What is Melton College’s safeguarding policy?
Melton College has a moral and legal obligation to provide students with the highest possible standard of care.
Melton College is committed to devising and implementing policies so that all staff are aware of their responsibilities to safeguard children from harm and abuse. All staff are required to follow procedures to protect children and report any concerns about their welfare to appropriate authorities.
The aim of the policy is to promote good practice, providing children and young people with appropriate safety/protection whilst in the care of Melton College and to allow staff and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Melton College is committed to the following:
- The welfare of the child is paramount
- All children, whatever their age, culture, ability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity should be able to participate in tuition and social activities in a safe environment
- Taking all reasonable steps to protect children from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment and to respect their rights, wishes and feelings
- All suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
- All staff will be recruited with regard to their suitability for that responsibility, and will be provided with guidance and/or training in good practice and child protection procedures. Working in partnership with parents and children is essential for the protection of children
Monitor and review the policy and procedures
All procedures regarding the welfare of students are reviewed regularly by the Welfare Officer (DSL), Principal and Deputy Principal (Alternate DSLs). This review may result in revisions to policy and procedures, and/or re-briefing and additional training for staff.
Promoting Good Practice
The welfare of young students is intrinsic to our policy and practices at Melton College. All staff have a responsibility for maintaining and monitoring the safety and welfare of young students, and for taking appropriate action in the event that they become aware of safety or welfare issues.
All staff should adhere to the following principles:
- Always work in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations)
- Treat all young people equally and with respect and dignity
- Always put the welfare of the young person first
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact with young people.
- Be an excellent role model, this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol in the company of young people. Visitors to the College are signed-in and are either escorted throughout their visit, or are assigned to specific areas of work within the College ensuring no unsupervised contact with students.
Defining Child Abuse
Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. Abuse can happen to a young person regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.
There are four main types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Any individual may abuse or neglect a young person directly or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person harming the young person.
Physical Abuse: where adults physically hurt or injure a young person e.g. hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, biting, scalding, suffocating, drowning. Giving young people alcohol or inappropriate drugs would also constitute child abuse.
Sexual Abuse: refers to the participation of a child in a sexual act. It includes inappropriate physical contact.
Emotional Abuse: the persistent emotional ill treatment of a young person, likely to cause severe and lasting adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. Ill treatment of children, whatever form it takes, will always feature a degree of emotional abuse.
Neglect: the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child, to provide needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child’s health, safety or well-being may be threatened with harm.
Young people with disabilities may be at increased risk of abuse through various factors such as stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, isolation and a powerlessness to protect themselves or adequately communicate that abuse had occurred.
Any action which is inappropriate to the age of the student is potentially a form of abuse even if it is with the sanction of the potentially “abused” student.
In all cases bring the situation (and evidence) to the attention of the Welfare Officer (DSL) to discuss the appropriate response.
Bullying may come from another young person or an adult. Bullying is defined as deliberate hurtful behaviour, usually repeated, over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. There are four main types of bullying.
It may be physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, slapping), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, name calling, graffiti, threats, abusive text messages), emotional (e.g. tormenting, ridiculing, humiliating, ignoring, isolating form the group), or sexual (e.g. unwanted physical contact or abusive comments).
Signs of bullying include:
- Behavioural changes such as reduced concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, clingy, depressed, tearful, emotionally up and down, reluctance to go training or competitions
- An unexplained drop off in performance
- Physical signs such as stomach aches, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, bed wetting, scratching and bruising, damaged clothes, bingeing e.g. on food, alcohol or cigarettes
- A shortage of money or frequent loss of possessions
It must be recognised that the above list is not exhaustive, but also that the presence of one or more of the indications is not proof that abuse is taking place. It is not the responsibility of staff to decide that child abuse is occurring. It is their responsibility to advise the Welfare Officer (DSL) or Principal of any concerns.
Reporting the Concern
All suspicions and allegations must be reported immediately to the Welfare Officer (DSL), who will investigate the matter further.
Where the investigation justifies further action, this will be directed by the Principal, who will inform parents/guardians and appropriate external authorities as appropriate.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people: The Welfare Officer (DSL), Principal and deputy Principal (Alternate DSLs), The parents of the child & The person making the allegation
All information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws.
Additional provisions for children studying at Melton College
Whilst Melton College recognises its duty of care for all students, it is understood that additional care must be taken to safeguard the well-being of students under the age of 18. This care is reflected in the following additional arrangements for the care of young students.
A crucial element of our duty of care is that Welfare Registers must be completed that tell us where a student is going when they leave the College or leave our supervision at the end of an activity or excursion off site. This takes the form of a Welfare Register for each class on a Junior Course (Summer Course, Easter/October Course and junior closed groups), and any under 18’s on a General English course, taken by the teacher at the end of their last lesson or when leaving an activity.
Tuition and Activities – Signing-in and signing-out
Every junior student must ‘sign out’ to say whether they are going home or going into the city centre with a friend (students under 16 are NOT allowed to go
into the city
centre on their own) they must write their names on the register of those students
with whom they plan to go, or at the end of any activity as shown below. Sign out must include the students signature. The completed Welfare Registers need to be returned to the Deputy Principal (ADSL). Once checked they can be passed, if possible, to the member of staff who has the Emergency Phone that evening.
Registers are completed at the end of tuition day, either in College or at a Lesson Out venue, after activities and excursions.
The only exception to this procedure is where the young students are part of a group with designated group leaders. The students may be given to the care of the group leader, who takes responsibility for the student and their return home. Only once the group leader has confirmed to the College staff that all their students are accounted for and are now in the care of the group leader, can the College staff depart.
All host families are vetted by the Head of Student Services (who was the previous DSL and is, therefore, DSL trained) for their suitability to host young students. Care will be taken to ensure that young students are placed with appropriate host families, and that hosts are fully aware of the requirements regarding the care of students under the age of 18.
Students under the age of 18 are not hosted with other students who are over this age, unless specific authorisation has been received from the parent/guardian (e.g. where the parent/guardian has authorised siblings to stay together).