It really does seem frightening that we are at the start of the summer term. Looking back at the last two terms, there have been so many challenges. With the onset of better weather and longer days, like you, we hope that this term will continue to offer the hope of reduced Covid restrictions and how this enables us to work in more familiar ways. We know that for many of you, this year has been one that has tested our collective resolve and resilience. It is, once more, with this in mind that we thank you for all that you do to support many of our most vulnerable children and support their families in truly exceptional times.
We have also taken time to reflect on the past 12 months and the many positives that we have unearthed. Schools have, like never before shown how they can adapt and create. We know that many of the relationships forged in the past year are continuing to support families in accessing support based on trusted adults who have their children's best interests at heart. Your ability to utilise technology and how record keeping has been developed to inform, support and on occasions challenge our own and others thinking. Finally, the ability to remain resolute to the core belief that safeguarding is everybody's responsibility in how your colleagues have remained vigilant in their work with children and families remains constant.
Once again our newsletter is a collection of advice, resources, links and commentary to keep you up-to-date.
Have a great term.
Jon Galling Senior Education Safeguarding Officer
Exploitation & Prevent
Happy Families Happy Futures
Accessing Barred List information
Volunteer DBS renewals
Babcock training and dates
Local Safeguarding News
EXPLOITATION AND PREVENT
We are all aware of the increased vulnerability children and young adults attending our settings have experienced due to Covid 19 particularly in light of increased time spent on line, increased isolation, stress and uncertainty, as well as reduced contact with services. Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) has identified an increased prominence of extremist groups who have capitalised on the pandemic to promote disinformation, misinformation, hateful views and conspiracy theories; these groups and extremists are targeting vulnerable individuals on the internet, social media and gaming sites. The CTP also report that 10-17 years old are currently the most prominent age group for PREVENT referrals; but worryingly CTP have seen a decline in the number of people referred to the PREVENT programme for support since restrictions were put in place.
Head teachers received a PREVENT update from DCC on 19th March 2021 in light of the concerns mentioned above with links to resources for staff, pupils and parents (from Safer Devon Partnership, Devon and Cornwall Police, DCFP website). If you have not yet seen this update do ask your Headteacher to share.
What can DSL's do? It is important to raise awareness of radicalisation, extremism and other forms of online harm and exploitation in your setting with colleagues, with students (through the curriculum) and with parents, carers and families. You may want to conduct an exploitation audit for your setting, we have listed a few of the areas you may wish to consider, but it is by no means exhaustive.
Visit your website do you have information for parents and students on:
links to organisations such as Internet Matters, National Online Safety, and ThinkUKnow etc.
Remote Learning, E safety, Radicalisation and Extremism policies etc.
Walk you site - can you see:
posters and information for staff, parents and students on exploitation, radicalisation and extremism
displays promoting British Values
displays promoting safe internet use (age appropriate)
'what to do if you are worried', signs to look out for information (for self and peers)
potential hotspots where pupils may feel more vulnerable (e.g. site boundaries, stairwells etc.)
Review your curriculum - does it:
cover exploitation themes throughout the year
give pupils the opportunity to discuss ideas, beliefs etc. in a safe environment
help pupils understand and identify the stages and signs of grooming (face to face and online)
cover healthy relationships, consent and how to say no, how to seek further help and how/when/where grooming can take place
Check in with staff, pupils and parents - do they:
know how to report a concern
know the signs of exploitation (and in particular radicalisation)
know those pupils more vulnerable than others (has this concern been shared with parents)tailor the curriculum to suit the needs of the pupils
recognise and understand that radicalisation (and exploitation) could 'happen here'
Guidance and support is also available through contacting the local Police PREVENT team through their online form, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 01392 225130. PREVENT is a key part of the safeguarding process if you or your colleagues are concerned that someone is at risk of being radicalised it is important to always seek early advice and guidance.
When reading the S175 audits we have noticed that a number of schools are still unsure on the procedures to use when they are unhappy about a MASH outcome or if a social worker deescalates a case without following the de-escalation procedures. It really important that we all feel able to professionally challenge our colleagues in social care if we do not agree with a decision that has been made.
If you want to challenge a MASH outcome follow the procedures set out in the MASH automated return email. Information on what to do is at the bottom of the email.
If you want to challenge a de-escalation or case closure follow the escalation policy which can be found on the DCFP website and more information can be found on our OMG.
Update from MASH Please click here to read the latest news.
When reading the S175 audits we noticed lots of schools who state that they don't have any young carers in their setting. Its important to consider our young carers in 2 groups… our formal young carers who receive support through young carers groups and our under the radar young carers who we don't really know about. We should be considering our children who are caring for siblings with complex needs, children who are supporting parents with mental health needs, or substance misuse concerns. The numbers of unrecognised young carers across the county mean that you will have young carers in your setting, you just haven't found them yet. Have a think about how you can identify them? Find a good definition to share with parents /carers and ask them to get in touch if their child undertakes this role. Teach children about Young carers and see if it sounds like them.
On the 16th March I was really lucky to be involved in Young Carers action day. I met with 2 year 11 girls from a school in Devon, they spent time talking about their experiences and answering questions from a number of professionals in the call.
The 4 main areas that the I would like to feedback are:
Importance of schools identifying young carers and linking them up with 3rd sector support the girls loved young carers activities during school holidays and found this invaluable.
Importance of peer support The girls felt that young carers supporting each other was very powerful. School should consider the Young Carers in school award as this is very peer support based.
Importance of formal 1:1 support but also that 'check in' as and when needed with a professional girls felt that most of their support session were adult focused and not about what they needed and when they needed it.
Good quality training for staff to understand and NOT over react girls said that they were scared to open up as they were worried staff would over react and always refer to social services.
Overseas recruitment post Brexit advice
Many of you will have seen advice in our previous newsletter for post Brexit recruitment changes of what prior to January 1st 2021, would have been European Economic Area (EEA) residents. HR One have recently added further guidance which those maintaining the Single Central Record and personnel files should be aware of alongside those who lead recruitment processes.
HAPPY FAMILIES HAPPY FUTURES
Will be continuing until 31st March 2022!! We are delighted to report that this important support offer for families is continuing. It's as important as ever for children to be surrounded by adults who understand the impact of parental emotions on them and who can communicate effectively to provide stability and consistency. This programme will continue, via virtual formats, to deliver support to parents, whether they are in a relationship or separated.
Accessing Barred List information in advance of a DSB being seen
There are rare occasions when as a result of a recently appointed employee not yet having received their DBS certificate for inspection by the school, a risk assessment process can be undertaken to enable this person to start in their post. Should this be the case, they (the new employee) should be supervised at all times by a staff member who has a verified DBS and Barred list check, In addition, the school or setting should, in advance of the DBS certificate return, check that the individual is not listed on the relevant Barred list which can be checked immediately. This is commonly done via the settings DBS provider.
From April 1st 2021, this is no longer possible through the DBS provider, but can now be achieved in these rare instances through the settings access to the Teacher Referral Agency (TRA) secure Employer Access portal. There is no requirement to undertake this Barred List check separately unless the described circumstances exist in advance of the DBS return. A record of the Barred list check should continue to be verified on the DBS certificate and recorded on the Single central record. It is still the case that Barred list checks should only be undertaken for those deemed to be in Regulated Activity, defined on page 43, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 (updated Jan 2021).
Volunteer DBS renewal
As the 'Road-map' to reducing Covid-19 restrictions continues, many schools are starting to consider a time when they will welcome back visitors. A common question is emerging about the potential need to 're-DBS' volunteers who you have not seen for, in most cases over a year. You will be mindful that currently, a 'break in service' of more than three months (this does not include sick or maternity leave) would require such a process for employees.
Currently, there is no requirement to apply this '3 month break' to volunteers unless you have either chosen to, or have wider concerns about individuals and link such a check to a risk assessment. We would advise that schools re-issue Keeping Children Safe in Education (part one and annex A), their Code of Conduct (sometimes known as Safer Working practices) and you current safeguarding policy and require, ahead of any volunteer return, individuals to acknowledge they have read and understood each and have a record of this being completed. This should be repeated again in September both for this group (with your new policy and KCSiE 2021 part 1 and annex A) and any additional volunteers joining the school at this, or a later time throughout the year as per your normal requirements at the start of a school year or induction. Equally, if you have changes in key staff such as DSLs (including any Deputies) or systems through which any concerns are reported, these should be made clear on their return to school.
This would also seem a good opportunity to ensure that only volunteers who continue to be 'active' in the school, or at a point in the near future remain within the Single Central Record
Babcock Training, Podcasts & Social Media
Safeguarding team Facebook page Don't forget if you are a subscribing or maintained school you have free access to our Safeguarding team Facebook page. We have had some really great feedback from schools in the S175 audits about how useful they find this.
Babcock Training Courses Please visit our website to book a space on any of the courses listed below or to view our full range of courses available for you to book. You may also be interested in taking a look at the new LDP Directory where you will find our full safeguarding offer on page 60.
L3 Initial (2 day)
30th June/1st July
Summer Forums 29th June 7th July 15th July
All sessions will be virtual with a mix of updates from us as well as videos and information from other teams across Devon.
24th June 2021
Lockdown Lessons and Defining the New Normal
Resources & Information
The Big Ask - Children's Commissioner survey for children and young people The Big Ask is a survey being led by the Children's Commissioner for England for children and young people aged 417 in England (split into 4 age categories).
The results of the survey will be used to show the government what children and young people think, and what children need to live happier lives.
Gooseberry Planet The Playground content was updated over the Christmas break and the new game questions and associated materials are now available on the platform. The review of Street Level content is almost complete and the updated version will be available soon.
Heard of Honk? Honk is a new messaging app that lets you chat to people in real-time. Unlike other messaging apps, there's no chat history and no send button. But is it safe? Read here for a parents guide to Honk.
YOUNG MINDS Young Minds have loads of great resources to support children and young people's mental health, for more info visit their website.