At Jack in the Box our prime responsibility is the welfare and well being of all children in our care.  We try to provide a safe and secure environment for the children to learn. We believe we have a duty to the children, parents/carers and staff to act quickly and responsibly in any instance of concern that comes to our attention. The Playgroup has a duty to report any suspicions of abuse and neglect to the Local Authority who have a duty to investigate such matters. The playgroup will follow the child protection procedures laid out by the local authority and will seek their advice on all steps taken subsequently. We follow the statutory guidance “Working together to safeguard children” and the Prevent duty in respect of the Counter – Terrorism and security Act 2015.

Our designated persons for dealing with any child protection issues are; Jenny Ellis & Sarah Terry. They have the responsibility for appropriate staff training and support, information dissemination to staff, and liaison with child protection agencies and OFSTED. The designated persons will continue to ensure that all staff regularly update their training and awareness on child protection issues.

It is the policy of the playgroup to provide a secure and safe environment for all children. We aim to:

  • Ensure that children are never placed at risk whilst in the charge of playgroup staff.
  • Ensure that confidentiality is maintained at all times.
  • Ensure that all staff is familiar with child protection issues and procedures.
  • Regularly review and update this policy.

Definition of abuse

Child abuse is the ill treatment or neglect of a child under the age of eighteen years of age.  A child who has suffered from physical injury, physical neglect, failure to thrive, emotional or sexual abuse by a person who has custody, charge or care of the child. Either caused or knowingly failed to prevent.

If a child is found to be injured or there is cause for concern about the child’s welfare this will be discussed on most occasions with the parent/carer. In some cases of suspected abuse parents/carers may not be informed first, this is done in order to provide protection to the child.  Our aim is to work with parents/carers in an open and professional manner in the interests of the well being of your child.

Action in the event of concern

Should any member of staff have concerns for the welfare of any child they will immediately inform the designated person. Playgroup staff responsibilities do not include investigating the suspected abuse.  However, the staff will keep accurate records of their observations and of anything said to them by a child or others in connection with concerns over child protection issues.  The playgroup believes that it is always important to listen to children.  Strict confidentiality will be observed at all times.

Physical Abuse

Action will be taken if staff has reason to believe that there has been a physical injury to a child. Examples of this may include shaking, squeezing, burning with a cigarette, hitting with hands, stick or strap.

Procedure

  • Any sign, mark/injury to a child when they come into the nursery will be recorded.
  • Any concerns will be discussed with the parent/carer.
  • Such discussions will be recorded and parents/carers will have access to such records.
  • If staff remain concerned regarding the injury, the Child Protection Unit in the Local Authority will be notified.

Emotional abuse

Action will be taken if staff has reason to believe that there is a severe, adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a child likely to be caused by persistent or severe ill treatment or rejection.

Procedure

  • The concern will be discussed with the parent/carer.
  • Such discussions will be recorded and the parent/carer will have access to such records.
  • If staff remains concerned, the Child Protection Unit in the Local Authority will be notified.

Neglect

Action will be taken if staff have reason to believe that there has been persistent or severe neglect of the child, for example by exposure to any kind of danger, including cold and starvation, which results in serious impairment of the child’s health and/or development including failure to thrive.

Procedure

  • The concern will be discussed with the parent/carer.
  • Such discussions will be recorded and the parent/carer will have access to such records.
  • If staff remains concerned, the Child Protection Unit in the Local Authority will be notified.

Sexual Abuse

Action will be taken if staff have witnessed occasions where a child indicated sexual activity through words, play, and drawing or has an excessive preoccupation with sexual matters or has an inappropriate knowledge of adult sexual behaviour.

Procedure

  • The observed instances will be reported to the designated person.
  • The matter will always be referred to the Local Authority. The playgroup and the Child Protection Unit will agree on who informs parent/carers of any concerns.

As a setting we also understand that we may need to protect children from;

  • Bullying, including on line bullying and prejudice based bulling
  • Racist, disability and homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • Gender – based violence
  • Radicalisation and/or extremist behaviour
  • Child sexual exploitation and trafficking, being aware of “county lines”
  • Substance misuse
  • Gang activity and youth violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Forced marriage
  • Fabricated or induced illness
  • Poor parenting

As staff we understand that we do not only have a responsibility to protect the children in our care but understand that these issues could have a broader effect on their care and education. We are aware it could affect;

  • A child’s health, safety and well being
  • Meeting the needs of the children with medical conditions
  • Providing first aid
  • Educational trips/visits
  • Intimate care and emotional well-being
  • Online safety

As a team we take all aspects of safeguarding very seriously and ensure we provide the best practise we can.  Each morning, prior to us opening the staff come together for a 10 minute chat to discuss any child that may need that extra focus and attention from the team regardless what it may concern.  Any concerns a staff member will have will be discussed unless confidentiality needs to be adhered to.  This is an important time and we feel has a positive impact on the staff and the children and keeps safeguarding at the fore front of our day.

Safeguarding is underpinned through all our policy’s and procedures.

Staff concern that action is not being taken

Although extremely unlikely, it is possible that staff may feel that the designated person is not taking appropriate action, which as a consequence is exposing a child to potential harm. If members of staff believes this to be the case, despite having made the designated person aware of their concerns for a child, then they should regard themselves as having responsibility to raise the issues directly with the Child Protection Unit, immediately advising the Childcare Services Manager that they have done so.

Allegations against a member of staff

Any allegation against a member of staff will be treated seriously and investigated immediately. An initial investigation between the management will take place to determine the exact nature of the allegation.  Advice will be sought from the LADO (Local Authority Designated officer) and from the Pre-school Learning Alliance legal team.  If appropriate the member of staff will be suspended pending the final outcome of the investigation. A meeting will be held with the person involved to discuss the allegation made against them.  Following the preliminary investigation, if there is evidence to substantiate allegations, disciplinary action will be taken.  If the allegations made are found to be unsubstantiated, all relevant parties will be informed and it shall be make clear that the member of staff is exonerated.

Any allegations against a member of staff will be reported to OFSTED and LADO within 14 days and they will be kept informed of the outcome of any investigations.

If at any time you wish to contact Ofsted then please note the following:

COMPLAINTS MANAGER
The National business unit
Ofsted
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
Manchester
M1 2DW
www.ofsted.gov.uk
0300 123 1231

MASH
Childcare social services
1st Floor
Centenary house
Durrington Lane
Worthing
BN13 2QB
01403 229 900

Local Authority Designated Officer ( LADO)
LADO@westsussex.gov.uk
Service contact number through MASH 01403 229 900

We take child protection issues very seriously.  It should therefore be noted that action will be taken against any persons making allegations that are found to be malicious, mischievous, vexatious or spurious.

Missing child;

We take the welfare of our children very seriously and will monitor any child who is absent from our setting.  A register is taken at the start and end of each day and if a parent has not contacted us with a reason why we will endeavour to make contact to find the reason why and ensure everything is okay.  Any absents from the setting is documented with the reason why.  If we have not been able to make contact after several attempts, we will work through the emergency contacts for that child.

During an unexpected closure or partial closure of the setting, (a pandemic) continuous contact will be made to the families registered to ensure they feel supported and still have an avenue of help where required.  The importance of the well being of the children and their families is paramount during these times and will be monitored and recorded where necessary. Sept 2020

Published: 11th September 2021
Review: September 2022
© Jack in the Box Playgroup Limited trading as Jack in the Box Playgroup.