There have been significant changes within our setting and within the UK in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.
This annex sets out some of the adjustments the College is making in line with the changed arrangements in the College and following advice from government and local agencies.
The current position is that following the Government announcement, all college sites are closed and timetables have been postponed.
Despite the changes, the College’s Safeguarding Policy is fundamentally the same: the welfare of children and young people always comes first, staff should respond robustly to safeguarding concerns and referrals should continue to be made in line with our established safeguarding procedure.
The pressures on children, young people and their families at this time are significant. There will be heightened awareness of family pressures for a variety of reasons, including through having to stay within the household, through financial hardship or health anxiety. These areas should be considered in terms of setting any work for students to undertake at home (including recognising the impact of online learning and the ability to access online resources).
Staff may be aware of the mental health of both students and their parents or carers, and should refer to safeguarding about any emerging concerns.
We have undertaken a scoping exercise to identify the most vulnerable students and individual arrangements have been made with students who have an attached social worker and those with an EHCP.
For students subject to a Child Protection Plan and Child In Need Plan, and who have an allocated social worker: Contact will be made by the safeguarding team on a regular basis with these students, in agreement with the family and social worker.
For students who are Looked after Children and recent Care Leavers: Contact will be made by the progress leaders/safeguarding team who will call regularly, as agreed with the student, carer and social worker.
For students with an EHCP: Learning Support Practitioners will maintain regular contact, as agreed with student and parents/carers. Support will be delivered through individual arrangements based on curriculum activity.
For students on the edge of social care involvement or pending allocation of a social worker, or identified as high risk: Depending on the Situation, these students will have been rag-rated and contact will be made by the safeguarding team regularly for a welfare check. The progress leaders will also be contacting students to ensure the necessary level of support is offered.
NB: Contact will be made remotely through telephone calls/Skype or other appropriate methods.
The college arrangements continue, in line with our Safeguarding Policy.
Aamir Butt – 07838 234 178 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Panter – 0151 252 3733 – email@example.com
Linda Leonard – 0151 252 3733 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Louise Abbott – 0151 252 3733 – email@example.com
Staff will continue to follow the safeguarding procedures and advise the safeguarding team immediately with concerns they have about any child or vulnerable adult, whether in college or not.
COVID-19 situation requires increased vigilance due to the pressures on services, families and young people, rather than a reduction in our standards.
The Safeguarding phone will stay active throughout the working hours, as per our policy procedures. Staff will be required to complete the follow-up referral form and send to the safeguarding email address. This email address is monitored by all safeguarding staff.
Normal safeguarding procedures apply for referrals to children’s services. This contact will go through a member of the safeguarding team (listed above) who will follow measures in seeking the appropriate and necessary support. Out of hours guidance can be found in the Safeguarding Guidance 2020-21 on SharePoint.
With such different arrangements in place, young people could be at greater risk of online abuse. We remind all staff to maintain the view that ‘it could happen here’ and immediately report any concern, no matter how small, to the safeguarding team.
Any agency staff or volunteers working with students during college closure will have completed the safeguarding training, to ensure they are aware of the risks and know how to take action if they are concerned.
All new starters must have an online induction. They must read the college Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and the staff Code of Conduct. The DSL or deputy will ensure that new recruits know who to contact if worried about a child or young person and ensure the new starters are familiar with the child protection procedure.
All new starters or volunteers need to confirm that they have read Part I and Annex A of Keeping Children Safe in Education.
We recognise the potential for abuse to go on between young people, especially in the context of a college closure or partial closure. Our staff will remain vigilant to the signs of peer-on-peer abuse, including those between young people who are not currently attending our provision. Extra care should be taken where groups have mixed age, developmental stages, or are attending other education establishments as an interim measure and similar.
When making contact with these families, our staff may ask about relationships between learners.
Young people will be using the Internet more during this period. The College may also use online approaches to deliver training or support. Staff will be aware of the signs and signals of cyber-bullying and other risks online and apply the same child-centred safeguarding practices as when students are learning at the College. The College continues to ensure appropriate filters and monitors are in place.
It is extremely important that professional boundaries do not slip during this exceptional period and protocols for online working have been issued.
Students accessing remote learning should be provided with guidance around staying safe online.
Restrictions to movement and contact with other people means students are more likely to be at risk of mental health problems. College should make students and their families aware of where further support can be found. All students who have been referred to the mental health and counselling team have been contacted and are being supported remotely as and when needed. The College recognise that there will be students who are not known to the service and will require support and intervention. The College website has information about the services available to students.
College students can access the following online services using the College email address:
Free online mental health and wellbeing support for College students of all ages – www.Togetherall.com
Free online emotional well-being and counselling support for the 14-25 age group – www.kooth.com
Some additional services and resources available online:
A phone app providing help for those who use self-harm as a coping strategy: https://calmharm.co.uk/
The Department for Education has produced guidance to support parents: