Recognising safeguarding issues and working to resolve them
Living away from home can be a challenging experience for some children and young people. At St Brelade’s College, we have procedures in place to recognise the issues that may arise and counter these.
St Brelade’s College ensures that the DSS/DSL attend training relevant to their role at appropriate intervals. Staff working with children and young people are required to attend in-house safeguarding training courses and complete the Accreditation UK Safeguarding training provided by the British Council and an online Prevent awareness training course. Hosts are also required to take the online safeguarding training course.
St Brelade’s College observes a number of essential safeguards in a setting where children are living away from home. These safeguards ensure:
- Children are listened to and their views and concerns are responded to (all concerns should be reported to the DSS/DSL straight away).
- Children have ready access to an adult outside of a classroom or homestay/residence environment (staff, group leaders, hosts, residence managers should remind students of who DSS/DSL are and how to contact them if necessary).
- Staff, group leaders, hosts, residence managers recognise the importance of ascertaining the wishes and feelings of children and understand how individual children and young people communicate by verbal or non-verbal means.
- There are clear procedures for Designated Safeguarding Leads, on referrals of safeguarding concerns to the Children and Families Hub (DSL are responsible for making referrals and this cannot be delegated down).
- Complaints procedures are clear, effective, user-friendly and are readily accessible to children and young people, including those with disabilities and those for whom English is not their mother tongue.
- Bullying is effectively countered.
- Recruitment and selection procedures are rigorous and create a high threshold of entry to deter abusers.
- Staff, group leaders, hosts, residence managers are alerted to the risks of harm to children and young people in the external environment from people prepared to exploit the additional vulnerability of children living away from home, including child sexual exploitation and radicalisation.
Staff will be aware that some students may be stressed for various reasons, whilst away from home.
- Teachers should liaise with the school safeguarding team as/when required. The school safeguarding team may attend a lesson and provide guidance or advice where appropriate.
- Teachers may schedule welfare meetings with students around lessons, taking into consideration any 1:1 contact and risk assessing this or request that the safeguarding team do so.
- Teachers may use questionnaire feedback forms to see how students are feeling in the classes and these can be integrated into lessons.
- Staff are expected to report any concerns they have to the school DSL immediately or if a child is in immediate danger of risk of harm, call 999.
Bullying in any form is wrong and is not be tolerated. Differences should be respected and diversity should be welcomed. Children and young people have the right to feel safe, secure and valued. It is everyone’s responsibility to create a safe environment and deal with bullying. St Brelade’s College promotes that bullying is not an acceptable part of ‘growing up’ and aims to encourage staff and hosts to report incidences of bullying which may affect themselves or others.
Being bullied can seriously affect a child’s physical and mental health. This can include feeling sad & lonely, lacking confidence & feeling bad about themselves, becoming depressed, complaining of various symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches, worrying and trying to avoid going to school.
Children who bully may: hit or punch another child, kick them or trip them up, take or spoil their things, call them names, tease them, give them nasty looks, threaten them, make racist remarks about them, spread nasty rumours or stories about them or not let them join in conversations or play.
Responding to bullying
- Staff, group leaders and residence & homestay providers should be open to the possibility that a child might be being bullied.
- Listen to the child – it can be very difficult to them to talk to anyone about it.
- Take the child seriously – many children suffer in silence before they tell anyone.
- Do not blame a child – being bullied is not their fault.
- Do not promise to keep bullying a secret – something must be done about it. Reassure the child that with the school’s help, things will not get worse as it has now been talked about.
- If bullying/cyberbullying is suspected or witnessed at school or on activities, report this immediately to the centre/activity manager who will remove the bully from the class/activity. Ask the child being bullied if they feel comfortable to remain in the group at that moment and if not, (s)he can be collected. All evidence and action taken must be reported to DSS/DSL and an incident report form must be completed and signed by all staff involved. If bullying in the residence or homestay is suspected or witnessed, temporarily separate the students and immediately telephone the school emergency numbers to report and seek advice.
- All centre managers are to report incidents of bullying to a DSS/DSL who then take appropriate action. This may include talking with the child and working out ways of solving the problem, working out together an action plan, including practical ways of how to stop or deal with the bullies.
Cyberbullying is bullying which takes place using technology. Whether on social media, through a mobile phone or gaming sites, the effects can be devastating for the young person involved. Children and young people who bully others online do not need to be physically stronger and their methods can often be hidden and subtle.
Responding to cyberbullying
- Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in talking about. It’s really important that the child doesn’t retaliate in any way either online or offline.
- Help them collect evidence of what has happened; text messages, web and email addresses and screenshots are useful.
- Go through different steps they can take to stop the problem from happening again, such as changing privacy settings or blocking contacts on social networking sites. If the incident involves spreading malicious or offensive content try to stop it spreading. If the bully is known, ask them to remove the content or use disciplinary powers to confiscate the phones that have been used. Cyberbullies can be prosecuted if there is evidence to prove such activity.
The welfare of both student and host is paramount, especially in the case of under 18 year olds. Our main aim is to foster an atmosphere where abusive behaviour towards any other person(s) is not tolerated and is seen to be inappropriate and wrong.
Those working or dealing with the student and the students themselves, must not encounter harassment, intimidation or victimisation on the basis of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or belief, age, disability or any other personal characteristic. Everyone carries a personal responsibility for their own behaviour and for ensuring that their conduct is in accordance with the principles set out in this policy.
Hosts & residence providers: are committed to fostering and maintaining good relations within their homes and to encourage students to give their best. Everyone in the household, as well as those who have dealings with the student(s), have a responsibility to maintain a good relationship and not use words or deeds that may harm the wellbeing of the student. They are responsible for being open to listening to the student in the event of there being concerns regarding a third party (i.e. student from the same school but not in their home) and for reporting such concerns to St Brelade’s College so as to ensure that the school is aware of the matter and can deal with it immediately.
Students: are committed to maintaining good relations at school and within their homestay. They have an obligation to respect the property and to show politeness to all staff, members of the homestay and other students. Anti-social behaviour by students towards staff, students or homestay providers is not accepted and at the discretion of the school may result in expulsion from the school without refund. This could include any form of aggressive or abusive behaviour, inappropriate conduct, religious extremism, racial/homophobic behaviour or the influence of drink/drugs.
RESPONDING TO ABUSIVE BEHAVIOUR
An informal resolution may include an informal discussion as very often people are not aware that their behaviour is unwelcome or misunderstood. A greater understanding and agreement that the behaviour will cease may resolve the problem. Should the issues not be resolved at this stage or the student/host feels unable to raise the issue informally, then a formal resolution should be sought which would include informing the school. No student or host will be victimised or suffer detriment for making a complaint of harassment or bullying.
St Brelade’s College has a responsibility to ensure the health & safety of staff and students and is obliged by law to ensure that all aspects of health & safety at work and during activities have been comprehensively evaluated and that adequate precautions have been taken to avoid any possible risks. We are also obliged to provide relevant information, instruction and supervision to all staff when necessary. A copy of our health & safety policy is detailed on the staff portal, as well as in the main college staff room and office. In addition, all staff should read the risk assessments which outline potential hazards they may encounter on activities and how to ensure their own health & safety, as well as their students’ while working at the school. These assessments have been created in order to remove/control risks and are reviewed periodically or when the work activity changes.
Health & safety should always be a consideration, especially when on activities with children. Staff should be vigilant and act sensibly and responsibly in the case of an accident. If they encounter any incidents while at the school or on an activity or feel they need extra training or information in order to carry out their tasks, they should contact the Principal.
Overall and final responsibility for health & safety is that of the Principal.
All employees have to:
- Cooperate with supervisors and managers on health & safety matters.
- Not interfere with anything provided to safeguard their safety.
- Take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
Report all health & safety concerns to an appropriate person (as detailed in this policy statement).
Accidents & First Aid Provision
Staff and students are made aware of centre first aiders and how to receive first aid. Posters are displayed around the centres, with information also presented in the student induction. Staff are made aware of how to receive first aid for students on out of school activities e.g. activity site officers/managers.
- School first aid box locations: Centre offices
- School accident report forms: Accident forms must be completed for any accident that occurs or first aid/medicines administered (all first aid boxes have an accident form book). Completed forms are stored confidentially for 3 years.
Homestay & residence providers are expected to keep a first aid kit on site. Accident report forms are completed and stored confidentially.
All staff, hosts and residence managers should report any accidents or significant first aid treatment as soon as possible to St Brelade’s College (at least on the same day of treatment). Caregivers or parents are then informed by the school.
In the event of a fire alarm:
At school: Teachers should lead the class to the nearest fire exit and gather at the nominated assembly point with the students. They should ensure that students do not run. They should bring a copy of the class register and not allow students to delay unnecessarily by gathering clothes or possessions. If teachers are not aware of the fire procedures for the school they should seek advice from the centre manager immediately.
In homestay/residence: A mock fire drill should be carried out as soon after the student(s) arrives as possible, including showing all exit routes and assembly points. It is the host’s responsibility to carry out annual fire risk assessments of their home and to update their fire safety plans accordingly, seeking advice from the fire service if necessary. Individual fire plans are discussed with hosts during home visits with our Student Services team. The Principal and Facilities Manager are responsible for carrying out fire risk assessments of residences and residence managers are informed of the fire safety plans put in place.
Teachers are invited to report any safeguarding concerns in weekly staff meetings and the safeguarding staff are appropriately notified of any concerns. Group leaders, hosts and residence staff are encouraged to discuss any safeguarding concerns they may have to DSS/DSL immediately.
Well-kept records are essential to good safeguarding practice. St Brelade’s College is clear about the need to record any concerns held about a child within our school, the status of such records and when these records, or parts thereof, should be shared with other agencies. The DSL make the decision as to the point when concerns warrant a referral. All personal data is processed in accordance with GDPR Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2018. All records concerning allegations of abuse are securely stored and not kept longer than necessary, with access only to the DSS/DSL (and if necessary to an official outside agency). No personal sensitive information is sent via email or printed in a common area.