Child Protection

1.1 Children’s rights and entitlements

Policy statement

  • We promote children’s right to be strong, resilient and listened to by creating an environment in our setting that encourages children to develop a positive self image, which includes their heritage arising from their colour and ethnicity, their languages spoken at home, their religious beliefs, cultural traditions and home background.
  • We promote children’s right to be strong, resilient and listened to by encouraging children to develop a sense of autonomy and independence.
  • We promote children’s right to be strong, resilient and listened to by enabling children to have the self- confidence and the vocabulary to resist inappropriate approaches.
  • We help children to establish and sustain satisfying relationships within their families, with peers, and with other adults.
  • We work with parents to build their understanding of, and commitment to, the principles of safeguarding all our children.

What it means to promote children’s rights and entitlements to be ‘strong, resilient and listened to’.

To be strong means to be:

  • secure in their foremost attachment relationships, where they are loved and cared for by at least one person who is able to offer consistent, positive and unconditional regard and who can be relied on;
  • safe and valued as individuals in their families and in relationships beyond the family, such as day care or school; self assured and form a positive sense of themselves – including all aspects of their identity and heritage;
  • included equally and belong in early years settings and in community life;
  • confident in abilities and proud of their achievements;
  • progressing optimally in all aspects of their development and learning;
  • part of a peer group in which to learn to negotiate, develop social skills and identity as global citizens, respecting the rights of others in a diverse world; and
  • able to represent themselves and participate in aspects of service delivery that affects them, as well as aspects of key decisions that affect their lives.

To be resilient means to:

  • be sure of their self worth and dignity;
  • be able to be assertive and state their needs effectively;
  • be able to overcome difficulties and problems;
  • be positive in their outlook on life;
  • be able to cope with challenge and change;
  • have a sense of justice towards themselves and others;
  • develop a sense of responsibility towards themselves and others; and
  • be able to represent themselves and others in key decision making processes.

To be listened to means:

  • adults who are close to children recognise their need and right to express and communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas;
  • adults who are close to children are able to tune in to their verbal, sign and body language in order to understand and interpret what is being expressed and communicated;
  • adults who are close to children are able to respond appropriately and, when required, act upon their understanding of what children express and communicate; and
  • adults respect children’s rights and facilitate children’s participation and representation in imaginative and child centred ways in all aspects of core services.

1.2 Safeguarding children and child protection

(Including managing allegations of abuse against a member of staff)

Policy statement

Little Sandhurst Nursery will work with children, parents and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. Our Safeguarding Policy is based on the three key commitments of the Pre-school Learning Alliance Safeguarding Children Policy.

Procedures

We carry out the following procedures to ensure we meet the three key commitments of the Alliance

Safeguarding Children Policy.

Key commitment 1

The Nursery is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which children are protected from abuse and harm in all areas of its service delivery.

Staff and volunteers

  • Our designated person (a member of staff) who co-ordinates child protection issues is:

Karen Allen

  • We ensure all staff are trained to understand our safeguarding policies and procedures and that parents are made aware of them too.
  • All staff have an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding issues.
  • We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children.
  • Applicants for posts within the setting are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
  • Candidates are informed of the need to carry out ‘enhanced disclosure’ checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before posts can be confirmed.
  • Where applications are rejected because of obtaining information that has been disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.
  • We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at the setting or has access to the children.
  • Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
  • We record information about staff qualifications, and the identity checks and vetting processes  that have been completed including:

–          the DBS reference number;

–          the date the disclosure was obtained; and

–          details of who obtained it.

  • We inform all staff that they are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders or reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children (whether received  before or during their employment with us).
  • We abide by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of a child protection concern.
  • We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the setting.
  • We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the setting so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
  • We take steps to ensure children are not photographed or filmed on video for any other purpose than to record their development or their participation in events organised by us. Parents sign a consent form and have access to records holding visual images of their child.

Key commitment 2

The Nursery is committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns of abuse that may occur and to work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (HMG 2006).

Responding to suspicions of abuse

  • We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms – physical, emotional, and sexual, as well as neglect.
  • When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through:

–          significant changes in their behaviour;

–          deterioration in their general well-being;

–          their comments which may give cause for concern, or the things they say (direct or indirect

–          disclosure);

–          changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their play;

–          unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect; and

–          any reason to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting.

  • We take into account factors affecting parental capacity, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, parent’s drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent’s learning disability.
  • We are aware of other factors that affect children’s vulnerability such as, abuse of disabled children; fabricated or induced illness; child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession; sexual exploitation of children, such as through internet abuse; and Female Genital Mutilation; that may affect, or may have affected, children and young people using our provision.
  • We also make ourselves aware that some children and young people are affected by gang activity, by complex, multiple or organised abuse, through forced marriage or honour based violence or may be victims of child trafficking. While this may be less likely to affect young children in our care, we may become aware of any of these factors affecting older children and young people who we may come into contact with.
  • Where we believe that a child in our care or that is known to us may be affected by any of these factors we follow the procedures below for reporting child protection concerns.
  • Where such evidence is apparent, the child’s key person makes a dated record of the details of the concern and discusses what to do with the member of staff who is acting as the ‘designated person’. The information is stored on the child’s personal file.
  • We refer concerns to the local authority children’s social care department and co-operate fully in any subsequent investigation. NB In some cases this may mean the police or another agency identified by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
  • We take care not to influence the outcome either through the way we speak to children or by asking questions of children.
  • We take account of the need to protect young people aged 16-19 as defined by the Children Act 1989. This may include students or school children on work placement, young employees or young parents. Where abuse is suspected we follow the procedure for reporting any other child protection concerns. The views of the young person will always be taken into account, but the setting may override the young person’s refusal to consent to share information if it feels that it is necessary to prevent a crime from being committed or intervene where one may have been, or to prevent harm to a child or adult. Sharing confidential information without consent is done only where not sharing it could be worse than the outcome of having shared it.

Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures

  • Where a child makes comments to a member of staff that give cause for concern (disclosure), or a member of staff observes signs or signals that give cause for concern, such as significant changes in behaviour; deterioration in general well-being; unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect; that member of staff:

–          listens to the child, offers reassurance and gives assurance that she or he will take action;

–          does not question the child;

–          makes a written record that forms an objective record of the observation or disclosure that includes: the date and time of the observation or the disclosure; the exact words spoken by the child as far as possible; the name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with the date and time; and the names of any other person present at the time.

  • These records are signed and dated and kept in the child’s personal file, which is kept securely and confidentially.
  • The member of staff acting as the ‘designated person’ is informed of the issue at the earliest opportunity.
  • Where the Local Safeguarding Children Board stipulates the process for recording and sharing concerns, we include those procedures alongside this procedure and follow the steps set down by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Making a referral to the local authority children’s social care team

  • The Pre-school Learning Alliance’s publication Safeguarding Children contains procedures for making a referral to the local children’s social care team, as well as a template form for recording concerns and making a referral. This is based on ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (HMG 2006).
  • We keep a copy of this document alongside the procedures for recording and reporting set down by our Local Safeguarding Children Board, which we follow where local procedures differ from those of the Pre-school Learning Alliance.

Informing parents

  • Parents are normally the first point of contact. We discuss concerns with parents to gain their view of events, unless we feel this may put the child in greater danger.
  • We inform parents when we make a record of concerns in their child’s file and that we also make a note of any discussion we have with them regarding a concern.
  • If a suspicion of abuse warrants referral to social care, parents are informed at the same time that the referral will be made, except where the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board does not allow this, for example, where it is believed that the child may be placed in greater danger.
  • This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the social workers will inform parents.

Liaison with other agencies

  • We work within the Local Safeguarding Children Board guidelines.
  • We have the current version of ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ available for parents and staff and ensure that all staff are familiar with what they need to do if they have concerns.
  • We have procedures for contacting the local authority regarding child protection issues, including maintaining a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of social workers, to ensure that it is easy, in any emergency, for the setting and children’s social care to work well together.
  • We notify the registration authority (Ofsted) of any incident or accident and any changes in our arrangements which may affect the well-being of children or where an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on our premises or elsewhere). Notifications to Ofsted are made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made.
  • Contact details for the local National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are also kept.

Allegations against staff

  • We ensure that all parents know how to complain about the behaviour or actions of staff or volunteers within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, which may include an allegation of abuse.
  • We respond to any inappropriate behaviour displayed by members of staff or any other person working with the children, which includes:

–          inappropriate sexual comments;

–          excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibilities, or inappropriate sharing of images.

  • We follow the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board when responding to any complaint that a member of staff or volunteer within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, has abused a child.
  • We respond to any disclosure by children or staff that abuse by a member of staff or volunteer within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, may have taken, or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
  • We refer any such complaint immediately to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to investigate: LADO@bracknell-forest.gov.uk   01344 351572

 

  • We also report any such alleged incident to Ofsted, as well as what measures we have taken. We are aware that it is an offence not to do this.
  • We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police.
  • Where the management team and children’s social care agree it is appropriate in the circumstances, the manager will suspend the member of staff on full pay, or the volunteer, for the duration of the investigation. This is not an indication of admission that the alleged incident has taken place, but is to protect the staff, as well as children and families throughout the process.

Disciplinary action

Where a member of staff or volunteer has been dismissed due to engaging in activities that caused concern for the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults, we will notify the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) of relevant information, so that individuals who pose a threat to children (and vulnerable groups) can be identified and barred from working with these groups.

Key commitment 3

The Nursery is committed to promoting awareness of child abuse issues throughout its training and learning programmes for adults. It is also committed to empowering young children, through its early childhood curriculum, promoting their right to be strong, resilient and listened to.

Training

  • We seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the setting to ensure that they are able to recognise the signs and signals of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals.
  • We ensure that designated persons receive training in accordance with that recommended by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
  • We ensure that all staff know the procedures for reporting and recording any concerns they may have about the provision.

Planning

  • The layout of the rooms allows for constant supervision. No child is left alone with staff or volunteers in a one-to-one situation without being visible to others.

Curriculum

  • We introduce key elements of keeping children safe into our programme to promote the personal, social and emotional development of all children, so that they may grow to be strong, resilient and listened to and so that they develop an understanding of why and how to keep safe.
  • We create within the setting a culture of value and respect for individuals, having positive regard for children’s heritage arising from their colour, ethnicity, languages spoken at home, cultural and social background.
  • We ensure that this is carried out in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the children.

Confidentiality

  • All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Support to families

  • We believe in building trusting and supportive relationships with families, staff and volunteers in the group.
  • We make clear to parents our role and responsibilities in relation to child protection, such as for the reporting of concerns, information sharing, monitoring of the child, and liaising at all times with the local children’s social care team.
  • We will continue to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to any alleged abuse.
  • We follow the Child Protection Plan as set by the child’s social care worker in relation to the setting’s designated role and tasks in supporting that child and their family, subsequent to any investigation.
  • Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child in accordance with the Confidentiality and Client Access to Records procedure and only if appropriate under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Legal framework

Primary legislation

  • Children Act (1989 s47)
  • Protection of Children Act (1999)
  • Data Protection Act (1998)
  • The Children Act (Every Child Matters) (2004)
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006)

Secondary legislation

  • Sexual Offences Act (2003)
  • Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000)
  • Equalities Act (2010)
  • Data Protection Act (1998) Non Statutory Guidance

Further guidance

  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (HMG 2006 – under revision 2012)
  • What to do if you’re Worried a Child is Being Abused (HMG 2006)
  • Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (DoH 2000)
  • The Common Assessment Framework for Children and Young People: A Guide for Practitioners (CWDC 2010)
  • Statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (HMG 2007)
  • Information Sharing: Guidance for Practitioners and Managers (HMG 2008) (HMG 2006)
  • Independent Safeguarding Authority: www.isa.homeoffice.gov.uk

1.2.1 Safeguarding children and child protection

Promoting positive behaviour

Policy statement

Little Sandhurst Nursery will work with children and parents to ensure the rights and safety of children at all times, and to give them the very best start in life by promoting positive role models for behaviour.

Procedures

We carry out the following procedures to ensure we meet the safeguarding policy followed by this setting.

The Nursery is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which children are protected from abuse and harm in all areas of its service delivery.

Promoting positive behaviour

It is recognised by Little Sandhurst Nursery Group that children can be subject to physical injury due to their stage of physical development. The ligaments and muscles of a child aged 1-4 are not yet fully developed and joints such as elbows and shoulders can easily be dislocated.

Therefore, staff at Little Sandhurst Nursery Group will never lift a child up by their hands (such as swinging a child between two adults). Children who need encouragement to stand up will be lifted from under the armpits where necessary, and this will only be the case once verbal requests have been tried and the child has been given reasonable time to respond. Reasonable time is directly relatable to the child’s age and stage of development.

The nursery chooses not to resort to any kind of punishment for inappropriate behaviour. This includes the use of a chair or ‘naughty step’ for Time Out.

In the event that a child is persistently showing signs of inappropriate or undesirable behaviour, the use of such mechanisms will only be used in consultation with the manager and the child’s parents, and alongside other strategies for helping the child to understand the aim of such intervention.

1.3 Looked after children

Policy statement

Little Sandhurst Nursery Group is committed to providing quality provision based on equality of opportunity for all children and their families. All staff in our provision are committed to doing all they can to enable ‘looked after’ children in their care to achieve and reach their full potential.

Children become ‘looked after’ if they have either been taken into care by the local authority, or have been accommodated by the local authority (a voluntary care arrangement). Most looked after children will be living in foster homes, but a smaller number may be in a children’s home, living with a relative or even placed back home with their natural parent(s).

The Nursery recognises that children who are being looked after have often experienced traumatic situations; physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect. However, we also recognise that not all looked after children have experienced abuse and that there are a range of reasons for children to be taken into the care of the local authority. Whatever the reason, a child’s separation from their home and family signifies a disruption in their lives that has an impact on their emotional well-being. Most local authorities do not place children under five with foster carers who work outside the home; however, there are instances when this does occur or where the child has been placed with another family member who works.

We place emphasis on promoting children’s right to be strong, resilient and listened to. Our policy and practice guidelines for looked after children are based on two important concepts, attachment and resilience. The basis of this is to promote secure attachments in children’s lives, as the foundation for resilience. These aspects of well-being underpin the child’s responsiveness to learning and enable the development of positive dispositions for learning. For young children to get the most out of educational opportunities they need to be settled enough with their carer to be able to cope with further separation, a new environment and new expectations made upon them.

Principles

  • The term ‘looked after child’ denotes a child’s current legal status; this term is never used to categorise a child as standing out from others. We do not refer to such a child using acronyms such as LAC.
  • We offer places to two-year-old children who are in care. In such cases, we would prefer that the child should have been with the foster carer for at least two months and show signs of having formed a secure attachment to the carer, and that the placement in the setting will last a minimum of three months.
  • We offer places for funded three and four-year-olds who are in care to ensure they receive their entitlement to early education. We would prefer that a child will have been with a foster carer for a minimum of one month and that they will have formed a secure attachment to the carer. We would hope that the placement in the setting will last a minimum of six weeks.
  • We will always offer ‘stay and play’ provision for a child who is two to five years old who is still settling with their foster carer, or who is only temporarily being looked after.
  • Where a child who normally attends our setting is taken into care and is cared for by a local foster carer, we will continue to offer the placement for the child.

Procedures

  • The designated person for looked after children is the designated child protection co-ordinator.
  • Every child is allocated a key person before they start and this is no different for a looked after child. The designated person ensures the key person has the information, support and training necessary to meet the looked after child’s needs.
  • The designated person and the key person liaise with agencies, professionals and practitioners involved with the child and his or her family and ensure that appropriate information is gained and shared.
  • The setting recognises the role of the local authority children’s social care department as the child’s ‘corporate parent’ and the key agency in determining what takes place with the child. Nothing changes, especially with regard to the birth parent’s or foster carer’s role in relation to the setting, without prior discussion and agreement with the child’s social worker.
  • At the start of a placement there is a professionals meeting to determine the objectives of the placement and draw up a care plan that incorporates the child’s learning needs. This plan is reviewed after two weeks, six weeks and three months. Thereafter at three to six monthly intervals.
  • The care plan needs to consider issues for the child such as:

–          their emotional needs and how they are to be met;

–          how any emotional issues and problems that affect behaviour are to be managed;

–          their sense of self, culture, language(s) and identity – and how this is to be supported;

–          their need for sociability and friendship;

–          their interests and abilities and possible learning journey pathway; and

–          how any special needs will be supported.

  • In addition the care plan will also consider:

–         how information will be shared with the foster carer and local authority (as the ‘corporate parent’) as well as what information is shared with whom and how it will be recorded and stored;

–          what contact the child has with his/her birth parent(s) and what arrangements will be in place for supervised contact. If this is to be at the setting, when, where and what form the contact will take will be discussed and agreed;

–          what written reporting is required;

–          wherever possible, and where the plan is for the child’s return home, the birth parent(s) should be involved in planning; and

–          with the social worker’s agreement, and as part of the plan, the birth parent(s) should be involved in the setting’s activities that include parents, such as outings and fun-days etc alongside the foster carer.

  • The settling-in process for the child is agreed. It should be the same as for any other child, with the foster carer taking the place of the parent, unless otherwise agreed. It is even more important that the ‘proximity’ stage is followed until it is visible that the child has formed a sufficient relationship with his or her key person for them to act as a ‘secure base’ to allow the gradual separation from the foster carer. This process may take longer in some cases, so time needs to be allowed for it to take place without causing further distress or anxiety to the child.
  • In the first two weeks after settling-in, the child’s well-being is the focus of observation, their sociability and their ability to manage their feelings with or without support.
  • Further observations about communication, interests and abilities will be noted to firm a picture of the whole child in relation to the Early Years Foundation Stage prime and specific areas of learning and development.
  • Concerns about the child will be noted in the child’s file and discussed with the foster carer.
  • If the concerns are about the foster carer’s treatment of the child, or if abuse is suspected, these are recorded in the child’s file and reported to the child’s social care worker according to the setting’s safeguarding children procedure.
  • Regular contact should be maintained with the social worker through planned meetings that will include the foster carer.
  • The transition to school will be handled sensitively. The designated person and/or the child’s key person will liaise with the school, passing on relevant information and documentation with the agreement of the looked after child’s birth parents.

Further guidance

  • Guidance on the Education of Children and Young People in Public Care (DfEE 2000)
  • Who Does What: How Social Workers and Carers can Support the Education of Looked After Children (DfES 2005)
  • Supporting Looked After Learners – A Practical Guide for School Governors (DfES 2006)

1.4 Uncollected child

Policy statement

In the event that a child is not collected by an authorised adult at the end of a session/day, we put into practice agreed procedures. These ensure the child is cared for safely by an experienced and qualified practitioner who is known to the child. The child will receive a high standard of care in order to cause as little distress as possible.

We inform parents/carers of our procedures so that, if they are unavoidably delayed, they will be reassured that their children will be properly cared for.

Procedures

  • Parents of children starting at the setting are asked to provide the following specific  information, which is recorded on our Registration Form:

–          Home address and telephone number – if the parents do not have a telephone, an alternative number must be given, perhaps a neighbour or close relative.

–          Place of work, address and telephone number (if applicable).

–          Mobile telephone number (if applicable).

–          Names, addresses, telephone numbers and signatures of adults who are authorised by the parents to collect their child from the setting, for example a childminder or grandparent.

–          Information about any person who does not have legal access to the child.

–          On occasions when parents are aware that they will not be at home or in their usual place of work, they inform us in writing of how they can be contacted.

  • On occasions when parents, or the persons normally authorised to collect the child, are not able to collect the child, they provide us with written details of the name, address and telephone number of the person who will be collecting their child.  We agree with parents how to verify the identity of the person who is to collect their child.
  • Parents are informed that if they are not able to collect the child as planned, they must inform us so that we can begin to take back-up measures.  We provide parents with our contact telephone number.
  • We inform parents that we apply our child protection procedures in the event that their children are not collected by an authorised adult within forty five minutes after the setting has closed and the staff can no longer supervise the child on our premises.
  • If a child is not collected at the end of the session/day, we follow the procedures below:

–          The child’s file is checked for any information about changes to the normal collection routines.

–          If no information is available, parents/carers are contacted at home or at work.

–          If this is unsuccessful, the adults who are authorised by the parents to collect their child from the setting – and whose telephone numbers are recorded on the Registration Form – are contacted.

–          All reasonable attempts are made to contact the parents or nominated carers.

–          The child does not leave the premises with anyone other than those named on the Registration Form or in their file.

–          If no-one collects the child after the setting has closed and there is no-one who can be contacted to collect the child, we apply the procedures for uncollected children.

–          We contact our local authority children’s social care team:

Children’s Social Care 01344 352020 (name and phone number)

 

For full day care, this will be the out of hours duty officer:

Out of hours emergency duty team 01344 786543 (name and phone number)

 

–          The child stays at the setting in the care of two fully-vetted workers until the child is safely collected either by the parents or by a social care worker.

–          Social care will aim to find the parent or relative. If they are unable to do so, the child will become looked after by the local authority.

–          Under no circumstances will staff go to look for the parent, nor do they take the child home with them. A full written report of the incident is recorded in the child’s file.

  • Depending on circumstances, we reserve the right to charge parents for the additional hours worked by our staff.
  • Ofsted may be informed: 0300 123 1231

1.5 Missing child

Policy statement

Children’s safety is our highest priority, both on and off the premises. Every attempt is made, through carrying out the outings procedure and the exit/entrance procedure, to ensure the security of children is maintained at all times. In the unlikely event of a child going missing, our missing child procedure is followed.

Procedures

Child going missing on the premises
  • As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, the key person/staff alerts the setting leader.
  • The setting leader calls the police and reports the child as missing and then calls the parent. The setting leader will carry out a thorough search of the building and outside play area.
  • The register is checked to make sure no other child has also gone astray.
  • Doors and gates are checked to see if there has been a breach of security whereby a child could wander out.
  • The setting leader/manager talks to the staff to find out when and where the child was last seen and records this.
  • The setting leader/manager carries out an investigation, with the management team where appropriate.

Child going missing on an outing

This describes what to do when staff have taken a small group on an outing, leaving the setting leader and/or other staff back in the setting. If the setting leader has accompanied children on the outing, the procedures are adjusted accordingly.

What to do when a child goes missing from a whole setting outing will be a little different, as parents usually attend and are responsible for their own child.

  • As soon as it is noticed that a child is missing, staff on the outing ask children to stand with their designated carer and carry out a headcount to ensure that no other child has gone astray. One staff member searches the immediate vicinity, but does not search beyond that.
  • The manager is contacted immediately (if not on the outing) and the incident is recorded.
  • The setting leader or manager contacts the police and reports the child as missing.
  • The setting leader or manager contacts the parent, who makes their way to the setting.
  • Staff take the remaining children back to the setting.
  • In an indoor venue, the staff contact the venue’s security who will handle the search and contact the police if the child is not found.
  • The setting leader/manager carries out an investigation, with the management committee, (where appropriate).
  • The setting leader or member of staff may be advised by the police to stay at the venue until they arrive.

The investigation

  • Staff keep calm and do not let the other children become anxious or worried.
  • The setting leader together with a representative of the management team, speaks with the

parent(s).

  • The manager carries out a full investigation taking written statements from all the staff in the room or who were on the outing.
  • The key person/staff member writes an incident report detailing:

–          The date and time of the report.

–          What staff/children were in the group/outing and the name of the staff designated responsible for the missing child.

–          When the child was last seen in the group/outing.

–          What has taken place in the group or outing since the child went missing.

–          The time it is estimated that the child went missing.

  • A conclusion is drawn as to how the breach of security happened.
  • If the incident warrants a police investigation, all staff co-operate fully. In this case, the police will handle all aspects of the investigation, including interviewing staff. Children’s social care may be involved if it seems likely that there is a child protection issue to address.
  • The incident is reported under RIDDOR arrangements (see the Reporting of Accidents and Incidents policy); the local authority Health and Safety Officer may want to investigate and will decide if there is a case for prosecution.
  • In the event of disciplinary action needing to be taken, Ofsted is informed.
  • The insurance provider is informed.
Managing people
  • Missing child incidents are very worrying for all concerned. Part of managing the incident is to try to keep everyone as calm as possible.
  • The staff will feel worried about the child, especially the key person or the designated carer responsible for the safety of that child for the outing. They may blame themselves and their feelings of anxiety and distress will rise as the length of time the child is missing increases.
  • Staff may be the understandable target of parental anger and they may be afraid. Setting leaders need to ensure that staff under investigation are not only fairly treated but receive support while feeling vulnerable.
  • The parents will feel angry, and fraught. They may want to blame staff and may single out one staff member over others; they may direct their anger at the setting leader. When dealing with a distraught and angry parent, there should always be two members of staff, one of whom is the setting leader and the other should be the chairperson of the management committee or representative, or the proprietor. No matter how understandable the parent’s anger may be, aggression or threats against staff are not tolerated, and the police should be called.
  • The other children are also sensitive to what is going on around them. They too may be worried. The remaining staff caring for them need to be focused on their needs and must not discuss the incident in front of them. They should answer children’s questions honestly but also reassure them.
  • In accordance with the severity of the final outcome, staff may need counselling and support. If a child is not found, or is injured, or worse, this will be a very difficult time. The chairperson or proprietor will use their discretion to decide what action to take.
  • Staff must not discuss any missing child incident with the press without taking advice from the manager or the Local Authority.

1.6    Use of mobile phones and cameras

Policy statement

We take steps to ensure that there are effective procedures in place to protect children, young people, and vulnerable adults from the unacceptable use of mobile phones and cameras in the setting.

Procedures

Personal Mobile Phones

  • Personal mobile phones belonging to members of staff are not used on the premises during working hours.
  • At the beginning of each individual’s shift, personal mobile phones are stored in the black lockable tin provided for the purpose.
  • In the event of an emergency, personal mobile phones may be used in the privacy of the office, with permission from the manager.
  • Members of staff ensure that the telephone number of the setting is known to immediate family and other people who need to contact them in an emergency.
  • If members of staff take their own mobile phones on outings, for use in the case of an emergency, they must not make or receive personal calls as this will distract them.
  • Members of staff will not use their personal mobile phones for taking photographs of children on outings.
  • Parents and visitors are requested not to use their mobile phones whilst on the premises. There is an exception if a visitor’s company or organisation operates a lone working policy that requires contact with their office periodically throughout the day. Visitors will be advised of a quiet space where they can use their mobile phone, where there are no children present.

Cameras and videos

  • Members of staff must not bring their own cameras or video recorders into the setting.
  • Photographs and recordings of children are only taken for valid reasons, i.e. to record their learning and development, or for displays within the setting.
  • Photographs or recordings of children are only taken on equipment belonging to the setting.
  • Camera and video use is monitored by the setting manager.
  • Where parents request permission to photograph or record their own children at special events, permission will first be gained from all parents for their children to be included.
  • Photographs and recordings of children are only taken of children if there is written permission to do so (found on the individual child’s Registration Form).