COVID-19 school closure arrangements for Safeguarding and Child Protection at Lord Blyton Primary School

COVID-19 school closure arrangements for Safeguarding and Child Protection at Lord Blyton Primary School

School Name: Lord Blyton Primary School
Policy owner: J. Atherton
Date: May 2020
Date shared with staff: May 2020

Context

From 20th March 2020 parents were asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response – who absolutely need to attend.

Schools and all childcare providers were asked to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

From 1st June 2020 schools were expected to partially re-open for pupils in Foundation Stage 2, Year 1 and Year 6. This policy has been reviewed in light of growing numbers of pupils in school following the partial relaxation of lockdown rules.

This addendum of the Lord Blyton Primary School Safeguarding and Child Protection policy contains details of our individual safeguarding arrangements in the following areas:

  1. Context 2
  2. Vulnerable children 3
  3. Attendance monitoring 4
  4. Designated Safeguarding Lead 5
  5. Reporting a concern 6
  6. Safeguarding Training and induction 6
  7. Safer recruitment/volunteers and movement of staff 7
  8. Online safety in schools and colleges 8
  9. Children and online safety away from school and college 8
  10. Supporting children not in school 9
  11. Supporting children in school 10
  12. Peer on Peer Abuse 10
  13. Mental health awareness …………………………………………

Key contacts

RoleNameContact NumberEmail
Designated
Safeguarding
Lead
J.Atherton01914240550jatherton@lordblyton.s-tyneside.sch.uk
A Quinn019242400550aquinn@lordblyton.s-tyneside.sch.uk
Deputy
Designated
Safeguarding
Leads
J Wales01914240550jwales@lordblyton.s-tyneside.sch.uk
HeadteacherJ Atherton01914240550jatherton@lordblyton.s-tyneside.sch.uk
Chair of
Governors
Cllr E MalcolmN/ACllr.ed.malcolm@southtynesdide.gov.uk
Safeguarding
Governor
V Waller01914240550vwaller@lordblyton.s-tyneside.sch.uk

Vulnerable children

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those children and young people up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Those who have a social worker include children who have a Child Protection Plan and those who are looked after by the Local Authority. A child may also be deemed to be vulnerable if they have been assessed as being in need or otherwise meet the definition in section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Those with an EHC plan will be risk-assessed in consultation with the Local Authority and parents, to decide whether they need to continue to be offered a school or college place in order to meet their needs, or whether they can safely have their needs met at home. This could include, if necessary, carers, therapists or clinicians visiting the home to provide any essential services. Many children and young people with EHC plans can safely remain at home.

Eligibility for free school meals in and of itself should not be the determining factor in assessing vulnerability.

Senior leaders, especially the Designated Safeguarding Leads (and deputy) know who our most vulnerable children are. They have the flexibility to offer a place to those on the edge of receiving children’s social care support.

Lord Blyton Primary School will continue to work with and support children’s social workers to help protect vulnerable children. This includes working with and supporting children’s social workers and the local authority virtual school head (VSH) for looked-after and previously looked-after children. The lead person for this will be: Alison Quinn, Child and Family Support Manager
There is an expectation that vulnerable children who have a social worker will attend an education setting, so long as they do not have underlying health conditions that put them at increased risk. In circumstances where a parent does not want to bring their child to an education setting, and their child is considered vulnerable, the social worker and Lord Blyton Primary School will explore the reasons for this directly with the parent.

Where parents are concerned about the risk of the child contracting COVID19, especially if their child is in a year group due to return to school from the 1st June, Lord Blyton Primary School or the social worker will talk through these anxieties with the parent/carer following the advice set out by Public Health England.

Lord Blyton Primary School will encourage our vulnerable children and young people to attend a school, including remotely if needed.

Attendance monitoring

Local authorities and education settings do not need to complete their usual day-today attendance processes to follow up on non-attendance.

If Lord Blyton Primary School has any children in attendance (e.g. because they are vulnerable or their parent(s) / carers are critical workers) we will submit the daily attendance sheet to the DfE by 12 noon – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-attendancerecording-for-educational-settings

If the school has closed, we will complete the return once as requested by the DfE.

Lord Blyton Primary School and social workers will agree with parents/carers whether children in need should be attending school –Lord Blyton Primary School will then follow up on any pupil that they were expecting to attend, who does not. Lord Blyton Primary School will also follow up with any parent or carer who has arranged care for their child(ren) and the child(ren) subsequently do not attend.

Parents / carers of vulnerable pupils and the social workers attached to their cases will be contacted on a weekly basis by Alison Quinn to check on their well-being. All forms of contact with vulnerable families and social workers will be recorded on CPOMS.

To support the above, when communicating with parents/carers and carers, confirm emergency contact numbers are correct and ask for any additional emergency contact numbers where they are available.

In all circumstances where a vulnerable child does not take up their place at school, or discontinues, Lord Blyton Primary School will notify their social worker.

School has been in communication with parents in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to determine which children will be returning to school from the 22nd June. The attendance for children returning to school will be monitored daily and normal absence management procedures will apply. Any children in the targeted year groups not returning to school, but are on the vulnerable children list, will continue to receive welfare phone calls the same as throughout the lockdown period.

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Lord Blyton Primary School has two Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and a Deputy DSL.

The Designated Safeguarding Leads are: Ms J Atherton and Mrs A Quinn

The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead is: Ms J Wales

Once school partially re-opens on the 22nd June, at least one DSL will always be on site during normal school hours.

The DSL will continue to engage with social workers, and attend all multi-agency meetings, which can be done remotely.

Reporting a concern

Where staff have a concern about a child, they should continue to follow the process outlined in the school Safeguarding Policy, this includes making a report via CPOMS, which can be done remotely.

In the unlikely event that a member of staff cannot access their CPOMS from home, they should email a Designated Safeguarding Lead. This will ensure that the concern is received.

Staff working with children who will be returning to school should be extra vigilant as children may well disclose information or issues that may have occurred at home during the lockdown period. Children may also demonstrate changed behaviours to those seen before the lockdown which must also be reported to a DSL and recorded on CPOMS.

Staff are reminded of the need to report any concern immediately and without delay.

Staff not working in school, but administrating on online learning activities through the online learning platforms should immediately report any concerns regarding a child working at home which may be raised through their work, photographs or messages being posted or by messages from parents. Staff facilitating online learning should promote e-safety strategies regularly and report any concerns directly to a DSL and record on CPOMS.

Where staff are concerned about an adult working with children in the school, they report the concern to the headteacher in person or via a phonecall in the first instance or an email if the Headteacher is working off site. Any verbal conversation should be followed up with an email.

Concerns around the Headteacher should be directed to the Chair of Governors: Cllr E Malcolm.

Safeguarding Training and induction

DSL training is very unlikely to take place whilst there remains a threat of the COVID 19 virus.

For the period COVID-19 measures are in place, a DSL (or deputy) who has been trained will continue to be classed as a trained DSL (or deputy) even if they miss their refresher training.

All existing school staff have had safeguarding training and have read part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (2019). The DSL should communicate with staff any new local arrangements, so they know what to do if they are worried about a child.
Where new staff are recruited, or new volunteers enter Lord Blyton Primary School, they will continue to be provided with a safeguarding induction.

If staff are deployed from another education or children’s workforce setting to our school, we will take into account the DfE supplementary guidance on safeguarding children during the COVID-19 pandemic and will accept portability as long as the current employer confirms in writing that:-

• the individual has been subject to an enhanced DBS and children’s barred list check

• there are no known concerns about the individual’s suitability to work with children

• there is no ongoing disciplinary investigation relating to that individual

Safer recruitment/volunteers and movement of staff

It remains essential that people who are unsuitable are not allowed to enter the children’s workforce or gain access to children. When recruiting new staff, Lord Blyton Primary School will continue to follow the relevant safer recruitment processes for their setting, including, as appropriate, relevant sections in part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (2019) (KCSIE).

In response to COVID-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has made changes to its guidance on standard and enhanced DBS ID checking to minimise the need for face-to-face contact.

If staff are deployed from another education or children’s workforce setting to our school, we will take into account the DfE supplementary guidance on safeguarding children during the COVID-19 pandemic and will accept portability as long as the current employer confirms in writing that:-

• the individual has been subject to an enhanced DBS and children’s barred list check

• there are no known concerns about the individual’s suitability to work with children

• there is no ongoing disciplinary investigation relating to that individual

Should Lord Blyton Primary School need to utilise volunteers, we will continue to follow the checking and risk assessment process as set out in paragraphs 167 to 172 of KCSIE. Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been checked be left unsupervised or allowed to work in regulated activity.

Lord Blyton Primary School will continue to follow the legal duty to refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult. Full details can be found at paragraph 163 of KCSIE.

Lord Blyton Primary School will continue to consider and make referrals to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) as per paragraph 166 of KCSIE and the TRA’s ‘Teacher misconduct advice for making a referral.

During the COVID-19 period all referrals should be made by emailing
Misconduct.Teacher@education.gov.uk

Whilst acknowledging the challenge of the current National emergency, it is essential from a safeguarding perspective that any school is aware, on any given day, which staff/volunteers will be in the school or college, and that appropriate checks have been carried out, especially for anyone engaging in regulated activity. As such, Lord Blyton Primary School will continue to keep the single central record (SCR) up to date as outlined in paragraphs 148 to 156 in KCSIE.

Online safety in schools and colleges

Lord Blyton Primary School will continue to provide a safe environment, including online. This includes the use of an online filtering system.

Where students are using computers in school, appropriate supervision will be in place.

Children and online safety away from school and college

It is important that all staff who interact with children, including online, continue to look out for signs a child may be at risk. Any such concerns should be dealt with as per the Child Protection Policy and where appropriate referrals should still be made to children’s social care and as required, the police.

Online teaching should follow the same principles as set out in the school code of conduct.

Lord Blyton Primary School will ensure any use of online learning tools and systems is in line with privacy and data protection/GDPR requirements.

Below are some things to consider when delivering virtual lessons, especially where webcams are involved should the school decide to implement their use:

• No 1:1s, groups only
• Staff and children must wear suitable clothing, as should anyone else in the household.
• Any computers used should be in appropriate areas, for example, not in bedrooms; and the background should be blurred.
• The live class should be recorded so that if any issues were to arise, the video can be reviewed.
• Live classes should be kept to a reasonable length of time, or the streaming may prevent the family ‘getting on’ with their day.
• Language must be professional and appropriate, including any family members in the background.
• Staff must only use platforms specified by senior managers and approved by our IT network manager / provider to communicate with pupils
• Staff should record, the length, time, date and attendance of any sessions held.

Staff facilitating online learning should promote e-safety strategies regularly and any concerns should be reported immediately to a DSL and recorded on CPOMS.

Supporting children not in school

Buswells Lodge Primary School is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all its Children and Young people.

Where the DSL has identified a child to be on the edge of social care support, or who would normally receive pastoral-type support in school, they should ensure that a robust communication plan is in place for that child or young person.

Details of this plan must be recorded on CPOMS, as should a record of contact have made.

The communication plans can include; remote contact, phone contact, door-step visits. Other individualised contact methods should be considered and recorded.

Buswells Lodge Primary School and its DSLs will work closely with all stakeholders to maximise the effectiveness of any communication plan.

This plan must be reviewed regularly (at least once a fortnight) and where concerns arise, the DSL will consider any referrals as appropriate.

The school will share safeguarding messages on its website and social media pages.

Buswells Lodge Primary School recognises that school is a protective factor for children and young people, and the current circumstances, can affect the mental health of pupils and their parents/carers. Teachers at Buswells Lodge Primary School need to be aware of this in setting expectations of pupils’ work where they are at home.

Supporting children in school

Lord Blyton Primary School is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all its students.
Lord Blyton Primary School will continue to be a safe space for all children to attend and flourish. The Headteacher will ensure that appropriate staff are on site and staff to pupil ratio numbers are appropriate, to maximise safety.

Lord Blyton Primary School will refer to the Government guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement social distancing and continue to follow the advice from Public Health England on handwashing and other measures to limit the risk of spread of COVID19.

Lord Blyton Primary School will ensure that where we care for children of critical workers and vulnerable children on site, we ensure appropriate support is in place for them. This will be bespoke to each child and recorded on CPOMS.

Where Lord Blyton Primary School has concerns about the impact of staff absence – such as our Designated Safeguarding Lead or first aiders – we will discuss them immediately with the Local Authority.

Peer on Peer Abuse

Lord Blyton Primary School recognises that during the closure a revised process may be required for managing any report of such abuse and supporting victims.

Where a school receives a report of peer on peer abuse, they will follow the principles as set out in part 5 of KCSIE and of those outlined within of the Child Protection Policy.

The school will listen and work with the young person, parents/carers and any multiagency partner required to ensure the safety and security of that young person.

Concerns and actions must be recorded on CPOMS and appropriate referrals made.

Mental Health

Staff, both working back in school and at home, should be aware that current events related to the coronavirus can be having a negative impact on the mental health of children, their parents and colleagues.

Staff should remain vigilant and look for signs that children, parents or colleagues are struggling and offer support where possible. Any concerns should be reported to a DSL and recorded on CPOMS.

Staff working at home and setting online learning should also be aware of the impact of current circumstances on pupils and provide online support where possible.