When concerned about the welfare of a child, learners should always act in the interests of the child and have a responsibility to take action as outline in this policy. Learners must follow the procedures of their working contexts.
For the duration of the course, learners are encouraged to report any concerns that they have and not see these as insignificant. Concerns accumulate over a period of time and are evidenced by building up a picture of harm over time; this is particularly true in cases of emotional abuse and neglect. In these circumstances, it is crucial that learners record pass on concerns in accordance with this policy to the DSL. A reliance on memory without accurate and contemporaneous records of concern could lead to a failure to protect.
It is not the responsibility of ESTA or the learner to investigate welfare concerns or determine the truth of any disclosure or allegation. We all have a duty to recognise concerns and pass the information on in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy.
All concerns about a child or young person should be reported without delay and recorded in writing using the agreed template (see Appendix 1). This must be sent to the DSL where the learner is working and a copy to ESTA DSL.
Any learner who does not feel that concerns about a child have been responded to appropriately and in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy should raise their concerns with the head of the organisation they are working in e.g. the head teacher or with ESTA DSL
We advise learners to recognise that children are also vulnerable to physical, sexual and emotional abuse by their peers or siblings. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender based violence/sexual assaults and sexting. Abuse perpetrated by children can be just as harmful as that perpetrated by an adult, so it is important to remember the impact on the victim of the abuse as well as to focus on the support for the child or young person exhibiting the harmful behaviour.
We advise learners to recognise that children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges.
These additional barriers can include:
- assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
- children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying- without outwardly showing any signs; and
- communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.
We advise learners to recognise that if they identify concerns about children becoming victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other forms of so-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) they should inform the DSL of where they are working who will activate local safeguarding procedures, using existing national and local protocols for multiagency liaison with police and children’s social care.
ESTA recognise that safeguarding against radicalisation and extremism is no different to safeguarding against any other vulnerability in today’s society. We advise that:
- Through training, we have an understanding of what radicalisation and extremism is, why we need to be vigilant and how to respond when concerns arise.
- There are systems in place for keeping pupils safe from extremist material when accessing the internet using effective filtering and usage policies.
The DSL can provide you with the necessary forms should you need to document any concerns.