- The welfare of each child is paramount. The School will always strive to keep its children safe from any form of harm or abuse.
- At Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, all members of the school community remain vigilant. We are never complacent about the safety and well-being of our pupils.
- It is a child’s right to feel secure. It is the school’s responsibility to provide such an environment. No child can flourish in any area of their development unless they feel safe.
- All members of staff at Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, regardless of job description or status are equally responsible for the care of our pupils. All members of staff are responsible for acting immediately should they become concerned about any aspect of a child’s safety or well-being. As such, it is the responsibility of all members of staff to keep themselves fully informed of the policy procedures to follow should such concerns arise.
- We engage in partnerships with all other relevant agencies in Hong Kong that support the care and welfare of children. By engaging efficiently with all such other agencies, we further our commitment to ensuring effective and useful partnerships designed to protect and safeguard children.
- Whilst the school consistently aims to work in open and full communication with our parents, we reserve the right to contact the police or other authorised child-protection agencies without first notifying parents, where it is believed that this course of action is in the child’s best interests.
- All references to child protection, well-being and safety, include on-line safety for pupils.
Aims of the Policy
The aims of the policy are by necessity brief and direct. For further details you are guided to the ‘Procedures’ section that follows.
The aims of the School’s Safeguarding policy are to demonstrate the school’s commitment to safeguarding our pupils to our pupils, parents and the wider community.
To safeguard any pupils who may be of concern through early identification of their level of need:
- those who are already identified as in need of any additional support;
- those who have suffered or are likely to suffer significant harm;
- those alleging abuse.
To raise and maintain the level of awareness of all members of Wycombe Abbey School staff members, regardless of job-description or rank of how to safeguard our pupils by identifying and reporting possible abuse through the correct procedural channels.
To maintain an easily accessible communication procedure that all members of the school community can follow in order to report any concerns of harm or abuse of children.
To ensure that all members of staff and members of the wider adult school community, who have immediate or substantial access to our pupils have been checked as to their suitability, including verification of their previous records, identity and qualifications, including any previous training and experience of child protection.
The following section of the policy document is designed to supply more specific detail on how the aims of the policy are put into practice.
- All members of the school staff will have satisfied local government requirements in terms of police/EDB checks against any prior convictions or concerns that may exist in Hong Kong or abroad, regarding each person’s suitability to work with children. To this end the school maintains a single centralised record (SCR), of all members of staff, this comprehensive document is maintained electronically and records all such checks and any updates.
- In the event of any concern arising over data protection during a child protection concern, the school will take the line that child protection outranks data protection and will proceed accordingly.
- All members of staff are trained and receive regular refresher courses on on-line safety for children.
- All members of staff and adults who are associated with the school who have direct contact with pupils are regularly trained and updated in child-protection.
- The school has appointed Howard Tuckett (Headmaster), as the Designated Senior Lead (Child Protection Officer). This colleague is responsible for administering and ensuring the safeguarding of all pupils in the school’s care.
- The school’s safeguarding policy is made available to our parents and the wider community via the school’s website
- Any external letting arrangements of the school’s facilities will include assessing the suitability of adults working with children on the school site.
- The school will take all reasonable precautions to ensure that any contractors or visitors to the school are assessed or that their contact with pupils is risk assessed and that they accompanied whilst on our site.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Headmaster will ensure:
- that a rigorous and correct safeguarding policy is maintained and administered, in that the policy is adhered to by all members of staff and any other adults who may come into contact with the pupils at the school.
- that all adult members of the school community are aware of how to access the Safeguarding Policy at any time and that colleagues are consistently aware of the core aspects of the policy, as incidents of concern over a pupil can arise quickly and unexpectedly.
- that the school communicates and cooperates with all child protection inter-agency activity across Hong Kong and internationally, (where applicable), to ensure the safety of our pupils.
- that a suitably qualified DSL is permanently in post and that the post-holder is sufficiently trained and supported in practical terms in order to offer the fullest level of care and protection to our pupils. Such provision will include a clear job-description, consideration of confidentiality issues, administrative support, training, time and staffing support. The full details of the DSL’s job-description are given below under the heading ‘Designated Senior Lead”.
- Lead and model a culture of safeguarding awareness across the school community.
- Together with the DSL ensure that where there is a safeguarding concern, the child’s wishes and feelings are considered when determining next steps and future actions.
- Together with the DSL ensure that all safeguarding procedures are effectively communicated across the school community.
- that all members of staff are fully aware of their responsibilities regarding raising concerns about pupils, colleagues or unsafe practices (whistleblowing).
- That via the curriculum, all pupils are made aware of how to keep themselves safe, including being safe online.
- Ensure that all allegations or concerns raised about any member of staff are dealt with according to the school’s Safeguarding Policy and the local Hong Kong legal requirements in such cases.
Designated Senior Lead (Child Protection Officer)
- Holds the responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, including online safety across the school. A specific letter of appointment for this role, separate to any other letter of appointment is to be signed by the DSL on appointment. The designated responsibility of the DSL may not be delegated.
- Will liase with local child safe-guarding agencies and authorities in order to support best practice of safeguarding at the school.
- In keeping with the laws and police procedures of Hong Kong, ensure that members of staff are aware of and alert to identifying possible indications of radicalisation of children at school.
- Will remain fully informed of the developing risks associated with on-line safety for children both at home and at school.
- Maintains a school-wide culture of awareness that child abuse can happen anywhere – including at our school.
- Will liase with external case managers and any designated authorities in any safeguarding matter which may include concerns over a member staff at the school. The DSL will also be responsible for any cases of staff or volunteer dismissal stemming from a concern of risk or harm to a child.
- Will be the lead authority at the school on any matter relating to peer-on-peer abuse at the school.
- Be available during term time, school hours for staff to discuss any safeguarding concerns or issues with. Together with the Headmaster, will arrange and communicate contact cover arrangements for out of hours/term times.
- Will act as the initial source of support and expertise in all safeguarding matters to all members of the school.
- Will encourage and support a school-wide culture of paying due deference and respect to the pupil’s point of view, of listening to children and being alert to their feelings and sensitivities in such difficult situations.
- Will be the lead practitioner in all child-protection and safeguarding matter. Accordingly, the DSL will be responsible for ensuring their own training remains current as befits a lead practitioner. Equally the DSL will be responsible for maintaining the high profile of safeguarding training for all other members of staff and volunteers. The DSL will be responsible for maintaining all records pertaining to staff and volunteer safeguarding training and ensuring that all colleagues remain within agreed timeframes of such training.
- Together with the SENCO, the DSL will be attuned to the needs of pupils with any Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).
- Will maintain a register of all/any pupils who have been identified of being at risk/of concern. The Register of Concerns will be supported by full records of all concerns, incidents, actions and outcomes. Such records to be kept securely by the DSL in hard-copy format and secure electronic records. These records will include all concerns about a child even if there is no need to make an immediate referral, as well as the rationale for decisions made and action taken.
- Will access training and support to ensure they have the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. DSL training should be updated at least every two years and their knowledge and skills refreshed at regular intervals but at least annually.
- Will understand and support the School’s delivery with regards to radicalisation.
- Will liaise with school staff (especially pastoral support, behaviour leads, school health colleagues and the SENCO) on matters of safety and safeguarding.
- Will be alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with SEND and young carers.
- Will understand the risks associated with online activity and be confident that they have the up to date knowledge and capability to keep children safe whilst they are online at school and understand the additional risks that children with SEND face online and the associated and appropriate support they require.
- Will ensure that when a pupil transfers school, their child protection file is passed to the new school as soon as possible, and within any statutory timescales (separately from the main pupil file and ensuring secure transit) and that confirmation of receipt is received. In addition the DSL will consider whether it is appropriate to share any information with the child’s new setting in advance of that child leaving the School.
- Will ensure that where a pupil transfers school and is on a child protection plan or is a child looked after, their information is passed to the new school immediately. In addition consideration should be given to a multi-agency schools transition meeting if the case is complex or ongoing.
- Will ensure a decision in the case of a transfer whether a copy of the Child Protection file is retained or destroyed in line with best practice.
- Will report to the Headmaster any significant issues in terms of child protection practice.
- Will ensure that all staff sign to say they have read, understood and agree to work within the School’s Safeguarding Policy, the Online Safety Policy, the Staff Code of Conduct and the Behaviour Policy (pupils).
- Will organise child protection and safeguarding induction, regularly updated training and a minimum of annual updates (including online safety) for all school staff, keep a record of attendance and address any absences.
- Ensure that in collaboration with the school leadership, the Safeguarding Policy is reviewed annually and that the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly.
- Ensure that the Safeguarding Policy is available publicly and that parents are aware that referrals about suspected harm and abuse will be made and the role of the School in this.
- Will ensure that the name of the designated members of staff for Child Protection, the Designated Safeguarding Lead and deputies are clearly advertised in the School, with a statement explaining the School’s role in referring and monitoring cases of suspected abuse.
Dealing with Disclosures
A member of staff who is approached by a child should listen positively and try to reassure them.
They cannot promise complete confidentiality and should explain that they may need to pass information to other professionals to help keep the child or other children safe.
The degree of confidentiality should always be governed by the need to protect the child.
Additional consideration needs to be given to children with communication difficulties and for those whose preferred language is not English. It is important to communicate with them in a way that is appropriate to their age, understanding and preference.
All staff should know who the DSL is and who to approach if the DSL is unavailable.
If the disclosure is of abuse, staff must not investigate.
Report, as per guidance below.
The seven Rs
- Listen to what is being said, without displaying shock or disbelief
- Accept what is said and take it seriously
- Make a note of what has been said as soon as practicable
- Reassure the pupil, but only so far as is honest and reliable
- Don’t make promises you may not be able to keep e.g. ‘I’ll stay with you’ or ‘everything will be alright now’ or ‘I’ll keep this confidential’
- Do reassure, for example, you could say: ‘I believe you’, ‘I am glad you came to me’, ‘I am sorry this has happened’, ‘We are going to do something together to get help’
- Respond to the pupil only as far as is necessary for you to establish whether or not you need to refer this matter, but do not interrogate for full details
- Do not ask ‘leading’ questions i.e. ‘did he touch you?’ or ‘did she hurt you?’ Such questions may invalidate your evidence (and the child’s) in any later prosecution in court, (“leading the witness’’).
- Do not ask the child why something has happened.
- Do not criticize the alleged perpetrator; the pupil may care about him/her, and reconciliation may be possible
- Do not ask the pupil to repeat it all for another member of staff. Explain what you have to do next and whom you have to talk to.
- Reassure the pupil that it will be a senior member of staff
- Share concerns with the DSL immediately.
- If you are not able to contact your DSL and the child is at risk of immediate harm, contact the Police, as appropriate, directly.
- If you are dissatisfied with the level of response you receive following your concerns, you should press for re-consideration
- If possible make some very brief notes at the time, and write them up as soon as possible.
- Record the date, time, place, persons present and noticeable non-verbal behaviour, and the words used by the child. If the child uses sexual ‘pet’ words, record the actual words used, rather than translating them into ‘proper’ words
- If appropriate, complete a body map to indicate the position of any noticeable bruising
- Record facts and observable things, rather than your ‘interpretations’ or ‘assumptions’
- Support the child: listen, reassure, and be available
- Complete confidentiality is essential. Share your knowledge only with appropriate professional colleagues
- Get some support for yourself if you need it
- Review (led by DSL)
- Has the action taken provided good outcomes for the child?
- Did the procedure work?
- Were any deficiencies or weaknesses identified in the procedure? Have these been remedied?
- Is further training required? What happens next?
It is important that concerns are followed up and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they are. The member of staff should be informed by the DSL what has happened following a report being made. If they do not receive this information they should seek it out. If they have concerns that the disclosure has not been acted upon appropriately they should inform the Headmaster
Receiving a disclosure can be upsetting for the member of staff. As such, the school will be open to supporting a colleague after experiencing such a disclosure. Such support may include reassurance that they have followed procedure correctly and that their swift actions will enable the allegations to be handled appropriately. In some cases additional counselling might be needed and staff should be encouraged to recognise that disclosures can have an impact on their own emotions.
What is Child Abuse?
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. The following definitions are taken from The British document entitled ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018).
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur in isolation.
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, they may also include non-contact activities. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Allegations against adults who work with children
This procedure should be used in all cases in which it is alleged a member of staff or volunteer in a school, or another adult who works with children has:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child.
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she would pose a risk of harm to children
In dealing with allegations or concerns against an adult, staff must:
- Report any concerns about the conduct of any member of staff or volunteer to the Headmaster immediately.
- If an allegation is made against the Headmaster, the concerns need to be raised with the Managing Director, Wycombe Abbey Schools, Greater China. as soon as possible.
- There may be situations when the Headmaster or Managing Director will want to involve the police immediately if the person is deemed to be an immediate risk to children or there is evidence of a possible criminal offence.
We recognise that children cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.
All staff must be clear regarding their duty to raise any concerns they may have about any issue over the management of child protection, which may include the attitude or actions of colleagues, poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school’s safeguarding arrangements.
All such concerns should be raised immediately directly to the Headmaster
Whistle-blowing regarding the Headmaster should be made to the Managing Director, whose contact details are available to staff.