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FAO: Designated Safeguarding Leads
View from MASH
Early Help and Support Fund
Christmas gifts - greater access to technology
NSPCC - Harmful Sexual Behaviours (HSB) - Learning from case reviews
Single Central Record (SCR) - Free training
Remote Learning guidance
New Adolescent Safety Framework (ASF) training
Children Missing Education Criteria
Training for 2nd half or term from the safeguarding team
Happy New Year 2022! We hope that over the festive break you've managed to find some time to relax and refresh ahead of what we know will be another busy term, again with a degree of uncertainty ahead. As we all wait to see how Covid-19 cases impact on our schools once again, we hope that these newsletters, the resources referenced within and by reminding you of the offer of seeking support from the team will help you undertake your crucial role.
Thank you to those of you who have returned your section 175 audit by the requested end of last term (18th December) deadline. We understand that for many reasons, for some, this will not have been possible and therefore ask that if you can please now prioritise this. If you have any questions or queries about this return, please access the link on our website. As a team, we have already begun reading your responses each return is read. Later in the term, Caroline will analyse all responses ready to be shared with Dawn Stabb and the Education Advisory Group sub-committee to plan any actions as a result of your collective responses.
Finally, before the holiday many of you will once more have been dismayed and appalled by the tragic death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson at the hands of those who should have kept them safe, their family. We will of course wait to hear the findings of the reviews as to how lessons can be learnt and no doubt how this will be implemented in aspects of our work. It is also vital though to remember how many children are kept safe in large part due to the work of you and your colleagues and those working in partner agencies. As ever, thank you for all you do to support our most vulnerable children and families.
Jon Galling Senior Education Safeguarding Officer
View from MASH
As usual the education in MASH team would like to extend a big "thank you" to all the duty DSLs and DDSLs who answered their phones to withheld numbers over the Christmas holiday period, to be met with a cheery voice telling them it was MASH on the phone. Without your input the decisions made in MASH would not be based on the true and current picture for that child or family. No other agency has the same level of ability to inform about what is seen regularly for a child and capture their 'voice', be that through their words, presentation, or behaviour.
Updates on making your MASH enquiry. When children are referred to MASH from a school, the majority of case referrals are completed in a timely manner and actions are aligned to the advice from MASH and result in children receiving a timely and proportionate response to safeguard and protect them. However recently there have been a few occasions of late reporting, non-reporting and of staff speaking to parents when this may have impacted on safeguarding the child. Although the numbers are very low in comparison to the majority of excellent enquiries received, for the worrying few it has led to the police being unable to carry out their investigations and, more concerningly, we have had occasions of children going home to unsafe or dangerous situations due to their disclosures being handled poorly or not being 'handled' at all.
Please can you ensure that your processes in school allow for swift reporting by all staff to yourself as DSL, or any Deputy DSL and then on to the MASH when concerns are raised. If you feel there are issues with your processes in school, or you have received feedback from Children's Social Care or Police that you should have responded quicker or in a different manner, one of the Babcock safeguarding team will be happy to assist you in looking at how to rectify this.
In regard to speaking to parents, please can you ensure that all staff are aware of the following:
You should not speak to the parents of a child for whom you have concerns in the following circumstances:
• It will put the child further at risk of harm This includes the disclosure of physical assault/abuse and the presence of an injury/mark/bruise. If you have the disclosure and no visible injury, you could potentially speak to parents, but best advice is to check with the MASH before speaking to the parent. If you have a visible injury and either a) no explanation from the child but they are presenting as upset and you feel the injury was non-accidental, or b) the explanation from the child and parent does not tally or does not fit with the injury you see, contact MASH before advising parents of a MASH enquiry.
• It may lead to the destruction or contamination of evidence Where a child has disclosed and have an injury or are disclosing any form of abuse which will potentially lead to police involvement, speaking to parents gives them time to get their stories aligned, dispose of evidence and to interfere with the child's own account.
• Where there is a concern around familial sexual abuse (also relates to non-family members residing in the same home or extended family members outside the home) Again, speaking to parents gives them time to get their stories straight, dispose of evidence and to interfere with the child's own account. It can also lead to adults taking matters into their own hands in the form of retribution against a potential perpetrator, which leads to that perpetrator knowing the disclosure has been made.
• Suspected Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) Informing parents that you feel they are fabricating their child's illness can lead to a parent inducing a child's illness in order for them to prove the child is unwell.
As ever, if you are worried about a child and, for whatever reason, have not been able to contact a MASH Social Worker via the routes described in the One Minute Guide, we are here to give advice on whether the matter is indeed urgent, or whether you should speak to parents.
Kathrin, Hannah and Sue.
We have been updating some of our resources on our website. We now have the Safeguarding team and MASH team posters available on our website: Babcock LDP - Safeguarding
We have also been updating some of our subscriber content.
We have updated the following resources for you:
Safeguarding Awareness Calendar
Strategic Safeguarding Chronology template
Safeguarding Data template
We have also introduced a useful links document. This document provides a number of web links to resource and school information. It has been set out under different safeguarding topics and provides you with suggestions on where to get further information and advice for specific safeguarding topics. The document is work in progress and will be routinely updated during every school holiday. If you come across any other useful websites that you would like me to add to the list please email me directly email@example.com
Early Help Household Support Fund Families on low incomes can get help with food and utility costs this winter via the new Household Support Fund, which Early Help are administering locally. The scheme runs until Thursday 31 March 2022.
Through this fund, Early Help is able to provide a grant per family to support with:
Providing vouchers for food
Supporting with energy and water bills for household purposes
Emergency boiler and heating repairs
Essential white goods such as a fridge, freezer or cooker
Also can provide petrol for jobs and broadband
The family needs to meet the following criteria:
You are a family (at least 2 people where at least 1 person is either pre-birth or up to 18 yrs. old)
You are experiencing financial hardship
You need financial help to pay utility bills or buy food and essential items linked to food, warmth, and utilities for your family
Not have received financial assistance from another source for the same reason
Please note: Methods of payment will be either via vouchers sent directly to families, payment direct to families or through company reimbursement. The professional should apply on behalf of the families they are representing and verify the circumstances of the request when doing so.
Please complete referral form attached to this communication and send to Early Help by contacting one of the following mailboxes:
Many children will have received the gift of technology for Christmas! While we all recognise the enormous benefits across the range of devices children have access to, including at a younger and younger age, we also recognise and have concerns about access to harmful content, including pornography. A recent story from the BBC highlights a number of issues and information that are both alarming and insightful in equal measure.
As part of your school's ongoing peer-on-peer and Harmful Sexual Behaviour training including for your school community, the article highlights the importance of how parents should talk to their children about both the safe use of their device, but more importantly the understanding that despite safety measures, children are highly likely to access on-line pornography by the age of 11. Parents therefore need to be clear that viewing such content is going to happen and the impact on this on what is then perceived as 'normal' in a relationship has huge implications as children develop their own relationships with each other.
As ever, schools are often at the centre of the community when topics that require a challenging conversation are needed. Given the content of the article and the wider harmful content children will be viewing including access to possible radicalisation, racist and homophobic content, does this half-term provide an opportunity to share resources and messages as a counter narrative for the harmful content that many children, often without seeking out, will be accessing? Some resources to support you are below: ACT EARLY 'REAL STORIES' TOOLKIT Digital Parenting Vodafone South West Grid for Learning - SWGfL
NSPCC Harmful Sexual Behaviours (HSB) Learning from Case reviews
At the end of December, the NSPCC published their Summary of risk factors and learning for improved practice around harmful sexual behaviour. This concise (6 page) document reminds professionals about their need to think beyond that which can sometimes be seen or reported (including disclosures) and look at the wider context of the individual and their family. As schools continue to develop staff training and awareness of this key aspect of safeguarding, this resource is a useful reminder to ensure that our ongoing professional curiosity is essential in supporting children.
Single Central Record (SCR) - Free training
A school's SCR remains a required document that schools must maintain as part of their safer recruitment practice. A number of schools continue to report challenges with accessing training for those staff who maintain this and associated personnel files. Ofsted Inspections will seek to verify that this document and personnel files evidence how leaders ensure that all staff, volunteers, contractors and agency staff meet current requirements.
To support schools, regardless if they are maintained, academies or Independent the safeguarding team are going to run two free 2 hour workshops, one having already taken place on 10th Jan attended by over 70 people. These sessions are aimed at those who manage the SCR and will be delivered virtually and will be delivered virtually. The next session is on:
Wednesday 26th January 10am-12noon
These sessions can be booked via the Babcock Shop alongside the wider safeguarding team offer.
Remote Learning guidance
Due to the ongoing number COVID cases it is expected that we will see an increase in students and staff working remotely. Currently there is no formal Remote Learning Guidance issued by the DfE however we have refreshed our OMG which will help you to assess any risk and ensure that as a setting you have a clear procedure in place.
The updated OMG (No. 45) can be found via the following link
NEWAdolescent Safety Framework (ASF) training
We have developed a new (free) online learning training session on the ASF which is suitable for all staff at primary, secondary and post 16 settings.
Contextual Safeguarding is not just a secondary school issue and all of our colleagues need to have a clear understanding of contextual safeguarding and how to get support if we have concerns regarding our children being at risk.
When schools are considering if a pupil meets the CME criteria they should refer to the "Guidance on removing a child from school roll and children missing education" This gives the set criteria for when to complete the CME referral.
There is a distinct difference between children missing education and missing children schools should ascertain this before reporting as CME and can obtain advice from the Education Welfare Service.
A pupil that is not attending or has not returned after a school holiday/weekend, with no contact from the named parent or another school/education placement.
Should information gathering confirm the pupil still resides within the local area, the pupil is not a missing child but a child missing education. All efforts and leads should be undertaken to establish where the child is, following the schools safeguarding policy and escalation.
Schools cannot remove from roll unless the criteria has been met.
Training for 2nd half of term from the safeguarding team
While there are still some limited spaces on training for this half term, below are sessions planned for the second half of this term. For a full list of training please visit the Babcock Shop: