In relation to child abuse, poor or discriminatory practice within a school/nursery setting all staff require to share concerns in regard to any staff practices that compromise the safety of child. An incident, action or event that may give cause for concern must be reported to the Child Protection Co-ordinator. It may be that the setting is not allowing the child to reach their full learning potential because it has limited resources or inappropriately set out for the child’s individual need. You may hear another practitioner speaking to a child in a discriminatory manner. Staff have a duty of care to the children to report these concerns.
As a student within my setting I have been informed by my Mentor to report directly to the Senior within the Nursery if a child disclosed possible abuse and/or neglect. I have annual Child Protection Training and I am aware of the procedures, reporting and recording.
• remain calm
• listen carefully and sensitively
• take whatever the child discloses seriously
• reassure child that they have done the right thing
• record the information verbatim
• follow the correct procedures for child protection
I know not to:-
• ask leading questions
• appear shock or surprised
• promise to keep the information secret
• carry out my own investigation or gather photographic evidence
• speculate or form my own opinions
I am fully aware that I need to share with other professionals if it is considered necessary to protect the child or someone else from harm.
The Child Protection Coordinator within the Nursery or School may record information following a concern being raised by logging the information given on an electronic pastoral notes system. This may be an initial/low level concern but might lead to a pattern or escalated concerns. It helps the school identify cause for concern at an early stage. Often it is only when a number of seemingly minor issues are taken as a whole, that a safeguarding or child protection concern becomes clear.
Any information recorded is in chronological order in line with the local framework policies and procedures outlined within GIRFEC. Chronologies should be reviewed and monitored and cross-referenced with relevant information from other agencies.
Recording information both electronically and manually identifies a robust and effective safeguarding policy and practice in the event of any inspection. It helps the school monitor and manage its safeguarding practices. Records of disclosures made by children should be:
• Factual, using the child’s own words.
• All records should be dated, signed and filed in chronological order.
• Any handwritten notes taken during or immediately after a disclosure should not be destroyed but kept securely attached to the child protection forms. These hand written notes may be used as evidence or clarification for any future court case.
All child protection concerns should be treated as sensitive information and kept separate from general school records. Child protection records should be kept together in a secure filing cabinet accessible only to the relevant staff involved in CP issues. A child may have an open CP file if staff have already raised concerns, information may have been forwarded on by a previous school or if the school is alerted by another agency (e.g. health, social care).
The law of confidentiality, data protection and human rights principles must be adhered to when obtaining, processing or sharing personal or sensitive information or records. Current guidance from the Records Management Society is that when a pupil with a child protection record reaches statutory school leaving age, the last school attended should keep the child protection file until the child’s 26th birthday.
Any confidential information shared should be relevant, necessary and proportionate to the circumstances of the child and limited to those who need to know. Information gathered about possible risks to a child should be pursued from all related sources including services that may be involved with other family members. Significant historical information should be taken into account. When information is shared a record should be taken of when it was shared and to whom, for what reason and whether the information was shared with or without consent. If for some reason information is not shared the reason and the logic as to why must also be recorded. There is a significant difference between making the child aware that information will/may be shared and seeking their consent. Relevant information must always be shared if a child’s wellbeing is considered to be at risk.