Our ODBST Safeguarding Statement of Intent
‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023- Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges’ (DfE September 2023) contains information about what schools, including academies, should do and sets out the legal duties with which they must comply. This statutory guidance should be read and followed by ‘proprietors of independent schools (including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies) and non-maintained special schools. In the case of academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, the proprietor will be the academy trust’.
The ODBST is the proprietor as defined above and as such is responsible for ensuring that all staff in their ODBST schools read, as a minimum, Part one of ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 - Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges’ (DfE September 2022).
This legal requirement together with the Christian values and principles that underpin the ODBST mean that it is essential that the Trust ensures not only compliance at local level but also assumes a strategic responsibility to ensure that safeguarding practices are robust and effective in safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all children in its care.
The ODBST as the proprietor and all our Local Governing Bodies are aware of our obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010, (including the Public Sector Equality Duty), and our local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements.
Local Authorities have overarching statutory responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area. However, safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people is everyone's responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and young people has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.
‘Keeping Children Safe in Education - Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges’ (DfE September 2023) defines safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as:
• protecting children from maltreatment
• preventing impairment of children’s health or development
• ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
• taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
The term 'children' includes all children and young people under the age of 18.
Safeguarding also encompasses issues such as health and safety, attendance, bullying, and a range of other issues, for example, arrangements for meeting the medical needs of children by providing first aid, school security, drugs and substance misuse and positive behaviour. There may also be other safeguarding issues that are specific to the local area or population highlighted within the Safeguarding & Child Protection policy for each school through Contextual Safeguarding areas of risk.
The ODBST is wholly committed to ensuring that all children are cared for in a safe, nurturing and secure environment in our schools. To fulfil this commitment, we have robust systems in place for:
• Policy and procedures
• Safer recruitment of staff and volunteers
• ODBST responsibilities
The ODBST named safeguarding contacts are:
Executive Trust Safeguarding Lead: Jan Martin JMartin@odbst.org
Nominated Safeguarding Trustee: Michael Mill MMill@odbst.org
If a child is in imminent danger, then please dial 999 for the Police.
Policy and procedure
Child Protection/Safeguarding policies must be reviewed and agreed on an annual basis to ensure that key messages from legislation and guidance are embedded at all our ODBST schools. Policy and procedures are developed using the most recent Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2023) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (July 2019) and other key Government guidance. The ODBST will follow clear policies for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. There will be a clear Whistleblowing policy in place.
Additional support and challenge exist to ensure that other safeguarding policies and procedures are effective such as E-Safety, Anti Bullying, Codes of Conduct, Pupil Behaviour and Attendance. The ODBST expects that each school will follow the guidance and child protection procedures provided by the ODBST, their Local Safeguarding Children Board and Local Authority children's services departments.
Safe recruitment of staff and volunteers
Safer recruitment is an important part of safeguarding children and is the first step to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in education.
The ODBST views it as vital that there is a culture of safe recruitment and has adopted recruitment procedures that will deter, reject and identify people who might be unsuitable to work with children.
All elements of our Safer Recruitment policy ensure that the recruitment and selection processes outlined:
- meet the requirements of the most recent Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2023)
- have relevant vetting and checking procedures
- include a robust induction
- provide an ongoing training infrastructure
The policy outlines the steps that the ODBST will take to ensure those employed in our schools are safe to work with children and young people and its main purpose is:
- to prevent unsuitable people working within our schools
- to attract the best possible candidates to work in our schools
- to create and maintain a safe workforce
The ODBST will provide clear guidance, expectations, challenge and support to all ODBST schools to maintain a single central record to provide reassurance that all staff and volunteers are recruited safely.
The ODBST is committed to the following core safeguarding principles:
- at least one trained appointed designated safeguarding lead who holds a position on the senior leadership team and a designated governor for safeguarding at each ODBST school. They are responsible and accountable for the children in their care.
- the Headteacher is always responsible for ensuring the safety of the children at the school to which they are appointed.
- the Trust’s responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is of paramount importance
- all children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection
- children who are safe and feel safe are better equipped to learn
- a culture of listening to children and take account of their wishes and feelings
- the Trust is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff, volunteers, governors and directors to share this commitment
- all staff, volunteers, governors and trustees have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of harm at home, in the community or in a school
- arrangements for working together with other agencies and for sharing information with other professionals should be in place and schools should act in a manner that is professional and supportive of these agencies
- if, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral will be made to Children’s Social Care immediately
- all staff members will maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members are to always act in the interests of the child
- child on child abuse, sexual violence and sexual harassment will be met with an immediate response by schools and supported by the Trust
- pupils and staff involved in child protection issues will receive appropriate support
- policies and procedures are in place for reporting allegations made against or concerns raised in relation to teachers, including supply teachers, other staff, volunteers or contractors
- policies will be reviewed at least annually unless an incident or new legislation or guidance suggests the need for an interim review
- implement appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from education
- fulfil all of their statutory responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
The ODBST will ensure that all its schools comply with training requirements as defined in Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2023):
- All school staff must undergo safeguarding and child protection training at induction. This training should be updated regularly. It should also be in line with advice from the local safeguarding children board (LSCB).
- Safeguarding training during induction should give staff an awareness of the school's safeguarding systems. Induction training should also cover:
- The ODBST Safeguarding & Child Protection policy
- The staff code of conduct (training should cover the school's whistleblowing procedures)
- The names of and the role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL)
- Record keeping procedures in school
- What to in the event of a disclosure
- What to do in the event of whistleblowing
- Who to contact if your concerns are not taken seriously in school
- The DSL and any deputy DSLs should undergo training that provides them with the knowledge and skills needed to perform the role. This training should be updated every two years
- The DSL should undertake training on the government's anti-radicalisation strategy, Prevent. All staff, volunteers and governors receive PREVENT training
- The knowledge and skills of the DSL and deputies should be updated at least termly and records kept as to how this has been achieved
- Safer recruitment training is completed for required staff, governors and trustees who are involved in safer recruitment
- Our schools are additionally required to ensure all staff, volunteers and governors receive training at least once every 3 years in relation to female genital mutilation, honour-based violence, other local and national priorities, managing allegations and E- Safety
- Be able to identify how children are taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. This should be clearly identifiable through the PSHE and RSE curriculum and may be evidenced through the wider curriculum. It will always be a core part of the values of the school.
- Appoint a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of children who are looked after and ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keeping looked after children safe
The ODBST will also:
- Monitor the quality of safeguarding practices and their impact on outcomes for children across the trust and provide regular reports to the Chief Executive Officer and the ODBST Trustees
- Work with local governing bodies to ensure that the performance of vulnerable children is effectively monitored and that appropriate support is made available to those children who are at risk of achieving poor outcomes because they are a Child in Need, subject to Child Protection plans or who are Looked After
- Liaise with local authority lead professionals for safeguarding, Safeguarding Children’s Partnerships, Ofsted, Education and Skills Funding Agency and other agencies as required
- Produce an annual safeguarding action plan as part of the ODBST’s strategic plans
- Commission external challenge and support where appropriate to ensure ODBST schools meet their statutory responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
- Ensure robust disciplinary action is taken in a timely manner if school leaders and governors are not fulfilling their statutory duties (see conduct and disciplinary policy)
Policy in respect of safeguarding is determined primarily at national level. The Trust write the model policy and it is the responsibility of each school to implement the policy. The ODBST is committed to ensuring adherence to national and local policy in the interests of vulnerable children and young people. Failure to implement appropriate arrangements in our ODBST schools to safeguard and promote the well-being of children carries significant reputational risk for the ODBST.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (2023); ‘The Data Protection Act 2018 and UK 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’ (paragraph 119).
‘DPA and UK GDPR do not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe and promoting their welfare. If in any doubt about sharing information, staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.’ (paragraph 57).
‘This includes allowing practitioners to share information without consent.’ (paragraph 118)
ODBST Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
The aim of the ODBST Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is to ensure that our schools have effective measures in place to safeguard children from the potential risk of harm, and that the safety and well-being of the children are of the highest priority in all aspects of our work with schools. Having the policy in place ensures that all members of our school community:
- Are aware of their responsibilities in relation to Safeguarding and Child Protection.
- Know the procedures that should be followed if they have a cause for concern.
- Know where to go to find additional information regarding safeguarding.
- Are aware of the key indicators relating to child abuse.
- Fully support the ODBST’s commitment to Safeguarding and Child Protection.
Sometimes we may need to share information and work in partnership with other agencies when there are concerns about a child’s welfare. We will ensure that our concerns about our children are discussed with parents/carers first, unless we have reason to believe that such a move would be contrary to the child’s welfare.
If a child is in imminent danger, then please dial 999 for the Police.