The governors and staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School fully recognise the contribution it makes to safeguarding children. We recognise that all staff, including volunteers, have a full and active part in protecting our pupils from harm.
All staff and Governors believe that our school should provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment which promotes the social physical and moral development of the individual child.
This policy is informed by the guidance and procedures set out by DE ‘Pastoral Care in Schools: Child Protection (1999) and the Area Safeguarding Committees’ (ACPC) Regional Policy and Procedures (2005), The Department of Health’s ‘Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland’ (2016), The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland’s (SBNI) policies and procedures and DE’s Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools – A Guide for Schools 2017.
The central thrust of The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 is that the welfare of the child must be the paramount consideration in all decision concerning the child. This is also reflected in Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the best interests of the child shall be of primary consideration. The ‘paramountcy’ of the child principle underpins our Safeguarding policy and procedures.
Our policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school. The purpose of the procedures set out in this policy is to safeguard and protect our pupils by ensuring that every adult who works in our school – teachers, non-teaching staff and volunteers – has clear guidance on the action which is required where abuse or neglect of a child is suspected. The issue of child abuse will not be ignored by anyone who works in our school, and we know that some forms of child abuse are also a criminal offence.
There are five main elements to our policy:
Staff at Ravenscroft Nursery School adhere at all time to the key Principles of Safeguarding and Child Protection as outlined by DE in their document,
‘Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools – A Guide for Schools 2017’:
The Safeguarding Team at Ravenscroft Nursery School
Chair of Governors: Mr Edward Wilson
Designated Governor for Safeguarding Governance: Mr Miroslav Hosek
Principal: Mrs Nuala Symington
Designated Teacher for Safeguarding: Mrs Nuala Symington
Deputy Designated Governor for Safeguarding: Mrs Sonia McGowan
What is Child Abuse?
(A child is a person under the age of 18 years as defined in the Children Order)
Child Abuse occurs when ‘a child is neglected, harmed or not provided with proper care. Children maybe abused in many settings, in a family, in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them, or more rarely by a stranger.’ (ACPC, 2005)
CATEGORIES OF ABUSE
Physical Abuse – is the deliberate physical injury to a child, or the wilful neglectful failure to prevent physical injury or suffering. This may include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, confinement to a room or cot, or inappropriately giving drugs to control behaviour. (ACPC, 2005)
Possible signs or symptoms of physical abuse include:
Emotional Abuse – is the persistent emotional ill treatment 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 he is worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as he meets the needs of another person. It may involve causing a child frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of a child. Domestic violence, adult mental health problems and parental substance misuse may expose a child to emotional abuse. (ACPC, 2005)
Possible signs or symptoms of emotional abuse include:
Sexual Abuse – involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children to look at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. (ACPC, 2005)
Possible signs or symptoms of sexual abuse include:
Neglect – is the persistent failure to meet a child’s physical, emotional and/or psychological needs, likely to result in significant harm. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment, lack of stimulation or lack of supervision. It may also include non-organic failure to thrive. (ACPC, 2005)
Possible signs or symptoms of neglect include:
– is the intentional ill-treatment, manipulation or abuse of power and control over a child or young person; to take selfish or unfair advantage of a child or young person or situation for personal gain. It may manifest itself in many forms such as child labour, slavery, servitude, engagement in criminal activity, begging benefit or other financial fraud or child trafficking. It extends to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation can be sexual in nature.
Children who have been exploited will have suffered from physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or a combination of these forms of abuse. (Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland, 2016)
A child may suffer or be at risk of suffering from one or more types of abuse and abuse may take place on a single occasion or may occur repeatedly over time.
SPECIFIC TYPES OF ABUSE
Where the perpetrator gains the trust of a young person or their family, through be-friending or making an emotional connection, in order to exploit and abuse them. It may be sexual or other forms of abuse in nature or be a pre-cursor to this. Staff at Ravenscroft Nursery School will ensure that contact with the pupils in the school is limited only to those who have undergone the appropriate vetting procedures.
Child sexual exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/ or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Domestic and Sexual Abuse/Violence.
Exposure to domestic violence can have a significant impact on children and their emotional development and wellbeing. The DT and DDT of Ravenscroft Nursery School will have training in Domestic Violence. Any suspected or disclosed incidents of domestic violence will be reported to the appropriate authorities, in line with the school safeguarding policy and procedures.
Female Genital Mutilation
Staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School are familiar with the contents of the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation Act. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes procedures which intentionally alter or injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is carried out in a number of countries worldwide. In the UK, FGM is illegal. Children may be subjected to FGM from around the age of five years onwards. It is possible that children of Nursery age could be at risk of FGM, as could other siblings within a family group.
Risk factors associated with FGM include:
Warning signs that the child may be about to undergo the procedure include:
FGM is a safeguarding issue. Should a member of staff or indeed a parent of Ravenscroft Nursery School be concerned that a child is at risk of FGM then they have a duty to inform the DT or DDT who will follow safeguarding procedures.
Whilst this is unlikely to be an issue for our pupils directly, staff will be aware of the potential for this to occur with older siblings within families. Should staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School become aware that a pupil’s family member (child or young person) is at risk from this, this is treated as a safeguarding/child protection matter and reported in line with our Safeguarding policy.
Children who display harmful sexualised behaviours
Learning about sex and sexual behaviour is a normal part of a child’s development, however there are some sexualised behaviours which would not be acceptable for a child to display in the school environment and indeed would give cause for concern should an adult observe behaviour which is not age appropriate.
DENI circular 2016/05 highlights problematic sexual behaviour as including some of the following characteristics:
Problematic sexualised behaviours will require some level of intervention, as appropriate, generally at school level. More serious incidents may be considered to be classed as Harmful Sexualised Behaviour and could include:
Harmful sexualised behaviour will always require intervention. Should a member of staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School suspect, observe or receive a disclosure of Harmful Sexualised Behaviour then they will immediately follow the schools procedures on reporting a safeguarding concern.
Where the Designated Teacher or Deputy Designated Teacher are made aware of any concerns relating to sexualised behaviour, then they will deal with this as a Child Protection concern and follow the school safeguarding procedures, including advice contained in DENI circular 2016/05. The Principal would be kept informed of any such concerns and be involved in deciding on the best course of action to take.
The CPSSS will be contacted, if necessary, for additional clarification and support on specific issues and scenarios.
Internet abuse, cyber bullying and online safety
Ravenscroft Nursery School shall ensure that pupils are not permitted to access any inappropriate material online and at all times promote online safety. Use of Ipads in school by children is restricted using parental controls to ‘lock in’ to an app chosen by staff members. Occasionally, you tube/google may be used when
researching something or accessing music. This is only permitted by a staff member working with a child/group and who controls the access to suitable content.
Allegations of cyber bullying of a pupil or staff shall be dealt with in accordance with our anti-bullying and safeguarding policies and procedures.
Bullying is a highly distressing and damaging form of abuse and is not tolerated in Ravenscroft Nursery School
Our anti- bullying policy is informed by the ‘Addressing Bullying in Schools Act’ (2016) and is set out in a separate policy (see appendix 1). It acknowledges that to allow or condone bullying may lead to consideration under safeguarding procedures.
Staff are vigilant at all times to the possibility of bullying occurring, and will take immediate steps to stop it happening to protect and reassure the victim
and to discipline the bully. Parents of both the bully and the victim will be personally contacted when bullying has been identified.
Any complaints by a parent that their child is, or may be, being bullied will be fully investigated by the DT for Safeguarding, and team action will be taken to protect the victim. This will usually include ensuring that Ravenscroft Nursery child or a group of small children befriends and supports the child being bullied during the school day. A parent making a complaint about bullying will have a personal response from the DT within one week of making the complaint, indicating the investigation which has been carried out and the action taken.
A record of all incidents of bullying/alleged bullying will be kept in the School’s Anti- Bullying Register.
The sanctions taken against a pupil who bullies will depend on the seriousness of the case, but will include the loss of privileges in the school. His/her behaviour will be carefully monitored until staff are satisfied that the problem has stopped. If a pupil’s bullying behaviour persists, the second stage will be to instigate the safeguarding procedures.
Procedures for reporting suspected (or disclosed) Child Abuse
The designated teacher for safeguarding (DT) is the Principal, Mrs Nuala Symington.
In her absence the deputy designated teacher for safeguarding (DDT) Mrs Sonia McGowan will assume responsibility for safeguarding.
If a child makes a disclosure to a teacher or other member of staff which gives rise to concerns about possible abuse, or if a member of staff has concerns about a child, the member of staff must act promptly.
She should not investigate – this is a matter for social services – but should report these concerns immediately to the DT, discuss the matter with her, make full notes (signing and dating them), and hand the note to the DT.
The DT will plan a course of action, and ensure that a written record of decisions is made.
The DT will decide whether, in the best interests of the child, the matter needs to be referred to social services. If there are concerns that the child may be at risk of significant harm, the school is obliged to make a referral to social services. Unless there are concerns that a parent may be the possible abuser, the parents will be informed immediately.
The DT may seek clarification or advice and consult with The Safeguarding Support Service for Schools (CPSSS) - Designated Officer for Safeguarding at the EANI, or a senior social worker before a referral is made. No decisions to refer a child to social services will be made without full consideration and on appropriate advice. The safety of the child is our first priority.
Where there are concerns about possible abuse, the DT will inform:
A UNOCINI form will be completed and forwarded to Gateway. This will be done in an envelope marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – SAFEGUARDING’. Alternatively, this can be sent via secure (C2Kni) e-mail to Gateway – any E-Mail referrals must be confirmed by the school, by telephone as having been received by Gateway.
A copy of the completed unocini will be forwarded to the Safeguarding Officers, EANI via internal mail, also marked CONFIENTIAL, UNOCINI ENCLOSED.
A copy of the UNOCINI is available to parents and a further copy retained in the school’s locked Safeguarding box.
In the unlikely event that an allegation should be made against a member of staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School, the school will:
1 Ensure confidentiality of all parties throughout.
2 Endeavour to resolve allegations as soon as possible.
3 Follow procedures outlined in DENI circular 2015/133 which advises:
In accordance with agreed disciplinary procedures, the Board of Governors, Chair or Principal may impose a precautionary suspension, should it be deemed necessary after full consideration of an individual case. Advice from the Education Authority will be sought in advance of any precautionary suspension.
Suspension will only be considered if there is no recognisable alternative.
Precautionary suspension will be reviewed monthly.
Parents will be advised when the matter has been fully dealt with but full details will at all times remain confidential to the Principal, Board of Governors, DDT.
Records will be kept in the Child Protection /Safeguarding box, Ravenscroft Nursery School.
If any member of staff feels unsure about what to do if he/ she has concerns about a child, or unsure about being able to recognise signs or symptoms of possible child abuse, he/ she should talk with the DT.
It should be noted that the information given to members of staff about possible child abuse cannot be held ‘in confidence’. In the interests of the child, staff may need to share this information with other professionals. However, only those who need to know will be informed.
Role of the Designated Teacher (DT) and Deputy Designated Teacher (DDT)
To support and undertake the duties of the Designated Teacher for Safeguarding as required.
Complaints Procedure for parents
Should a parent wish to make a complaint for any reason, they should in the first instance raise this with their child’s teacher. If not satisfied, they may then approach the Principal who will proceed in accordance with the school policy for Parental Complaints. This policy is available on the school website, in translatable format or is available on request in the school.
The NI Public Services Ombudsman may be contacted in the case of complaints which have not achieved a resolution through the School and EANI’s internal complaints process.
Code of Conduct for all Staff
The code of conduct is known to all staff – permanent and non-permanent and volunteers. It reflects the safeguarding ethos of the school and is set out in Appendix 2
Ravenscroft Nursery School Vetting Procedures
The school’s vetting processes are compliant with practice advised in DE circulars 2006/06, 2006/07, 2006/08, 2006/09, 2008/03, 2012/19 and 2013/01. Copies of these circulars are available on the DE website: www.deni.gov.uk
Ravenscroft Nursery School notes that pre-employment vetting remains a key preventative measure in denying unsuitable individuals access to children and vulnerable adults through unsupervised Regulated Activity.
Ravenscroft Nursery School will ensure that newly appointed paid staff such as teachers and non-teaching staff, including classroom assistants, office, catering, cleaning and caretaking staff are appropriately vetted in line with the practice and procedures operated by EANI (BR) and outlined in DE Circular 2013/01, Disclosure and Barring Arrangements: Vetting Requirements for Paid Staff Working in or Providing a Service for Schools.
Guidance for Volunteers
The guidance for volunteers is set out in Appendix 3
Managing Information on Persons who Pose a Risk to Pupils
Public Protection Arrangements are in place in Northern Ireland, managed by a multi agency framework- PPANI. Their remit is to protect the public from persons convicted of sexual and violent offences.
Should the PPANI judge it necessary, information about a person who poses a risk to pupils may be shared with Mrs Symington (The Principal) who will then take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the pupils.
To ensure confidentiality, Mrs Symington will discuss with the designated risk manager and PPANI
1. The nature of the risk posed.
2 How information should be made public and with whom.
A record of this discussion will be taken, kept in the Safeguarding box and will include the contact details of the designated risk manager and the advice given on how to manage the situation.
Information will not be shared with any other school.
Mrs Symington may liase with/seek advice from safeguarding officials and EANI if needed.
Information regarding individuals who pose a risk arising from other sources, will immediately be referred to Mrs Symington to the Public Protection Unit and seek advice – a record of any advice given will be kept in safeguarding box.
Ravenscroft Nursery School will not discuss any individual cases with the media.
Full details of Managing Information on a person who pose a risk to pupils, are contained in DENI Circular no. 2014/27.
The Preventative Curriculum
We recognise that the school plays a significant part in the prevention of harm to our pupils by providing pupils with good lines of communication with trusted adults, supportive friends and an ethos of protections.
The school community will therefore:
Regular school attendance is an important factor in school success, learning and overall development of a child. It also can provide a safe and secure place for some children. Attendance at Ravenscroft Nursery School is closely monitored and where there is cause for concern, this will be discussed with parents and teacher. Poor or erratic attendance can be an indicator of abuse or neglect, again this will be raised with a parent if it is concern.
If a child has not attended school for more than three days and the parent has not contacted the school to give an explanation, the class teacher will telephone to make contact in a pastoral capacity. Should the teacher be unable to make contact with the parent then a home visit shall be carried out to ensure the welfare of the family.
Children with increased vulnerabilities
This may include (but not exhaustive):
Children with a disability, EAL, limited understanding/communication, e.g. nursery age, gender issues/sexual orientation.
Our school Code of Conduct and Intimate Care policies seek to protect both children and staff members by clearly outlining bounds of appropriate physical contact when working with these groups of children.
Ravenscroft Nursery School is a fully inclusive environment with a range of visual supports/strategies to support communication at all levels and to ensure that the voice of the child is heard.
Our pupils access a makaton signed and visually supported version of our procedures for a child to report or share a concern.
RNS Changing and Intimate Care Policy and Procedures:
At Ravenscroft Nursery School, we provide a purely play based curriculum to very young children. We recognise that wetting/soiling accidents may occur from time to time, necessitating a change of clothing to ensure the comfort, well being and health of the child.
These ‘accidents’ may arise from toileting issues/mishaps or may occur curriculum activities such as messy/water based /outdoor play. Whatever the reason, all staff at Ravenscroft Nursery School are equipped to provide appropriate care when assisting a child in the Nursery School with a change of clothing should it be required.
Both bathrooms – Nursery 1 and Nursery 2-keep a stock of clean, dry clothes and undergarments should a child need a set of clothing to change into. We also offer parents the option of supplying their own change of clothing as we recognise that some children may feel reassured by being changed into their own, familiar clothing. Where parents opt to provide a change of clothes, these should be kept in a bag on their child’s coatpeg. Before beginning a changing procedure, staff will always check to see if a change is available on the child’s coatpeg- if not, school clothing is used for the change- care is taken to provide similar clothing- e.g. Winter clothing/layers in winter. Only permanent staff members will assist a pupil with a clothing change. In order to safeguard the child and the staff member, another staff member is always made aware that a changing procedure is about to commence. The child will be changed close to the entrance of the bathroom, where the staff member working in the classroom can observe/see this change taking place.
Whilst children in the Nursery may be at differing developmental stages regarding toileting or managing clothing, staff will always offer an appropriate amount of assistance with changing, (staff do not routinely provide assistance such as wiping bottoms for example), matching it to the child’s developmental level in toileting and managing clothing. Staff at all times provide a loving, caring approach to supporting progress the child’s towards independence.
A log is kept in each bathroom to record date, time and details of change reason/action taken- this is countersigned by the observing staff member. Parents are given a written slip at the end of the session, detailing the change and reason why it was necessary- this slip may be placed inside a plastic bag along with the wet/soiled clothing or, in some instances where clothing is very wet or soiled, the slip may be placed in the child’s individual cubby.
Additionally, very soiled clothing may be disposed of hygienically at the discretion of staff. Should this happen, parents will be offered a replacement item of clothing from the school. Baby wipes are available should they need to be used for soiling accidents. Should it become apparent over a period of time that a child is not fully toilet trained and is having frequent toileting accidents then this will be raised with parents by the class teacher with a view to putting a suitable plan in place to support the child’s developmental progress in toilet training. In some circumstances this may mean reducing the school day so that the child can benefit from an emotionally and developmentally appropriate toilet training experience. Parents will also be advised to contact their Health Visitor for advice and support. Our Parent Worker is also available to offer advice and support on toileting issues.
Students at Ravenscroft Nursery School are never permitted to change a child, nor are they permitted to enter the bathroom area unaccompanied by a staff member when a child is present in this area.
Parents offering toileting support to their own child in school
Staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School will be alert to situations which may arise at the beginning/end of school day or during school events where parents may accompany their own child into the school bathrooms when another child is present in the bathroom. Parents are issued guidance at the beginning of the school year that they should not place themselves into such a situation, but should ask a staff member who would be happy to accompany them in the bathroom area. Should a staff member be aware that a parent is in the bathroom at the same time as another child, they should ensure that they enter/join the parent in the bathroom area to provide safeguarding support.
Parents accompanying their child on a school outing are made aware (at the outset of each trip) of the School’s policy on assisting children other than their own with toileting, intimate care and changing – they are advised that this may only be done by a permanent staff member.
Intimate Care which may include Nappy Changing
Ravenscroft Nursery School is an inclusive school and welcomes children with a wide range of needs. This may include children who are not fully toilet trained for developmental or medical reasons.
When a pupil of Ravenscroft Nursery School has identified needs which mean that he/she requires nappy changing during the school day, this will be discussed with the child’s parents prior to beginning school, and an appropriate Intimate Care Plan drawn up in consultation/agreement with the parents.
We recognise that every child has different needs and each intimate care plan will be flexible and responsive in order to meet these needs.
Nappy changing will only be carried out by a designated and named staff member trained in Child Protection/Safeguarding.
Our policy on physical restraint by staff is set out in a separate policy, “Reasonable Force and Safe Handling”, in accordance with guidelines from EANI. - Appendix 4.
It acknowledges that staff must only use physical intervention as a last resort, and that at all times it must be the minimal force necessary to prevent injury.
This is in line with the training all staff have received from the EANI.
Health and Safety
Our Health and Safety Policy, set out in a separate document, reflects the consideration we give to the protection of our children both within the school environment and when away from the school when undertaking school trips and visits.
Photography and Images of Children.
All parents are asked at the start of the academic year to consent to their child’s photographs being taken and displayed within the school, occasionally in newspapers or on the school website.
A list of any children who MAY NOT have photographs taken or displayed will be clearly sited for all staff to check.
The use of mobile phones and digital devices with camera options is not permitted in the school for safeguarding reasons. We maintain a rich and varied selection of photos on our school website to keep parents up to date with school life, for example Christmas concert and Easter Singalong events. Any parent wishing to receive a copy of a specific moment or have a photo taken of a specified event should arrange this with a staff member who will be happy to oblige.
It may transpire that the school or an individual staff member may become aware of an image/images of a pupil or family member which gives cause for concern- this may especially be true of photos shared on social media sites. Staff should not copy, share or email any photos but should immediately inform the Principal of their existence and give brief details of any concern regarding these images.
Ravenscroft Nursery has a separate policy on educational trips and visits. – Appendix 5
Procedures for dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour in the Nursery
Nursery children rarely engage in bullying.
Aggressive behaviour can emerge as normal behaviour in 2/3 year olds, with temper tantrums being part of normal development at this stage.
In children with delays in other areas of development- e.g. speech and language, there can be resulting secondary behaviour management difficulties.
Therefore in nursery, while bullying as such is not in evidence, there may be examples of bullying types of behaviour displayed by some children. This is usually of a physical nature and may include hitting, kicking or damage to property.
If this occurs nursery staff will put in place some, or all, of the following procedures, as appropriate.
A Code of Conduct for All Staff
(Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools – A Guide for Schools, DE, 2017)
All staff and volunteers are aware of and have received a copy of our code of conduct. The Code is informed by guidance from DE. – Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools – A Guide for Schools (2017).
This Code of Conduct is not intended to detract from the enriching experiences pupils at Ravenscroft Nursery gain from positive interaction with staff. It is intended to assist staff in respect of the complex issue of child abuse, by drawing
attention to the areas of risk for staff and by offering guidance on prudent conduct.
Private Meetings with Pupils
Staff should be aware of the dangers which may arise from being alone with individual pupils. It is recognised that there are occasions when this take place. As far as possible, staff should always be in a room with visual access, or with the door open.
Staff may not use school premises to undertake private tuiton or private lessons.
Physical Contact with Pupils
As a general principle, staff are advised not to make unnecessary physical contact with pupils.
It is unrealistic and unnecessary, however, to suggest that staff should touch pupils only in emergencies. In particular, a distressed child may need reassurance involving physical comforting. Staff should not feel inhibited from providing this in an age appropriate way.
Staff should never touch a child who has clearly indicated that he/she is, or would be, uncomfortable with such contact, unless it is necessary to protect the child, others or property from harm. Staff would follow guidelines given by EANI.
Physical punishment is illegal, as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour, unless it is by way of necessary restraint.
Teachers and nursery assistants come into physical contact with young children while helping them with toileting and often in washing them and changing their clothing.
The special procedures regarding changing a child who is wet, dirty, or sick (or is in nappies and has a statement of Special Educational Needs) should be adhered to by all staff.
The following procedures must be observed at all times:
a) Only children whose parents have given permission for them to be changed may be changed. The Parent / Carer of those for whom parental consent has not been received should be telephoned instead. A list of any children who MAY NOT be changed will be clearly sited for all staff to check
b) Due to problems of supervision of the rest of the class, both members of staff will not be present when a child is being changed. However, the member of staff changing the child MUST alert the other member of staff prior to starting to change the child.
c) To provide visual access, the bathroom door should remain open at all times.
d) While every attempt should be made to give the child privacy and preserve their dignity, other children will not be barred from the bathroom during changing.
e) Staff must wear disposable gloves when changing a child.
f) The child should be encouraged to remove the clothes to be changed by him/herself, where possible.
g) Where necessary, the child can be given a baby wipe to freshen themselves.
h) The child should be encouraged to dress themselves with help being given when necessary.
i) A note of the change must be entered on the chart and signed by the staff member.
j) A child who is asking for help in the toilet should be encouraged and directed how to clean him/herself where possible. Where intervention is necessary, the other member of staff should be alerted, and the record sheet signed by the staff member on completion.
k) Parents are given the option to choose if their child is changed into spare school clothes or only clothes provided by them as a spare.
A separate policy for Changing and Intimate Care exists in Ravenscroft Nursery School and is followed by all staff.
Staff who administer first-aid to a pupil should ensure whenever possible that this is done in the presence of other children or another adult. However, no member of staff should hesitate to provide first-aid in an emergency simply because another person is not present.
Any physical contact which would be likely to be misinterpreted by the pupil, parent or other casual observer should be avoided.
Following any incident where a member of staff feels that her actions have been, or maybe, misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted immediately to the Principal.
Choice and Use of Teaching Materials
Teachers should avoid teaching materials, the choice of which might be misinterpreted and reflect upon the motives for the choice.
When using teaching materials of a sensitive nature a teacher should be aware of the danger that their application, either by pupils or by the teacher, might after the event be criticised.
Relationships and Attitudes
Staff should ensure that their relationships with pupils are appropriate to the age and maturity of the pupils, taking care that their conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought. Staff should be aware of a child’s emotional well-being and should not use sarcasm, verbal bullying or persistent negative comments or actions.
Staff are aware that they are in a position of trust in relation to the children at the school.
It would be impossible and inappropriate to lay down hard and fast rules to cover all circumstances in which staff interrelate with children, or where opportunities for their conduct to be misconstrued might occur.
In all circumstances, employees’ professional judgement will be exercised and for the vast majority of employees this Code of Conduct will serve only to confirm what has always been their practice.
From time to time, however, it is prudent for all staff to reappraise their teaching styles, relationships with children and their manner and approach to individual children, to ensure that they give no grounds for doubt about their intentions, in the minds of colleagues, of children or of their parents/guardians.
The Preventative Curriculum
The staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School recognise that children who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. The school may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at school their behaviour maybe challenging or they maybe withdrawn.
Ravenscroft Nursery School will endeavour to support the pupils who are exposed to risk of harm through supporting such pupils in accordance with his/her agreed protection plan.
Support for all pupils in the school in developing skills in self protection and developing confidence will be afforded as follows:
Guidelines for Volunteers
Volunteers have an important and beneficial role in supporting the work of teachers and other support staff in Ravenscroft Nursery school and in contributing, by their efforts and initiative, to the life of the school.
It is essential however, that appropriate steps are taken, through screening and selection arrangements, to ensure that children are not placed at risk through allowing the unsupervised and unmanaged access of unsuitable adults to the school. The Department of Education has produced guidance ( and ), which Ravenscroft Nursery school complies with in order to help decide whether the supervision they plan to provide will take any supervised activity out of Regulated Activity.
Ravenscroft Nursery School can obtain an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate from AccessNI, but not check barred list status, for supervised work that is no longer Regulated Activity.
Who is a Volunteer?
A volunteer is an individual who, subject to the satisfactory procedures below, assumes unpaid duties in a school on a regular basis
Formal arrangements as to selection and vetting should not be required for volunteers who are involved outside school hours and who do not have unsupervised contact with pupils. These would include fund raisers, people using school premises for meetings etc.
Use of Volunteers
Recruiting and Selecting Volunteers
The school may canvass for volunteers or people may come forward to offer assistance at their own initiative. In many cases potential volunteers may already be known to the school. Others may come forward from the local community. Engagement of volunteers is only undertaken with agreement of the Board of Governors.
As a minimum requirement all potential volunteers are asked to provide the following information to the Principal:
· personal details
· qualifications and previous work with children
· a declaration that they have never been convicted of a criminal offence or been the subject of a Caution or of a Bound-over Order
· a declaration as to whether they have been investigated by Social Services for safeguarding
· agree to an enhanced disclosure check being carried out if engaging in regulated activity
· provide the name of two referees who are not family members or members of staff in the school
· attend an interview with the school Principal with proof of identity
· Undergo an annual enhanced disclosure check through Access NI (via EANI), if appropriate.
No individual will be admitted to the school as a volunteer until these basic steps have been completed and the results assessed.
Where the previous procedures have been followed as appropriate and the school is satisfied that:
the school will notify the individual that he/she has been accepted for voluntary duties in the school
The use of Volunteers
These are the fundamental principles observed when using volunteers:
· The purpose of the volunteer is to assist staff, whether teaching or non-teaching. They are not used as substitutes either to cover activities normally undertaken by paid staff who are absent, or to release such staff to undertake other duties.
· Parent volunteers who provide occasional voluntary work in Ravenscroft Nursery School will always be supervised by a permanent staff member and will not require vetting procedures to be carried out.
· Parent volunteers providing more than occasional voluntary work and any other volunteer to RNS School will be required to undergo an enhanced disclosure check before commencing any volunteer work.
· The Principal will conduct an interview process with prospective volunteers in order to determine the extent of their time commitment to the school and hence the need for an EDC to be sought.
· NO volunteer, in any capacity, will have access to the children or work unsupervised at any time in RNS.
· volunteers should understand the tasks they are to undertake and receive appropriate training to enable them to perform these;
· volunteers are only allocated duties after consultation and agreement with the teacher or other member of staff with whom the volunteer will be closely involved. Teachers are not to be placed under any pressure to accept a volunteer in their classroom;
· volunteers are not afforded access to records or other information relating to staff or pupils. An exception might be made where a child has a medical or other condition of which all those working with the pupil should be made aware, and where agreement of the parent has been sought.
· At all times RNS shall comply with the guidance contained in DENI circular no 2012/19, DISCLOSURE AND BARRING ARRANGEMENTS: CHANGES TO PRE-EMPLOYMENT VETTING CHECKS FOR VOLUNTEERS WORKING IN SCHOOLS FROM 10 SEPTEMBER 2012 GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOLS AND EMPLOYING AUTHORITIES ON CHANGES TO PRE-EMPLOYMENT CHECKING AND SAFER RECRUITMENT PRACTICES.
Health and Safety Insurance
Volunteers are owed a duty of care under the requirements of Health and Safety Legislation. Ravenscroft Nursery School therefore ensures that volunteers are treated no less favourably than paid employees in terms of Ravenscroft Nursery schools’ obligations under the legislation.
Ravenscroft Nursery school places a time limit on the period of the volunteer’s service. This is done where the work earmarked for the volunteer is likely to be completed within a specific period. Where a volunteer’s involvement is likely to be long term, the school advises the volunteer that he/she will be subject to a trial period, during which the Principal monitors the volunteer’s effectiveness in contributing to the life and work of the school.
Information and Training
The school ensures that the volunteer receives such information, guidance, preparation and where necessary, training to enable him/her to perform tasks effectively. As a minimum, volunteers are briefed on:
Arrangements are made for the volunteer to have a formal line of communication to the Principal for reporting issues of concern or the welfare of the children in the school.
Ravenscroft Nursery School has drawn on the advice from the guidance Document “Security and Personal Safety in Schools” 1997 to establish arrangements for the admission and supervision of volunteers on school premises. Particular attention is drawn to:
· The volunteer reporting to the Principal at the beginning of each visit.
Reasonable Force/ Safe Handling Policy
(Based on DENI’s Regional Policy Framework on the use of Reasonable Force / Safe Handling)
Schools have a ‘duty of care’ to their pupils – to provide a safe and secure environment for the entire school community (pupils and staff) and to promote and sustain appropriate behaviour. This may involve all staff having to handle pupils to prevent them harming themselves, others or damaging property.
Ravenscroft Nursery School has prepared this policy for the support of all teaching and support staff who come into contact with pupils and for volunteers working within the school. The policy is intended to explain the school’s arrangements for physical intervention. The policy has taken account of
This policy and our procedures have been developed in line with the guidance from:
Values and Principles underpinning this Policy
Ravenscroft Nursery School believes that:
These principles underpin our school ethos and culture.
2. Purpose of the Policy
The following purposes underpin Ravenscroft Nursery School’s policy and practices to:
We, the staff of Ravenscroft Nursery School, believe that nursery education is a stage in its own right and should be a valuable and important experience for all children who have the opportunity to avail of it.
We see it as an extension to, and complement of, the love and care experienced by children at home. It is important that parents and staff work in partnership to help each child reach his or her own potential.
We provide a varied curriculum set in a stimulating learning environment to help us cater for the individual needs of our children. We hope to encourage each child to become increasingly independent, self confident and happy.
Ravenscroft Nursery School is an integral part of the local community and the staff, together with the Board of governors, are committed to nurturing the aims of local education.
This policy has been formulated with due consideration to the following legislation.
Links with Other Policies
3. Definition of Reasonable Force
The Education (NI) Order 1998 (part 11 article 4 (1) states:
A member of the staff of a controlled school may use, in relation to any pupil at the school, such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purpose of preventing the pupil from doing (or continuing to do any of the following, namely):
· Committing any offence;
· Causing personal injury to , or damage to the property of, any person (including the pupil himself); or
· Engaging in any behaviour prejudicial to the maintenance of good order and discipline at the school or among any of its pupils, whether that behaviour occurs during a teaching session or otherwise.
Based on this legal framework, the working definition reasonable force is the minimum force necessary to prevent a pupil from physically harming him/herself or others or seriously damaging property, but used in a manner that attempts to preserve the dignity of all concerned.
Ravenscroft Nursery School actively promotes positive behaviour management strategies, thus reducing the need for the use of any form of physical intervention, except in emergency situations.
Preventative strategies for defusing and de-escalating conflict/confrontation or aggression are detailed in our school’s behaviour management policy.
The following procedures have been agreed by the staff and adopted by the board of governors. Parents and pupils will be informed of the school’s procedures and support structures within the overall Pastoral Care Policy.
Roles and Responsibilities
Reasonable force/safe handling can be used by any member of staff who is authorised by the principal to have lawful control or charge of pupils e.g. teachers, nursery assistants, supervisory assistants. The principal will confirm with all the staff those who are authorised to be in charge of pupils at any given time.
There may be circumstances when a member of staff may have to decide between making an intervention/using reasonable force by placing herself in a dangerous situation or standing back and thereby allowing colleagues or pupils to face potential danger. There will be an element of personal judgement in these decisions and there is the possibility of someone being injured. However, it is reasonable to expect a member of staff to engage in some risk where there is evidence of danger to others and intervention has a good chance of being effective.
Staff should not, however, put themselves in personal danger merely to safeguard property.
Reasonable force/safe handling can be used by a teacher or other authorised persons on the school premises or when authorised elsewhere e.g. on school trips. Reasonable force/safe handling should be limited to emergency situations and used only as a last resort when all other behaviour management strategies have been exhausted and where:
Examples that fall into the above categories are:
6. Forms of ‘Reasonable Force’
When other behaviour management strategies have failed – the minimum intervention or force will be reasonably employed depending on the age, gender, understanding and any special needs of the pupil and used in a way that preserves the dignity and respect of all concerned. The use of reasonable force/safe handling will involve a calm and measured approach at all times appropriate to the particular pupil and be in accordance with the nursery’s agreed strategies and the following procedures:
7. Forms of Physical Intervention
The forms of physical intervention used in the nursery will depend on the individual circumstances and may include
8. Restrictive Physical Intervention
This will involve the use of physical intervention/reasonable force where there is a risk to pupils, staff or risk of significant damage to property. All incidents will be recorded in the school’s Serious Incident Book and on the Record of Restraint/Physical Intervention Form
9. Forms of Safe Handling
The forms of safe handling used in the nursery will depend on the individual circumstances and are
- on visits outside school,
- learning to move safely around the inside of the school,
- exiting and entering the school building as part of a group,
10. Health and Safety
When using reasonable force/physical intervention/restraint/safe handling, the pupil’s health and safety will always be considered and monitored. Physical interventions will involve the minimum amount of force necessary to resolve the situation and calm the pupil.
Limits on the Use of Force
The use of Reasonable Force will only be employed in exceptional circumstances or an emergency where a pupil appears to be unable to exercise self-control of emotions and whose behaviour is presenting a threat to himself/herself or others. All staff in Ravenscroft Nursery School are aware of acceptable and unacceptable measures of physical intervention as outlined in the ‘regional policy framework’ and understand that the use of force as a punishment or to intentionally cause pain, injury or humiliation contravenes our Safeguarding Policy and is strictly prohibited, by law.
11. Record Keeping
All incidents involving the use of Restrictive Physical Intervention will be recorded in the nursery’s Serious Incident book. The principal will maintain this record and, with the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, will review annually the entries in the incident book.
In addition members of staff involved in an incident will provide specific details to be recorded on a ‘Record of Physical Intervention’ form.
The monitoring of incidents will help ensure that staff are following correct procedures and will alert the principal and Board of Governors to the needs of any pupil whose behaviour can only be contained by the use of physical intervention.
12. Post – Incident Management
The use of restrictive physical intervention can be upsetting to all concerned, therefore, we will ensure that staff and pupils are given the required physical and emotional support.
Parents will be contacted as soon as possible and the incident explained to them. Any complaint from a parent will be dealt with within the nursery’s complaints policy and procedures.
13. Training and Development
Ravenscroft Nursery School is committed to providing regular professional development on
for all staff, in order to maintain the ethos of the school, it’s values and the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.
Policy on School Trips
Parents will be informed by letter about the nature of the trip, the format of the day, the expected departure and arrival times and the eating arrangements in advance and asked to sign a consent form.
Pre-visit by Staff
Staff will acquaint themselves with the place to be visited beforehand and plan the order of the day etc.
Volunteers will be invited to join all trips – the exact number will depend on the nature of the trip and there will be at least 1 adult for every 4 children, in accordance with the guidance issued by the Department of Education.
All volunteers, including parent volunteers should be supervised at all times by a permanent member of staff. Volunteers are not permitted to accompany children other than their own to the toilet, unless a permanent staff member is also present.
All volunteers will be briefed about the nature of their responsibilities before the trip.
Behaviour on Trips
The children will have been informed as to what constitutes reasonable behaviour when out of the school, and be expected to follow Nursery expectations of appropriate conduct.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
A list of names, addresses and emergency telephone numbers will be taken on all trips. A member of staff will carry a mobile phone.
All emergency medication should be brought on any school trip/outing with a named adult designated to carry the medication- this adult will supervise the child closely throughout the outing, to ensure that medication is close to hand should it be needed.