Child protection and safeguarding are such important issues for schools that you will get a question on them in your interview. See also my article Child Protection: the questions, NOT the answers
What we have below is a typical Child Protection Policy, so that you can remind yourself of the major points before your interview.
The best thing of all, of course, is to get the actual policy of the school where you have applied; it is often on the internet. But if it isn’t, just read through this one.
And do remember: a puppy isn’t just for Christmas, a Child Protection Policy isn’t just for an interview.
Child Protection: Summary
- Teachers and others in regular contact with children and young people are in a position to get to know those individuals well, to develop trusting relationships, observe changes in behaviour and may be chosen by the young person to share confidence and concerns. Regrettably, there are occasions where child abuse is alleged or suspected. All such situations must be taken seriously.
- lt is the policy of a school/establishment to safeguard the welfare of children and all others involved in the school activities by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm.
- lt is the responsibility of each adult to ensure that his/her behaviour is appropriate at all times. A Code of Behaviour is included in this document to give positive guidance for all adults. It is essential that all adults follow the Code of Behaviour whether they work with children, young people or vulnerable adults. Detail of the steps to take if abuse is alleged or suspected are also included in this document. It is important to remember that school staff are not investigating officers.
- lf there is an allegation or suspicion of abuse then this must be reported immediately to the Designated Person for Child Protection, whose responsibility it is to refer to social services/police (who are the investigative agencies). At all times the welfare of the young person is paramount. Swift reporting will enable the investigative agency to give advice and take appropriate action.
- These procedures exist, not to discourage adults from being involved in the life of school/service, but to ensure, as far as possible, that people who may abuse children do not get the opportunity to do so.
Complying with School/Establishment’s Child Protection Policy:
All adults coming into contact with children and young people in this school/service must comply with the Child Protection Policy and Code of Behaviour.
- As one such person, you are required to sign a copy of this document. By signing, you agree to comply with the policy and follow the Code of Behaviour. This form must be read, discussed, signed and handed to the headteacher, head of service or other designated person before you undertake any duties in this establishment.
ln all matters of child protection, the welfare and safety of the child is the paramount consideration.
If you suspect that a child/young person/vulnerable adult is being abused:
- lmmediately tell the Child Protection Designated Person. If the accusation is against this person, then you should inform the second Designated Person. Record the known facts for the above person.
If a child or young person or vulnerable adult tells you he/she is being abused:
- Allow him/her to speak without interruption, accepting what is said.
- Advise him/her that you will offer support, but that you MUST pass information on to the Child Protection Designated Person.
- Immediately tell the Child Protection Designated Person.
- Record the facts as you know them, including the account given to you by the young person and give a copy to the Child Protection Designated Person
If you receive an allegation about any adult or about yourself:
- Immediately tell the Child Protection Designated Person
- Record the facts as you know them and give a copy to the Child Protection Designated Person
You must refer. You must not investigate.
Code of behaviour
- Do treat everyone with respect
- Do provide an example you wish others to follow
- Do plan activities so that they involve more than one person or at least are in sight or hearing of others.
- Do respect a young person's right to personal privacy
- Do provide access for young people and adults to feel comfortable enough to point out attitudes or behaviours that they do not like, and try to provide a caring atmosphere
- Do remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned
- Do act as an appropriate role model
- Do Not permit abusive youth/peer activities (eg bullying, ridiculing)
- Do Not play physical contact games, make inappropriate comments, or have inappropriate verbal banter with young people
- Do Not jump to conclusions without checking facts
- Do Not make suggestive remarks/gestures or tell sexist/homophobic/racist ‘jokes’
- Do Not rely on your good name to protect you. It may not be enough.
- Do Not believe it could not happen to you. It could.