Vocational Training Centre

VTC Policies

The Vocational Training Centre is for pupils with behavioural, social, emotional and mental health difficulties who have either been permanently excluded from mainstream schools or are at risk of being permanently excluded from mainstream schools. The VTC provides places for Students from ages 11-16 and offers high quality education to meet a range of needs.

The VTC aims to ensure that all pupils have access to an appropriate curriculum to ensure they achieve their potential and are not disadvantaged in comparison to their peers who access education in mainstream settings.

Admissions:

The pupils are either:

  • Permanently excluded from mainstream school
  • At risk of permanent exclusion
  • Pupils new to the authority who were previously educated in an alternative setting
  • Pupils new to the authority who have a history of disrupted education
  • Pupils referred for alternative provision on either a full-time or part-time basis.

All applications for places at the VTC for pupils permanently excluded from school will be managed by the principle of VTC and their current place of education – e.g. mainstream school. It is required that a referral to the VTC will come directly from the school to the Principle of VTC, Mr Paul Thompson.

All referrals will be supported by a completed BACs form and detailed information from the referring school.  This will form the basis of an initial risk assessment and will help us provide:

  • The most appropriate provision
  • The nature and duration of the placement
  • The appropriate pupil exit strategy

Other services and agencies (e.g. KCC, Social Services etc) and parents and carers will be asked to supply additional information to support the referral process.

Places are offered only when agreement has been reached with VTC, the mainstream school and parents or carers.

Placements:

The Principle of VTC has the responsibility for allocating a provision for the referrals that meet the admission criteria. All those involved with the pupil will be informed of the decision and a date for the admissions appointment will be arranged. In the case of provision placements, an agreement will be drawn up between the referring school and the Vocational Training Centre. The agreement will address:

  • Funding
  • Pupil support
  • Transport arrangements
  • Duration of placement
  • Placement review
  • Exit strategies

Any referrals that fall outside of the admissions criteria will be considered on a case by case basis and individuals may be offered a placement if the appropriate funding and support can be secured.

Once a placement is agreed, all pupils will attend a structured induction programme. This allows time to facilitate a range of assessments and to ensure that the pupil’s timetable can be best matched to meet their individual needs.

To be considered in conjunction with our anti bullying, Team-Teach, online safety, safeguarding policy

Reviewed November 1, 2020

Next Review Date – September 2021

OUR BEHAVIOUR FOR LEARNING PRINCIPLES

It is imperative that our behaviour policy is flexible, effective and centered on rewarding positive behaviour and building positive relationships. Adverse childhood experiences include abuse, neglect, having a family member in prison and exposure to domestic violence. Our pupils also have histories of rejection and exclusion, including from previous schools or other educational settings. We therefore use a combination of strategies to support, encourage and reward behaviour that is conducive to learning. Most importantly, we strive to consistently acknowledge good behaviour, to praise pupils’ achievements, to treat every lesson and every day as a fresh start and to always be as positive as humanly possible with our pupils, who are, regrettably, very familiar with being told off.

 At Vocational Training Centre (VTC) School, we understand that pupils’ behaviour need to be viewed within the context of the many negative and complex factors outlined above. We, therefore, use strategies that work with pupils’ difficulties in order to help them realise their full potential. This approach includes the following features:

  • A nurturing approach that involves caring, consistent, empathic, non- retaliatory and ‘boundaries’ relationships between staff and pupils
  • Recognising that pupils have unmet needs, likely from early years, which may need to be met before they can progress. This may mean providing support which is appropriate to their emotional/social age rather than their calendar age

·      Having clearly-communicated expectations of behaviour

  • Developing pupils’ abilities to understand and communicate their emotions
  • A positive and predictable approach with a focus on praising and rewarding good behaviour, recognising and developing strengths and abilities, helping pupils to develop an improved perception of themselves and removing fear and doubt
  • Our work is underpinned with unconditional positive regard – ensuring that pupils always feel wanted and supported despite their behaviour

– and having firm expectations of behaviour without shaming or further damaging self-esteem

  • Acting as appropriate role-models for our pupils. Being aware of our verbal and body language as well as our emotional reactions to the pupils and how we respond to them. Being conscientious about our personal wellbeing and seeking support when needed
  • Providing good attachments for our pupils while being sensitive to and supportive of the relationships between parents/carer’s and their children
  • Providing opportunities for children to demonstrate maturity and

responsibility as they progress through the school.

OUR PUPILS’ NEEDS

 It is essential that we understand what is behind our pupils’ behaviour in order to be able to support them through their difficulties. Our pupils’ behavioral difficulties are caused by a range of factors.

Typical behaviour’s include:

  • Insecure attachment behaviour’s – clinginess, defiant independence, mistrust of adults, ambivalence (clinginess combined with rejecting behaviours)
  • Lack of awareness or tolerance of external boundaries and lack of development of internal boundaries – risk-taking behaviours, impulsivity, inability to manage emotions, inability to think ahead and predict consequences, oppositional defiance

Inability to understand or communicate feelings

  • Inability to tolerate difficult feelings – projects them onto others through challenging behaviour to achieve temporary relief

Lack of empathy

  • Intense envy or comparison of their peers
  • Feelings of low self-esteem, critical of self, unable to recognise achievements
  • Intense fear of failure, inability to take healthy risks (for example in learning or relationshipbuilding)
  • A rigid need to control born out of anxiety of the unknown (often in children from chaoticbackgrounds)
  • Hyper-vigilance – always on the lookout for threat, hypersensitivity to insult or perceived threat
  • Inability to tolerate ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in the same person – categorises people as being either good or bad, but will often change how a person is categorised in individual

Daily exposure to these behaviours can be frustrating and distressing; it is important that we continue to see them within the appropriate context and that we do not retaliate, therefore we separate the child from the behaviour and look at the emotions behind the behaviour. 

These behaviours are not fixed, and given the right kind of support within a nurturing, positive and predictable environment; our pupils can and do make significant and lasting progress both emotionally and academically.

SUPPORTING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships are the key to positive development. Secure attachments to caregivers are essential for children’s psychological development, however, many of our pupils have not experienced this at home. Developing secure attachments with staff members can help to make up for some of the development that has been missed.

The staff at The VTC School support relationship-building with pupils by:

  • Being consistent, patient and dependable
  • Tuning into their needs – noticing when they are hungry, upset, tired or angry and demonstrating care through our responses

Empathising with and validating their feelings

  • Containing their distress/rage – trying to understand the reasons for challenging behaviour and figure out solutions for the child, not retaliating through our reactions, managing our own behavioural responses to challenging behaviour
  • Demonstrating unconditional regard for the pupil – disapproving of behaviours, never the child as a person (e.g. “that language is rude”, as opposed to “you are rude”).

Knowledge of pupils’ histories is vital for building strong relationships with them because only once we understand their histories are we able to view their behaviours within the correct context. When a new pupil joins the school, all staff will read their documentation and will also be briefed by the leader and key therapist who will have interviewed the child and family. 

PROMOTING SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL & BEHAVIOURAL DEVELOPMENT

Social and emotional development is central to our curriculum and ethos. There are a variety of times throughout the day which are focal points for the facilitation of this development, however, it is acutely important that social and emotional learning is embedded throughout the entire day. Daily activities at The VTC School that help to develop social skills and learning about emotions include:

  • Drama and role-play
  • Sport and games
  • Group activities
  • Discussing films and news stories
  • Speaking and listening activities
  • Mediation, time for reflection and conflict resolution after incidents

COMMUNICATING FEELINGS 

Pupils need to be encouraged to communicate appropriately about their feelings instead of acting out their feelings through challenging behaviour. We support them to achieve this the following ways:

  • Modelling – talking about our own feelings and emotional reactions
  • Praising pupils whenever they are able to tell you about their feelings
  • Labelling emotions for pupils (this is communicating their feelings for them if they’re unable to do it themselves)
  • Providing opportunities for emotional communication – communicating care and opening the door to sharing
  • Validate their feelings – normalise what they’re expressing by letting them know that we all have these feelings (“It makes sense that you’re upset about that because it must have made you feel alone”)
  • Meet their emotional need:
  • Shame needs reassurance
  • Fear needs safety (emotional safety through containment)
  • Sadness needs comfort
  • Anger needs space/boundaries
  • Anxiety needs to be challenged

MANAGING BEHAVIOUR THROUGH OUR THERAPEUTIC APPROACH 

At The VTC School, we focus on prevention rather than reaction. This is achievable because our staff invest in knowing our pupils, spotting their triggers, intervening quickly and praising whenever possible. Every aspect of our practice should contribute to the prevention of challenging behaviour. When challenging behaviour does arise, de-escalation methods are used, for example:

  • We speak quietly and use our body language to encourage pupils to regulate their emotions. We pick up on the positives, e.g. a time when they have successfully changed a response, or we remind them of their strengths or personalised targets
  • We offer alternative strategies such as reflection time and/or relocation
  • We repeat that we are there to support them and communicate care
  • We never shout and ensure our body language is positive and that the

pupils’ have personal space

  • We use diversion/distraction, for example change the activity or topic of conversation to remove
  • We use a change of face – swap places with a colleague if we feel the child might be better helped by someone else in this moment
  • We remind them of the schools’ expectations and that their actions have

consequences

PHYSICAL INTERVENTION & USE OF CHILL OUT ROOM

This policy must be considered alongside our physical intervention (TeamTeach) policy. Physical                intervention (known as positive handling or restraint) is only used as a last resort. It is not used as a behaviour management strategy – it is used when there is a risk to the safety of a student or others. The focus of this training is on de-escalation rather than needing to physically intervene with students.

REWARDS AND CONSEQUENCES*

(*Known as ‘sanctions’ for the purposes of the independent school standards)

Clear consequences are essential for our pupils, but the emphasis should always be on rewarding positive behaviour.

Possible rewards include:

  • praise, including through regular, positive contact between school and home
  • certificates, including daily and weekly awards

being given responsibility

  • reward trips
  • reward gift vouchers
  • raffle ticket rewards

With pupils as unique as ours, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to consequences is inappropriate.

Possible consequences include:

  • withdrawal of reward time
  • withdrawal of specific activities
  • reparation (such as fixing an item the pupil damaged)
  • remaining at school during break time or after school to complete work or to make up lost time if pupils arrive to school late

EXCLUSIONS AND EMERGENCY REVIEWS

Occasionally, families will be asked to collect their child if it is obvious that every strategy undertaken has failed to calm/engage the pupil. This will be marked as an exclusion in our register.

In extreme cases, the headteacher may exclude a pupil for a fixed-term of, typically, one or two days. A fixed-term exclusion of more than two days is exceptionally rare. When the decision is taken to exclude a pupil, an explanatory letter is always posted to the parent/carer within the same day – as well as to the placing authority – and homework is provided.

In very exceptional circumstances, such as a pupil bringing illegal drugs or weapons into our schools, the headteacher may make the decision to permanently exclude.

When we cannot meet a pupil’s needs and where they have an EHCP, we will call for an emergency annual review with the placing authority to re-evaluate the suitability of the placement and recommend that another provision be sought. This is not the same as exclusion.

ENDLESSLY POSITIVE

To help boost self-esteem and change how our pupils view themselves, we need to constantly be on the lookout for small successes and to praise/reward these successes. It is important to remember that we need to notice behaviours that might seem ordinary but are significant for our pupils. It could be something as simple as a pupil returning a greeting or saying please and thank you. We always keep language as positive and solution-focused as possible e.g. we focus on the behaviours we want, not the behaviours we don’t want. 

DIFFERENTIATING LESSONS

The importance of differentiation cannot be underestimated – if lessons are not differentiated appropriately, pupils may struggle to understand or engage with what is being taught, which often leads to challenging behaviour.

WORKING AS A TEAM

It is essential that pupils see us working together as a team. We continually model positive social communication, respect and care for each other and challenge gender stereotypes. Many pupils may use ‘splitting’ as an emotional defence to give them a sense of control. This involves catergorising people as ‘good’ people, who are unrealistically idealised, or ‘bad’ people, who are unrealistically demonised. To discourage this, adults need to demonstrate to pupils that they will not allow themselves to be split in this way. It is important that we all work together and share information, as appropriate, to ensure that we are providing effective joined-up care for our pupils. This is why daily briefings and debriefings before and after the school day are so important.

UNIFORM 

Pupils are not required to wear a full school uniform. Pupils are not permitted to wear jewellery, aside from a single stud in each ear, due to health and safety purposes.

RECORDING AND COMMUNICATING BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT EVENTS 

  • Serious incidents are logged daily
  • Serious misdemeanors resulting in any form of exclusion are logged
  • Accidents, injuries and use of first aid are reported using the schools’ accident books

All events logged are analysed by the leadership team on a weekly basis and changes are made proactively and rapidly to avoid repetition

RECORDING PUPILS 

As a school, we strongly discourage parents and carers from filming their children, or another child, when in crisis. It can be incredibly shaming for the child, and often for the parent too. When a child is in crisis we advise the adults around them look to support the child’s emotional state through acknowledging and validating the feelings that are behind the behaviour.

BULLYING

This policy must be considered alongside our anti-bullying policy. All types of bullying, including outside of school and all forms of electronic bullying, must be followed up with the same rigour and using the same processes outlined above.

ONLINE SAFETY

This policy must be considered alongside our online safety policy as many online safety incidents will be considered behavioural incidents (many may alternatively/also be safeguarding concerns and should therefore be considered as part of our safeguarding strategy).

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

At The VTC School we believe that eradicating homophobic language has a clear link to school improvement. If LGBT+ young people are not subjected to the use of homophobic language they not only feel happier, with improved self-esteem, but perform better too.

Homophobic language, even when used unconsciously and without hurtful intent, should be addressed by staff.

Staff should ensure students understand the facts about sexuality and gender identity, and understand the damage and prejudice that stereotypes can cause.

ALLEGATIONS FROM PUPILS AGAINST OTHER PUPILS

In most instances, negative conduct of pupils towards each other will be covered by this behaviour policy (and our anti-bullying policy), however, some allegations may be of a more serious nature and raise safeguarding concerns. Allegations made against another pupil may include physical abuse (for example violence, particularly pre- planned; forcing the use of drugs or alcohol), emotional abuse (for example, blackmail, extortion, threats, intimidation), sexual abuse (for example, indecent exposure, touching, sexual assault, sexting, forcing the watching of pornography) and/or sexual exploitation (for example, photographing or videoing indecent acts).

In this case, the allegation must be referred to our DSL and will be dealt with as a safeguarding concern. Further guidance on this area can be found in our safeguarding policy.

POLICY REVIEW CYCLE

This policy and all policies at The VTC School will be reviewed and updated by the leadership team as per our policy review cycle.

VTC Independent School is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive organisation, welcoming and respecting the diversity of its student, staff, community and visitors to the school.

Rationale

This policy is underpinned by the commitment of all at VTC School to ensure the safety and well-being of the whole school community and to maintain an appropriate educational environment in which all can learn and achieve.

We have an overall aim of reducing the need to use exclusion as a sanction.

Introduction 

The decision to exclude a student will be taken by the Headteacher in the following circumstances:-   (a) In response to a serious breach of the School’s Behaviour for Learning Policy;   (b) If allowing the student to remain in School would seriously harm the education or welfare of the student or others in the School. 

Exclusion is an extreme sanction and is only used by the Headteacher (or, in the absence of the Headteacher, the Deputy Headteacher who is acting in that role).

 Exclusion will be used when there is an immediate threat to the safety of others in the School or the student concerned. Before deciding whether to exclude a student either permanently or for a fixed period the Headteacher will ensure appropriate investigations have been carried out, considering all the evidence available.

Exclusion, whether fixed term or permanent may be used for any of the following, all of which constitute examples of unacceptable conduct, and are infringements of the School’s Behaviour for Learning Policy: 

Verbal abuse to Staff and others   Verbal abuse to student   Physical abuse to/attack on Staff   Physical abuse to/attack on student   Indecent behaviour  Damage to property   Misuse of illegal drugs or other substances including supplying  Theft   Serious actual or threatened violence against another pupil or a member of staff.  Sexual abuse or assault.  Carrying an offensive weapon. Arson. 

Unacceptable behaviour which has previously been reported and for which School sanctions and other interventions have not been successful in modifying the student’s behaviour. 

 This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other situations where the Headteacher makes the judgment that exclusion is an appropriate sanction. 

Exclusion procedure 

 Most exclusions are of a fixed term nature and are of short duration (usually between one and three days). The DCFS regulations allow the Headteacher to exclude a student for one or more fixed periods not exceeding 45 school days in any one school year.  Following exclusion parents/carers are contacted immediately where possible. A letter will be sent by post giving details of the exclusion and the date the exclusion ends. Parents/carers have a right to make representations to the Governing Body and Children’s Services Directorate, Social Inclusion Officer at the LA as directed in the letter.  A ‘return to School’ meeting will be held following the expiry of the fixed term exclusion and this will involve the student, parent/carer, a member of the Senior Leadership Team, a Director and other staff where appropriate. It is school practice to monitor behaviour and work of the student very closely for the period following exclusion. This may mean the use of a report or close support by staff. If the fixed term exclusion is greater than five days or an accumulation of exclusions exceed five days, a Pastoral Support Plan may be drawn up. This needs to be agreed with the School, student, parents/carers and any agencies involved. During the course of a fixed term exclusion where the student is to be at home, parents/carers are advised that the student is not allowed on the school premises, and that daytime supervision is their responsibility, as parents/carers. Fixed term exclusions over five days 

According to DCFS guidance school is obliged to provide full time education from the sixth day of any period of fixed term exclusion of six days or longer.  The school will consult with the LA officers for any exclusion of more than five days in order that appropriate full time education and transport is arranged.  

The school will provide education by working with a Pupil Referral Unit, The Local Authority

The school will liaise with the outside education provider to ensure that the student continues with their programme of study. In most cases the school will set the work to be completed and ensure that it is completed appropriately.  

Permanent Exclusion 

The decision to exclude a student permanently is a very serious one. There are two main types of situation in which permanent exclusion may be considered. 

The first is a final, formal step in a concerted process for dealing with disciplinary issues following the use of a wide range of other strategies, which have been used without success. It is an acknowledgement that all available strategies have been exhausted and is used as a last resort. This would include persistent and defiant misbehaviour e.g. repeated bullying (which could include racist or homophobic bullying) or repeated possession and or use of an illegal drug on school premises.     The second is where there are exceptional circumstances and it is not appropriate to implement other strategies and where it could be appropriate to permanently exclude a student for a first or ‘one off’ offence. These might include: 

 Serious actual or threatened violence against another student or a member of staff. Sexual abuse or assault. Supplying an illegal drug. Carrying an offensive weapon*.Arson. 

The School will consider police involvement for any of the above offences. 

Offensive weapons are defined in the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 as “any article made or adapted for causing injury to the person; or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him.”  These instances are not exhaustive but indicate the severity of such offences and the fact that such behaviour seriously affects the discipline and wellbeing of the School. 

Exercise of discretion 

In reaching a decision, the Headteacher or Assistant will always look at each case on its own merits. Therefore, a tariff system, fixing a standard penalty for a particular action, is both unfair and inappropriate. 

In considering whether permanent exclusion is the most appropriate sanction, the Headteacher will consider the gravity of the incident, or series of incidents, and whether it constitutes a serious breach of the School’s Behaviour Policy and the effect that the student remaining in the School would have on the education and welfare of other students and staff. 

In line with its statutory duty, these same tests of appropriateness will form the basis of the deliberations at a Governors exclusion appeals hearing/meeting, when it meets to consider the Headteacher’s decision to exclude. 

Alternatives to Exclusion 

The School works closely with other local secondary schools to undertake managed moves where such a course of action would be of benefit both to the student and the two schools concerned. However, the threat of a permanent exclusion will never be used as the means to persuade parents/carers to move their son/daughter to another school. 

 Lunchtime Exclusion 

 Students whose behaviour at lunchtime is disruptive may be excluded from the school premises for the duration of the lunchtime period. This will be treated as fixed term exclusion and parents will have the same right to gain information and to appeal. 

 Behaviour Outside School 

 Student’ behaviour outside School on school “business” for example educational visits and journeys, away school sports fixtures or a work experience placement is subject to the School’s Behaviour for Learning Policy. Inappropriate behaviour in these circumstances will be dealt with as if it had taken place in school. If student’ behaviour in the immediate vicinity of the school or on a journey to and from school is inappropriate and meets the school criteria for exclusion then the Headteacher may decide to exclude. 

Drug Related Exclusions   In making a decision on whether or not to exclude for a drug-related offence the Headteacher will have regard to the school’s published policies and will also seek advice from the LA’s Drugs Education Advisor. 

Review Date:   August 2020

Next Review Date: August 2021

 

  • Our innovative curriculum, including therapies
  • Teaching, learning and assessment
  • English, literacy and handwriting, including how we support students with English as an additional language
  • Mathematics and numeracy
  • Personal, social and health education (PSHE) and students’ Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC)
  • Impartial careers information, advice and guidance
  • Assessment, marking & feedback

Reviewed by Govern Body – October 2019

Next Review Date – October 2020

This document outlines simply, efficiently and clearly the key things we do at The VTC School to ensure that our students access an outstanding quality of education and make accelerated progress. All students at The VTC School have additional special educational needs, including (as examples) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Dyslexia and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Some of our students may have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

OUR CURRICULUM INTENT

Vision

  • By linking education activities, we aim to turn young people’s lives and set them onto a more positive track.
  • Our motto: ‘Attitude is Everything’ underpins this vision.

Ethos and aims

We provide:

  • a place where students feel safe and secure
  • a rich curriculum that enables students to re-engage with learning through Engineering
  • students with the necessary skills to manage their behaviour and emotions so that they make the right choices
  • excellent facilities for education, engineering and training
  • a well-qualified staff team who are highly skilled in helping students to flourish, by breaking the cycle of adversity often caused by difficult childhood experiences, including trauma, toxic stress and associated mental health difficulties.

In addition, we promote the following values:

AttitudeRespect – Responsibility – Resilience.

  • The VTC School teaches a timetable and curriculum to all students which includes English, Engineering,  Mathematics, biology, personal, social, health education (PSHE) (which incorporates religious education and citizenship), physical education (PE) and Art.
  • The curriculum design is strongly differentiated to meet students’ needs and to incorporate the various therapieson offer.
  • Our curriculum model enables students’ learning to be developed sequentially over time, where learning builds from one year/key stage to another. This ensures that students are well prepared for life after The VTC School.
  • Teachers have real flexibility to adapt their planning to meet the needs of the very complex and challenging students whom they know and understand well.
  • Our focus is facilitating quality opportunities for students to learn and make progress. Teachers produce curriculum overviews which are carefully planned to build from one term to the next. Clear differentiation in meeting the needs of all individual students in the class is shown Students’ learning is evaluated regularly and activities amended accordingly, so as to plan for real

All parts of the school day, including breakfast, breaktimes, lunchtimes and assembly are utilised to the full to deliver the curriculum, including SMSC through the PSHE programme. Breaktimes and lunchtimes have to be structured and community activities (including eating together) are again fundamental pillars of our curriculum.

Key stage 3 and 4

At the VTC School, the key stage 4 curriculum offer comprises of a range of academic and vocational qualifications forYears 9, 10 and 11. The core curriculum includes GCSEs and/or Functional Skills in English and mathematics, biology, engineering, PE, Art and PSHE.

Key stage 5

At key stage 5, The VTC School intends to offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications for Years 12 and 13. Students can study a range of qualifications:

  • English and mathematics GCSE re-takes.
  • Functional Skills – English and mathematics
  • Engineering – Level 2 First Certificate, Level 2 Motorsport
  • Level 2 Employability
  • LIBF Level 1 / 2 in Financial Education
  • PSHE

THERAPY

The range of therapies we offer, include:

  • Speech & language therapy (SALT)
  • Dog therapy.
  • Mental Health support through MIND

Who can access therapy?

All of our students may benefit from having some form of therapy. At The VTC School, we tailor each student’stherapeutic programme so that it meets their individual needs.

The support can be accessed as and when it is required: on a day-to-day basis or through more regular one-to-one or group sessions. Our range of therapies is not entirely dependent on spoken language.

How can therapy help?

Students who have endured (and continue to endure) adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), toxic stress and/or associated mental health difficulties will likely have high cortisol (stress) levels and low self-esteem.

Therapy works to:

  • provide students with an opportunity to express and reflect on their thoughts, feelings and experiences in a safe environment
  • student to build a positive therapeutic relationship with the therapist, which raises self-esteem and can alter negative attachment strategies
  • enhances a student’s emotional well-being and encourages creative problem solving
  • improve self-esteem, confidence and self-worth
  • help to develop student’s emotional vocabulary, encouraging and enabling them to identify and name theiremotions
  • help to develop effective strategies to manage their behaviour and their ability to self-regulate their emotions
  • help to remove barriers to learning and facilitate better engagement with the curriculum.

Who can benefit from therapy?

Students who may benefit, include those:

  • who have experienced Behaviour and Emotional abuse/or high levels of stress and unpredictability
  • who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • with social communication difficulties
  • who experience low self-esteem and fear of failure
  • who struggling with life events, such as grief and loss, changes within the family or home, illness
  • who have suffered abuse, bullying or other trauma
  • with learning

Supporting families

The VTC School helps families in a targeted and supportive way. Senior staff meet parents/ carers when their child joins our school to gain a picture of family life, the needs of the student and how we can best support them. We are able to offer parents emotional and practical advice to support their child’s journey at The VTC School. We are also able to act as a strong link between the family and social care, North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) and paediatric care, and facilitate regular meetings and/or conversations in which we can suggest strategies in the home.

Home visits

Home visits are part of our practice, with their core aims being to:

  • gain greater insight into the student’s home environment in order to understand the whole This is non-judgemental and arranged purely to better meet our students’ needs
  • reduce anxiety and increase attendance
  • build positive relationships with the family
  • offer time to the family in their own environment to show a greater sense of support.

Risk assessments

  • There will always be either: two members of staff at every home visit; or one member of staff and a parent/carer present.
  • Home visits will be undertaken by a teacher or outreach worker.
  • Staff will always gain consent from families prior to the
  • Robust home visit/risk assessments, alongside individual risk assessments will be completed in

Confidentiality

 Typically, therapists ensure that all sessions are kept confidential in order to maintain trust within the therapeuticrelationship and to create a space that feels safe to explore sensitive and meaningful aspects of the student’s life. A therapist may break confidentiality if they become concerned about a safeguarding risk. The decision to break confidentiality is subject to the professional judgment of the therapist but will always be made with the best interestsof the student in mind and with full consideration given to the full context within which the disclosure was made and the foreseeable risks surrounding the concern. Where possible, the therapist will seek consent from the student before making an external disclosure or reporting a concern, unless there is an immediate risk of harm.

Sharing of information/therapists’ notes

 Therapists keep records securely and confidentially in the head of Centre’s office. Records are kept in order to ensure that actions are conducted in a timely manner and that an ongoing chronology is maintained. Information about students’ progress in therapy sessions (in terms of their social and emotional wellbeing and development) is providedto the leadership team on a regular basis.

TEACHING, LEARNING & ASSESSMENT

Students learn in many different ways.  Many of our students have   particularly complex needs. This often manifests itself in poor behavior and becomes a barrier to them making the progress. They generally arrive with a history of poor attendance, placement gaps and a multitude of exclusions, and have therefore missed significant periods of education. As a result of this, they often arrive with very low self-esteem and consider themselves a failure.

Our job as staff is therefore a significant challenge but one that is faced with enthusiasm and energy. We achieve this in a number of ways:

 We teach using precise learning objectives and differentiated success criteria for each lesson

  • We facilitate learning using a wide range of activities and strategies borne out of in-depth knowledge of ourstudents
  • Where appropriate, we use ‘cold’ (pre) tasks to check for prior understanding and plenaries to check that our students have fully understood the learning objective.
  • We plan and teach in reference to our assessment milestones, curriculum plans and individual students’ learning
  • We teach according to our students’ preferred learning styles (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) and forms of intelligence (mathematical/logical, visual/spatial, interpersonal, musical) as best we can
  • We ensure that the best possible environment for learning by developing a positive atmosphere in which students feel safe and that they  belong,  enjoy learning and being challenged, trust that they can take risks with their learning and know that they can and will succeed
  • We ensure that teaching builds on previous learning through a learning sequence and that constant praise, engaging learning tasks and positive use of our behaviour system keeps students motivated
  • We ensure that learning tasks are varied and tailored to individuals, and include investigation and problem-solving tasks, use of ICT, debates, role-plays, design and making activities, critical     thinking tasks and time for Students work in a variety of ways – in groups, pairs, with the whole class or independently, depending on the task and the individual
  • We encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning, to be involved as far as possible in reviewing the way in which they learn, and to reflect on how they learn best – what helps them learn, and whatmakes it difficult.
  • Teachers deploy support staff effectively, tailoring what they do to the learning activity and students’ needs. Sometimes, they work with individual students, sometimes with small groups, and sometimes they ‘float’ to support whole-class learning. Whilst they may be used to help a student to calm down or take time out, their focus is primarily one of supporting learning
  • We ensure our classrooms are attractive learning environments. We change displays regularly so that the classroom reflects the subject themes and current topics being studied by the students. All students have the opportunity to display their We believe that a stimulating yet calm environment sets the climate for learning, and that an organised classroom promotes focus and independent use of resources, which results inhigh-quality learning
  • Leaders and advisors monitor the quality of education through learning walks, lesson observations, workbookscrutiny, workbook moderations student progress meetings, student, teacher and parent interviews and feedback to staff with constructive developmental targets
  • We believe that parents & carers have a fundamental role to play in helping students learn which is why wehave, student progress days where parents & carers can meet staff to discuss their child’s report, achievement and progress; these are written in accessible language with clear explanations about effort and expected levels of progress
  • We support students with English as an additional language (EAL) through planning differentiated tasks during lessons, offering focused vocabulary support and also provide targeted literacy support on a 1:1 basis if this is appropriate. In addition, we ensure that our classrooms are vocabulary rich and that classroom displays reflect and support the current learning topics in order to reinforce new vocabulary.

ENGLISH: LITERACY, READING AND WRITING

Raising students’ literacy levels is of fundamental importance to us. Our students have missed out on crucial parts oftheir education as a result of exclusion, isolation and lack of support. It is up to us to facilitate their accelerated progress in their phonics, reading and writing despite the multiple challenges they face.

With this in mind, we provide:

  • Students who are in need of additional one-to-one or group intervention access this with either a member of the support staff team or a qualified teacher. This includes intensive phonics, reading and writing support.
  • Students have access to a variety of engaging fiction and non-fiction texts in their classrooms. The teaching of writing encompasses a wide range of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, which prepare students for later life (for example writing reports, recounts and letters).
  • Achievement in reading and writing is celebrated
  • Reading is given a high profile across all subjects, and cross-curricular opportunities to develop reading skills are planned throughout the week. Strong links are made between reading and subjects such as sports science, history and
  • Students who have a diagnosis of dyslexia are supported through targeted literacy support using resources specifically designed for them. Their progress is closely monitored and interventions put in place.
  • Teachers plan regular guided writing opportunities, which enable them to demonstrate word, sentence and text level skills with small groups of students or one-to-one.
  • We believe that neat, well-formed handwriting and the presentation of written work helps to raise standards. Students should take pride and have a sense of ownership in their
  • At the VTC School, students in Years 10 and 11 will work towards GCSE English or the highest level of functionalskills qualification in English they are capable

MATHEMATICS & NUMERACY

Students arrive with us displaying varying degrees of competency in mathematics, many with large gaps in their knowledge of basic concepts due to disrupted periods of schooling. Often, students have missed out on the early learning experiences necessary to cement key mathematical skills and concepts.

With this in mind, we provide: 

  • Daily mathematics lessons which focus on mastery of concepts but take into account each student’s unique starting
  • High quality, practical resources which help mathematics to ‘come alive’ for our students. Teachers strive to present each new skill within a practical context that has relevance for our students. For example, measuring may be taught through the medium of
  • Displays in classrooms which support and scaffold students’ knowledge of mathematics concepts. Mathematics prompts on learning walls in classes reflect the current mathematics unit being taught. Other displays in classes (such as multiplication tables) help to immerse students in a number rich
  • Regular problem-solving activities are planned in order to provide students with the opportunity to apply their mathematics skills in different contexts, and begin to develop abilities for higher order thinking
  • A variety of interactive resources to help students to learn and cement complex mathematical concepts. ICT is used in different ways to demonstrate key concepts and allow a range of opportunities for students to explore theirown mathematical Online teaching tools such as BKSB are used, where appropriate, to offer students the opportunity to master mathematical skills.
  • The VTC School, students in Years 10 and 11 work towards GCSE mathematics or the highest level of functionalskills qualification in mathematics they are capable

PERSONAL, SOCIAL, HEALTH EDUCATION (PSHE) and SPIRITUAL, MORAL, SOCIAL & CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (SMSC)

 Developing our students’ social skills and teaching them about healthy living, preparing them for life in modern Britain and enabling them to make positive life choices is of considerable importance. 

A weekly formal lesson of PSHE is not enough in a school setting such as ours, which is why we have developed a curriculum which encompasses regular themed assemblies and visits from outside speakers. We also link and track PSHE and SMSC across the curriculum.

As well as fulfilling the objectives in our tailored PSHE schemes of work at all key stages, we aim to develop allstudents’:

SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT (S)

  • ability to be reflective about themselves
  • use of imagination and creativity in their learning
  • willingness to reflect on their experiences

MORAL DEVELOPMENT (M)

  • understanding of right and wrong
  • respect for the rule of law in modern Britain
  • understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (S)

  • use of a range of social skills in different contexts
  • willingness to participate, cooperating well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively
  • understanding of, and engagement with, the fundamental British values of democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT (C)

  • understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within the school, the United Kingdom and overseas
  • knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system
  • positive participation to sporting and cultural opportunities
  • improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity.

We do the following:

  • Teach values across the school as part of our wider curriculum. These values:
  • form the basis for weekly assemblies
  • form the basis for learning conversations around the school
  • contribute to the planning and content of discrete PSHE lessons
  • link closely with Fundamental British Values.

Formally teach a Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) scheme of work to our key stage 3 students which aims to:

  • help students develop an understanding of the different types of relationships, including family relationships
  • help students to develop skills in forming and maintaining relationships with others, including their peers
  • teach students about the changes to their body that occur during puberty
  • introduce students to reproduction.

At key stage 4, Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is within PSHE lessons enabling students to discuss the topic in a mature and inclusive way. 

This includes topics such as ‘Personal and Social Relationships’ and ‘Managing Social Relationships’.

Formally teach e-safety to students of all ages across the school, according to age and ability.

Formally teach PSHE to all key stage  4  students  on a regular basis which focuses on:

  • the development of social skills, including managing anger and emotions, building relationships, dealing with conflict and making positive choices, including online as part of e-safety education
  • the development of anti-discriminatory understanding including knowledge and understanding of bullying, cyber-bullying, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and religious tolerance
  • preparation for life in modern Britain and knowledge of fundamental British values, including culturaldiversity, mutual respect, the rule of law, democracy, right & wrong, consequences and the range of faiths, religions and values in Britain and London
  • providing opportunities for reflection, thinking, discussion and formal argument
  • helping our community, supporting charity and helping others
  • personal health and how to stay healthy with specific focus on nutrition and exercise
  • the development of the understanding of risk and keeping safe in everyday life
  • an understanding of the world of business and consumers through enterprise projects and fundraising for projects and/or

Carefully planned and differentiated activities ensure that all students begin to view and  understand themselves  in  the  context  of  wider  society,  in a structured and supportive way.

In addition, our PSHE curriculum also ensures that students have the opportunity to:

  • learn about public institutions and services in England (for example, the Royal family, Government, national health service, fire service and the police)
  • develop an understanding of the importance of tolerance and equality while challenging prejudice and We teach specific lessons which promote tolerance of different family structures and recognise that whilst not everyone’s families are the same, they should all be respected and valued as part of an inclusive school community.

Our provision supports the development of students’ PSHE skills in the following ways:

  • we provide all placed students with relevant therapies with trained members of the staff team and external therapists, for example, dog therapy and  speech & language therapy, therapy to meet varying personal, social & health needs
  • we provide students with a varied curriculum that draws on the expertise of visitors to  support  their  personal,  social  and  health   education,   including motivational speakers and enrichment activities which develop and broaden students’ interests and talents
  • we hold regular sessions on the importance of staying safe and healthy, for example on drug and alcohol awareness. The VTC School has developed a strong partnership with several other schools in this area. For example, students will be able to attend a health fair, construction sessions and army personnel will be invited into the school.

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

Lessons will be taught to students in line with British Values which also promote equal opportunities and an understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Assembly topics will be carefully chosen to ensure students understand the facts about sexuality and gender identity, and understand the damage and prejudice that stereotypes can cause.

IMPARTIAL CAREERS INFORMATION, ADVICE & GUIDANCE

The Careers programme is part of the VTC planned curriculum and is designed to provide students with a range of qualifications and skills to lead successful and worthwhile lives when they leave VTC. The programme includes these elements:

  • learning derived from current career and labour market information
  • addressing the specific needs of each student in the form of personal guidance
  • placing careers education within the curriculum as a whole
  • mapping careers activities to evidence meeting the statutory requirements of the Gatsby career benchmarks:
  • encounters with employers and employees
  • encounters with further education
  • personal guidance.

In addition, the  careers programme promotes and develops the confidence and skills that will benefit the young people in their future careers.  It enables students to participate in real-life working environments. Visits from guest speakers from the professions, higher education, industry and local businesses give pupils opportunities to learn about the specific skills and qualities required for different types of work.

Our Pastoral Manager and Careers Leader works closely with local authority officers and the Careers Enterprise Advisor to ensure that the school is compliant with the Gatsby benchmarks.

Key stage 4 students investigate possible future career paths in timetabled careers lessons.

As they move through the school, older students access additional careers experiences through employability lessons. Also, all students have the opportunity to attend careers fairs in order to make contact with future potential employers and to find out about the world of work.

National Careers Service (NCS)

 Each student is required to complete the NCS skills and health assessments. These enables students to find out about themselves and the different career pathways open to them.

ASSESSMENT, MARKING & FEEDBACK

 Students work is assessed and marked in the following way:

  1. Current Status: grades which reflect the status of students at any one moment in time in relation to course criteria i.e. where are they at now.
  2. Predicted grades: grades which a student should obtain if they continue working at their current rate.
  3. Target grades: grades a student will obtain in an examination based upon FFT Model D.

FOR TRACKING PURPOSES:

In KS3, KS4 and KS5 the VTC will use Current Status and Predicted Grades against Target Grades, based upon GCSE grades for all subjects whether DiDA, BTEC or GCSE.

Effort and behaviour will always be checked daily to be excellent and intervention will take place where this is not the case as identified by predicted grades against target grades. Not ‘on target’ requires immediate investigation.

BASELINE

  • Students often arrive at The VTC School with limited or no assessment data, which is often unreliable.
  • We assess students’ knowledge during their first weeks with us in order to baseline their level of skill in English and mathematics.
  • We immediately begin gathering evidence of work across the curriculum in order to track the student’s progress and to develop them as a person.
  • During their first term at The VTC School, students in Years 10 and 11 are baselined using the BKSB diagnostic tool to determine their starting points and to set meaningful English and mathematics targets functional skills grading criteria. For all other subjects, students are baselined using a range of assessments in their chosen qualification areas (the grading for which will depend on the qualification g. levels of progress towards a pass, merit and distinction in BTEC qualifications).

MARKING STUDENTS’ WORK: KEY POINTS

Marking and feedback is the dialogue that takes place between teacher and learner, in order to ensure that learning objectives are met and that students are secure in their knowledge. This may take a number of forms, including a written dialogue for older students, or a verbal dialogue for younger students.

  • The process of marking and offering feedback is positive and marked in a positive colour (green).

Students work is marked according to The VTC School marking policy.

We mark students’ work and offer feedback in order to: 

  • show that we value the students’ work, and encourage them to value it too
  • boost students’ self-esteem through use of praise and encouragement
  • help students learn. If students’ work is well matched to their abilities, then errors that need to be corrected willnot be so numerous as to affect their self-esteem
  • promote self-and-peer assessment
  • provide students with specific information on the extent to which they have met the lesson objective and success criteria/or the individual targets set for them
  • provide a basis both for summative and formative assessment
  • provide the ongoing assessment that should inform future lesson-planning.

We ensure that:

  • comments are appropriate to the age and ability of the student
  • comments focus on the most significant strength and weakness for improvement, at any one time
  • ticks are normal where work is correct, and annotations where errors have been Other symbols may be used once their meaning has been explained.
  • wherever possible, teachers should establish direct links between oral or written praise and the class or school rewards systems
  • when self or peer assessment has been undertaken (i.e. students may mark their own or another student’s work) the teacher must always review this marking
  • teaching assistants are permitted to participate in marking and giving feedback provided they have been prepared/briefed on the teacher’s expectations of the lesson and outcomes and that their input is reviewed by the teacher
  • At The VTC School, marking is bespoke to the subject being taught and specialists’ professionalism takes priority –an Engineering teacher is likely to take a different approach to an English teacher. However, there is consistency in so much that feedback to students must be high-quality, regular and accurately recorded  in  books,  folders,   or   Staff are as responsible for students’ rapid progress in all their chosen and  core subjects andin emotional wellbeing and skills for life as at all other school sites.

POLICY REVIEW CYCLE

This policy and all policies at The VTC School will be reviewed and updated by the leadership team and Advisory body as per our policy review.

 

Introduction

The term EAL (English as an Additional Language) is used to refer to pupils whose main language at home is other than English.  EAL pupils, from complete beginners to those with considerable fluency, will have varying degrees of difficulty in accessing the full curriculum and in achieving their full potential. Research has shown that those new to English will acquire conversational fluency in two years but will need a minimum of five years to achieve competence in academic English. Such pupils will need language support if they are to reach their full

potential. The provision of this support fulfils the requirements of the Race Relations Act of 1976 which seeks to promote Equality of Opportunity and to eliminate discrimination in the provision of education.

This policy sets out VTC’s aims, objectives and strategies about the needs and skills of EAL pupils.

 Aims

  • To welcome and value the cultural, linguistic and educational experiences that

pupils with EAL bring to the school.

  • To implement school strategies to ensure that EAL pupils are supported

in accessing the curriculum.

  • To help EAL pupils to become confident and to acquire the English language

skills they need to be able to fulfil their academic potential.

 Objectives

  • To be able to assess the skills and needs of pupils with EAL and to provide for their needs.
  • To equip teachers and teaching support staff with the knowledge, skills and resources to be able to support and monitor pupils with EAL.
  • To monitor pupils’ progress systematically and use the data to inform classroom management, curriculum planning and the setting of targets.
  • To maintain pupils’ self-esteem and confidence by acknowledging and giving status to their skills in their own languages.

 Strategies

There will be a positive and effective language ethos:

  • There will be an understanding that a limited knowledge of English does not reflect a lack of ability or a lack of literacy in a pupil’s mother tongue.
  • Appreciating and acknowledging a pupil’s ability in her/his own culture is crucial for her/his self-esteem.
  • The language development of all students is the responsibility of all teachers and teaching support staff.
  • There will be liaison between mainstream and support departments to discuss language development within the structure of the lesson.
  • Diversity will be valued, and classrooms will be socially and intellectually inclusive.
  • Teachers will be knowledgeable about pupils’ abilities and needs in English and other subjects and use this knowledge to inform their curriculum planning, classroom teaching and pupil grouping.
  • Support will be provided in various forms, including induction classes for complete beginners in English; the provision of in-class support and work in small groups where appropriate.

 Teaching and Learning

In order to ensure that we meet the needs of EAL students, staff will:

  • assess the pupil’s fluency level as soon as possible
  • show differentiated work for EAL pupils
  • employ a range of strategies within each lesson to reinforce understanding and meaning to develop language in context
  • have high expectations, expect pupils to participate in all classroom activities/tasks
  • monitor progress carefully and ensure that EAL pupils are set appropriate and challenging tasks, including the setting of appropriate extended tasks
  • recognise that EAL pupils need more time to process answers and to complete extended work
  • allow pupils to use their mother tongue to explore concepts when appropriate
  • give newly arrived pupils time to absorb English bearing in mind that there is a “silent period” when those new to the language understand more English than they use
  • group pupils so that EAL pupils hear good models of English
  • use collaborative learning techniques

Spoken and written communication between the students and teaching and nonteaching staff, and between the Academy and parents and the local community, will be positive and appropriate, inclu

1       INTRODUCTION

The Vocational Training Centre is committed to achieving the highest standards of health, safety and welfare for employees, students and visitors, as far as is reasonably practicable, and to ensuring that they are not exposed to hazards and are protected from risk of injury or ill health.

To achieve these objectives the VTC will:

  • Provide a safe environment for students, staff and visitors, taking into account statutory requirements;
  • Provide and maintain plant and equipment as required for safe working conditions;
  • Provide all relevant information, instruction and necessary training to employees in respect of risks to their health and safety, which may arise out of their work, or at their place of work;
  • Make available all necessary safety devices and protective equipment and provide instruction, information, training and supervision in their use;
  • Consult employees and their representatives on health and safety matters through the Health and Safety Committee.

All appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the VTC meets statutory requirements, recognised codes of practice and guidance notes in the establishment of a safe and healthy environment.

2       RESPONSIBILITIES

In order that legal duties can be met all staff are expected to familiarise themselves with the health and safety aspects of their work and avoid conduct which puts themselves, or anyone else, at risk. In particular, staff should in so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • Be familiar with this Policy and ensure that staff, students, visitors and contractors comply with the policy;
  • Be aware of any special safety measures and arrangements to be adopted in their own working area, including the use of any specific protective equipment or safety devices, ensuring that any toxic or flammable substances are used, stored and labelled correctly;
  • Ensure that all plant, machinery and equipment is in good working order and does not allow for improper use;
  • Know and apply emergency procedures in respect of fire and first aid;
  • Ensure there is neither wilful misuse, nor neglect, in the use of items provided for individuals own safety, or that of others
  • Co-operate with managers and colleagues in promoting improved safety performance, following the identification of risks;
  • Co-operate with health and safety representatives; and
  • Report accidents and shortcomings in health and safety arrangements to the Director. 

2.1    RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DIRECTOR

The Director will agree to provide, as far as is reasonably practicable, a safe place for people to work including safe plant, equipment, systems and arrangements for the safe transportation of articles and substances. This will include appropriate supervision and training, safety and protective equipment and clothing. The Director will have responsibility for the implementation of the Health and Safety Policy. The person with delegated responsibility for day-to-day health and safety matters is the Health and Safety Manager.

2.2    RESPONSIBILITIES OF HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGER (ESTATES MANAGER)

The Health and Safety Manager (Estates Manager) will:

  • Ensure consultation with staff representatives, either individually or through the Health and Safety Committee;
  • Produce, for the VTC, a written statement of local arrangements to ensure the implementation of this Health and Safety Policy;
  • Ensure that all employees are aware of the contents of the local policy and review and revise it as necessary;
  • Ensure that the VTC is subjected to regular health and safety inspections and that records of significant findings are kept and acted upon;
  • Keep an up to date list of all Safety Representatives;
  • Ensure that all visitors, including contractors, receive a site specific induction procedure which covers: all risks that may be encountered, fire evacuation procedure including fire assembly points, rest facilities, toilets and washroom locations, and first aid facilities. A signed confirmation of receipt of induction is to be recorded and kept in the establishment;
  • Keep abreast of changes in Health and Safety legislation and required procedures and arrangements; by following Health and Safety updates and other circulars issued from time to time, ensuring that they are distributed to relevant staff. Maintain a file of all such material readily accessible to all employees;
  • Co-operate with accredited Safety Representatives and Safety Advisers and offer them assistance to carry out their prescribed functions; and
  • Ensure that the causes of all accidents, near misses and dangerous occurrences are investigated and reported, taking all reasonable steps to prevent a reoccurrence.

2.4    RESPONSIBILITIES OF SUPERVISORY STAFF

Whilst all staff have general duties in relation to the health and safety policy, identified supervisory staff will have direct responsibility to the Health and Safety Manager for the implementation and operation of the policy in their departments and areas of responsibility. These responsibilities will be written into the job descriptions of VTC supervisory staff.

3       PROCEDURES

3.1    FIRE SAFETY

The arrangements for ensuring that safety precautions are followed on each site in the event of a fire are attached at Annex A. This includes arrangements for fire drills, fire extinguishers and evacuation procedures in the event of an incident.

In the context of a fire evacuation it is important that the VTC understand who is on the site. Therefore any members of staff going off site must ensure that they sign out at the main office and that where any visitors are brought onto the site they are appropriately registered.

3.2    ACCIDENT REPORTING

All accidents need to be reported in accordance with the arrangements set out in the staff handbook. 

3.3    HAZARD REPORTING

An important feature of the policy is the operation of an effective hazard reporting system. Any employee (or contractor, visitor service user etc) is encouraged to report any sub-standard condition or practice.

3.4    FIRST AID

The VTC will ensure that there is, as a minimum, at least the regulatory number of certified first-aiders as is required.  The contacts for these will be displayed prominently around the sites. Supplies of first aid materials will be held at various locations across the VTC.

3.5    EQUIPMENT

The VTC will ensure that staff and students are provided with appropriate protective and safety equipment and will ensure that equipment is checked periodically to ensure that it meets necessary standards.

3.6    HOUSEKEEPING

The Site Manager will monitor the standard of cleaning and the arrangements for waste collection. 

3.7    VISITORS

Arrangements for visitors, contractors and other users of the VTC are fully set out in the VTC’s Visitors Policy.

Arrangements for Visitors, Contractors and Other Users of the VTC 

All visitors to the VTC should be signed in at the appropriate reception. All Visitors will be collected from reception by the member of staff concerned or escorted to the appropriate area of the centre.

No contractor may undertake work on the VTC site without permission from the Director other than in an emergency, e.g. fire, flooding or to make safe following theft/vandalism.

Contractors are responsible for the Health and Safety of their employees and for their safe working practices, which must not constitute a hazard to staff, students and visitors to the VTC.

Whilst on site, all visitors and contractors must wear the appropriate VTC visitor’s badge. 

ANNEX A [Health and Safety Policy]

FIRE SAFETY PROCEDURES

The following sets out the key aspects of the VTC’s approach to fire safety:

FIRE PRECAUTIONS

Key aspects of the fire precaution procedures are set out below:

  1. a) Fire drills are to be undertaken at a minimum of once per term
  2. b) Fire exits and routes are to be clearly marked in all areas, and to be left obstruction free at all times;
  3. c) Fire notices are to be displayed in all classrooms, teaching and working areas; and are to give the appropriate exit route from that area;
  4. d) It is the responsibility of the Site Manager to ensure that the fire alarm systems are serviced according to the installer’s schedule, and that any repairs are undertaken as soon as they become apparent;
  5. e) Fire extinguishers/equipment are to be situated throughout the VTC at key points. Staff should ensure that they are aware of their location; and
  6. f) Fire alarms are to be tested at least weekly by the Site Manager.

EVACUATION PROCEDURE

When the alarm sounds the Site Manager, should check the alarm status at the alarm panel. They should then investigate the reason for the alarm, at the alarm point identified.

The alarm should not be silenced at this point.

The VTC is to evacuate on the alarm sounding. The priority is to evacuate the VTC to ensure the safety, of students, staff and visitors.

The Site Manager, will decide whether to call the Fire Brigade based on the investigation of the alarm point. Alternatively, they will pass on the all-clear to the Director (the alarm will be silenced at this point).

Students are to line up at the designated assembly point. Staff should vacate the building with their students and supervise them at all times, ensuring they progress speedily to the appropriate assembly point.  Once at the assembly point, they should register the group and then send a student to inform the Director as appropriate, of any students who are missing. Individual visitors should follow the member of staff being visited to the assembly point.

Support staff should report to their appropriate Manager. Learning Support Staff should remain with the group/subject area they are working in or associated with and assist with the evacuation.

Everyone is to remain at the assembly point, until the ‘all clear’ instruction is given.

In the event of an evacuation no member of staff, or student, should re-enter the building without the permission of the Director.  All staff, on entering any area of the VTC, should check that everything is in order. If it is not, the Site Manager should be informed immediately. If there is a potential hazard, the room should be vacated and the Site Manager informed immediately

In the event of a fire, the Fire Brigade will take overall responsibility.

The Director will monitor the implementation and application of this policy and review it every year.

Date policy produced: September 2020

Next Review September 2021

Principals and Ethos

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to provide trained persons, equipment etc., to deal with first aid emergencies and ill health occurring at work.

Aims and Objectives 

The aims and objectives of this policy are to cover both the VTC’s approach to first aid and the medical treatment of students. It does not, however, remove any duty of care obligations placed on individuals who find themselves in emergency situations related to first aid.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Director is responsible for:

  • making and reviewing the generic policy for the VTC;
  • ensuring that the VTC’s policy is being followed;
  • making periodic reports to the VTC as required.
  • Identifying arrangements that inform and facilitate any medical treatment of students whilst at the VTC;
  • Establishing the first aid need by risk assessment;
  • Identifying suitable employees who are willing to undertake first aid training and annual refresher training;
  • Providing adequate first aid equipment and facilities;
  • Informing employees and site facilities managers of the location of the first aid personnel and equipment available to them in their working environment.

The responsibilities above have been delegated to the Director to discharge them in the appropriate manner. Many of these duties will be subsequently discharged to the VTC Health Advisor to implement on their appointment.

The VTC Health Advisor is Responsible for:

  • All medical information received by the VTC will be passed to the VTC Health Advisor who will treat it confidentially.
  • Updating the medical notice board of relevant members of staff and pupils who are known to have medical problems.  
  • Informing members of staff of any medication brought into the VTC and any information regarding any prescribed medication made available to the staff.

Parents and Guardians are Responsible for:

  • Providing the VTC with any information to care for individual students and complete a Medical Statement form to identify any medical needs. This may require endorsement from the student’s General Practitioner.
  • The VTC has a strict procedure that no medication will be administered unless consent has been given by the parent/carer. Parents/carers will be contacted depending upon the nature of the medical problem.

Methods of Implementation

First Aid

If a student becomes ill and a member of staff feels that medical treatment is required, the student should be sent to the appropriate First Aider (Miss R Rogers)  To the Medical Room accompanied by another student if necessary.

If the teacher feels that the student is too ill or injured to be moved, then a designated First Aider will be called. If it is thought that follow-up treatment is required, the parent/carer will be contacted or a letter sent home with the student. In more serious cases, where hospital attention is deemed necessary, the VTC will contact parents, who will be expected to take their child to hospital. In an emergency, an ambulance must be called and the parent/carer contacted by the VTC.  In the absence of a parent/carer, an appropriate member of staff will accompany the student to the hospital either in the ambulance or by car and remain there until the parent/carer arrives. A taxi will return the member of staff to the VTC if appropriate. If a parent/carer cannot be contacted, the VTC will act in loco parentis and give permission for any emergency treatment.

The VTC will provide general advice to assist staff in their response to the practical aspects of management of asthma attacks, diabetes, epilepsy and anaphylactic reactions. The VTC will keep a record of students who may require such treatment. The VTC expects all parents/carers whose children may require such treatment to ensure that appropriate medication has been logged with the VTC together with clear guidance on the usage of the medication.

Accidents involving a pupil’s head may not be evident (e.g. internal) and the effects only become noticeable after a period of time.  If the injury is minor, all head injuries should be monitored closely and a head injury form should be completed and given to the parents.  Any serious head injuries should always be referred for Hospital treatment.

First Aiders

A number of staff will be trained as First Aiders. The VTC Health Advisor will ensure that the candidates for First Aid training are physically and educationally suited and are willing to undergo training and act as a qualified First Aider. Guidance from the Occupational Health and Welfare Service will be used to inform the VTC Health Advisor how to identify suitable candidates.

The VTC Health Advisor will ensure that candidates are fully briefed on the role and requirements of being a First Aider.  The First Aider role includes:

  • The administration of first aid, up to but not exceeding the level of their training;
  • Ensuring that any incident and treatment given is recorded in suitable local register;
  • Reporting immediately to the Health Advisor (and if necessary the Director) by telephone, all incidents requiring the attendance of a student, member of staff or any person to hospital;
  • Ensuring that all spillages of body fluids are cleared up promptly, maintaining stocks of first aid kit/box; and
  • Ensuring, in liaison with management, that appropriate documentation is completed and that reportable accidents are reported to the line manager as soon as possible after dealing with the immediate effects.

The First Aider should also ensure that their own recommended immunisations/injections are up to date and that they report any illness or injuries which would preclude their abilities to administer first aid, to local management to arrange alternative cover.

Training and Equipment

Any first aid training must be carried out in line with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requirements, and by registered and approved providers. Full training will be made available in accordance HSE and legislative requirements. First Aiders have a responsibility to attend refresher training.

 Details on the training available (statutory and non-statutory) are provided at appendix A. A register in the form of a training matrix database to provide an up to date record of personnel trained in first aid which informs the VTC Health Advisor when staff require refresher/re-qualification training will be maintained.

Details on the equipment to be retained by the First Aider are provided at appendix B.

Indemnities and Insurance

Where an employee acting in the course of their employment administers first aid assistance to another employee or other person in the charge of the VTC, such as a student, they will be indemnified by the liability insurance for a claim of negligence relating to injury or loss caused by their actions, provided that:

  • They are an officially designated First Aider with a current valid First Aid at Work Certificate and have attended relevant refresher training;
  • They have a current valid Appointed Persons Training Certificate and have attended relevant refresher training;
  • The relevant protective equipment (PPE) is used;
  • The First Aider is adhering to protocols and acting within the limitations of their training; and

the First Aider is acting in good faith.

Additional Information

The management of first aid provision and the relevant arrangements will be part of health and safety audits conducted.  If Trade Union Safety Representatives have concerns over the provision of First Aid cover, they should raise them with the Health Advisor in the first instance (and the Director if necessary).

Monitoring and Evaluation

The Director, with the aid of the VTC Health Advisor, will monitor the policy.

Appendices to this Policy

Appendix A:  First Aid Training

Appendix B:  First Aid Equipment and Facilities

Review date: August 2021

The Director will monitor the implementation and application of this policy and review it every year.

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

Child Protection Policy
Based on guidance issued by the Secretary of State, the latest of which is Keeping Children

Safe in Education, Department for Education (DfE), September 2020.

This policy includes our schools’ procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff (pages 27-30). This policy should be considered in conjunction with our anti-bullying, equalities, online safety, whistleblowing, attendance, first aid & medication, health & safety including risk assessment policies.

 

Reviewed by SLT – August 2020

Next Review Date – August 2021

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

KEY CONTACTS & POLICY REVIEW INFORMATION

Designated Safeguarding Lead (VTC School)

Paul Thompson DSL@vocationaltrainingcentre.co.uk

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (VTC School)

TBC

Safeguarding Advisory Board Member

Kerry Jones kjones@vocationaltrainingcentre.co.uk

The phone number for Kent County Council LADO

03000410888

Formal policy review and validation by our Advisory team

September 2021

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

VTC Independent School understands that our work in safeguarding and protecting children must always have regard for the national guidance issued by the Secretary of State and should be in line with local guidance and procedures. This policy is therefore written with due regard to national guidance, the latest of which is Keeping Children Safe in Education (September, 2020) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE, 2018) as well as Prevent Duty Guidance: for England and Wales (July 2015) . Our schools’ procedures for safeguarding children are also compliant with the KCC Child Protection Procedures produced by the Kent Safeguarding Children multi-agency partnership..

This policy is available to everybody, in hard copy from our school or from our website:

www.vtcindependentschool.co.uk

All staff at VTC Independent School know that a range of other school policies are central to many aspects of the schools’ child protection policy, and this document should therefore be read in conjunction with our policies for:

  • Anti-Bullying
    § Attendance
    § Online safety
    § Equalities
    § First Aid & Medication § Health & Safety
  • Risk Assessment § Whistleblowing

All adults working with, or on behalf of, our schools must always follow all our procedures.

Our policy is regularly updated (as identified on page 1) by the designated safeguarding lead and updates are disseminated to all staff via emails and safeguarding briefings and updates, which are provided on most of staff training days.

 

INTRODUCTION

KEY POINTS

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

VTC Independent School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our pupils, especially those who are most vulnerable, and expects all staff to share this commitment. Our training mantra and philosophy is to always ‘think the unthinkable’. At all times the best interests of our pupils is our priority.

All staff must be clear about their own role and that of others in providing a caring and safe environment for all children and must know how they should respond to any concerns about an individual child that may arise. To this end, VTC Independent School will ensure that all staff know that Paul Thompson is our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and has overall responsibility for child protection and safeguarding. Though some of the duties inherent to this role can and will be delegated to the deputy DSLs in order that work is completed most efficiently, the ultimate responsibility remains with the DSL. In the absence of the DSL, the deputy DSLs are, responsible and will undertake the DSLs duties.

SAFEGUARDING MECHANISMS

All safeguarding leads have received advanced level training in order to undertake their roles and are also safer recruitment trained. All safeguarding leads receive updated training at least once every year; and in addition, keep up-to-date with safeguarding developments annually.

All staff must also have read, and signed to acknowledge their understanding of, Keeping Children Safe in Education, September 2020. At VTC Independent School, we ensure that a range of sophisticated and rigorous mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their roles and responsibilities as set out in part one of this policy.

Full safeguarding training, drawing upon the latest national and local guidance, is provided to all staff on an annual basis. Regular safeguarding updates are provided throughout the year to ensure that staff have the most up to date relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively. The training program focuses on topics such as the ‘Prevent’ duty, equality, online safety, child criminal exploitation and sexual violence and sexual harassment. Staff who are employed during the school year will receive safeguarding training at the very beginning of their induction period, and at least annually thereafter. Staff will sign an induction form agreeing that they are aware of their roles and responsibilities, and have read and understood all relevant safeguarding guidance, policies and procedures and agree to implement them.

Highly effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that staff have a clear understanding of the child protection policy and procedures in place, and that these are applied consistently across all three sites.

Mechanisms include:

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

  • safeguarding induction
  • whole school annual safeguarding training
  • online safeguarding training
  • weekly safeguarding and therapy refreshers and/or quizzes
  • safeguarding emails to staff regarding key issues, updates and individual early help plans
  • safeguarding refresher workshops, which are held on the vast majority of training days
  • twice-termly link meetings between the proprietor and designated safeguarding director

The child protection register is maintained by the DSL and all staff working with pupils are informed of all matters relating to children in their classes. In addition to our child protection register, the DSL keeps a live safeguarding log which records any and all concerns raised, and the actions taken.

The DSL provides regular feedback to the governing body, via the headteacher on all safeguarding issues. This is through termly written updates and regular meetings.

Regular contact is maintained with the proprietor, who is also the Designated Safeguarding Director.

VTC Independent School will always follow safer recruitment procedures so that we can be confident that all adults working in our school are safe to do so. All interviews are undertaken by senior leaders.

Supervision is made available to those staff who are involved in the management of allegations of child abuse.

All persons who carry out regulated activity with children have an Enhanced DBS check prior to working at the school. An individual may commence work with a DBS check that is pending as long as the school have received two satisfactory references and a cleared barred list check, the individual will also always be supervised when working with pupils. The DSL and headteacher will, if informed in advance by the staff member undergoing the DBS check, risk assess the member of staff if the check includes a record of anything that could potentially be cause for concern including any police caution, conviction, reprimand or warning. Whether this risk assessment supports the appointment of the staff member or not, this risk assessment with any supporting investigative documentation will be kept securely and confidentially on file. If a member of staff does not declare anything that could potentially be cause for concern, including any relevant police caution, conviction, reprimand or warning, the applicant will not be appointed to the school.

All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential and the purpose of all 

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

intervention is to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. For those staff who engage with children who experience discrimination in their daily lives or who are from cultures different to those of the professionals, assumption and stereotyping must not be part of our practice. Every effort must be made to ensure that cultural issues are understood and that each individual case is dealt with on its own merits. Teachers and those working in school have daily contact with children in their classes and around the school buildings, and as a result have first- hand knowledge of child development and behavioural norms. This places these professionals in a unique position to identify children who would benefit from ‘early help’ and who are/ or are at risk of abuse. However, teachers, therapists and support workers do not decide if something is or is not a child protection issue. Any concerns MUST be passed onto the designated safeguarding lead and/or a member of the senior leadership team and referred using the correct safeguarding form (or directly to the LADO, local authority or Channel, if appropriate).

Staff must follow VTC Independent School safeguarding and child protection procedure if they have any concern regarding a child. However, staff should also be aware that if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child, a referral can and should be made to children’s social care immediately and that anybody can make a referral. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration.

Any visitors to the school will be accompanied at all times by a member of staff, including social workers, inspectors and external therapists to ensure the safety and well-being of pupils. We have a clear vetting procedure, including risk assessment to ensure that any visiting speaker is suitable and appropriate. The headteacher will be aware of any arrangements and will have a clear understanding as to why they will be coming in to speak. Key staff will always try to select visiting speakers from an established organisation’s, and appropriate checks should be undertaken to establish the suitability of the person, such as internet searches and/or contacting other schools where the person has spoken previously. All visitors will read key safeguarding information on arrival, while being required to bring appropriate identification. Although viewing DBS certificates may be appropriate, most visiting speakers will not be in ‘regulated activity’ and so will not necessarily have a DBS certificate to present. Visitors must be supervised at all times and not left alone with pupils. Visiting speakers should understand that their presentation will be brought to an early end, if the content proves unsuitable. All information about the visiting speaker and the booking process is recorded on a suitable proforma. After the presentation, feedback from staff should be gathered to note any contentious subject areas or comments, and state whether the speaker could be booked again in the future. Once a person has visited a school, future checks should be proportionate.

RESPONDING TO CONCERNS ABOUT INDIVIDUAL CHILDREN

All children at VTC Independent School must be able to place their trust and confidence in any adult working in the school. They must feel sure that they can speak about any worries or concerns they may have and that they will be listened to, taken seriously and responded to appropriately. All staff must therefore know what to do if a child chooses to talk to them about any matter which raises child protection concerns.

 

All staff must:

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

  • Listen to what the child is saying without interruption and without asking leading questions
  • Respect the child’s right to privacy but not promise confidentiality
  • Reassure the child that he/she has done the right thing in sharing
  • Explain to the child that in order to keep him/her safe from harm the information that has been shared must be passed on
  • Report what has been disclosed to the DSL as soon as possible, or in their absence, one of the DDSLs
  • Record, as soon as is practicable, but within 24 hours what was said using the child’s actual words.
  • Remember that if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral can and should be made to children’s social care immediately and that anybody can make a referral. If the child’s situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration.

The DSL will:

  • Assess any urgent medical needs of the child
  • Consider whether the child has suffered, or is likely to suffer significant harm
  • Check whether the child is currently subject to a Child Protection Plan or has been previously subject to a Plan
  • Confirm whether any previous concerns have been raised by staff
  • Only inform the family of the child of any concerns once the duty team leader at social care services has been consulted and their advice sought
  • Consider whether the matter should be discussed with the child’s family or whether to do so may put the child at further risk of harm because of delay or the family’s possible actions or reactions
  • Seek advice if unsure that a child protection referral should be made

If the child discloses sexual abuse or sexual abuse is suspected, the child must not be questioned and the parents must not be informed until social care services and the police child abuse investigation team has been informed and advice given.

Information will be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis and must be treated in absolute confidence. Staff must not discuss allegations with the child, family members or colleagues.

The Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR do not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare and protect the safety of children. For further guidance see KCSIE 2020, para 82-88.

The DSL will either make a referral to the child’s local authority children’s services duty or referral and assessment team or, if a referral is not considered appropriate at that stage, make full written records of the information that they have received, detailing the reasons for the judgement that the matter was not referred to the local authority. The DSL keeps a written record of all contact with other agencies. All paperwork relating to child abuse is kept

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

All children who are subject to a child protection plan will have core group meetings and case conferences organised by social care services. A member of the safeguarding leadership team (DSL or one of the DDSLs) will attend these on behalf of the school. Children are aware that these meetings take place and that the school will be presenting a report at the meetings. The headteacher will act as the school’s ‘designated teacher’ and is responsible for Children Looked After (CLA), they will liaise accordingly with Virtual School headteachers. They will provide update information that will be collated for their Pupil Education Plan (PEP).

All staff, including teachers and therapists monitor children who are subject to a social care services Child Protection (CP) or Child In Need (CIN) Plan.

CHILD PROTECTION – RECOGNITION AND RESPONSE TO ABUSE

Owing to the nature of the day-to-day relationship children at VTC Independent School have with staff, all adults working in the school are particularly well placed to notice any physical, emotional, mental health or behavioural signs that a child may be suffering significant harm. We understand that harm means the ill-treatment or impairment of a child’s health and/or development, including that caused as a result of witnessing the ill- treatment of another person.

All staff must therefore be alert to any possible indicators that a child is suffering harm and report any concerns to the DSL.
All adults working in the schools will receive at least annual whole-school child protection training in order that their awareness to the possibility of a child suffering remains high.

  • FOR GENERAL ADVICE & GUIDANCE, SEE APPENDIX 1.
  • FOR CATEGORIES, DEFINITIONS & SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR OF CHILD ABUSE, SEE

APPENDIX 2.

  • FOR AN EXAMPLE OF VISITOR SAFEGUARDING INFORMATION, SEE APPENDIX 3.
  • FOR AN EXAMPLE OF SAFEGUARDING KEY CONTACT INFORAMTION, SEE APPENDIX

SAFEGUARDING – PROVIDING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

All families of children attending VTC Independent School must feel secure in the knowledge that they are entrusting their children to adults who will strive to keep them safe at school. We will do this by:

  • Promoting a caring, safe and positive environment within the school
  • Ensuring that our staff are appropriately trained in safeguarding and child protection according to their role and responsibilities and keep an up to date record of all training undertaken securely.

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

  • Encouraging the self-esteem and self-assertiveness of all children through the curriculum so that the children themselves become aware of danger and risk and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not
  • Working in partnership with all other services and agencies involved in the safeguarding of children
  • Displaying appropriate posters that detail contact numbers for child protection help- lines (ChildLine)
  • Always following Safer Recruitment procedures when appointing staff
  • Welcoming visitors in a safe and secure manner (all visitors must sign in, read key

safeguarding information and wear a visitor’s badge)

  • Undertaking risk assessments when planning out-of-school activities or trips
  • Parents and carers are also able to make direct referrals to the local authority children’s service duty team if they have a concern about a child or the local authority designated officer (LADO) if they have a concern about a member of staff working at VTC Independent School.

The Kent County Council duty team number

03000 410 888 kentchildrenslado@kent.gov.uk

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

SAFEGUARDING & CHILD PROTECTION IN SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES

SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN WITH SEN AND DISABILITIES

All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential and the purpose of all intervention is to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. We are aware that our pupils, some of whom have special educational needs and/or disability are more vulnerable to be subject to abuse and neglect. For example, there could be a reluctance to believe children with special educational needs and/or disability are being abused, limited opportunities for these children to seek help from someone else or a lack of access to support services. Staff have an awareness that behaviour, mood and injury may relate to possible abuse and not just their SEN or disability. Our pupils may have a higher risk of being isolated from their peers, left out of group activities or bullied. As a school, we strive to help safeguard these pupils by ensuring that they are heard, receive unlimited support and liaise with external support services on the family’s behalf.

ATTENDANCE & CHILDREN MISSING EDUCATION (CME)

We know that a child’s unexplained absence from school could mean that they are at risk of harm and that a child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect. We have a clear attendance policy, and:

  • our classes are small, and thus attendance is easy to track closely. Any child going missing from education will always get immediate attention from the DSL. Staff are trained to be alert to signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns such as travelling to conflict zones, FGM and forced marriage
  • we will always seek to clarify the reason for a child’s absence from school with the child’s parent or carer as soon as is practicable on the first day, the reason for absence will be recorded on the register. If we are unable to obtain the reason for a pupil being absent, we will attempt to contact the pupil’s emergency contacts. We ask for at least two emergency contacts for every pupil. At this stage, if we have been unable to contact the family or emergency contacts, a home visit will be carried out. As a last resort, if the school has not been able to ascertain where a pupil is after following the steps above, the pupil will be classed as a ‘missing child’ and they will be reported to the police
  • we will also always report an unexplained absence of a child with a Child Protection Plan to the child’s social worker within one day
  • we will always report a continued absence (10 or more school days) about which we have not been notified by the parent or carer to the Local Authority’s SEN Team and Education Welfare Service
  • we will always report to the local authority the name of any child who has been newly registered to attend our school but does not arrive on the expected day
  • we will always report to the Education Welfare Service the continued absence of a child known or thought to have been taken overseas if the child does not return to

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

school on the expected return date

  • we maintain accurate attendance and admissions registers (all pupils are on both), in line with statutory requirements. This includes paying careful attention to off-rolling pupils in association with the local authority and knowing, and recording, pupil destinations consistently on the admissions register. Where a pupil destination is unknown, and unable to be sought after significant follow-up, the local authority, education welfare service and/or social care services will be informed
  • we do not ‘delete’ pupils from the admissions register. We alert the child’s local authority immediately if:

– the pupil has been taken out of school by their parents and are being educated outside the school system e.g. home education

– the pupil has ceased to attend school
– the pupil has been certified as medically unfit to attend school – the pupil is in custody.

EXTREMISM & RADICALISATION (THE PREVENT DUTY AND CHANNEL)

Keeping local authorities up to date is crucial so that they can check if children of compulsory school age are missing education, and therefore might be in danger of not receiving an education and be at risk of abuse or neglect.

On the rare occasions that we exclude pupils for a fixed-term (usually a day), we put this in writing to both the family and the placing local authority. While we provide the pupil with work to complete during their external exclusion (and mark it), we are not responsible for the pupil’s safety and welfare during their time at home.

Since 2010, when the Government published the ‘’Prevent’ strategy (the key prevention aspect of Contest), there has been an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from extremism. There have been several occasions, both locally and nationally, in which extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.

VTC Independent School values freedom of speech and the expression of beliefs and ideology as fundamental rights underpinning our society’s values. Both children and teachers have the right to speak freely and voice their opinions. However, freedom comes with responsibility and free speech that is designed to manipulate the vulnerable or that leads to violence and harm of others goes against the moral principles in which freedom of speech is valued. Free speech is not an unqualified privilege; it is subject to laws and policies governing equality, human rights, community safety and community cohesion.

The current threat from terrorism in the United Kingdom may include the exploitation of vulnerable people, to involve them in terrorism or in activity in support of terrorism. The

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

normalisation of extreme views may also make children and young people vulnerable to future manipulation and exploitation. VTC Independent School is clear that exploitation and radicalisation is viewed as a safeguarding concern and must be dealt with accordingly.

ALL staff at VTC Independent School must complete Prevent and Channel training as part of their induction and will receive regular briefings and update training.

FORCED MARRIAGE & HONOUR-BASED ABUSE

A ‘forced’ marriage is distinct from a consensual ‘arranged’ marriage because it is without the valid consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. A child who is forced into marriage is at risk of significant harm through physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Information about a forced marriage may come from the child themselves, of the child’s peer group, a relative or member of the child’s local community or from another professional. Forced marriage may also become apparent when other family issues are addressed, e.g. domestic violence, self- harm, child abuse or neglect. Forced marriage may involve the child being taken out of the country for the ceremony, is likely to involve non-consensual/under-age sex and refusal to go through with a forced marriage has sometimes been linked to ‘honour killing’. Honour-based abuse is an ancient cultural tradition that encourages violence towards family members who are considered to have dishonoured their family. It is rooted in domestic violence and is often a conspiracy of family members and associates, meaning victims are a risk for their parents and families.

School staff should respond to suspicions of a forced marriage or honour- based abuse by alerting the DSL who will make a referral to Children’s Social Care and if the risk is acute, to the Police Child Abuse Investigation Team. School staff should not treat any allegations of forced marriage or honour- based abuse as a domestic issue and send the child back to the family home. It is not unusual for families to deny that forced marriage is intended, and once aware of professional concern, they may move the child and bring forward both travel arrangements and the marriage. For this reason, staff should not approach the family or family friends, or attempt to mediate between the child and family, as this will alert them to agency involvement. Further information and advice can be obtained from the Forced Marriage Unit www.fco.gov.uk/forcedmarriage or 02070080151 and the Honour Based Abuse Helpline 0800 599 9247. Again, as with all concerns, please alert the DSL as soon as possible.

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as female circumcision) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non- medical reasons. Female Genital Mutilation affects girls particularly from North African countries, including Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and Sierra Leone. Although our school has no children from these backgrounds and consider our tiny number of girls in our school to be safe from FGM, we will continue to review our policy annually and to include it in annual update training for all staff.

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

School staff should be alert to the following indicators:

  • The family comes from a community that is known to practice FGM
  • A child may talk about a long holiday to a country where the practice is prevalent
  • A child may confide that she is to have a ‘special procedure’ or to attend a special occasion
  • A child may request help from a teacher or another adult
  • Any female child born to a woman or has a sister who has been subjected to FGM must be considered to be at risk, as must other female children in the extended family

It is illegal in the UK to allow girls to undergo FGM either in this country or abroad. It is important to note that all staff have a duty to report personally any concerns they may have about girls at risk of FGM to the police. Any concerns must be immediately shared with the DSL and teachers are aware that they have a mandatory duty to report known cases of FGM.

BULLYING (ALL FORMS, INCLUDING CYBER-BULLYING)

We understand that bullying, including cyber-bullying, is harmful to children. We have an anti- bullying policy that sets out our aim of ensuring no child becomes a victim of any form of bullying and the work that we carry out in school to foster an environment where bullying behaviour is known to be unacceptable. We will always take seriously any reports of bullying and respond appropriately. We understand that bullying may take different forms and may include, as examples, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and biphobic behaviours. All staff are clear about the Protected Characteristics, as prescribed in the Equality Act 2010 (see our equality policy).

Any such reported or observed incident will be dealt with in accordance with our anti-bullying policy.

We recognise that children’s use of the internet is an important part of their education but that there are risks of harm associated with its use. We have an online safety policy that addresses how we seek to minimise those risks in school and teach children how to stay safe when using the internet in their lives outside of school. We also recognise that all members of staff must always be mindful of the need to follow our policy of acceptable use of our IT equipment.

New technologies have become integral to the lives of children and young people in today’s society, both within schools and in their lives outside of school. The requirement to ensure that children and young people are able to use the internet and related communications technologies appropriately and safely is addressed as part of our wider duty of care to which all who work in schools are bound. The use of these exciting and innovative tools in school and at home has been shown to raise educational standards and promote achievement.

Unfortunately, the use of these new technologies can put pupils at risk within and outside the school; pupils are not allowed to have any mobile device on them during the school day, this

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

helps to safeguard pupils and ensure they are not accessing any inappropriate material on their personal devices. We also have a pro-active monitoring regime which allows us to monitor all internet use. While filters should not over block, as it may place unreasonable restrictions on what pupils can be taught, it is also fundamental to be aware of some of the potential dangers that the internet can pose, including:

  • Access to illegal, harmful or inappropriate images, video games or other content
  • Unauthorised access to/loss of/sharing of personal information
  • The risk of being subject to grooming
  • The sharing/distribution of personal images without an individual’s consent or

knowledge

  • Inappropriate communication/contact with others, including strangers
  • Sexting
  • Implications of geolocation
  • Cyber-bullying
  • An inability to evaluate the quality, accuracy and relevance of information on the internet
  • The potential for excessive use which may have a negative impact on the social and motional development and learning of the young person.

Material published by children and staff in a social context which is considered to bring the schools reputation into disrepute or considered harmful to, or harassment of, another child or member of the organisation will be considered a safeguarding issue and a breach of conduct and behaviour and treated accordingly as per behaviour, equality anti-bullying and/or staff conduct policies/procedures.

SEXTING

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) have produced guidance for schools on how to tackle sexting and ‘youth produced sexual imagery’ as sharing photos and videos online is part of daily life for many people, enabling them to share their experiences, connect with friends and record their lives.

This increase in the speed and ease of sharing imagery has brought concerns about young people producing and sharing sexual imagery of themselves. This can expose them to risks, particularly if the imagery is shared further, including embarrassment, bullying and increased vulnerability to child sexual exploitation.

Making, possessing and distributing any imagery of someone under 18 which is ‘indecent’ is illegal. The relevant legislation is contained in the Protection of Children Act 1978 (England and Wales) as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England and Wales). Specifically, it is an offence to possess, distribute, show and make indecent images of children. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England and Wales) defines a child, for the purposes of indecent images, as anyone under the age of 18.

Although the production of such imagery will likely take place outside of school, these issues often manifest in schools working with children and young people. Staff respond swiftly and confidently to ensure that children are safeguarded, supported and educated.

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

The response to these incidents should be guided by the principle of proportionality and the primary concern at all times should be the welfare and protection of the young people involved.

  • All incidents involving sexting and youth produced sexual imagery should be responded to in line with the school’s safeguarding system.
  • The DSL should hold an initial review meeting with appropriate school staff
  • There should be subsequent interviews with the young people involved(if appropriate)
  • Parents should be informed at an early stage and involved in the process unless

there is good reason to believe that involving parents would put the young

person at risk of harm

  • At any point in the process if there is a concern a young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm a referral should be made to children’s social care and/or the police immediately.

CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (CSE)

Sexual exploitation can take many forms from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for attention/affection, accommodation or gifts, to serious organised crime and child trafficking. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power within the relationship. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim, increasing the dependence of the victim as the exploitative relationship develops. VTC Independent School attempts to identify young people who are vulnerable to, or at risk of, sexual exploitation and who need services and interventions to keep them safe. We will pass on any information about CSE issues affecting the schools, for example concerns about adults hanging around the school, to the police.

CHILD CRIMINAL EXPLOITATION (CCE)

CCE is where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. CCE does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

CCE can include children being forced to work in cannabis factories, being coerced into moving drugs or money across the country lines, forced to shoplift or pickpocket, or to threaten other young people.

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

Some of the following can be indicators of CCE:

  • children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions
  • children who associate with other young people involved in exploitation;
  • children who suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
  • children who misuse drugs and alcohol;
  • children who go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
  • children who regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education.

CCE: County Lines

The criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity; drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and areal areas, market and seaside towns. Staff are aware that a key indicator to look out for is missing episodes; if a child has periods of going missing it is possible that they have been trafficked for the purpose of transporting drugs. This is another reason as to why our absence procedure is so important; we inform the police if we have been unable to obtain a reason for a child’s absence as the pupil is classed as a ‘missing child’.

Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, child criminal exploitation can affect any child under the age of 18. It can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual, there is usually some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. It can also involve force and/or enticement-cased methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence. Staff should raise the concern with the DSL as soon as possible and log any information relating to child criminal exploitation.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE & SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It may occur though a single child or group of children sexually harassing or being sexually violent towards another child or group of children, it may happen both physically or verbally, online or offline. Evidence suggests that girls, children with Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) and LGBT children are at greater risk. It is important that all disclosures are taken seriously, victims are supported and there is a clear message that it is never acceptable. Any experience of sexual violence and sexual harassment is likely to have a significant impact on a pupil’s emotional wellbeing and adversely affect their educational attainment. Staff are to report any concerns about a pupil to the designated safeguarding lead.

ALLEGATIONS FROM PUPILS AGAINST OTHER PUPILS

In most instances, negative conduct of pupils towards each other will be covered by our behaviour and anti-bullying policies. However, some allegations and peer on peer abuse may be of a more serious nature and raise safeguarding concerns. Allegations made against another pupil may include physical abuse (for example violence, particularly pre-planned; forcing the use of drugs or alcohol), emotional abuse (for example bullying, blackmail,

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

extortion, threats, intimidation), sexual abuse (for example indecent exposure, touching, sexual violence and sexual harassment, sexting, forcing the watching of pornography) and/or sexual exploitation (for example photographing or videoing indecent acts).

GANGS

In our schools’ location of Swale, gangs are prevalent and our pupils (some with gang membership pasts) are vulnerable to gang membership or re- membership. Older pupils may also attempt to recruit younger pupils using any or all of the above methods. It is also well documented that pupils suffering from sexual exploitation themselves may be forced to recruit other young people, under threat of violence.

MINIMISING THE RISK

It is inevitable in our school that some pupils will present a safeguarding risk to other pupils. A robust induction system ensures that we are informed as to whether a pupil arrives or re- joins presenting a safeguarding concern, for example after coming back into school following a period in custody or having experienced serious abuse themselves. Intelligent timetabling, groupings, supervision and personalised risk assessments, including daily dynamic risk assessments, are central to the effective management of safety in our schools. In itself, this dramatically reduces the possibility of negative conduct against other pupils, and therefore of allegations.

MANAGING ALLEGATIONS AGAINST OTHER PUPILS

All staff members treat this abuse very seriously and never consider it as ‘banter’ or part of growing up. When an allegation is made by a pupil against another pupil, members of staff should consider whether the complaint raises a safeguarding concern. If there is a safeguarding concern:

  • The DSL should be informed
  • A factual record should be made of the allegation, but no attempt at this stage should be made to investigate the circumstances
  • The DSL will contact social care services to discuss the case. It is possible that social care services are already aware of safeguarding concerns around the pupil. The DSL will follow through the outcomes of the discussion and make a social care services referral where appropriate
  • The DSL will make a record of the concern, the discussion and any outcome and keep a copy in both pupils’ files
  • If the allegation indicates a potential criminal offence has taken place, the police will be contacted at the earliest opportunity and parents informed (of both the pupil being complained about and the alleged victim)
  • It may be appropriate to exclude the pupil being complained about for a period of time, as per our anti-bullying policies
  • Where neither social care services nor the police accept the complaint, a thorough school investigation will take place in any case, using our internal procedures
  • In situations where the DSL considers a safeguarding risk is present, a risk assessment 17

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should be prepared along with a preventative, supervision plan which will be monitored and evaluated with all adults working with the pupil. Individual risk assessments will also be amended accordingly.

  • Both the victim(s) and perpetrator(s) will be supported by the school, what this looks like may vary depending on the case, however it may include: additional therapeutic support, home visits, personalised timetable, family support and ongoing communication with external agencies.

PEER ON PEER ABUSE

Children can abuse other children. This is generally referred to as peer on peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to): bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children

Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physical and verbal) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support.

Staff should be aware of the importance of:
• making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up;
• not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”; and • challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, flicking bras and lifting up skirts.
Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them. Staff should be aware that some groups are potentially more at risk.

Evidence shows girls, children with SEND and LGBT children are at greater risk.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE: PEER ON PEER

It is important that school and college staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact children

 

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can, and sometimes do, abuse their peers in this way. When referring to sexual violence we are referring to sexual violence offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

What is consent? Consent is about having the freedom and capacity to choose. Consent to sexual activity may be given to one sort of sexual activity but not another, e.g.to vaginal but not anal sex or penetration with conditions, such as wearing a condom. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and each time activity occurs. Someone consents to vaginal, anal or oral penetration only if she/he agrees by choice to that penetration and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

When referring to sexual harassment we mean ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’ that can occur online and offline. When we reference sexual harassment, we do so in the context of child on child sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is likely to: violate a child’s dignity, and/or make them feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated and/or create a hostile, offensive or sexualised environment. Whilst not intended to be an exhaustive list, sexual harassment can include:

  • sexual comments, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual remarks about clothes and appearance and calling someone sexualised names; • sexual “jokes” or taunting; • physical behaviour, such as: deliberately brushing against someone, interfering with someone’s clothes (schools and colleges should be considering when any of this crosses a line into sexual violence – it is important to talk to and consider the experience of the victim) and displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature; and • online sexual harassment. This may be standalone, or part of a wider pattern of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence.

It may include:

  • non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos;
    • sexualised online bullying;
    • unwanted sexual comments and messages, including, on social media; • sexual exploitation; coercion and threats; and
    • upskirting.

UPSKIRTING

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

Upskirting typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. It is now a criminal offence.

HOMELESSNESS

A pupil’s welfare can be affected if they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The DSL will be able to assist families in getting them support; in addition to discussions and supporting letters that can be provided to the Local Housing Authority, it may be deemed necessary to make a referral to children’s social care if the child has been harmed or is at risk of harm.

It should also be recognised in some cases 16 and 17-year olds could be living independently from their parents or carers, for example through their exclusion from the family home, and will require a different level of intervention and support. Children’s services will be the lead agency for these young people and the DSL will ensure appropriate referrals are made based on the child’s circumstances.

Indicators that a family may be at risk of homelessness includes household debt, rent arrears, domestic abuse and anti-social behaviours as well as the family being asked to leave a property.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places a new legal duty on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help including an assessment of their needs and circumstances, the development of a personalised housing plan, and work to help them retain their accommodation or find a new place to live.

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem. Staff however, are well placed to observe children day-to-day and identify those whose behaviour suggests that they may be experiencing a mental health problem or be at risk of developing one.

Where children have suffered abuse and neglect, or other potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. It is key that staff are aware of how these children’s experiences, can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education.

If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following their child protection policy and speaking to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy.

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DRUGS & SUBSTANCE MISUSE

VTC Independent School recognises that young people are at risk from a range of both legal and illegal substances and that substance misuse is an increasing social problem that can have devastating consequences for individuals, their families and the community as a whole. The school is committed to the health, safety and welfare of children and will take action to help safeguard their well-being as well as providing support, advice and education about drugs and substance misuse as appropriate. The schools will never condone the misuse of substances, and the possession or supply of illegal drugs, and it will be viewed as a safeguarding concern.

CHILDREN & THE COURT SYSTEM

Children are sometimes required to give evidence in criminal courts, either for crimes committed against them or for crimes they have witnessed. There is guidance available on the government website that explains the process and support that are available for children.

Making child arrangements via the family courts following a relationship breakdown can be an extremely stressful time for the whole family. The Ministry of Justice has launched an online child arrangements information tool which parent/carer(s) may find helpful as it offers clear information in the dispute resolution service. Further information on the court system can be found at: https://helpwithchildarrangements.service.justice.gov.uk/

CHILD EMPLOYMENT

Only children over the age of 13 may be employed to do light work. Regulations determine the type of work and restrict the hours a child may be employed for. Children working in the UK who are still of compulsory school age are required to have a work permit in all cases; it is illegal for a child to work and not have a work permit, even if this is in a family business. Different regulations apply to children in entertainment, where children under thirteen may be licensed to perform in commercial performances under strict guidelines and controls. Further information on children in employment can be found at https://www.gov.uk/child employment

PRIVATE FOSTERING

A private fostering arrangement is one that is made privately, without the involvement of a Local Authority, for the care of a child under the age of 16 years of age by someone other 21

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

than a parent or close relative, in their own home, with the intention that it should last for 28 days or more. Each party involved in the private fostering arrangement has a duty to refer it to the Local Authority at least six weeks before the arrangement is due to begin, and not to do so would be an offence. The school has a duty to inform social services if we become aware of a private fostering arrangement that has not been shared with the Local Authority. Although there is no duty for the school to be informed of private fostering arrangements it would be helpful if the family could pass on the information to ensure support can be put in place. Further information on private fostering can be found at https://www.privatefostering.org.uk

HEALTH & SAFETY

We have a risk assessment policy and health & safety policy which demonstrate the consideration we give to minimising any risk to the children when on the school premises and when undertaking activities out of school under the supervision of our staff. This also includes alternate provisions, where the school is responsible for the safeguarding of pupils; risk assessments, site visits and a written statement is obtained from the provider stating that they have completed all the required vetting and barring checks that are necessary on their staff.

The school acknowledges its responsibility to safeguard all pupils in potentially vulnerable situations such as changing rooms, while also acknowledging the child’s right to privacy. A professional judgement is made based on the age and the developmental needs of the pupils; appropriate supervision is achieved by staff being in close proximity to the changing room and pupils should be aware of this, knowing that adults will enter the room if necessary. Risk assessments are in place to ensure the safety of both pupils and staff members.

To ensure that the safety of our pupils there are procedures in place that allow staff to search pupils using a metal detector wand, this is to make sure that pupils are not bringing inappropriate materials or dangerous weapons into school. There will normally be two members of staff present during the search, and a member of staff who is of the same sex as the pupil will carry out the search. In exceptional circumstances, if there is a risk of serious harm to a person if the search is not carried out straight away, a pupil may be searched by a person of the opposite sex and without another member of staff present.

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

WORKING WITH CHILDREN’S FAMILIES

CHILDREN’S INFORMATION

We recognise the importance of keeping up-to-date and accurate information about children. We will regularly ask all families to provide us with the following information and to notify us of any changes that occur:

  • Names and contact details of persons with whom the child normally lives
  • Names and contact details of all persons with parental responsibility
  • Emergency contact details
  • Details of any persons authorised to collect the child from school (if different from above)
  • Any relevant court orders in place including those which affect any person’s access to the child (for example Residence Order, Contact Order, Care Order, Injunctions etc.)
  • Name and contact detail of the child’s general practitioner
  • Any other factors which may impact on the safety and welfare of the child

CONFIDENTIALITY

Information about children given to us by the children themselves, their parents or carers, or by other agencies will remain confidential. Staff will be given relevant information only on a “need to know” basis in order to support the child if that is necessary and appropriate.

We are, however, under a duty to share any information which is of a child protection nature. We understand that this is in the best interests of the child and overrides any other duties we have regarding confidentiality and information sharing.

We have a duty to keep any records which relate to child protection work undertaken by us or our partner agencies and to ensure that these are kept apart from the main child record, stored securely and only accessible to key members of staff. We also have a duty to send copies of these records to any school to which the child transfers.

REFERRALS TO OTHER AGENCIES

If we have a reason to be concerned about the welfare of a child we will always seek to discuss this with the child’s family in the first instance. On occasion, according to the nature of our concern, it may be necessary for us to make an immediate referral to social care services when to do otherwise may put the child at risk of further harm either because of delay, or because of the actions of the parents or carers.

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

ADULTS WORKING WITH CHILDREN

SAFER RECRUITMENT

Everyone working at VTC Independent School is a permanent, contracted staff member. We rarely use agency, supply or cover staff of any description, at any time. We do not use volunteers, students on placements or any form of temporary worker.

PREPARATION

We will always consider the vacancy that has arisen within the context of safeguarding children and ensure that we include the responsibility to safeguard children within the requirements of the role. We always consider carefully the knowledge, skills and experience required to safeguard children and include these within a person specification.

ADVERTISING

All vacancies that are open to external applicants are advertised on our website. When using the services of a third-party advertising site/agency, we endeavour to advertise our vacancies in a manner that is likely to attract a wide range of applicants (for example on a nationally recognised website, such as the TES). The advertisement will always include a statement about our commitment to safeguarding children and our expectation that all applicants will share that commitment. The advertisement will state that the post is subject to all relevant statutory vetting checks.

APPLICATIONS

Through whichever route an employee joins us, they must complete an application form. Our application form enables us to gather information about a candidate’s suitability to work with children by asking specific and direct questions. We scrutinise all completed application forms and do not accept CVs alone. The candidates indicate that they understand that they will be subject to vetting checks, including an enhanced DBS check, the prohibition from teaching check and, if appropriate, the s128 management check.

The recruitment process for leadership roles follows the typical structure; once a pre- determined closing date has passed, leaders shortlist candidates on the basis of the application forms submitted and invite successful applicants to attend interviews. Non- leadership vacancies, however, are far more frequent and usually recruited for within a shorter time-frame; as a result, it is not practical to adhere to the same recruitment protocol. For teaching, support and administration roles, therefore, candidates are invited to an initial meeting with the headteacher on the strength of their CV, as and when we receive them. After a successful initial meeting, a candidate will be invited to complete an application form before attending a trial day, followed by a formal interview.

INTERVIEWS

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

  • We will always conduct a face-to-face interview
  • Our interview panel will always contain at least two leaders and all interviewers are safer recruitment trained.
  • Interview questions will seek to ensure that we understand the candidate’s values and beliefs that relate to children
  • All candidates will be asked to bring original documents, which confirm their identity, qualifications, right to work in the UK and any overseas checks
  • An interview pack which consists of a set of general interview questions (including on safeguarding), interviewers’ grades and the decision to appoint/not to appoint, is kept in the employee’s file

SELECTION

The interview panel will consider all the evidence gathered before making its choice, whereupon a verbal offer of the post will be made to the successful candidate. On acceptance of the post, candidates are given a formal offer letter which states that their appointment is subject to the school’s receipt of two satisfactory professional references, the completion and return of all relevant paperwork and successful completion of all the relevant statutory vetting checks. Unsuccessful candidates are informed and offered feedback on their performance.

REFERENCES

  • We do not accept open references, letters of recommendation or testimonials
  • We always take up at least two references; these must be completed on our own reference form and signed off by the Headteacher before employment commences
  • Our reference form includes questions specifically intended to reveal safeguarding concerns, such as enquiring about the candidate’s previous competency when working with children, asking if the candidate was ever subject to disciplinary action and if the referee knows of any reason why the candidate should not be given substantial access to children.
  • Verification checks are performed at random on at least 1 in every 4 references we receive. This includes confirming the identity of the referee, by phone, as well as the validity of the reference they have submitted. These checks are also carried out in every instance in which the referee is deemed to have given insufficient, ambiguous or concerning information. Similarly, verification checks are performed whenever a reference is returned from an email address that is not recognisably professional or that does not obviously belong to the person from whom we are expecting to receive the reference.
  • We verify previous employment history, where necessary VETTING CHECKS RECORDED ON OUR SINGLE CENTRAL RECORD
  • We arrange for a DBS check to be processed for all new staff, unless they are able to evidence an original DBS certificate that is subscribed to the DBS update service and which we can confirm remains current and accurate. Though we are not obliged to, we believe it to be good practice to re-check staff members’ DBS every three years,

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

with their permission.

  • All staff working in regulated activity require an Enhanced DBS check.
  • Staff are always supervised while the DBS check is being processed (if relevant), and a

DBS barred list check is always undertaken before staff commence their duties at VTC

Independent School.

  • All our Advisors will be DBS checked.
  • If a candidate declares at the interview stage that his/her DBS certificate will or might not be clear (particularly if it includes or might include a police caution, conviction, reprimand or warning), the DSL and the Headteacher will assess whether or not the disclosure should preclude the candidate from working at VTC Independent School. If the candidate’s application is allowed to proceed, the DSL will complete a risk assessment for the individual, which will be kept securely and confidentially in their personnel file.
  • If a candidate fails to declare at the interview stage that his/her DBS certificate will or might not be clear, and this proves to be the case, the candidate will not be appointed as a member of staff.
  • We verify, where necessary, that the successful applicant has all the academic or work- related qualifications claimed and request the original academic & professional qualifications and certificates, including proof of qualified teacher status (QTS); we do not accept photocopies.
  • We verify the successful candidate’s identity and right to work in the UK; again, only original documents are accepted.
  • We verify that the candidate has the health and physical capacity for the job using a standard medical questionnaire. This form is completed after the interview process, so does not affect the appointment decision. It is, however, possible that a medical condition or health complaint could prevent an otherwise successful candidate from being able to meet the requirements of our conditional offer of employment. This will only apply if the health issue/concern renders the candidate unable to fulfil the requirements of the role, as laid out in the job description.
  • Any candidate who has lived or worked in a foreign country (anywhere outside of the United Kingdom) for longer than three months, will be required to undertake overseas checks. The nature, accessibility and speed of these checks may vary from country to country, but no candidate will be able to commence work until these checks are underway.
  • Though it is not a statutory requirement, all staff who will have regular access to children will have a ‘prohibition from teaching’ check undertaken before they can commence employment.
  • A S.128 prohibition from management check will be carried out if a member of staff joins the leadership team or advisory body.

AFTER APPOINTMENT

The successful candidate will be given a formal offer letter and issued with a contract in due course.

All offers of employment are dependent on the satisfactory completion and return/clearance of

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

all requested forms and checks.
Newly appointed staff are issued with a copy of our staff handbook and shown where to find our key policies; they must sign to confirm they have read and understood these documents.

  • All new staff complete an induction with their line manager and a safeguarding induction with the DSL or one of the DDSLs, which includes familiarisation with Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2020). All staff have access to KCSIE on our website and must read it and sign to say they have done so. Similarly, staff must sign to declare that they have received a safeguarding induction, have read, understood and agree to adhere to our policies and procedures and have sought clarity on anything that remains unclear to them. This is recorded and retained.
  • We will refer to the Disclosure & Barring Service any person whose checks reveal that they have sought work when barred from working with children.

We will always supervise staff (including supply staff and volunteers) and act on any concerns that relate to the safeguarding of children. Our school is covered by CCTV in some areas and staff are closely monitored at all times, within reason.

Our procedures for managing allegations of abuse against members of staff (including supply staff and volunteers) are simple and clear – the quick resolution of any allegation is an absolute priority. Put simply, allegations made should be reported straight away, normally to the designated safeguarding lead, headteacher,or the proprietor. The school must then involve the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) if the allegations require investigation.

In response to an allegation, suspending the member of staff (including supply staff and volunteers)is not the default response, unless there is no reasonable alternative. If suspension is deemed appropriate, the reasons and justification will be recorded by the school’s leaders (or proprietor) and the individual notified of the reasons.

VTC Independent School will never decide to cease to use a supply teacher due to safeguarding concerns, without finding out the facts and liaising with the local authority designated officer (LADO) to determine a suitable outcome. The headteacher or designated member of the SLT will discuss with the agency whether it is appropriate to suspend the supply teacher whilst they carry out their investigation. Further guidance for procedures when dealing with an allegation against a member of supply staff can be found in KCSIE 2020, para 214-217.

Allegations that are found to have been malicious will be removed from personnel records and any that are not substantiated, are unfounded or malicious will not be referred to in employer references.

Pupils who have made malicious allegations are likely to have breached the schools’ behaviour policy and will receive an appropriate sanction which is likely to be a fixed-term exclusion.

SUPERVISION OF STAFF AND THE MANAGEMENT OF ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE AGAINST STAFF (including supply staff and volunteers)

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

The procedures for dealing with allegations should be applied with common sense.

However, it is important that even allegations that appear less serious are followed-up. Our procedure is:

  1. The recipient of an allegation must report it to the designated safeguarding lead, headteacher or proprietor as soon as possible and never try to investigate it themselves. If the designated safeguarding lead (also the proprietor) is implicated, it must be reported to the LADO. If the headteacher is implicated, it must be reported to the chair of our Advisory Board. If the chair of our advisory board is implicated, it must be reported to the proprietor, and if the proprietor is implicated, it must be reported to the LADO.
  2. A record of the report must be made by the designated safeguarding lead, headteacher, chair of our advisory board or proprietor (depending on point 1) which must be timed, dated and include a clearly written name and signature.
  3. If the allegation is serious and credible and alleges that a member of staff has
    a) behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child, b) possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, c) behaved towards a child/ren in a way that indicated he/she is unsuitable to work with children, or d) behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) should be informed on the same day
  4. If unsure, call the LADO in any case to discuss the allegation
  5. Such consultation in point 3/4 will enable the LADO and the school leader to consider

the nature, content and context of the allegation and agree a course of action

  1. If this leads to a decision that no further action is to be taken this decision and the reasons for it should be recorded by both the schools’ senior leader and the LADO. They should agree between them the information that should be put in writing to the individual about whom the allegation was made. Both should then consider the action that should follow in respect of that individual and also the person (or persons) who made the allegation
  2. If it is decided that the allegation warrants further action the LADO will take this forward
  3. The headteacher or proprietor should inform the accused person about the allegation as soon as possible, but only after consulting the LADO about whether this is appropriate at this stage and what information can be given to the person
  4. Consideration must be given as to whether it is necessary to remove the subject of the allegations from contact with children at the schools, pending investigations and procedures arising from the allegation. Suspension should not be automatic, but

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

should be considered if: a) there is cause to suspect a child is at risk of significant harm, b) the allegation warrants investigation by the police, or c) the allegation is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal

  1. Any decision to suspend shall be taken only after consultation with the LADO. It will take into account the safety of the child or children involved and the impact on any enquiry
  2. Where it has been deemed appropriate to suspend the person, written confirmation should be dispatched within 24 hours, giving the reasons for the suspension. The person should be informed at that point who their named contact is within the organisation and provided with their contact details

 

The subject of the allegations (whether suspended or not) shall be: a) advised to contact her/his trade union or professional association, b) treated fairly and honestly and helped to understand the concerns expressed, processes involved and possible outcomes, c) kept informed of the progress of the case and of the investigation, d) clearly informed of the outcome of any investigation and the implications for disciplinary or related processes and e) provided with appropriate support

  1. A school leader, usually the designated safeguarding lead, headteacher or chair of our advisory board (or the schools’ proprietor should the chair of our advisory board be the subject of the investigation), shall be responsible for continuing liaison with Sittingbourne or Medway’s LADOs and all communication between the schools and other agencies that may be involved in processes following an allegation
  2. Confidentiality is essential and information about an allegation must be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to: a) protect children,
    b) facilitate enquiries, c) avoid victimisation, d) safeguard the rights of the person about whom the allegation has been made and others who might be affected and e) manage disciplinary/complaints aspects

If, following the conclusion of child protection processes, further enquiries are pursued for the purpose of disciplinary, regulatory or complaint investigation, they should be arranged in a way that avoids the repeated interviewing of children or other vulnerable witnesses

WHO WILL LEAD AN INVESTIAGTION IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Concern about…

Who will investigate?

About any member or members of staff below Headteacher

The designated safeguarding lead, Paul Thompson, or the Headteacher

About the DSL (Also the proprietor)

The LADO

About the Headteacher

The Chair of our advisory board

About the Chair of our Advisory Board

The Headteacher and the proprietor

 

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About the proprietor

Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

The Kent County Council LADO is…

03000410888

For further information on the management of allegations against staff, please see our whistleblowing policy.

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

DISMISSAL AND OUR DUTY TO REFER TO THE DBS

VTC Independent School is clear about its duty to refer a person who is deemed unsuitable to work with children to the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS).

Specifically, we refer to the DBS any member of staff who:

  • has harmed, or poses a risk of harm, to a child
  • has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence, or if there is reason to believe that the individual has committed a listed relevant offence
  • is dismissed or receives disciplinary action because of misconduct relating to a child
  • eaves their employment during an investigation related to misconduct relating to a child

SAFE PRACTICE

The DBS will then consider whether to bar the person. Referrals will be made as soon as possible after the resignation or removal of the individual.

We ensure that all staff are clear about the expectations we have of their behaviour towards all children and that any incident that falls below our expected standards will be dealt with appropriately, as per our staff conduct and disciplinary procedures.

All staff are Team-Teach trained (see our Team-Teach physical intervention policy) and receive very regular training on working with our pupils who have severe and complex social, emotional & mental health difficulties.

CHILDCARE DISQUALIFICATION

VTC Independent School is fully aware of the legislation relating to childcare disqualification which can be (for example) for inclusion on the Children’s Barred List, being cautioned for specific offences against children/adults, grounds related to the care of children, having childcare/children’s home registration refused or cancelled and/or for being disqualified from private fostering. It can also be ‘disqualification by association’ which is when an employee lives in the same household as somebody who is disqualified. However, as we do not offer early or later years (no children who are aged 8), no childcare provision and no employees at VTC Independent School undertake childcare in their roles, it is unlawful for us to ask employees about childcare disqualification or disqualification by association.

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

GOVERNANCE – MONITORING & REVIEWING POLICY & PRACTICE

The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations apply a duty to proprietors of independent schools to ensure that arrangements are made to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

The body of governance at VTC Independent School consists of a proprietor and an advisory body.

The proprietor and advisory body ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation and fulfil their duty to remedy any weaknesses that are identified.

Duties and responsibilities include ensuring that:

  • Policies and procedures are effective and comply with the law
  • High quality training is provided to all staff, at all levels. This includes induction training, annual whole school safeguarding training, and regular safeguarding training throughout the year
  • All staff have read and understood the child protection and safeguarding policy, code of conduct policy, and part one of the Keeping Children Safe in Education, DfE

September 2020 statutory guidance

  • Paul Thompson has been appointed to the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead

(DSL), who has overall responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, with

deputy designated safeguarding leads in place

  • The DSL will continually monitor our child protection and safeguarding practices

and bring to the notice of the advisory body any weaknesses or deficiencies at the half termly governing body meetings, via an oral report which is minuted

  • The DSL has a termly meeting with the chair of the proprietorial board, who is also the Designated Safeguarding Director (DSD)
  • The school works very closely with external agencies such as social care services, the police and health services to promote the welfare of pupils, and to protect them from harm
  • Positive relationships are built with all of our families, and appropriate support is put in place
  • The proprietor and advisors will ensure that appropriate filters and monitoring systems are in place, to ensure that pupils are safeguarded from potentially harmful and inappropriate material
  • The proprietor and advisory body will ensure that children are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum
  • The proprietor and advisory body will utilise the experiences of the staff team when shaping safeguarding policies and provide regular opportunities for staff to contribute to and shape the safeguarding arrangements and policy

POLICY REVIEW CYCLE

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

This policy and all policies at VTC Independent School will be reviewed and updated by the leadership team & Advisory body as per our policy review cycle.

 

APPENDIX 1

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

INFORMATION & GUIDANCE FOR STAFF

Below is a set of guidelines that staff should take on board when dealing with individual/small groups of children. It is important to be mindful at all times of your behaviour in relationship to individual/small groups of children and of the potential risk of an allegation.

Staff should take necessary precautions in order to minimise the opportunity for an allegation to be made against them. This is generally about exercising common sense, but all staff should specifically take note of the following:

  • Whenever possible try not to be alone in a room with a child, regardless of gender. If you are on your own with a child, leave the door open and inform a colleague if possible. Always keep an appropriate distance between you and the child
  • Do not engage in conversations about your personal life with children
  • Keep boundaries very clear between you and children, particularly if the

conversation involves relationships, emotions, and sexual content

  • Do not exchange mobile phone numbers with children. If possible, do not have your mobile phone out when dealing with an individual child
  • Do not accept children (or their family members) as ‘friends’ or links on social networking websites or mobile phone apps
  • If a child wishes to disclose personal information to you, ensure that they understand that you cannot guarantee confidentiality. Do not probe a child about their personal life unless they approach you. Avoid giving advice to children about their relationships

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

APPENDIX 2

DEFINITIONS & CATEGORIES OF CHILD ABUSE

All children have certain basic needs, which include:

  • Physical care and protection
  • Affection and approval
  • Stimulation and approval
  • Discipline and control that is consistent and appropriate to age
  • The opportunity to gradually acquire self-esteem, confidence, independence and responsibility that are age appropriate

Individual cases must always be treated on their own merits however in general terms the following definition should provide the bases for action under these guidelines: “A child is considered to be in need of protection when the basic needs of that child are not being met through avoidable acts of either commission or omission”.

NEGLECT

Before a child is placed on a Child Protection Plan a conference must decide that there is, or is a likelihood of, significant harm leading to the need for a plan. The following are used for the plan. They are intended to provide definitions as a guide; in some instances more than one category may be appropriate.

The persistent or severe neglect of a child or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold or starvation, or extreme failure to carry out an important aspect of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.

PHYSICAL ABUSE

Physical injury to a child including deliberately poisoning, where there is definite knowledge, or a reasonable suspicion, that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented.

SEXUAL ABUSE

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

The involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children and adolescents in sexual activities they do not truly comprehend and to which they are unable to give informed consent, or that violate the social taboos of family roles.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Actual or likely severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or sever emotional ill treatment or rejection. All forms of abuse involve some emotional ill treatment.

NEGLECT

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

Severe neglect is associated with major retardation of cognitive functioning as well as growth. It is recognised through a typical pattern of poor growth, poor hygiene, withdrawal and in extreme cases a pseudo-autistic state, all of which can rapidly reverse in alternative care.

Although neglect has one of the most pervasive effects on development and is one of the most frequent forms of abuse, it is an area which is frequently neglected by professionals. Like parents, professionals can feel overwhelmed and hopeless by large families living in squalid conditions.

Signs to look out for:

  • Dirty unkempt appearance of child, in overall poor condition
  • Thin wispy hair. Underweight child, diarrhoea may indicate poor nutrition
  • An undernourished child may be unduly solemn or unresponsive, or may be overeager to obtain food
  • An under-stimulated child may not reach expected milestones
  • Behaviour and developmental difficulties that cannot be explained by clinical factors

Associated factors

Neglected children frequently come from homes where there is:

  • A parent who is lonely, isolated, unsupported or depressed

Poor inter-parental relationship / domestic violence
A parent who is abusing drugs or alcohol
§ A large number of children living in cramped or very poor conditions

PHYSICAL ABUSE (NON-ACCIDENTAL INJURIES)

It should not be assumed that an injury to a part of the body normally vulnerable to accidental injury has necessarily been caused accidentally – it could be non- accidental. All injuries to children, which do not easily come into the category of normal bumps and scrapes, should be seen by a doctor.

Certain parts of the body are more commonly subjected to non-accidental injury. These include the upper arm, where a child may be gripped or shaken, the back, and the buttocks. Multiple injuries of various types, ages and location are common features of physical abuse.

Most non-accidental injuries leave marks on the body. PE teachers are therefore often key

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

people in the identification of this form of abuse, as they regularly see the children partially dressed.

Signs to look out for:

  • Children who show a reluctance to undress or to expose parts of their bodies should be monitored as children who may have suffered physical injury
  • Unexplained absences
  • Physical signs of injury
  • Unexplained or confused accounts of how an injury occurred
  • Explanation of an injury which appears to be inappropriate to the nature and age of the injury

Common medical/physical factors associated with physical abuse BRUISING

  • Facial bruising around the mouth and ears
  • Groups of small bruises
  • Black eyes without a forehead injury, particularly if both eyes are affected
  • Weal marks or outline of bruising (e.g. hand mark)
  • Bruising of soft tissue with no obvious explanation (most bruises occur on bony protuberances such as the temple or shin)
  • Bruises on the back, back of legs, stomach, chest or neck
  • Bruises or cuts to mouth or tongue (e.g. split frenulum)
  • Pinch marks are found in pairs and may be seen on the back, buttocks, arms or cheeks

BITES

  • Bites leave clear impressions of teeth and some bruising – they are never accidental
  • Parents sometimes claim that bites have been made by other children or animals. It is therefore important to check the size and shape of the injury. If the impression is more than 3cms across it will have been caused by an adult or adolescent
  • Bites can be inflicted almost anywhere on the body

BURNS AND SCALDS

  • Children will sometimes suffer minor burns through hot irons etc., but it is uncommon for multiple burns to be caused accidentally
  • A cigarette burn is characteristically round, but may have a tail when dragged against the skin, and is surrounded by an area of inflamed skin
  • Cigarette burns can be found in groups and can be found on any part of the body
  • Scalds from boiling water may result from lack of supervision, or non- accidentally

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

  • A child is very unlikely to sit down willingly in very hot water; therefore he cannot scald a bottom accidentally without also scalding the feet
  • Burns and / or scalds are particularly worrying as a degree of sadism nay be involved when such injuries are inflicted

ASSOCIATED FACTORS

  • Injuries not consistent with explanation given by parent (even if agreed by the child) § Circumstances where parent delays seeking medical advice
    § A history of repeated injuries or presentation to A&E
    § Consent for a medical refused by parent
  • Desire of a parent to attribute blame elsewhere
    § Distant or mechanical handling of the child by the parent

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

SEXUAL ABUSE

The traumatic effects of child sexual abuse can be far-reaching and enduring, impacting on a child’s cognitive, behavioural and social development. The earlier the abuse occurs, the more adversely subsequent stages of development may be affected. The longer the abuse continues, the more extensive it is e.g. involving penetrative abuse, the greater the number of developmental stages that abuse continues through, the more disturbed the child is likely to be. Children who have suffered chronic long-term sexual abuse tend to have very negative feelings about themselves and all aspects of their relationships.

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse can be one or more of the following:

  • Rape – genital and / or oral intercourse
    § Digital penetration or penetration with an object
    § Mutual masturbation
    § Inappropriate fondling
    § Taking pornographic photographs or exposing the child to pornographic materials § Forcing the child to observe others involved in sexual activities
    § Sadomasochistic activities

Both boys and girls can suffer from sexual abuse. Both men and women can be perpetrators – boys and girls who disclose sexual abuse from a female perpetrator are often met with disbelief. It is therefore important to listen to what a child says without being judge mental. Abusers can be parents, friends, teachers, childcare workers, clergymen or strangers. Warning children about Stranger Danger should therefore only form part of any child protection programme.

Signs to look out for:

  • A child who demonstrates inappropriate sexual interest and activity, through play or drawings
  • Sexualised behaviour, masturbation and sex play which often leaves the peer group confused or embarrassed
  • A child having excessive preoccupation with, or precocious knowledge of adult sexual behaviours
  • A child who shows a marked fear of adults, usually men, but occasionally men and women
  • A child who presents as depressed and where there may be instances of drug or alcohol abuse, suicide attempts or running away
  • A child who suddenly starts to wet or soil
  • A child who takes over the role of wife / mother within the family
  • A child whose concentration and academic performance suddenly deteriorates 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

  • A child who avoids medical examination or is reluctant to change for PE
  • A child who has low self-esteem and few friends
  • Aggressive behaviour from a normally quiet child, or withdrawn behaviour from a normally boisterous child
  • Frequent unexplained absences or lateness
  • A child who talks of nightmares and being unable to sleep; a child who may be excessively tired
  • Arson
  • Pregnancy in young teenagers where the identity of the father is vague or unknown
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Signs of sexually transmitted infections and overall dishevelled appearance

EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Emotional or psychological abuse can be defined as the destruction of the child’s competence to be able to function in a social situation. The child may be denied appropriate contact with peers within or outside of school, and be forced to take on a particular role in relation to parents, which is detrimental to the child’s ability to function appropriately in social contexts. This type of abuse is very difficult to identify as there are no physical signs – symptoms are usually apparent via a child’s behaviour and demeanour.

It is important to note that the emotional / psychological abuse is present in all other forms of abuse, but this category is only used when it is the sole form of abuse.

Signs to look out for:

  • A child may be inducted into a parental care-taking role and not be encouraged to be involved with appropriate play
  • A child may be used as a parent’s confidant to a degree that is harmful to the child’s psychological development
  • A child may be ignored, rejected or denigrated by a parent
  • A child may be terrorised by a parent or others so that she / he is overly fearful and watchful
  • A parent who is unable to be responsive to a child’s emotional needs, who may be emotionally distant and / or excessively negative and hostile
  • A child (usually of a mentally ill or disturbed parent) who is inducted into a parent’s delusionary state or paranoid beliefs
  • A child who is cripplingly over-protected and not given freedom to act at an age

appropriate level

  • A parent who provides only conditional love with threats of withdrawal of love

Behavioural definitions are very difficult to quantify because a) most children experience some of these acts from time to time, and b) because the impact of a single or seldom occurring act of abuse will not have severe and harmful effects. The harm of emotional maltreatment results from the cumulative effects of repeated acts of psychological abuse.

Associated Factors

 

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

Children who suffer from emotional abuse frequently come from homes where there is:

  • A mentally ill or disturbed parent
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • A parent who is socially isolated, unsupported or depressed, or conversely, a parent who has a very active social life with very little time or energy to give to child care
  • A parent who has poor social skills, who may have learning difficulties and lack of knowledge about children’s age appropriate needs
  • A parent who has suffered severe abuse within her / his own childhood
  • A household where there is ‘adult on adult’ domestic violence

Many parents who emotionally abuse their children are unaware that what they are doing is harmful. Because of their own life experiences they may have a distorted view of parenting and their role as a mother / father.

 

APPENDIX 3

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

EXAMPLE OF THE VISITOR INFORMATION

WELCOME TO VTC Independent School

Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our pupils. We ask that you take some time to familiarise yourself with some key safeguarding points.

  • VTC Independent School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our especially vulnerable pupils and expects all staff and visitors to share this commitment.
  • Our philosophy is to always ‘think the unthinkable’.
  • Any visitor to the school will be accompanied at all times by a member of staff to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pupils.
  • We have CCTV recording in some areas of the school site for the safety of pupils and staff.
  • If you have a safeguarding or child protection concern please report what has been disclosed to one of our designated safeguarding leads below as soon as possible, who will record and act, if appropriate, on the information.
  • Remember that if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral can and should be made to children’s social care services immediately and that anybody can make a referral.

APPENDIX 4

Paul Thompson

Designated safeguarding lead

01795 899240

VTC Independent School Child Protection Policy

SAFEGUARDING & CHILD PROTECTION KEY CONTACTS

Paul@vocationaltrainingcentre.co.uk

Deputy designated safeguarding lead Deputy designated safeguarding lead

 

To be considered in conjunction with our behaviour, safeguarding, equalities, Team-Teach, e-safety policies

Reviewed by Governing Body – October 2020

Next Review Date – October 2021

INTRODUCTION

We aim to provide a positive, safe and caring learning environment for all pupils, staff and visitors to our school. To achieve this, we support and encourage everybody to be respectful of each other (this includes pupils, staff and visitors) and to report incidents of bullying that they either witness or experience themselves.

  • We view all forms of bullying as completely unacceptable
  • Acts of bullying will be responded to in line with our behaviour policy (as well as the specific guidance below)
  • Bullying is explored throughout curriculum
  • Where applicable, managing electronic bullying (eg. cyber-bullying) will also need to be considered alongside our e-safety policy
  • Our equality policy, with a particular focus on the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010, is also an important consideration in managing and analysing incidents of bullying.

IT IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO AIM TO PREVENT OCCURRENCES OF BULLYING AND TO DEAL WITH INCIDENTS QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY.

WHAT IS BULLYING?

Bullying can take many forms. We take the view that any behaviour or action that is deliberately hurtful, repeated several times and is difficult for the victim to defend him/herself, constitutes bullying. It can be an unresolved single frightening incident which can cast a shadow over a child’s life or a series of incidents. The following list is not exhaustive:

Physical

Violent, aggressive and/or threatening behaviour (fighting, hitting, shoving, tripping up, spitting, kicking, slapping etc.), invading personal space, sexual assault.

Verbal

Name-calling (including racist, sexist, homophobic, biphobic or transphobic name-calling and insults about disabilities or religion), insulting family members and others or making offensive remarks; shouting; causing embarrassment by insulting, humiliating or disciplining in public.

Indirect (including all forms of electronic and ‘cyber’ bullying)

Spreading malicious, nasty rumours about a person, excluding someone from a group, cyberbullying (for example sending malicious or threatening e-mails or messages via social network sites), text messages or voice messages by mobile phone or writing and passing notes that are meant to ridicule and/or intimidate the recipient.

WHAT ARE WE DOING TO PREVENT & REDUCE BULLYING?

Whole school initiatives and proactive teaching strategies are used throughout the school to develop a positive learning environment with the aim of reducing the opportunities for bullying to occur. These include:

  • Clear, agreed expectations which are highly visible in the school and referred to in lessons and assemblies as part of our approach to promoting positive behaviour
  • Taking part in national anti-bullying week each year
  • Awareness through regular, relevant assemblies
  • Drama/role play activities
  • The following of the school’s behaviour policy, which includes focusing on praise and rewards to reinforce good behaviour (including peer relationships, being respectful of each other etc.)
  • Ongoing staff training to recognise and deal with bullying, including on specific areas such as homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, religious diversity, Islamophobia, disability discrimination and racism
  • Encouraging the whole-school community to model appropriate behaviour towards one another
  • Displaying Childline/NSPCC/Stonewall posters around the school.

WHAT SHOULD THE ROLE OF PARENTS & CARERS BE?

Parents have an important part to play in preventing and responding to bullying. We ask parents to look out for unusual behaviour in their child – for example not wanting to attend school, regularly feeling ill, being overly quiet, isolating themselves.

We ask that caregivers always take an active role in their child’s education, enquire how their day has gone and who they have spent time with. If a parent or carer feels their child may be a victim of bullying they must inform the schools. This information will be taken seriously and appropriate action will follow.

If as a parent or carer you feel another child has bullied your child, we ask that you do not approach that child or their family. Instead, please inform the headteacher immediately.

  • It is important that parents/carers do not advise their child to fight back or to repeat the bully’s behaviour as this can make the situation worse.
  • It is important to never tell a child it is their fault they are being bullied.
  • It is hugely helpful for parents & carers to support children in asking for help.

HOW SHOULD BULLYING BE REPORTED AND WHAT PROCEDURES WILL WE FOLLOW WHEN RESPONDING TO BULLYING INCIDENTS?

Allegations and incidents of bullying at The VTC School will be taken seriously by all staff and dealt with impartially and promptly. All of those involved will have the opportunity to be heard. Staff will support all pupils involved whilst the allegations and incidents are investigated and resolved.

The following robust, but flexible, procedures are always followed:

  1. Incidents of reported bullying need to be reported to a senior leader. This will usually be via a teacher, TA or member of support staff.
  2. Depending on the incident, an appropriate member of staff will speak to all pupils involved about the incident separately or if appropriate as a group. This will be reported to the head of centre
  3. The problem will be identified and possible solutions suggested, which may include:
  • mediation
  • restorative justice
  • drama activities which will move pupils on from having them justify their behaviour
  • asking the bully/bullies to genuinely apologise
  • supporting the bully/bullies, through their key worker/key therapist, to understand and change their behaviour
  • consequences, including exclusion, as per our behaviour policy.
  1. In the unlikely event the bullying continues, or in more serious cases of bullying, families will be invited into the school for a meeting to discuss the problem and in very rare cases, mediation/restorative justice meetings with both families and pupils present may be used to resolve the issues.

All incidents of bullying are logged by category and analysed in leadership team meetings.

Actions from this analysis (eg. staff training, timetable changes, specific support plans, etc) are then implemented as appropriate to reduce, eradicate or prevent further cases of bullying.

THE EQUALITY ACT 2010

This policy, alongside complementary policies as identified on the cover page, ensures that the curriculum and systems for managing behaviour pay regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010 which include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and marriage/civil partnership/pregnancy/maternity.

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

Lessons will be taught to students in line with British Values which also promote equal opportunities and an understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Assembly topics will be carefully chosen to ensure students understand the facts about sexuality and gender identity, and understand the damage and prejudice that stereotypes can cause.

At The VTC School we believe that eradicating homophobic language has a clear link to school improvement. If gay young people don’t hear the use of homophobic language they not only feel happier but perform better too.

Homophobic language, even when used unconsciously and without hurtful intent, should always be addressed by staff.

ALLEGATIONS FROM PUPILS AGAINST OTHER PUPILS

In most instances, negative conduct of pupils towards each other will be covered by this policy and our behaviour policy. However, some allegations may be of a more serious nature and raise safeguarding concerns. Allegations made against another pupil may include physical abuse (for example violence, particularly pre-planned; forcing the use of drugs or alcohol), emotional abuse (for example blackmail, extortion, threats, intimidation), sexual abuse (for example indecent exposure, touching, sexual assault, sexting, forcing the watching of pornography) and/or sexual exploitation (for example photographing or videoing indecent acts).

In this case, the allegation must be referred using our ‘cause for concern’ system and will be dealt with as a safeguarding concern by our designated safeguarding lead. Further guidance on this area can be found in our safeguarding and child protection policy.

POLICY REVIEW CYCLE

This policy and all policies at The VTC School will be reviewed and updated by the leadership team and advisory body as per our policy review cycle.

1. Aims

At Vocational Training Centre (VTC) we aim to meet our statutory obligations when responding to complaints from parents of pupils at the school, and others.

When responding to complaints, we aim to:

  • Be impartial and non-adversarial
  • Facilitate a full and fair investigation by an independent person or panel, where necessary
  • Address all the points at issue and provide an effective and prompt response
  • Respect complainants’ desire for confidentiality
  • Treat complainants with respect and courtesy
  • Ensure that any decisions we make are lawful, rational, reasonable, fair and proportionate, in line with the principles of administrative law
  • Keep complainants informed of the progress of the complaints process
  • Consider how the complaint can feed into school improvement evaluation processes

We try to resolve concerns or complaints by informal means wherever possible. Where this is not possible, formal procedures will be followed.

The school will aim to give the complainant the opportunity to complete the complaints procedure in full.

To support this, we will ensure we publicise the existence of this policy and make it available on the school website.

Throughout the process, we will be sensitive to the needs of all parties involved, and make any reasonable adjustments needed to accommodate individuals.

2. Legislation and guidance

This document meets the requirements set out in part 7 of the schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, which states that we must have and make available a written procedure to deal with complaints from parents of pupils at the school.

It is also based on guidance published by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) on creating a complaints procedure that complies with the above regulations, and refers to good practice guidance on setting up complaints procedures from the Department for Education (DfE).

3. Definitions and scope

3.1 Definitions

The DfE guidance explains the difference between a concern and a complaint:

  • A concern is defined as “an expression of worry or doubt over an issue considered to be important for which reassurances are sought”. The school will resolve concerns through day-to-day communication as far as possible
  • A complaint is defined as “an expression of dissatisfaction however made, about actions taken or a lack of action”

3.2 Scope

The school intends to resolve complaints informally where possible, at the earliest possible stage.

There may be occasions when complainants would like to raise their concerns formally. This policy outlines the procedure relating to handling such complaints.

This policy does not cover complaints procedures relating to:

  • Admissions
  • Statutory assessments of special educational needs (SEN)
  • Safeguarding matters
  • Exclusion
  • Whistle-blowing
  • Staff grievances
  • Staff discipline

Please see our separate policies for procedures relating to these types of complaint.

4. Roles and responsibilities

4.1 The complainant

The complainant will get a more effective and timely response to their complaint if they:

  • Follow these procedures
  • Co-operate with the school throughout the process, and respond to deadlines and communication promptly
  • Treat all those involved with respect
  • Not publish details about the complaint on social media

4.2 The investigator

An individual will be appointed to look into the complaint and establish the facts. They will:

  • Interview all relevant parties, keeping notes
  • Consider records and any written evidence and keep these securely
  • Prepare a comprehensive report to the headteacher or complaints committee which includes the facts and potential solutions

4.3 Clerk to the advisory board

The clerk will:

  • Be the contact point for the complainant and the complaints committee, including circulating the relevant papers and evidence before complaints committee meetings
  • Arrange the complaints hearing
  • Record and circulate the minutes and outcome of the hearing

4.4 Committee chair

The committee chair will:

  • Chair the meeting, ensuring that everyone is treated with respect throughout
  • Make sure all parties see the relevant information, understand the purpose of the committee, and are allowed to present their case

5. Principles for investigation

When investigating a complaint, we will try to clarify:

  • What has happened
  • Who was involved
  • What the complainant feels would put things right

5.1 Time scales

The complainant must raise the complaint within 3 months of the incident. If the complaint is about a series of related incidents, they must raise the complaint within 3 months of the last incident.

We will consider exceptions to this time frame in circumstances where there were valid reasons for not making a complaint at that time and the complaint can still be investigated in a fair manner for all involved.

When complaints are made out of term time, we will consider them to have been received on the next school day.

If at any point we cannot meet the time scales we have set out in this policy, we will:

  • Set new time limits with the complainant
  • Send the complainant details of the new deadline and explain the delay

6. Stages of complaint (not complaints against the headteacher, proprietor or advisory board)

6.1 Stage 1: informal 

The school will take informal concerns seriously and make every effort to resolve the matter quickly. It may be the case that the provision or clarification of information will resolve the issue.

The complainant should raise the complaint as soon as possible with the relevant member of staff or the headteacher, either in person or by letter, telephone or email. If the complainant is unclear who to contact or how to contact them, they should contact the school office on 01795 899240 or on office@vocationaltrainingcentre.co.uk .

The school will acknowledge informal complaints within 3 school days, investigate and provide a response within 7 school days.

The informal stage will involve a meeting between the complainant and the member of staff concerned and/or the headteacher, as appropriate.

If the complaint is not resolved informally, it will be escalated to a formal complaint.

6.2 Stage 2: formal

The formal stage involves the complainant putting the complaint to the headteacher and/or the subject of the complaint:

  • In a letter or email
  • Over the phone
  • In person
  • Through a third party acting on their behalf

The complainant should provide details such as relevant dates, times and the names of witnesses of events, alongside copies of any relevant documents. The complainant should also state what they feel would resolve the complaint.

If complainants need assistance raising a formal complaint, they can contact the school office 01795 899240 or via email on office@vocationaltrainingcentre.co.uk .

The headteacher (or other person appointed by the headteacher for this purpose) will then conduct their own investigation. The written conclusion of this investigation will be sent to the complainant within 5 school days.

If the complainant is not satisfied with the response and wishes to proceed to the next stage of this procedure, they should inform the clerk to the advisory board in writing within 3 school days.

6.3 Stage 3: review panel

Complaints will be escalated to the panel hearing stage if the complainant is not satisfied with the response to the complaint at the second, formal, stage.

The panel will be appointed by or on behalf of the proprietor and must consist of at least 3 people who were not directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint. At least 1 panel member must be independent of the management and running of the school. The panel cannot be made up solely of advisory board members, as they are not independent of the management and running of the school.

The panel will have access to the existing record of the complaint’s progress (see section 10).

The complainant must have reasonable notice of the date of the review panel; however, the review panel reserves the right to convene at their convenience rather than that of the complainant. At the review panel meeting, the complainant and representatives from the school, as appropriate, will be present. Each will have an opportunity to set out written or oral submissions prior to the meeting.

The complainant must be allowed to attend the panel hearing and be accompanied if they wish.

At the meeting, each individual will have the opportunity to give statements and present their evidence, and witnesses will be called, as appropriate, to present their evidence.

The panel, the complainant and the school representative(s) will be given the chance to ask and reply to questions. Once the complainant and school representative(s) have presented their cases, they will be asked to leave and evidence will then be considered.

The panel will then put together its findings and recommendations from the case. The panel will also provide copies of the minutes of the hearing and the findings and recommendations to the complainant and, where relevant, the individual who is the subject of the complaint, and make a copy available for inspection by the proprietor and headteacher.

The school will inform those involved of the decision in writing within 5 school days.

7. Complaints against the headteacher, proprietor, an advisor or the advisory board

7.1 Stage 1: informal

Complaints made against the headteacher, proprietor or any member of the advisory board should be directed to the clerk to the advisory board in the first instance.

If the complaint is about the headteacher, proprietor or one member of the advisory board (including the chair or vice-chair), a suitably-skilled and impartial advisor will carry out the steps at stage 1 (set out in section 6 above).

Where a complaint, at any stage, is made against the proprietor in his role as Director for Learning or as proprietor, the complaint should be directed to the clerk to the advisory board, rather than the headteacher.

7.2 Stage 2: formal

If the complaint is made against the headteacher, proprietor or the chair and vice-chair, the entire advisory board or the majority of the advisory board, an independent investigator will carry out the steps in stage 2 (set out in section 6 above). They will be appointed by the advisory board and will write a formal response at the end of their investigation.

7.3 Stage 3: review panel

If the complaint is made against the headteacher, proprietor or the chair and vice-chair, the entire advisory board or the majority of the advisory board, a committee of independent advisors will hear the complaint. They will be sourced from local schools and the local authority and will carry out the steps at stage 3 (set out in section 6 above).

8. Referring complaints on completion of the school’s procedure

If the complainant is unsatisfied with the outcome of the school’s complaints procedure and the complaint is regarding the school not meeting standards set by the DfE in any of the following areas, the complainant can refer their complaint to the DfE:

  • Education
  • Pupil welfare and health and safety
  • School premises
  • Staff suitability
  • Making information available to parents
  • The spiritual, moral, social or cultural development of pupils

The DfE will consider reports of a major failure to meet the standards. Where appropriate, it can arrange an emergency inspection to look at pupil welfare and health and safety, and make sure that the school deals with serious failings.

For more information or to refer a complaint, see the following webpage:

https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-school

9. Record keeping

The school will record the progress of all complaints, including information about actions taken at all stages, the stage at which the complaint was resolved, and the final outcome. The records will also include copies of letters and emails, and notes relating to meetings and phone calls.

This material will be treated as confidential and held centrally and will be viewed only by those involved in investigating the complaint or on the review panel.

This is except where the secretary of state (or someone acting on their behalf) or the complainant requests access to records of a complaint through a freedom of information (FOI) request or through a subject access request under the terms of the Data Protection Act, or where the material must be made available during a school inspection.

Records of complaints will be kept securely, only for as long as necessary.

The details of the complaint, including the names of individuals involved, will not be shared with the whole advisory board in case a review panel needs to be organised at a later point.

Where the advisory board is aware of the substance of the complaint before the review panel stage, the school will (where reasonably practicable) arrange for an independent panel to hear the complaint.

Complainants also have the right to request an independent panel if they believe there is likely to be bias in the proceedings. The decision to approve this request is made by the advisory board, who will not unreasonably withhold consent.

10. Links with other policies

Policies dealing with other forms of complaints include:

  • Child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures
  • Admissions policy
  • Exclusions policy
  • Staff grievance procedures
  • Staff disciplinary procedures
  • SEN policy