We have an absolute responsibility to children in our care. The legal framework for this duty of care and protection is the Children Act 1989 and 2004, The Early Years Foundation Stage, and Sections 175 and 176 of the Education Act 2002. We are guided in this area by the procedures laid down in the Kent and Medway Safeguarding Children Handbook.
The management and staff of Activeplay Nursery take our responsibility to safeguard children very seriously. At all times there is at least one safeguarding officer in the nursery – these are either Michelle Sharp, Krissie Fuller-Skea or Laura Walker. All staff receive child safeguarding training, and there is a rolling programme of all staff members attending this training. This policy is shared with all members of staff when they join the nursery, and forms part of their induction.
All staff members are DBS checked at an enhanced level, and references are always taken up during recruitment.
No staff member prior to the receipt of their new DBS, or any volunteer or student, has unsupervised access to children in the nursery. As good practice we update all staff members’ DBS every 3 years and as DBSs expire we are moving staff onto the update service which means they are checked every three months.
Responsibilities are met under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, including a duty to make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service where a member of staff is dismissed (or would have been, had the person not left the setting first) because they have harmed a child/put a child at risk of harm.
This policy is to be followed when a member of staff has a concern regarding the health and safety of a child in their care where they may suspect some form of child abuse is taking place, including within the nursery itself. This could be in the form of:
Physical abuse – for example hitting, shaking, punching or throwing or otherwise causing physical harm to the child. Also includes a parent or carer feigning the symptoms of, or deliberately inducing injury in a child.
Neglect – the actual or likely persistent or severe neglect of a child or the failure to protect a child from exposure to danger or harm, or failure to carry out important aspects of care, such as providing adequate food, clothing and shelter. Neglect may also occur in pregnancy, for example as a result of maternal substance abuse, which can result in impairment of the child’s health or development.
Sexual abuse – the actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child either through involvement in sexual acts or witnessing of inappropriate sexual material such as pornography, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, either penetrative or non-penetrative, or be non-contact, for example involving children in looking at, or the production of, pornographic materials.
Emotional abuse – the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child so as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional and behavioural development. For example, conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. May include interactions beyond the child’s developmental ability, overprotection, limitation of exploration or learning, prevention of social interaction, or seeing or hearing ill-treatment of another person.
What may give cause for concern?
Bruising on parts of the body which do not usually get bruised accidentally, eg around the eyes, behind the ears, back of the legs, stomach, chest, cheek and mouth (especially in a young baby).
- Any bruising or injury to a very young, immobile baby.
- Burns, scalds or bite marks.
- Any injuries or swellings which do not have a plausible explanation.
- Bruising or soreness to the genital area.
- Faltering growth, weight loss and slow development.
- Unusual lethargy
- Any sudden uncharacteristic change in behaviour, eg becoming aggressive or withdrawn.
- A child whose play and language indicates a sexual knowledge beyond their years.
- A child who flinches away from sudden movement.
- A child who gives over-rehearsed answers to explain his or her injuries.
- An accumulation of a number of minor injuries or concerns.
- A child who discloses something that may indicate he or she is being abused.
All members of staff have had training on how to spot and deal with suspected Female Genital Mutilation. If any member of staff suspects any child has suffered, or is at risk of imminent FGM then they will report it to the nursery’s safeguarding officer and they will follow our safeguarding procedures.
Child Sex Exploitation
All members of staff have had training on Child Sex Exploitation and this has been cascaded to the staff team. If any member of staff suspects that any child is at risk of sexual exploitation, they will report it to the nursery’s safeguarding officer and they will follow the nursery’s safeguarding procedures.
Assessing the risk
If a concern over the safety of a child is expressed, it is the responsibility of the manager and owner to assess the potential risk faced by the child and the action to be taken.
Monitoring and recording
If there has been a concern expressed about a child’s health or safety but no clear assessment can be made at that stage, the member of staff concerned will notify the manager/owner as appropriate and a record of the concern will be made. This notification will be made in confidence. The information must not be discussed with other members of staff or with any other person.
If there is a substantial concern that a child is being abused then we will contact the Children’s Safeguards Unit for advice and guidance. In an emergency situation where in the opinion of senior staff a child is being abused, immediate police contact may be made if the child is assessed as being in immediate danger if he or she leaves the premises.
Working with parents
This policy will be shared with all parents joining the nursery.
The parent or carer of any child who arrives at nursery with any kind of injury, however caused, will be asked by staff to sign an entry detailing the injury on our ‘existing injuries’ forms confirming that the child arrived at nursery with the particular injury. This is a protection both for the child and for our own staff.
We are committed to working in partnership with parents and carers, therefore it is our policy to advise them if we have any concerns about the welfare of their child, and any referral made or advice sought from the Children’s Safeguards Unit on their child’s behalf. However we will be guided by the Children’s Safeguards Unit, who may under certain circumstances instruct us not to inform parents prior to, or following a referral.
If any member of staff has cause to suspect any form of abuse or neglect of a child in their care, the following guidelines will be followed:
Listen to what the child has to say. Be comforting and sympathetic. Remember physical comforting, such as a cuddle, may not be appropriate. Do not make any suggestions to the child regarding the incident. Use questions only to clarify what the child says has happened. Do not use leading questions. Write down exactly what the child says, in their own words, or the behaviour you have witnessed that concerns you. Write down also anything you said to the child. Sign and date this statement. Do not make any assumptions about the allegation or who it might concern. Do not discuss the matter with anyone either inside or outside the nursery. Inform your manager/the owner as appropriate, immediately.
Helpful contacts/sources of information
Children’s Safeguards Unit 07786 191359
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) 01227 284684
Children’s Information Service 08000 412323
NSPCC 0800 800 5000
Ofsted Compliance, Investigation and Enforcement helpline: 0300 123 1231
Social Services 03000 411111
Revised in July 2022
By: Michelle Sharp
Adopted as the policy of the nursery
By: Jacquelin Curtis
Director, Activeplay Nurseries Ltd