Stepping Stone Performing Arts (SSPA) Safeguarding Policy

Guidance Notes

 

  • Gary Lewin is Stepping Stone Preforming Arts designated Safeguarding lead.  All questions or concerns about a child’s welfare should be immediately raised with either Gary. 
  • This document relates to all children and young people who have not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. SSPA students under 18 will be treated uniformly in accordance with this policy regardless of their age.
  • All staff must adhere to this policy and complete online generalist level training (OSCB), and must speak to Gary promptly regarding any areas of uncertainty.

 

Recruitment & Vetting of Staff:

 

SSPA seeks to recruit teachers of the highest caliber who combine performance expertise with teaching ability and experience.  We operate an Equal Opportunities Policy and commit to providing equality of opportunity for all applicants.  Freelance teaching roles are advertised via professional websites and via our social media feed.

In order to ensure that a staff member is suitable to work with children, the following steps are undertaken:

  • All staff recruited by SSPA must provide an enhanced DBS check that is no more than 3 months old. In the event that a staff member is not in possession of a recent enhanced check, SSPA processes a check via ………………..  No staff member is permitted to work unsupervised until an enhanced DBS check is completed and does not raise any cause for concern.
  • A reference is requested from a previous employer via a pro-forma that asks the referee to testify that they believe the applicant is suitable for working with children.
  • On commencing work with SSPA, the new member of staff completes a training session with designated lead (Gary), which comprises a discussion of the items covered in this document, and an opportunity to raise questions.
  • All staff are requested to complete the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board’s online training course “Awareness of Child Abuse and Neglect” and to provide the co-principals with an e-certificate on completion.

Security:

 

Only official SSPA staff and students may be present in the building during SSPA hours. Teachers should not bring guests. Parents may watch classes with the permission of the co-principal in charge. Staff will be informed if another adult is on site with the permission of the co-principal and should be vigilant otherwise, asking any unfamiliar adults who they are and reporting any such person to the co-principal in charge.

 

Giving/Receiving Gifts:

In the interest of avoiding misinterpretation by others as gestures of favoritism, bribing or grooming, staff should not make any personal gifts to students. The giving of gifts as rewards will only happen within official SSPA initiatives as expressly agreed by the co-principals. It is appropriate for staff to accept small tokens of appreciation on special occasions or as a thank-you. However, it is unacceptable to receive gifts on a regular basis or of any significant value.

 

Communication:

Staff working at SSPA should not have communication or contact with SSPA students outside of school and production operating hours. This includes emails, phone calls, text messages and communication via social networking websites such as Facebook. Requests to communicate with students for professional reasons must be agreed with clear and explicit boundaries with Gary Lewin. Staff should not respond to communications outside of SSPA hours initiated by students. Staff should not give out their personal contact details to SSPA students.

 

Physical Contact:

Physical contact must only occur in the following circumstances and where is it wholly necessary in relation to a specific activity: Demonstrating a technique in the use of a particular piece of equipment, adjusting posture or assisting a child to perform an activity safely or prevent injury. Physical contact must only take place in an environment easily observed by others and last for the minimum amount of time. In any of these situations the child should be made aware of the reason that the contact is necessary and what form the contact will take. Staff must consider alternative approaches, where it is anticipated that a child might misinterpret any such contact. Contact should be relevant to the age and understanding of the child and staff should remain sensitive to any discomfort expressed verbally or non-verbally by the child. Physical contact may be used to comfort a distressed child, in proportion with the age of the child and situation, but only in a group setting. In such instances, the member of staff should remain sensitive to the level of comfort from the child, respect the child’s personal space, and report such occurrences to the manager in charge on the day, to be noted.

 

Behaviour Management:

SSPA encourages a culture of positive encouragement and seeks to promote a fun, confidence-building atmosphere. Serious or ongoing behaviour concerns should be discussed with the co-principals in order to put an appropriate positive strategy in place. Physical contact is inappropriate in any situations regarding discipline.  Only in what would be reasonably regarded as extreme circumstances, physical intervention may be used only if wholly necessary in order to prevent personal injury to the child, another child or adult or to prevent serious damage to property. Such incidents must be reported to the co-principal in charge and be entered into the incidents and concerns book with signatures from all parties, including the child, and parents must be informed on that day. Staff should always seek to defuse situations by verbal means.

 

Intimate Care:

 

SSPA does not recognise itself as being an organisation that has a duty to provide intimate care of any sort.  SSPA staff must not attempt to provide such care. This includes the practice of assisting children with toileting (we consider our student age range of 5 -19 to render this unnecessary).

If a child with a specific disability that inhibits their ability to toilet themselves wishes to join the school, Gary will write a Support Plan in partnership with the student’s parent/guardian to ensure that safe and adequate support can be provided to enable the student’s participation.  In this situation, appropriate training will be provided for all staff members involved in providing that support.

 

First Aid and Administration of Medicine:

Only SSPA trained First Aiders are authorized to administer medicine and only within the context of a Care Plan written by Gary in partnership with a student’s parent/guardian. First Aiders certified by St. John’s Ambulance are:

  • Gary Lewin

First Aid qualifications are renewed every 3 years.  Teachers will also be advised as to the currently certified First Aiders as part of their annual induction/refresher SSPA training.  All teachers must ensure that they have the mobile telephone number of an SSPA trained First Aider in their mobile phone and that their phone is switched on and fully charged in order that they can summon a First Aider in the event of an accident or emergency.

 

Care Plans

As and when a Care Plan is put in place, Gary Lewin will inform the staff of the student’s requirements and ensure that they are clear as to what action to take in relation to the Care Plan.  Care Plan’s will be reviewed annually in the case of students attending SSPA continually or at the commencement of each new course for students attending periodically.

 

Accidents

In the event of an accident occurring, the supervising teacher must immediately summon an SSPA trained First Aider, either by phoning them or by sending two students over the age of 10 to summon a trained First Aider from within the building.  They must not leave the casualty or their class unsupervised.

Supervising teachers have a responsibility to safeguard the privacy and dignity of a casualty.  This means ensuring that no student photographs or videos an incident on a mobile device and may involve moving the class to a different location in order that the casualty can be treated in privacy.

All accidents must be reported to the co-principal in charge and logged in the accident book.

 

One-to-One Situations:

One-to-one tuition may be appropriate in the context of rehearsal. Under such circumstances the staff member involved should agree this with the co-principal in advance, only using designated working spaces (classrooms, practice rooms, gym, hall). Doors should be left open in such circumstances in order to promote transparency. Physical contact is not acceptable during one-to-one contact time.  Teachers should never arrange one-to-one sessions privately or without informing the co-principals.

 

Transport:

 

SSPA staff are not authorised to transport SSPA students at any time.

 

Photography and Videos:

SSPA staff should not take or record images of SSPA students except under professionally appropriate circumstances with the express permission of the co-principal in charge. Any videos or photographs taken under these circumstances are strictly for the purposes of teaching, performance or authorised publicity and must not be used in any other way. Such images or videos must not be uploaded onto the Internet, except for use on the official SSPA website/social media.

 

Identifying Abuse:

If staff members have concerns about a child, there is a strong organisational expectation to raise these with the designated Safeguarding Lead/Deputy Lead immediately.  The Safeguarding Lead and/or Deputy will record the concern and make a decision as to whether to escalate the report to a referral to the relevant authorities or to monitor the child for an agreed period, although it is important that staff are aware that anyone can make a referral.  It is important for children to receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating. Research and Serious Case Reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action. Poor practice includes: failing to act on and refer the early signs of abuse and neglect, poor record keeping, failing to listen to the views of the child, failing to re-assess concerns when situations do not improve, sharing information too slowly and a lack of challenge to those who appear not to be taking action.

  • Types of Abuse: Staff should be aware that all of the following constitute abuse and any and all concerns that a child is being abused in any of the following ways should be reported immediately to the Safeguarding lead:
  • Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.
  • Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
  • Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
  • Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities 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 of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
  • Neglect: the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

 

Female Genital Mutilation:

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.

 

If a teacher suspects that a student has been subject to FGM, or is at risk of being subjected to FGM, including the risk that they may be taken overseas to be subjected to FGM, they must immediately inform the Safeguarding Lead/Deputy Safeguarding Lead immediately who will report concerns to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

For more information on identifying the risk of FGM please refer to “Keeping Children Safe in Education: Information for All Schools and College Staff” Part 1 (for link see top of document)

 

Radicalisation:

Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is seen as part of the SSPA wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting children from other forms of harm and abuse. During the process of radicalisation it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being radicalised.   If a teacher believes that a child is at risk of radicalisation, they must immediately inform the Safeguarding Lead/Deputy Safeguarding Lead immediately who will report concerns to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

For more information on identifying children and young people at risk of radicalisation, please refer to Keeping Children Safe in Education: Information for All Schools and College Staff” Part 1 (for link see top of document

 

Whistle Blowing:

Staff should raise any concerns about the safety of any child or the appropriateness of the behaviour of another member of staff immediately to Gary Lewin. Stepping Stone Performing Arts encourages a culture of openness, support and good communication surrounding the issues of child safety, and staff should understand that the practice of whistle-blowing is necessary, encouraged by SSPA and not connected to the security of their work for SSPA.  For further information on your duties in relation to the reporting concerns about a staff member and further recourse to report, please refer to Keeping Children Safe in Education, Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447595/KCSIE_July_2015.pdf