Safeguarding and Our Pupils
At Glebe School, Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play.
In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all practitioners (school staff, volunteers, other professionals working with a child) should make sure their approach is pupil-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.
No single practitioner at Glebe can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. Everyone who comes into contact with pupils has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined 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
Safeguarding which may affect Glebe Pupils:
Abuse and Neglect
Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child under the age of 18. 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 others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children. The abuse may be physical, emotional or sexual and in some cases, spiritual or cultural (e.g. FGM).
County Lines is a term used for organised illegal drug-dealing networks, usually controlled by a person using a single telephone number or ‘deal line’ that local drug users can call to arrange a delivery. Children and young people are recruited as ‘runners’ to transport drugs and money out of their home towns and cities into other places in the UK, so that the criminals behind the drug trafficking are less visible and less likely to be detected. This is criminal exploitation. Children as young as 11-years-old may be recruited, sometimes through the use of social media. The tactic to entrap children may be as simple as waiting outside a school and using location services on an app to send messages to anyone nearby offering them money. Or children may be recruited in shopping centres with promises to buy them clothes, trainers and other things they want. Evidence confirms that children from all social backgrounds and areas can be targeted by criminals operating a line.
Knowing the signs of criminal exploitation and County Lines is key. These might be:
- Returning home late, staying out all night or going missing. Change of friendship group.
- Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going.
- Being found in areas away from home.
- Unexplained wealth, phone(s), clothes or jewellery.
- Increasingly disruptive or aggressive behaviour.
- Using sexual, drug-related or violent language you wouldn’t expect them to know.
If you feel as though a pupil or your child is at immediate risk please call the Police on 999. Alternatively contact your school or local Neighbourhood Policing Team.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
CSE is a form of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship. They may be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online.
Some indicators of children being sexually exploited are:
- going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late, regularly
- missing school or education or not taking part in education
- appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions, associating with other young people involved in exploitation, having older boyfriends or girlfriends, suffering from sexually transmitted infections, mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing, drug and alcohol misuse and displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour
A child under the age of 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sex or any other type of sexual touching. Sexual activity with a child under 16 is also an offence. It is an offence for a person to have a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year old if that person holds a position of trust or authority in relation to the young person.
If the victim is incapacitated through drink or drugs, or the victim or his or her family has been subject to violence or the threat of it, they can not be considered to have given true consent and therefore offences may have been committed. Child sexual exploitation is therefore potentially a child protection issue for all children under the age of 18.
Creating and sharing sexual photos and videos of under-18s is illegal. Schools follow up any incidents of sharing youth produced sexual imagery, which is commonly known as ‘sexting’, which comes to their attention with a view to referring to appropriate agencies.
Peer on peer abuse
Children are capable of abusing other children. Glebe School does not tolerate these or pass them off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”. Although it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys perpetrators, all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously. This can take different forms, such as sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sending nudes; upskirting; initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. It can occur online and offline (both physically and verbally).
It is more likely that girls will be the victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment and more likely it will be perpetrated by boys. Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will find the experience stressful and distressing. This will affect their educational attainment.
Glebe School take these incidents seriously and ensure that victims are protected, offered appropriate support and every effort is made to ensure their education is not disrupted. This may include working with or referral to other agencies.
‘Honour-based’ violence (HBV)
HBV includes incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. All forms of HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. If staff have a concern regarding a child that might be at risk of HBV or who has suffered from HBV, they follow it up with a view to referring to appropriate agencies.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation (sometimes referred to as female cutting or circumcision) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue and hence interferes with the natural function of girls’ and women’s bodies. FGM causes severe pain and has several immediate and long term health consequences, including difficulties in childbirth also causing dangers to the child.
It is practiced by families for a variety of complex reasons but often in the belief that it is beneficial for the girl or woman. FGM is a deeply rooted practice, widely carried out mainly among specific ethnic populations in Africa and parts of the Middle East and Asia.
These are concentrated in countries around the Atlantic coast to the Horn of Africa, in areas of the Middle East like Iraq and Yemen. It has also been documented in communities in Colombia, Iran, Israel, Oman, The United Arab Emirates, The Occupied Palestinian Territories, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It has also been identified in parts of Europe, North America and Australia.
It is estimated that approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM and approximately 103,000 women aged 15-49 and approximately 24,000 women aged 50 and over who have migrated to England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM. In addition, approximately 10,000 girls aged under 15 who have migrated to England and Wales are likely to have undergone FGM. FGM is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls.
You should report this directly to the Police if you have any information about an individual.
We should be aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs (part of the grooming process also).
Forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological. A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities, for example). Nevertheless, some communities use religion and culture as a way to coerce a person into marriage. Schools and colleges can play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.
Local Authorities have a legal duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (“the Prevent duty”).
Young people can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views, in particular those via the internet and other social media. Schools can help to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same ways that they help to safeguard children from drugs, gang violence or alcohol.
Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a ‘close relative’. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more. Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or by marriage).
Great grandparents, great aunts, great uncles and cousins are not regarded as close relatives.
The law requires that Bromley Council should be notified if anyone is looking after someone else’s child for 28 days or more. The purpose of the council’s involvement is to support the child and private foster family (and wherever possible the biological parent/s) with any issues arising. These may be practical issues such as benefits, housing, immigration or emotional issues such as keeping contact with biological family, maintaining cultural identity.
If you are aware of a private fostering arrangement or if you are privately fostering a child, please notify the council’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
Mobile Phones / Electronic Devices
At Glebe School there is a clear and firm policy on the use of mobile phones for staff and students which prohibits the use of them (for staff) other than in agreed environments e.g. outside the school building, in private offices and in the staff room. The exception is the Pastoral and Medical Teams, who require this for communication.
Pupils also adhere to a mobile phone policy that means they must hand in their phone or device when they arrive and pick it up at the end of the day or keep their phone in their bags.
Without these rules in place, mobile phones may be used to gather and share explicit images which may put individuals at potential risk of bullying or exploitation and often impacts on the mental health of the individual. To safeguard both students and our staff members, we will challenge anyone who does not adhere to this policy.
If you are concerned that a child may be suffering or is likely to suffer harm, please fill out a referral form HERE or call the school office on 0208 777 4540 & ask for the DSL