Information for Parents and Young People
Children and young people have a fundamental right to be protected from harm.
Families have a right to expect schools to provide a safe and secure environment.
All schools have a legal duty to work with other agencies, for example social services and the police, to safeguard children’s welfare. This leaflet will explain to you what that means in practice. It also tells you where you can get more information or help.
Your school has a senior member of staff who is responsible for child protection matters affecting pupils at the school (the ‘Designated Safeguarding Lead’). It also has a Child Protection Policy, which explains how your school deals with child protection concerns, including allegations about the behaviour of members of staff. You can ask for a copy of this is you want to see it.
Schools must follow:
- The law
- Guidance from the Department for Education
- Local multi-agency child protection procedures
If the school is worried about a pupil’s welfare, they must refer this on to a social worker.
The school will normally let the pupil’s parent(s) know when they do this. But they should not contact parents if they think that this could put a child or young person at risk of harm.
When a school refers a child protection concern to a social worker, they must share all relevant information about the pupil.
The Data Protection Act allows schools to share personal information with other agencies when there are child protection concerns about a child or young person.
The social worker, usually in consultation with other agencies, will decide what should happen next. This should happen within 24 hours of receiving the referral.
- They may decide that no further action is needed
- They may decide that it needs looking into further. What action is taken will depend on the circumstances. Any of the following may be appropriate:
o An Initial Assessment
o Child Protection enquiries; this includes agencies assessing the risks to any children based upon information shared, research and talking to those concerned.
o If the referral is about an allegation about a member of staff, usually a strategy discussion will take place between the school, the local authority, Children’s Social Care and the police to decide what should happen next.
They will contact you to let you know what is happening as soon as possible.
You can find more information by:
- Looking at the Multi-Agency Child Protection procedures on the South West Child Protection Procedures website: www.swcpp.org.uk
- Looking at the Department for Education website: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education
- Contacting the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub): County-wide 01380 826200
- Children and young people can contact Childline: www.childline.org.uk or free 24-hour telephone helpline: 0800 1111
These are key documents which set out your school’s responsibilities for child protection:
- Multi-Agency Child Protection Procedures and Guidance (Wiltshire Local Safeguarding Children Board) - www.swcpp.org.uk
- Working Together (Government Departments) 2013
- s.175 (maintained schools and further education) or s.157 (independent schools including academies) Education Act 2002.
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2014 (DfE)
- Your school’s Child Protection Policy
- What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused (Government Departments 2006)
For a printable version of this information please click on the document below.