The welfare and safety of our students will always be our priority. We do everything possible to secure our students safety in school and outside school. We work with relevant agencies to address any issues related to child protection as well as doing all we can to secure student safety within our community.
Oxford Spires Academy has specialist staff and a number of trained staff who have been designated to act and liaise with social service in cases related to child protection.
- Ensure we practise safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children.
- Raise awareness of child protection issues and equip children with the skills needed to keep them safe.
- Have in place procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse, working alongside outside agencies to protect our students.
- Support students who have been abused in accordance with his/her agreed child protection plan.
- Establish a safe environment in which children can learn and develop.
- Be vigilant for signs of abuse.
Our policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school.
PRACTICE AND GUIDANCE
The Child Protection Policy at OSA is based on the principle of fully recognising the academy’s responsibilities for child protection.
We recognise that because of the day to day contact with children, academy staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse. The academy will therefore:
- Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to.
- Ensure children know that there are adults in the academy whom they can approach if they are worried.
- Include opportunities in the PSHE curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.
We will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board to:
- Develop and then follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer.
- Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.
Designated Safeguarding Lead – Miss S Baker
The safeguarding team, fully trained, are:
- Beverley Harry
- Rebecca Henry
- Craig McKenzie
- Megan Minton
- Katy Shuttleworth
- Georgina Trafford
- Melanie Tuck
- Sarah Bhatti
- Chloe Gorringe
- Nicole Champion
- Tyrel Dieckmann
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Our Missing Student and Tackling Extremism policies are available upon request.
I would like to make you aware of our Safeguarding practice with respect to the home visits that we carry out as a school. There are a number of reasons that the school may wish to make a home visit, one being that we strongly believe that a link between home and school allows your child to be successful and happy. A member of our team may also visit when you child is absent and the school have received no contact with yourselves. May I take this opportunity to assure you that when we visit your children in their home environment, we are doing so with their best interests at heart.
Safeguarding Audit December 2019
OSA had its external Safeguarding review across two days on 3rd and 4th December 2019.
Since the last audit the team has evolved somewhat. I (Shelley Baker) am the Designated Safeguarding Lead, and work very closely with two extremely diligent Safeguarding Officers – Rose Bhag and Rebecca Henry. As a team we work closely with the Pastoral team and many other members of staff across the Academy to build a successful ethos of Safeguarding across the Academy.
Throughout the two days of a very thorough audit, the auditor met with many members of staff from across different areas of the Academy, collated surveys from staff members, met with our students and had lengthy meetings with key members of staff involved in the day to day running of Safeguarding.
We are delighted to announce the success and positive feedback received on a second consecutive audit. During the meeting with students, the students expressed high levels of support for the school in terms of helping to prevent bullying. They stated that very little bullying occurs. Students would like more PSHE beyond Year 8. Students also reported back that they enjoy ‘better assemblies’ such as the County Lines assembly when covering safeguarding topics.
From the staff survey, the responses indicate that the great majority of staff believe that the school provides training and information relating to all aspects of safeguarding. In the opinion of the consultant, this is beyond normal expectation for an academy of this size. On five of the sheets, respondents had written comments that are very positive about the culture of safeguarding in the school. None of the sheets had negative comments about safeguarding or the management of it.
Over the 2 days, the following strengths were reported back;
1. The Academy meets the compliance standards required in safeguarding.
2. The work of safeguarding here is managed extremely well by a skilled and knowledgeable team. They in turn benefit from the very positive culture of safeguarding promoted by Anthem Trust
3. Oxford Spires staff have great confidence in the work of the safeguarding team as demonstrated through their questionnaires
4. Pupils feel safe here. They understand that, currently, very little more could be done to improve arrangements for safeguarding. Pupils report that they trust the adults in the school and feel that any concerns they have are always taken seriously
5. Staff at all levels are skilled in the handling of the CPOMs program. Safeguarding managers use the data generated from CPOMs extremely skilfully to protect pupils.
6. The headteacher ensures that the senior team in the Academy are fully prepared to learn and make adjustments to child protection work based on what they have previously experienced.
As a school we listen to feedback very carefully and always strive to be better in supporting our community.
We enjoyed sharing our practice across the two days, and it was lovely to hear from the auditor that he was so confident with the schools safeguarding practice that he would send his own child to Oxford Spires.
We have taken on board our actions and have with immediate affect adapted practice where possible. We have also scheduled in ways forward in which we can meet all actions.
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Child abuse and what to look for
No parent or carer wants to think about the possibility of their child becoming a victim of abuse and most children are never abused. Even so, it is important for parents and carers to be aware of the possibility and to know that help is available if the unthinkable does happen. Most children know their abusers. They may be family members or friends of the family, someone who works with the child or someone who lives in the community. There are many signs, or indicators, that a child might be suffering abuse. There may be injuries, but it is more likely that you will notice some change in your child’s behaviour. If you notice anything that concerns you, talk to your child to see if you can find out what is happening. Remember that if your child is being harmed, she or he may be too frightened to tell you. If your child becomes distressed or you are not happy with the explanations, you could talk to an adult you trust or call a helpline or children’s social care services.
Some signs to look for are:
- bruises or other injuries
- a change in behaviour – from quiet to loud, or from happy-go-lucky to withdrawn
- pain or discomfort
- fear of a particular person, or a reluctance to be alone with them
- secrecy around a relationship with a particular person
- reluctance to discuss where they go, or who they are with
- sexual talk or knowledge beyond their years
- being watchful, or always on edge
- losing interest in their appearance, hobbies or family life
- alcohol or drug taking
- having money and refusing to say where it has come from
- wetting the bed
- becoming clingy
What we will do if we have a concern about your child
If we are concerned that your child may be at risk of abuse or neglect, we must follow the agreed safeguarding procedures. The procedures have been written to protect all students. They comply with our statutory responsibilities and are designed to support students, families and staff. The procedures are based on the principle that the welfare of the child is the most important consideration.
In almost all circumstances, we will talk to you about our concerns and we will also tell you if we feel we must refer our concerns to children’s social care. If we think that talking to you first might in some way increase the risk to your child, we will report our concerns to children’s social care and take advice from them.
All child-protection records are kept separate from your child’s general school file. The only members of staff who have access to the records are those who need to know about the concerns in order to protect and support your child. Child protection is a very sensitive issue and it raises many questions and a range of strong emotions. We will do everything we can do to support our students and you can be assured that any action we take will be in the best interests of your child.
For more information please check the following document: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
If you still have concerns, you could contact one of the agencies listed below:
Click on each logo to visit their website