We hope that this newsletter finds you in good health. As the lockdown continues, for many of us we have established a number of routines both at work and with our family that helps us through these challenging times. As a team, we hope to support you by producing a fortnightly, slimmed-down newsletter that will reflect the situation now and moving forward as we prepare for the eventual return of children and staff to school. We know that there is a huge amount of information being sent to schools so have attempted to make ours concise, useful and as ever linked to topics that will keep you current. In two weeks' time, our next newsletter will again have a limited number of topics that we feel will be of the greatest use. As ever, if we can be of any further support, if you have need to talk through a concern, if there is a topic that you need help with, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Many schools are beginning to consider their training needs for individuals and the wider staff group including governors and volunteers. The DfE have confirmed that those who hold a L3 qualification do not require this to be refreshed during this period as would normally be expected every 2 years. However refresher training will, at some point, be required again.
To support you at this time we are in the process of reviewing, revising and updating all 40 of our One Minute Guides (OMGs). These are available from the Babcock LDP website We understand that these are some of our most useful resources and can also be emailed to staff so that a manageable amount of information is available to digest with useful links for further reading as required.
We're also attaching our first attempts at podcasts! There are 3 linked to this newsletter which are in turn linked to a chosen OMG topic. We hope that these initial topics chosen are useful and can therefore be a means of keeping staff and governor awareness of safeguarding refreshed in such a way that is accessible and manageable, including staff who are self-isolating. We will, in each fortnightly newsletter for this period, produce a further 3 podcasts, linked to 3 OMGs as a means of offering some ongoing support in the delivery of training.
We also appreciate that while current government restrictions are in place, face to face training cannot take place. While we expect restrictions to ease at some point, we cannot yet predict a time when this will happen. Therefore, we are in the process of revising our autumn term training dates and venues. This will prioritise a greater number of L3 refresher sessions but also see a greater number of L3 initial sessions. Additional Safer Recruitment and Safer Recruitment refresher sessions will also be available during the autumn term as well as an on-line course that will be available soon for those who require training before then.
New or revised One Minute Guides on the following subjects can all be found at: https://www.babcockldp.co.uk/safeguarding-and-compliance/safeguarding/one-minute-guides
No 2 Single Central Record
No 40 MARAC
No 38 Domestic Abuse
No 14 Peer on Peer Abuse
Safeguarding news and information
Many schools and settings continue to recruit staff despite the current situation while adhering to regulations around social distancing. This means that candidates should not be completing tasks on site such as teaching lessons. All current safeguarding procedures and pre-employment checks are still required as detailed in Part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019. DBS providers are still processing checks and in the case of Devon, are available for support and guidance as normal firstname.lastname@example.org .
However, there needs to be some thought given to some aspects of this process given the current situation. Clearly having sight of original documents such as a passport to verify ID and right to work in UK cannot currently be a face to face process. Schools should therefore utilise means that currently allow them to communicate visually (Microsoft Teams and Zoom being examples) with staff to have sight of these documents with shortlisted candidates; verifying they are who they say they are. Scanned or copies of required documents should be sought for the successful candidate. They should then ensure that at the point at which the successful candidate starts at the school, the originals are seen and verified with further copies taken as required, recording as normal on the Single Central Record. It's also important that formal offers of employment are still conditional and confirmed in writing (email).
References remain key to establishing suitability to work with children. At this time, schools may find themselves seeking references from sources where, if outside of education they may be furloughed. Where this is the case and the source of referee matches their most recent employment history, schools need to be mindful of when this referee might be back, or how, working with the candidate, references can be obtained. Schools should retain their curiosity in scrutinising application forms and being confident to ask questions of individual candidates as before. While using IT to interview for many is different, there should still be questions that explore candidates understanding and values around safeguarding children by a minimum of 2 interviewers, at least one of which has undertaken Safer Recruitment training.
You will have all completed, returned and in some cases updated the Vulnerable Pupil Excel Spreadsheet distributed to schools at the end of March. The aim of this information gathering is to a) ensure the cross referencing of information available from agencies such as Social Care and Early Help, and b) create a single point of information in schools that those within the safeguarding team, or in their temporary absence, can be utilised by others to keep children safe.
Here are some reminders:
If you are collapsing provision please ensure a central copy can be accessed by the necessary members of staff.
Regularly review the school RAG for pupils, use your safeguarding, SEND and other knowledge about the pupils to support your RAG along with the guidance provided with the Vulnerable Pupil Spreadsheet.
If a RAG is changed you must notify the LA by emailing email@example.com so that all professionals (including those in schools) working with the family can be kept updated.
For those pupils rated RED, the expectation is that they attend school. If they are not attending or stop, daily contact calls need to be made with the family and wherever possible an 'eyes on' call with the chid weekly. Those AMBER pupils should be contacted twice a week by their allocated 'key worker' and GREEN pupils should receive a call once a week depending on the level of risk identified after the initial call.
Schools should follow their first day of absence procedure for those pupils expected at but who do not arrive in schools.
Should any contact with pupils and their families (or a pupil's absence from school) raise further concerns schools should follow the Devon's Schools Safeguarding of Vulnerable Children Flow Chart. This document outlines how to escalate safeguarding concerns for each group of young people. It also contains key contact information and advice on how to carry out welfare phone/ video calls and home visits.
Record all concerns, actions, sharing of information, all communications etc on the pupils safeguarding chronology.
Online Grooming and Child Exploitation during Covid 19
The current lockdown means that children and young people are likely to be spending more time online than they would if they were at school. Devon and Cornwall Police in partnership with Dorset Police have launched a public awareness campaign in response to COVID-19 concerns and Child Exploitation. Public awareness posters and information will be sent out via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Clicking on the link below will provide information and videos that you can share with your staff, pupils and parents to help raise awareness of child exploitation. The links signpost to ThinkUKnow, CEOPs, NSPCC and The Children's Society and their advice on how to protect children from online grooming and exploitation.
It is easy for a young person to become exploited online particularly during this uncertain time, young people can find themselves talking with people they don't know; could be constantly bombarded with messages of a controlling and coercive nature that alter what they are watching, thinking and doing; criminals will entice young people into sharing inappropriate images or personal information which will later be used to manipulate or bribe a young person. Signs of exploitation (and online grooming) a parent or carer might see include: talking about older/new friends they've met online; talking about gifts/money they've received online, becoming withdrawn and secretive, having a new phone or more than one phone, receiving a large number of calls or messages and being worried about being away from their phone.
It is important to remember that online exploitation can affect anyone, boy or girl, from any community. Please remember - it is never the child's fault. In fact it wouldn't hurt to remind your staff that adults can be groomed online too. https://www.dorset.police.uk/cse-covid19
For further information on communicating with the vulnerable pupils spreadsheet and the exploitation information please contact Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01392 287216
Communicating with pupils
We have been speaking to a number of schools over the last few weeks, on how they are effectively communicating with their pupils. Your communication with pupils identified as vulnerable may be different to pupils that are not, however it is important to use a number of different forms of communication to engage with pupils and their families. As a team we have gathered some great ideas from schools that we would like to share with you, as suggestions to engage with hard to reach pupils: Class teachers in a primary school have video recorded story time and all pupils are asked to add a comment to the thread (using Class DoJo) about their favourite part of the story. Video chat (for example Zoom Education / Skype Business) to run group class sessions. Monitored pupil chat rooms to encourage younger pupils to have contact with their peers google classroom. Quizzes to engage pupils in a less formal way think online safety / welfare style as well as academic. Kahoot or online surveys.
Please remember the importance of undertaking a risk assessment when using different forms of communication to ensure that any risk is identified and mitigated where possible. If risks cannot be mitigated adequately, school should consider a different form of communication.
Specialist and targeted support for children, young people and their families are vital during this unsettled time. External services are still offering support and we are still being encouraged to make referrals when appropriate. Early Help are having daily triage meetings to discuss families and see what support can be offered. Please gain verbal consent for a family and submit a RFaS (Request For additional Services) form so the family can be discussed and additional support can be identified and offered. Website
MASH are also running as usually and colleagues are reminded of the importance of making a MASH referral if they have information that places a child or young person at significant risk of harm. In the recent communication from the local authority it highlights the 50% drop in MASH referrals being made. Website Our colleagues are still supporting our children and families, even if it has to be in a slightly different way:
School nurse colleagues are contacting families and offering telephone appointments. Please continue to share the PHN posters with children and families. Website SPACE are offering virtual youth clubs as a way of checking in with children and young people who access their services. Website REACH are undertaking return home interviews for young people who go missing. Website
The Family Intervention Team (FiT): are still supporting allocated families via regular telephone calls. Website
Wiser money are offering support via telephone meetings. Website TalkWorks are still accepting self-referrals for adults who need depression or anxiety support. Website
Services are still running so please refer in as you usually would, the offer of support may be different to usual, however services are adapting to meet the needs of children and families.
For more information on services in your area, visit the Pinpoint website. www.pinpointdevon.co.uk/ or contact your Early Help locality officer to see what is available in your area.
To view availability of courses with the DCFP visit the website at: https://www.dcfp.org.uk/events/
Mental Health Support for Children and Young People CAMHS are offering additional crisis support during coronavirus. If a child or young person (under 18) is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can now access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 24/7. Please contact 03300 245 321 during normal hours (8am-5pm, Mon to Fri) or 0300 555 5000 outside these hours. Callers will speak to a call handler, their call will be forwarded to a voicemail service and their message will be returned within one hour. There are three CAMHS crisis teams - Torbay and South Devon; Exeter, East and Mid Devon; and North Devon. Your call will be directed to the appropriate team. In the event of an emergency please call 999.