Blackpool Circus School recognises its legal duty under the Children Act 1989 to work with other agencies under the Area Child Protection Committee procedures in order to protect young people from “significant harm” to their health and development. All volunteers, or paid teachers or support staff, involved with the Circus School are covered by this policy.
2. “Children in Need”
Young people’s worries and fears about their welfare will be taken seriously as part of the school’s general pastoral responsibilities. Where referral to another agency for assessment and/or services may be appropriate in order to promote young people’s general welfare, this must first be discussed with parents or carers and their consent obtained, unless the young person themselves are of an appropriate age and show understanding to consent. Their agreement should be indicated on the standard referral form to social services or in any referral letter to any other agency. Any such referral is voluntary and should not be made without the parent’s permission. Parents are entitled to see any written information held about them, which does not relate to child protection issues.
3. “Children in Need of Protection”
Referrals to social services under Blackpool or Lancashire Child Protection Committee (CPC) procedures may be made without parental or carers consent, only where there is sufficient concern to suggest that the young person may be suffering, or is at risk from “significant harm” as a result of:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Neglect, or
- Sexual abuse
If a member of Blackpool Circus School staff, Management committee or Trustees is concerned that a young person may be suffering or is at risk of “significant harm” under one or more of the above categories they must discuss their concerns immediately with the appropriate member of the Trustees. Advice may be sought from the Principal Youth Officer of Blackpool Borough Council on 01253 476573. Advice may also be sought from the duty officer in the relevant social services office for the area in which the young person lives. All conversations and decisions should be recorded in writing and kept permanently by the relevant member of Blackpool Circus School.
4. Making referrals
If referral is considered appropriate, telephone referrals to the area social services duty officer for children and families should be confirmed immediately in writing on the appropriate form and a copy kept by the relevant member of Blackpool Circus School. Further information may be added as required. All those involved need to be aware that the Circus School is not an investigation agency and that detailed enquires should not be undertaken with the young person or family beyond gathering sufficient information to inform the referral.
5. Blackpool Circus School will give every co-operation to the agreed CPC inter-agency process including the provision of information about the child and family members, attendance at meetings and child protection conferences, membership of core groups and effective monitoring of young people on the child protection register as required.
All members of Blackpool Circus School will regularly receive training and updates necessary to enable them to carry out their appropriate child protection responsibilities under the CPC procedures. Casual staff will receive training as part of their induction process on the issues and referral procedure.
Appropriate Behaviour of Staff
All members of Blackpool Circus School, paid and unpaid staff will be subject to the appropriate checks on their personal character and conviction history. The Circus School Honorary Secretary must ensure that appropriate supervisory and accountability procedures are in place. All staff recognise that they are prohibited by law from administering any form of corporal punishment to a young person. This includes any form of hitting, slapping, shaking or other degrading treatment. If it is necessary to use physical support or restraint to protect a child from harming themselves or others, this must be the minimum necessary and appropriate for the situation. All restraining incidents must be reported immediately to the Honorary Secretary and a written report kept and the parent or guardian will be informed of any such incident in writing.
8. Teaching staff must keep their physical and personal contact with young people under constant review and seek to minimise the risk of any situation arising in which misunderstandings may occur. This is especially important where members of staff have to be in one-to-one dance or gymnastic support or contact with young people or where young people have a known history of disruption, challenging behaviour or violence. Teaching staff should undertake a “risk assessment” when required and discuss with the Trustees any issues which may need to be addressed, for example, when visiting young people at their home or when escorting young people in their car. However it is advisable that staff do not have young people in their car alone. If possible another responsible adult/member of staff should be in attendance. All Members of Blackpool Circus School should be vigilant about both their own and their colleagues’ conduct and report any concerns about inappropriate behaviour to the Chair of the Management Committee.
- In the event of any allegation of “significant harm” arising with respect to any member of Circus School Staff, immediate consultation must take place with the Chair of the Management Committee. This should take place, if possible, before discussing the concerns with the member of staff involved. Consideration would then be given to initiating a strategy meeting under Blackpool CPC complex abuse procedures. Any complaints to the police or social services which are made about any member of Blackpool Circus School and which raise child protection concerns will be dealt with under these same procedures.
10. Young people may themselves confide in staff directly, or are referred to staff by others.
If you are concerned about a young person:
LISTEN to anything they say.
REPORT your concerns to Yuri Gridneff or any members of the Committee.
KEEP the whole matter confidential.
DO NOT interrogate the young person beyond normal friendly enquiries. The Circus School’s role is to refer concerns,
not to investigate them
Adopted by Blackpool Circus School on 01 February 2004, reviewed October 2010
Below is a simplified diagram of the required lines of professional communication in cases of [suspected] child abuse or neglect in Blackpool Circus School.
DISCLOSURE BY YOUNG PERSON
| SOCIAL SERVICES – CHILD PROTECTION COMMITTEE|
Central South: 476811
Central North: 477955
Out of hours: 477600
Blackpool Circus School – October 2010