BLACKPOOL CIRCUS SCHOOL

Safeguarding & Welfare POLICY

Introduction

Blackpool Circus School recognises its legal duty under the Children Act 2004 amendment 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. Everyone has a duty to look out for harm and report anything they are uncomfortable with.

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.

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 – Deliberately hurting or injuring someone. This could include hitting, smacking, pushing, shaking, spitting, pinching, scalding, misusing medication, inappropriate restraint, inappropriate physical punishments or other ways of causing physical harm.
  • Emotional abuse – Regular and deliberate use of a range of words and non-physical actions used with the purpose to manipulate, hurt, weaken or frighten a person mentally and emotionally; and/or distort, confuse or influence a person’s thoughts and actions within their everyday lives, changing their sense of self and harming their wellbeing.
  • Neglect – Persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.
  • Sexual abuse – Any behaviour thought to be of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent. Sexual violence and abuse can be physical, psychological, verbal or online. Any behaviour of a sexual nature that causes you distress is considered sexual violence or abuse

If a student or staff of Blackpool Circus School staff, 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 a director.  Advice can 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.

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 Blackpool 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.

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.

Review & Training

Members of Blackpool Circus School should keep up to date with safeguarding and welfare policies. Staff & Volunteers should take steps to ensure that they are well informed and aware of any changes. Information and signposting in relation to training will be made available by Blackpool Circus School.

Reviewed Feb 2024
JL Coldham, BCS Director