and therefore in accordance with the law, the academy shall regard any student below the age of 18 as a child.
  • Young people aged 18+ – may in some circumstances be regarded as vulnerable as a consequence of earlier life-experience and may therefore fall within the remit of The Children Act 1989. The College will take action based on individual situations; for example, where a student is over 18 but wishes to report abuse which took place when they were younger or if there are younger siblings in a family who are thought to be at risk.
  • Vulnerable Adult –  If the academy receives information about an adult student (18 plus) which suggests that he/she has been abused or that it is likely they may be abused, it has a duty to refer these concerns to Adult Services and/or the Police. If the College is unsure whether a referral is necessary, the DSL will consult with appropriate agencies, which is usually Adult Care Services.

Review of the safeguarding policy

The DSL will ensure that this policy, as well as other related safeguarding policies, are reviewed at the annual Safeguarding meeting. The DSL and Principals will attend this meeting and changes will require their approval.

Throughout the academic year the DSL consults with staff either directly or indirectly through our safeguarding database (myconcern). During these discussions there will be opportunities for staff to contribute to shape safeguarding arrangements. The DSL will also consider changes required as a result of any safeguarding incidents, new legislation or new guidance. This may lead to updates of the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy throughout the academic year and reporting to the staff where appropriate.
All child protection incidents at the College will be followed by a review of these procedures by the DSL and a report will be made available to the Principal and SLT. Where an incident involves a member of staff, the DSL will determine whether any improvements can be made to the College’s procedures. 

Identifying vulnerable students and signs of abuse

Types and signs of abuse
To ensure that students are protected from harm, it is very important that the Wilkes community understands what type of behaviour constitutes abuse. Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a student. Somebody may abuse or neglect a student by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Students may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Students may be abused by an adult or adults or by another student or students. Abuse can be:

  • physical abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse; and/or
  • neglect.

Mental Health – in some cases, mental health problems can be an indicator that a student has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. It is important to recognise that experiences of abuse, neglect or other trauma can have a lasting impact on mental health and behaviour.

Please refer to the academies Mental health support strategy for further guidance (can we add a link here?)

Context
All staff, but especially the DSL and DDSLs, will consider the contexts in which safeguarding incidents and behaviour occur, how they can be associated with factors outside the academy, and/or occur between students outside of the organisation.  Assessments of students should consider whether and/or how wider environmental factors in a student’s life are a threat to their safety and/or welfare. This includes students being at risk of abuse or exploitation in situations outside their families such as (but not limited to) sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and serious youth violence. The academy will share as much information with local authority as possible as part of the referral process.

Safeguarding supersedes Data Protection
Wilkes spends a lot of time to ensure that it protects the data of individuals. For more information about how this works, please view the College’s Data protection policy. Nevertheless, in cases relating to Safeguarding it is important to note that Safeguarding supersedes Data Protection when it comes to important decisions; safeguarding trumps data protection.

The College will co-operate with police and the local authority to ensure that all relevant information is shared for the purposes of child protection investigations under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 in accordance with the requirements of Working together to safeguard children.

Confidentiality
All staff understand that any matter relating to Safeguarding or child protection issues warrants a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the student and staff involved but also to ensure that information being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence.

Notifying parents; age and student data protection
Wilkes will normally seek to discuss any concerns about a student with their parents. This must be handled sensitively and the DSL will normally make contact with the parent in the event of a concern, suspicion or disclosure.

However, if Wilkes believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the student or exacerbate the problem, then advice will first be sought from the local authority. If the allegation involves a member of staff, the parents should only be informed with the LADO’s consent.

The Keeping & Disclosing records
If students are on the Wilkes Safeguarding Database (myconcern) and it is deemed that future institutions would benefit from having access to the notes we have made on this database; the following will apply:

  1. If the student is under the age of 18 when they leave the college, Wilkes will proactively find out where they are studying and send on the Safeguarding notes to the relevant DSL.

    2. If the student is over the age of 18, Wilkes will only forward notes onto the DSL at the new education provider when we are requested for a reference. The college will typically provide this information in consultation with the student.

Complaints about safeguarding practices from students and parents
All complaints and concerns will be considered carefully by the College and appropriate action will be taken. Every student or parent/carer should feel able to raise concerns with a member of staff whom they trust. Staff who hear about concerns, suspicions or allegations from a student must relay the concerns immediately to the DSL or DDSL

Management of safeguarding – pro-active measures
Wilkes aims to create an environment where students are safe to learn and develop. This section looks at what pro-active measures Wilkes takes to ensure that the College safeguards its students effectively.

Induction

Staff induction
To manage the students effectively, as part of their induction new members of staff will meet with the DSL to understand:

  • Staff responsibilities 
  • What to do in the event of a safeguarding concern or allegation and how to log a safeguarding 
  • The role and identity of the DSL and DDSLs 
  • Key contextual safeguarding issues that are relevant for Wilkes Academy
  • Go through part one of KCSIE (2020) and Annex A;
  • Make them aware of other key policies that are connected to this policy 

New staff will also have to complete the following training before the end of their first two terms of employment at the College:

  • Training on PREVENT, fire aid and fire safety
  • e-Safety and Acceptable use of ICT awareness – see policies
  • Induction will be completed before a member of staff begins any work for the College that involves contact with students.

Student induction
To ensure that students know what support Wilkes Offers. During their induction they will meet with either the DSL or a DDSL and will be informed about:

  • The key members of the Safeguarding Team.
  • What to do if they have any safeguarding concerns.
  • Student Behaviour and Exclusions Policy, E-Safety Policy and Acceptable Use of ICT Policy.

Staff training
It is important that all staff have training to enable them to recognise the possible signs of abuse, neglect and mental health issues to know what to do if they have a concern. In addition to the training they receive at induction, the DSL will ensure that all staff are given the necessary training to be able to fulfil their duties. 

Student Representative training
The academy believes it is critically important for the students to take an active role in safeguarding. To help facilitate this, in the Autumn Term the DSL will organise for all student representatives to receive safeguarding training wherever possible.

Bi-annual safeguarding meetings
The DSL, DDSLs, and Principals, as well as other members of the Safeguarding, meet a bi-annual basis (December and June). During these meetings, which are chaired by the DSL, the Safeguarding Team review events of the past six months.

The June meeting is also the Annual Safeguarding Meeting, where the DSL will ensure that all members of the Safeguarding Team attend.

Daily meetings and communication
The DSL and DDSL communicate on a daily basis to discuss relevant safeguarding concerns.

Positive promotion
Safeguarding will be promoted positively throughout Wilkes in a number of ways, including:

  • Relevant policies available on the College website
  • Posters and visual displays around the College provide key information to all members of the Wilkes community about the College’s Safeguarding Team and how to access support.

Early intervention (early help)
Any student may benefit from early intervention but all staff should be particularly alert to the potential need for early help for a student who fits into the categories noted previously.

At Wilkes, early intervention mainly involves academy-based programmes. This involves providing support as soon as a problem emerges. All staff should be aware of the early intervention process, and understand their role in it. This could include: identifying emerging problems, for example dramatic weight loss, liaising with the DSL, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment and, in some cases, acting as the lead professional in undertaking an early help assessment. As stated previously in this policy, Wilkes has a relatively small student body and therefore the DSL has the capacity to manage all of the early intervention programmes; however, the DSL may well delegate individual students to a DDSL, Personal Tutor or in certain cases other members of staff. 

Effective early intervention relies upon:

  • Identifying students who would benefit from early intervention;
  • Undertaking an assessment of the need for early intervention; and
  • Providing targeted early intervention services to address the assessed needs of a student and, if applicable, their family which focuses on activities to improve the outcomes for that student.

Effective early intervention involves Wilkes (under the guidance of the DSL) providing high quality support as soon as possible, in cooperation with or coordinating with other agencies as appropriate, to help address the assessed needs of the student and their family, in order to significantly improve the outcomes for the student. This could include but not limited to counselling services or access to physiotherapy.

E-Safety
The College has appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place to safeguard students from potentially harmful and inappropriate online material. Further detail of the College’s approach to online safety can be found in the College’s E-Safety Policy.

Students will use mobile devices and computers at some time. They are important tools for communication and education as well as for recreation and socialising. However, we know that some people will use these technologies to harm students. The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails (cyber-bullying), to enticing students to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face to-face meetings, radicalisation or sexual predation.

The College’s Staff Code of Conduct and Acceptable Use of ICT Policy and Agreement explain the responsibilities of staff in relation to keeping students safe in College.

The College will do all it reasonably can to limit students’ exposure to the above risks when using our own IT systems, by having in place appropriate filters and monitoring systems which are designed to protect students from online abuse without “over blocking” or imposing unreasonable restrictions as to what students can be taught through online education. All staff and students will be expected to sign this agreement. 

Educational Trips & visits

Where extended College activities are provided by and managed by Wilkes, the procedures set out within our trips and activities policy. Where other organisations provide services or activities on our site the member of the College’s staff responsible for arranging the services or activities will check that the service or activity providers have appropriate procedures in place, including relevant risk assessments and safer recruitment procedures.

When our students attend off-site activities, including those abroad on educational trips, the College will check that effective child protection arrangements are in place. All staff are bound by the College’s Risk Assessment for Educational Visits Policy, when arranging and organising off-site trips.

The DSL closely monitors the conduct of students and how staff manage these trips. Students and staff are asked for feedback following every trip that involves an overnight stay.

Premises
The College will take all practicable steps to ensure that the College premises are as secure as circumstances permit.

Safeguarding education
Students are taught how to keep themselves safe and build resilience to key issues (including radicalisation) throughout the Year and covering the following topics. 

British values

Building resilience

Peer-on-peer abuse

Radicalisation

Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education

Online safety

Looked after children
The DSL ensures that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep safe any students on roll who are looked after by a local authority.

The DSL is the designated member of staff who has responsibility for their welfare and progress. The academy ensures that the designated member of staff, invariably the DSL, receives appropriate training in order to carry out their role.

Safer recruitment
The academy is committed to operating safer recruitment procedures in compliance with relevant legislation and guidance and in accordance with the College’s policy. The academy uses Sentry software in order to do this.

The College ensures that all staff, including volunteers, have an appropriate DBS and other relevant checks to meet the requirements of the Single Central Record (SCR). 

Counselling
Wilkes works with a counsellor, who provides support to both our students and staff members in a confidential setting. The information shared during these meetings are not discussed with the academy. If staff or students wish to receive counselling, they must contact the DSL to take this forward.

Overseas and independent living students
Overseas and Independent Living Students are considered as a potentially vulnerable group. Additional support meetings are organised for these students to address key issues related to safety and living in Swindon including practical help and advice such as registering with a GP. These sessions are co-ordinated by the DSL. Due to the potential vulnerability of these students living on their own they are initially registered on Wilkes Safeguarding database as a potential concern. After an initial meeting with the DSL, unless major concerns are raised, students will generally not be considered to be at risk and their performance and general welfare will be monitored by their Personal Tutor.

The Wilkes Academy does not hold any housing responsibility for its students that travel to attend the academy.

There are a number of places around Swindon and Wiltshire in which our students have sought accommodation while training with us at Wilkes Academy. 

Please approach agents directly to enquire about availability.

Neither Wilkes Academy nor our Educational partners (Wiltshire College & University Centre and Staffordshire University) are responsible for any accommodation choices or arrangement, the list below does not indicate that we recommend the accommodation listed and is merely provided as information about the local provisions. 

Once accommodation choices have been made, it would be helpful for us to be provided with the address of the accommodation to maintain appropriate correspondence.

All matters regarding payment, concerns, issues or compliments related to the accommodation should be made directly to the ‘home’ or owner of the accommodation the student living in however we will of course communicate with the accommodation provider around the wellbeing and safety of any under 18 students if the situation arises

Finally, It is very important that you keep us updated of any change of address or living circumstances during term time.

As with all other Wilkes students, to ensure we have accurate details about living arrangements, the College asks students to confirm their address, contact details and next of kin details twice per academic year.

Roles and responsibilities in managing safeguarding

All staff
All staff are required to:

  • Have read and be familiar with this policy and be aware of systems, policies and procedures within Wilkes which support safeguarding 
  • Have read, understood and be familiar with both Part 1 and Annex A of KCSIE (2020); this should be reviewed annually;
  • Immediately ensure that a direct referral is made to CSC (within one working day) if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a student. This is a legal requirement. Due to the small size of the academy, and the dedicated Safeguarding Team, ensure in this case invariably means immediately informing the DSL or a DDSL.
  • After reporting a Safeguarding concern they must follow-up with the DSL and, where appropriate, the CSC to ensure that things have been followed up. This is a legal requirement.
  • To keep the College informed (in particular DSL) on an on-going basis of any information that might have implications for the safeguarding of the students in the academy via the my concern software. 
  • Provide a safe environment in which students can learn, which includes ensuring that registers are completed within 15 minutes of a class beginning.
  • Be aware of the signs of abuse, neglect and radicalisation so that they are able to identify students who may be in need of extra help or who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm and in such circumstances to take appropriate action, working with other services as needed;
  • Be aware of groups of students which may be at greater risk 
  • Be aware of specific safeguarding issues, such as Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), FGM, Children Missing Education (CME), radicalisation, Peer-on-Peer abuse and child criminal exploitation: county lines 
  • Attend training that when requested and in particular before the start of the Autumn Term. During this training session, staff will receive PREVENT training, as well get a refresher training session on key safeguarding issues.
  • Complete required and relevant safeguarding training as directed by the DSL within the agreed time period, and keep up-to-date with any relevant safeguarding and child protection developments.

DSL and DDSLs
Dean Parsons (DSL) takes lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety) at the College. As a member of the SLT, the DSL has the appropriate status and authority within the College to carry out the duties of this post. The DSL is given the time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to other staff on student welfare and child protection matters, to take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings, and/or to support other staff to do so, and to contribute to the assessment of students.

The DSL is ably supported by DDSL Jo Scanlon. The DSL ensures that the DDSLs are trained to the same standard as the DSL. Whilst the activities of the DSL can be delegated to deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for child protection, as set out above, remains with the DSL; this lead responsibility should not be delegated

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