Child Protection Policy

Approved by Director of Dance: Elle-Aimee Lindsay

Reviewed by Staff: December 2014

Aims and Objectives

Our aim is to ensure that all staff recognise their responsibility to protect children in their care and everyone has a vital contribution to make. Bubblegum Dance believes that all children have a right to learn in an environment where they feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are listened to. This ethos is encapsulated in the Bubblegum Dance Commitment.

Broad Guidelines

  1. Bubblegum Dance will practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of all staff.
  2. A senior member of staff will have overall responsibility for Child Protection issues for all students.
  3. Bubblegum Dance will follow the procedures set out by Croydon LEA and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Children School and Families.
  4. Within each Class the teacher will act as the first point of contact for issues relating to safeguarding, who will then refer all concerns up to the Director of Dance.
  5. An integral part of Bubblegum Dance Commitment is Value Each Other. Staff and students are encouraged to speak freely about concerns knowing that they will be listened to and appropriate action will be taken.
  6. All members of staff are trained in Safe Working Practices and Child Protection every three years. Visiting temporary staff are provided with a copy of the Child Protection Policy and have information and procedures regarding Child Protection and Safe Working Practices explained to them by the Director of Dance. Temporary colleagues then sign to state their awareness.
  7. The Child Protection Policy is posted on our website for guidance for parents, carers and others.
  8. The Director/s have regular meetings to monitor and evaluate the Child Protection Policy.

Plan for Implementation

Bubblegum Dance staff are responsible for child protection and safeguarding and have received appropriate training and support for this role.

The Director of Dance is responsible for monitoring the reporting of child protection and safeguarding concerns for Child Protection and reviewed on a regular, working document basis.

The Director of Dance ensures all staff, understand their responsibilities in being aware of the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns regarding ‘children at risk’ to theDirector of Dance.

The Director of Dance will keep all records securely locked.

Bubblegum Dance will ensure that safe recruitment practices are followed.

Keeping our Dance School Safe

  • All staff are appointed using safe recruitment practices.
  • Any stranger on site should be approached immediately. All concerns should be reported to a senior member of staff.
  • All parent helpers; visitors to classrooms/areas and students are supervised.
  • Students should be supervised at all times to ensure their safety.

The Role of Dancing Tutors

  • Dance Tutors should make it clear that issues regarding student safety and the adoption of safe practices should be raised with them as a matter of course.
  • Dance Tutors should promote an “Ask, Tell” approach within dance groups towards concerns around bullying or unsafe practices.
  • Students should be made aware of the Anti-Bullying policy and they should report all incidences to their Dance Tutor or another member of staff as soon as possible.
  • Serious or significant safeguarding concerns, should, of course, be reported to the Director of Dance.

Definition of Child Abuse

Neglect: The persistent and severe neglect of a child, recognition of harm, sources of stress or thefailure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold or starvation or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.

Physical Injury: Actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury (orsuffering) to a child including deliberate poisoning, suffocation and Munchausen’s Syndrome by proxy.

Sexual Abuse: Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child may bedependent and/or develop mentally immature. Areas may also include grooming, sexting, on-line relationships, and genital mutilation.

Emotional Abuse: Actual or likely severe adverse effect on the emotional and behaviouraldevelopment of a child caused by persistent severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection. All abuse involves some emotional ill-treatment. The category should be used where it is the main or sole form of abuse.

NB. these categories for child protection register purposes do not tie in precisely with the definition of ‘significant harm’ in the appropriate section of the Children Act which will be relevant if court proceedings are initiated. For example, with a case of neglect it will be necessary to consider whether it involves actual or likely ‘significant harm’ and whether it involves ‘ill-treatment’ or impairment of health or development’ (in each case as defined by the Act). The Courts may well provide an interpretation of ‘sexual abuse’ (which is not defined in the Act) which is different from that used.

Signs and Symptoms of Physical Abuse
  • Unexplained injuries or burns, particularly if they are recurrent
  • Improbable excuses given to explain injuries
  • Refusal to discuss injuries
  • Untreated injuries
  • Admission of punishment which appears excessive
  • Bald patches
  • Withdrawal from physical contact
  • Arms and legs kept covered in hot weather
  • Fear of returning home
  • Fear of medical help
  • Self destructive tendencies
  • Aggression towards others
Signs of Neglect
  • Constant hunger
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Constant tiredness
  • Poor state of clothing
  • Emaciation
  • Frequent lateness or non-attendance at school
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Destructive tendencies
  • Low self esteem
  • Neurotic behaviour
  • No social relationships
  • Running away
  • Compulsive stealing
Signs of Sexual Abuse
  • Sudden changes in behaviour or school performance
  • Displays of affection in a sexual way inappropriate to age
  • Tendency to cling or need reassurance
  • Tendency to cry easily
  • Regression to younger behaviour, such as thumb sucking, playing with discarded toys, acting like a baby
  • Complaints of genital itching or pain
  • Distrust of familiar adult, or anxiety about being left with a relative, a babysitter or lodger
  • Unexplained gifts of money
  • Depression and withdrawal
  • Apparent secrecy
  • Wetting day or night
  • Sleep disturbances or nightmares
  • Chronic illness, especially throat infections and venereal diseases
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Unexplained pregnancy
  • Fear of undressing e.g. for sports
  • Phobias or panic attacks.
  • Genital mutilation – unexplained absence abroad, displaying extreme character change, pain or significant discomfort in genital area, withdrawn, tearful.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • Poor attachment relationship
  • Unresponsive / neglectful behaviour towards the child’s emotional needs
  • Persistent negative comments about the child
  • Inappropriate or inconsistent expectations
  • Self harm
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unhappiness, anxiety
  • Withdrawn, insecure
  • Attention seeking
  • Passive or aggressive behavioural extremes

These lists are not exhaustive and Bubblegum Dance has the authority to share concerns and seek advice from social care and other professionals as and when need arises to ensure the safety of the student(s) involved. Confidentiality will be maintained as best as possible during initial stages of investigation.

Procedures for Disclosures

General disclosures

Everybody needs to work together to protect children in their care and everyone has a vital contribution to make. Any concerns need to be reported to the Dance Tutor responsible for the student and the Director of Dance.

In every room information can be found to support disclosures as well as providing information about who to refer to.

The following guidelines must be adhered to:

Handling Disclosures from Young People
  • Stay calm
  • Speak quietly
  • Listen actively, use positive non-verbal body language, e.g. nods, warm, non-judgemental, eye-contact, etc.
  • Keep an open mind
  • Reassure and support
  • Affirm their feelings (reflect their words)
  • Accept what the child has said
  • Do not ask leading questions, do not investigate
  • Never make promises
  • Never stop a child who is freely recalling events
  • Give information (e.g. We are going to have to tell someone else that can help us)
  • Clarify the information given by the child (e.g. who else have you told? When will you see this person again? When did it last happen? Who else was there when it happened? Where were you when it happened?)
  • Tell the child you cannot keep a secret or offer confidentiality of any kind.
  • Do not contact parents.

The person to whom the student has made the disclosure to may talk to the child and make verbatim notes to include what was said, where the incident took place, the time and who else was present. Notes should be kept on the Child Protection Alert Form.

Once comprehensive notes have been made that pertain to the disclosure, the member of staff who received the disclosure will pass all documents and evidence to the DHoC or the DSL. If the matter is of a serious nature parents will be contacted unless it would harm the child to do so, this decision will be made by the Director of Dance, who may well have sought further advice from the Croydon M.A.S.H (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub).

The DSL may phone the case through to the MASH team who will advise on action to be taken and if an on-line referral to the MASH team should be made. Once the online referral to MASH has been submitted, the MASH team will make contact with the DSL and advise them on the action that is being taken. Once the referral has been submitted to the MASH team the triage service within the borough will decide on the level of response and either escalate the concern to the Social Care Team/ Police or de-escalate the concern to the Early Help Intervention Team. (See appendix 5).

Upon de-escalation back to the Early Help Intervention Team, the DSL with the support of the DHoC may well undertake a CAF (Common Assessment Framework) referral or separate referral through the Early Help Intervention Team to seek additional support for the student, and or family from services within the London Borough of Croydon. The CAF referral will be completed and submitted in collaboration with the Early Help Intervention Team, the student and the family. Any additional referrals to the Early Help Intervention Team to activate support services within the London Borough of Croydon will be carried out in collaboration with the student, the family and the Collegiate.

An appropriate referral to either the MASH team or the Early Help Intervention team may avoid further difficulty and conflict in the future by ensuring the use of correct procedures and support mechanisms.

Handling a disclosure relating to the Principal or another member of staff

If an allegation is made by a student regarding any member of staff, the Director of Dance would initiate a short enquiry to ascertain that the allegation is not patently false. This may be discussed with DSL to decide how to proceed and whether to involve LADO or other key agencies and services for further advice and guidance.

Allegations may occur because a member of staff has made a mistake, failed to follow guidelines, is inexperienced or because their actions have been misinterpreted by witnesses. Even so we must accept that some professionals do pose a serious risk to students and we are required to act upon every allegation.

Handling other CP incidents

If a dance tutor restrains a child for their safety, the incident must be reported to the Director of Dance, who will make a record of the incident. Any allegation against a member of staff regarding child protection issues will be handled according to the Croydon LA Safeguarding Children Policy & Procedures. The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) should be contacted immediately

Procedure for parents and carers when raising a concern over Safeguarding and Child Protection

There may be a time when you need to raise a concern over the safety and well being of your child.

In the first instance, you must speak to the Director of Dance.

If appropriate, the DSL will contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and/or make a referral to Croydon MASH Team.

Serious concerns that involve a member of staff should be addressed directly to the Director of Dance.

Fostering Positive Relationships

All staff and students adhere to our Bubbledance Ethos:

Value each other
Aim high
Learn and lead
Use our talents
Excel in our efforts
Stick at it

Positive attitudes, good relationships between different individuals, groups and communities are to be encouraged by all staff. The sense of safety within a secure base and membership of a caring empathic, community can go a long way in keeping students safe, well happy and achieving. A responsive atmosphere of respect where Every Child Matters will enhance daily experience for all.

Related Documents

Child Protection Alert Form