Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy

Date: 12/10/2020

Safeguarding Governor:  Ann Lewis (The Deputy Chairman) 

Principal: Andrew Rattue

1. Report any concerns to the appropriate Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or Deputy/Assistant Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL/ADSL) – see below:

 The responsibilities of the Designated Safeguarding Lead are outlined in Annex 4.

a) For the IB World School:

ROLENameJob TitleEmailTelephone
DSLElena HesseVice Principal, 517342
ROLENameJob TitleEmailTelephone
DDSLEmily WoodesonAssistant Principal, 517384
DDSLKaren StobbartHead of 07467911679

b) For the International College and Summer and Short Courses:

ROLENameJob TitleEmailTelephone
DSLAndrew 517310
ROLENameJob TitleEmailTelephone
ADSLPatricia AlvarezOperations Manager Summer and Short 517340
ADSLJessica BlackAccommodation and Welfare 517711
ADSLDenise HopgoodAcademic Manager Summer and Short 517756

Status & Review Cycle:  updated on 31st August 2020, reviewed annually by governors, SMG & safeguarding team

Latest update: 31st August 2020

Next Review Date:  31st August 2021

The purpose of this policy is to provide staff, volunteers and governors with the framework to

  • promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children and in so doing ensure they meet their statutory responsibilities.
  • ensure consistent good practice across the College
  • demonstrate our commitment to protecting children
  • inform parents and carers how we will safeguard their children while they are in our care.

    Please refer to Annex 6 of this policy called Terminology for clarification. 

Section 1

Principles and Values

St. Clare’s, Oxford recognises its moral and statutory responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. We seek to establish a safe and nurturing environment free from discrimination or bullying and where children can develop and learn effectively. This policy applies to the whole of St. Clare’s workforce including volunteers and governors.

We recognise that because of their day-to-day contact with children, College staff are ideally placed to observe the outward signs of abuse and mental health problems.

All staff have a key role in prevention of harm and an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may indicate a child is at risk of harm, either in the college or in the community, taking into account contextual safeguarding, in accordance with the guidance.

We acknowledge that working in partnership with other agencies protects children and reduces risk and so we will engage in partnership working throughout the child protection process to safeguard children.

Whilst the College will work openly with parents as far as possible, it reserves the right to contact Children’s Social Care or the police, without notifying parents if this is believed to be in the child’s best interests.

We will always act in the best interests of the child and ensure that our decisions around safeguarding take a child-centred and coordinated approach.

The policy recognises that, while only professionals should diagnose mental health problems, staff are well placed to identify behaviour which may indicate that a child is experiencing mental health problems or is at risk of developing one. Staff should immediately raise any mental health concerns which are also safeguarding concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or deputies, and follow their child protection policy.

Staff will therefore:

1.      Report any concerns, including mental health concerns, to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – Elena Hesse (Vice Principal, Pastoral) at  or by calling 01865 517342. In Elena’s absence, report concerns to Emily Woodeson (Assistant Principal, Pastoral & Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead) at or by calling 01865 517384 or Karen Stobbart at  (Head of Boarding & Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead) or by calling 07467911679.

At the International College and Summer and Short Courses, Andrew Rattue has responsibility for Child Protection and Safeguarding. He can be contacted at or by calling 01865 552031. In Andrew’s absence, report concerns to Assistant Designated Safeguarding Leads – Jessica Black at, Patricia Alvarez  and Denise Hopgood at

The responsibilities of the Designated Safeguarding Lead are outlined in Annex 3.

2.       Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, can develop and learn effectively and are encouraged to talk and are listened to.

3.       Ensure that students know that they can approach any adult in College if they are worried and they will receive a consistent supportive response.

4.       Include in the curriculum opportunities for students to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.

St. Clare’s undertakes to:

5.       Follow the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board (OSCB) ( procedures in all cases of abuse, or suspected abuse and have regard to the statutory obligations placed on us by Section 175 of the 2002 Education Act.

6.       Ensure this policy and our practice are consistent with the requirements of the Children Acts 1989 and 2004; the Education Act 2002, and in line with statutory guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children (WT) (HM Government March 2018), Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE)(DfE September 2020), The Education (Independent Schools Standards) Regulations 2014, (updated April 2019), ‘What to do if You are Worried a Child in Being Abused’ (2015), Prevent Duty Guidance 2015, Mental Health and Behavior in Schools (November 2018)

7.       Ensure that we have a designated member of staff for child protection (and inform the Schools Safeguarding Team Administrators on 01865 815843 when this changes).

8.       Ensure that the designated member of staff (DSL) receives appropriate training (child protection and inter-agency work updated every 2 years) approved by the OSCB and that this training is disseminated to all others in the school in line with statutory requirements. 

9.       Ensure that all new staff, including temporary staff and volunteers, are provided with induction training that includes: (i) the school’s safeguarding & child protection policy; (ii) the employee code of conduct (including the whistleblowing procedure); (iii) the identity of and the role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) (iv) the school’s behaviour policy; (v) the safeguarding response to students who go missing from education; (vi) copies of the above policies and a copy of Part 1 of KCSIE. 

10.   Ensure that all staff (volunteers, supply teachers, agency workers, governors etc), have been appropriately checked for their suitability through the Safe Recruitment procedures (see KCSIE (DfE September 2020) and Recruitment Policy & Procedure).

11.   Ensure that if staff employed by another organisation work with St. Clare’s students, then written notification that confirms that the organisation has carried out the appropriate checks is obtained.

12.   Ensure that all staff, volunteers, agency workers, governors, supply teachers understand their responsibilities in being alert to, and acting appropriately in, cases of mental health problems, abuse or suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation (sexual, drugs).

13.   Ensure that Senior Managers and Governors of St. Clare’s, Oxford will undertake an annual review of the school’s child protection policies and procedures and of the efficiency with which the related duties have been discharged, to ensure our College is aware of the most recent expectations and will act to remedy any deficiencies in our policies without delay. The governor with lead responsibility for safeguarding matters is Ann Lewis, the Deputy Chairman. Our Principal, Andrew Rattue takes overall responsibility for safeguarding, ensuring that the DSL – Elena Hesse and DDSLs/ADSLs – Emily Woodeson, Karen Stobbart, Jessica Black, Denise Hopgood and Patricia Alvarez are fulfilling their roles. The Chair of Governors, Richard Dick, will receive reports of allegations against the Principal and act on the behalf of the governing body.

14.   Establish and maintain links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with enquiries of a child protection nature.

15.   Keep accurate written records of concerns on students even where referral is not appropriate immediately.

16.   Ensure that all child protection records are kept secure and confidential and separate from the main student file.

17.   Ensure that all staff, governors, volunteers understand that there is a procedure to be followed in dealing with allegations made against teaching, non-teaching staff including supply teachers. This procedure must be followed on all occasions (KCSIE, September 2020, part 4, available from the Designated Safeguarding Lead).

18.   In cases where a member of boarding staff is suspended pending investigation of a child protection nature arrangements will be made for alternative accommodation away from students.

19.   In cases where a student(s) abuses another student (peer on peer abuse), such that there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, ‘significant harm’, this will be referred to the local authority as a child protection concern.

20.   Report to the Disclosure and Barring Service, any person (whether employed, contracted, volunteer or student) whose services are no longer used, or would no longer be used had they not left, because he or she is considered unsuitable to work with children. 

21.   Ensure that this policy is reviewed annually and is in line with Oxfordshire’s OSCB procedures.

It is noted that the provisions of Section 175 of the Education Act, place a general duty on schools to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in our care, and as such, staff will adhere to other related school policies i.e. Behaviour Policy, Anti-bullying Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Trips Policy etc.

Early Help:

St. Clare’s is committed to promoting the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or are at immediate risk.  In such cases, staff should report concerns to the DSL (you can use the form in annex 5 below) and appropriate support will be put in place; the support could involve the student being referred to the college counsellor, GP, (P)CAMHS, or could involve inter-agency assessments using local processes, including use of the “Early Help Assessment (EHA)” and “Team around the Family (TAF)” approaches through liaison with the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and the Locality Community Support Service (LCSS)/Children’s Social Care. College will endeavour to involve parents at all stages of a referral, but referrals to statutory agencies may not require parental consent.

Staff Induction:

As part of their induction training all new members of staff at St. Clare’s, including temporary staff and volunteers, receive child protection training. This includes explanation of this policy, identification of the designated safeguarding lead and receipt of a copy of Part 1 of KCSIE, and Prevent and online safety. They will be required to sign to acknowledge that they have read and understood Part 1, KCSIE.  In addition, school leaders and staff who work directly with children are required to read Annex A of KCSIE, Sept 2020. The induction training includes coverage of the College’s ‘Employee Code of Conduct’ and ‘Whistleblowing Policy & Procedure’, the school’s behaviour policy and the safeguarding response to students who go missing from education.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the College’s ‘Employee Code of Conduct‘, the ‘Recruitment Policy and Procedure, ‘e-Policy‘, ‘Whistleblowing Policy, ‘Behaviour Policy‘, Anti-bullying, Data Protection and Information Sharing, Image Use, Relationship and Sex Education, Health & Safety, Attendance, Risk Assessments, First Aid and Accidents and Safer Recruitment. 

Section 2

It is a requirement of the Children Act (1989) and the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools (2002, updated April 2015) that adults looking after children (those under the age of 18) in St. Clare’s, Oxford, should be aware of the risks of abuse (by adults or other young people) and take steps to reduce those risks. They should know what to do if they suspect that someone is being physically or sexually abused, or if someone tells them that this is happening. This includes physical and sexual abuse that is occurring in College, or to a student of St. Clare’s at home or outside the College.

The following key points give a guide on what to do and not to do:

1.     Always stop and listen straight away to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse.

2.     If you can, write brief notes of what you are told, during or right after the conversation (these may help later if you have to remember exactly what was said) – and keep your original notes, however rough and even if you wrote on the back of something else (it’s what you wrote at the time that may be important later – not a tidier and improved version you wrote up afterwards). Use the young person’s words as far as possible and include any questions you asked along with the young person’s responses. All notes should be timed, dated and signed, with your name printed alongside the signature and recorded on CPOMS. You can use the form provided in Annex 5 below for your own notes, but original notes should also be passed on to the DSL. Under no circumstances should you discuss the information with other parties and you must pass the notes immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (see point 6) who will store the information securely.

3.      Do not give a guarantee that you will keep what is said confidential or secret – if you are told about abuse you have a responsibility to tell the right people to get something done about it (see below).  If asked, explain that if you are going to be told something very important that needs to be sorted out, you will need to tell the people who can sort it out, but that you will only tell people who absolutely have to know.

4.      Don’t ask leading questions that might give your own ideas of what might have happened (e.g. “did he do X to you?”) – just ask “what do you want to tell me?” or “is there anything else you want to say?”

5.      Never attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected or alleged abuse by interviewing people etc – children’s social care services and police staff are the people trained to do this – you could cause more damage and spoil possible criminal proceedings.

6.      Immediately tell the Designated Safeguarding Lead – Elena Hesse, the Vice Principal, Pastoral (unless she is accused or suspected of abusing). Don’t tell other adults or young people what you have been told. In case of unavailability of the DSL & Vice Principal Pastoral, tell Emily Woodeson (Assistant DSL & Assistant Principal, Pastoral) or Karen Stobbart (Assistant DSL & Head of Boarding). At the International College and Summer and Short Courses, Andrew Rattue (Designated Safeguarding Lead & Principal) has responsibility for Child Protection. In case of his unavailability, tell Jessica Black or Patricia Alvarez or Denise Hopgood (Assistant DSLs) 

7.      Discuss with the Designated Safeguarding Lead whether any steps need to be taken to protect who has told you about the abuse. This may need to be discussed with the person who told you.

8.      As soon as possible (and certainly within 24 hours) the Designated Safeguarding Lead will refer the matter (helped by your notes) to the Oxfordshire Children’s Social Care Assessment team:

  • For new cases via the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0345 050 7666 (or 0800 833408 outside office hours).
  • For cases that are already open via Oxford City Children’s Social Care Assessment team on 01865 328563.

If a child is at risk, the Designated Safeguarding Lead will act immediately and contact Children’s Social Care. The referral will be made in writing or with written confirmation of a telephone referral and the contact name taken. They will set up any necessary investigations and will advise about correct procedures – that is their statutory job.

9.      If an allegation is made against a member of staff, a volunteer or supply teacher, the local authority designated officer or team of officers (previously LADO) for child protection concerns will be informed. The designated officer for Oxford is Alison Beasley, contact number 01865 815956 (See Appendix 1: Dealing with Allegations of Abuse Against Members of Staff).

10.    If an allegation is made about another student (peer on peer abuse) such that there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, ‘significant harm’, this will be referred to the local authority as a child protection concern.

11.   Please note that anyone can make a referral directly to Children’s Social Care if they are concerned that a child is at risk and insufficient steps are being taken to safeguard the child. It does not require parental consent for referrals to statutory agencies.

12.   If someone has made an allegation about the Designated Safeguarding Lead, you should immediately contact the Principal. If the Principal is absent, the allegation should be passed to the Chairman of Governors. If the allegation concerns the Principal, you should immediately inform the Chair of Governors, without notifying the Principal first. Contact details for the Chair of Governors can be obtained from the Designated Safeguarding Lead ( Staff should point out to the person reporting abuse (especially if it is a student) that action will be taken as a result of the allegation and steps must always be taken to ask them of any action they would like to be taken to protect them now they have made the allegation.

13.   Never think abuse is impossible in your school or group, or that an accusation against someone you know well and trust, is bound to be wrong.

14.   Staff are required to report to the Principal or to the Designated Safeguarding Lead any concern or allegation about College practices or the behaviour of colleagues which are likely to put students at the risk of abuse or other serious harm. No disciplinary action will be taken against such staff who make such reports in good faith.

15.   This policy is consistent with the requirements of Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE September 2020) and the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board procedures.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is responsible for inspections of independent schools including boarding inspections under the National Minimum Boarding Standards. They may be contacted through or telephone 020 7600 0100.

The Local Authority Designated Officer for Child Protection is Alison Beasley and she can be contacted at (01865) 815956. Additional contacts: Sandra Barratt (01865 323457); Donna Crozier (01865) 816382; Hannah Holland (01865) 323032.  

Oxfordshire Children’s Social Care Assessment team contacts are:
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) 0345 050 7666 (or 0800 833408 outside office hours)
Locality & Community Support Service (LCSS) 0345 241 2705. The link worker for St. Clare’s is Dolcie Obhiozele.
Oxford City Children’s Social Care Assessment team (01865) 328563.  

Section 3

In addition to the information in this policy, school leaders and staff who work directly with children should read Annex A of KCSIE, September 2020.

Knowing what to look for is vital to the early identification of abuse and neglect. All staff should be aware of indicators of abuse and neglect so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection. If staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).

All college staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely stand-alone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another.

Definitions and Indicators of abuse and neglect

Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.

  • Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Indicators of physical abuse / factors that should increase concern

  • Multiple bruising or bruises and scratches (especially on the head and face)
  • Clusters of bruises – e.g., fingertip bruising (caused by being grasped)
  • Bruises around the neck and behind the ears – the most common abusive injuries are to the head
  • Bruises on the back, chest, buttocks, or on the inside of the thighs
  • Marks indicating injury by an instrument – e.g., linear bruising (stick), parallel bruising (belt), marks of a buckle
  • Bite marks
  • Deliberate burning may also be indicated by the pattern of an instrument or object – e.g., electric fire, cooker, cigarette
  • Scalds with upward splash marks or tide marks
  • Untreated injuries
  • Recurrent injuries or burns
  • Bald patches.

    In the social context of the school, it is normal to ask about a noticeable injury. The response to such an enquiry is generally light-hearted and detailed. So, most of all, concern should be increased when:
  • the explanation given does not match the injury
  • the explanation uses words or phrases that do not match the vocabulary of the child (adult words)
  • no explanation is forthcoming
  • the child (or the parent/carer) is secretive or evasive
  • the injury is accompanied by allegations of abuse or assault

    You should be concerned if the child or young person:
  • is reluctant to have parents/carers contacted
  • runs away or shows fear of going home
  • is aggressive towards themselves or others
  • flinches when approached or touched
  • is reluctant to undress to change clothing for sport
  • wears long sleeves during hot weather
  • is unnaturally compliant in the presence of parents/carers.
  • has a fear of medical help or attention
  • admits to a punishment that appears excessive.

Link to OSCB guidance on physical abuse

Signs that may indicate physical abuse

Accidental injuries are frequent and well rehearsed in childhood. What is important is that the injury and the history can be matched, explanations are:
“Is what I see possible from the explanation given and
am I happy that this child could have been injured in this way?”

Injuries are not often bilateral or symmetrical.

Parental reaction to the injuries and the child could also be a contributory feature in what raises the internal alarm bells:
delayed presentation, indifference, unusual interactions between child and carer.

It is not wrong to ask the child directly how an injury occurred but do not press or probe if you are suspicious of the response. Always write down who said what and when, plus who was present when it was said.
Non-accidental injuries may have specific features/ patterns which are unusual e.g. a burn or bruise in an unusual place, parts of the body are less prone to injuries such as the ear and side of the face which is protected by the top of the head, chin and shoulder, (triangle of safety shown on the diagrams)

Children with disabilities – concern about bruising/marks should be raised, however consideration should also be given to any equipment children/young people may be dependent on.
  • Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.

Indicators of emotional abuse

Developmental issues

  • Delays in physical, mental and emotional development
  • Poor school performance
  • Speech disorders, particularly sudden disorders or changes.



  • Acceptance of punishment which appears excessive
  • Over-reaction to mistakes
  • Continual self-deprecation (I’m stupid, ugly, worthless etc)
  • Neurotic behaviour (such as rocking, hair-twisting, thumb-sucking)
  • Self-mutilation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Drug/solvent abuse
  • Running away
  • Compulsive stealing, scavenging
  • Acting out
  • Poor trust in significant adults
  • Regressive behaviour – e.g., wetting
  • Eating disorders
  • Destructive tendencies
  • Neurotic behaviour
  • Arriving early at school, leaving late

Social issues

  • Withdrawal from physical contact
  • Withdrawal from social interaction
  • Over-compliant behaviour
  • Insecure, clinging behaviour
  • Poor social relationships

Emotional responses

  • Extreme fear of new situations
  • Inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations (“I deserve this”)
  • Fear of parents being contacted
  • Self-disgust
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unusually fearful with adults
  • Lack of concentration, restlessness, aimlessness
  • Extremes of passivity or aggression

Most harm is produced in low warmth, high criticism homes, not from single incidents.

Emotional abuse is difficult to define, identify/recognise and/or prove.

Emotional abuse is chronic and cumulative and has a long-term impact.

It is sometimes possible to spot emotionally abusive behavior from parents and carers to their children, by the way that the adults are speaking to, or behaving towards children.  An appropriate challenge or intervention could affect positive change and prevent more intensive work being carried out later on.

Link to OSCB guidance on emotional abuse

Link to OSCB guidance on Domestic Abuse

  • Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education see ANNEX 4.

Characteristics of child sexual abuse:

  • it is often planned and systematic – people do not sexually abuse children by accident, though sexual abuse can be opportunistic
  • grooming the child – people who abuse children take care to choose a vulnerable child and often spend time making them dependent
  • grooming the child’s environment – abusers try to ensure that potential adult protectors (parents and other carers especially) are not suspicious of their motives.

     Most people who sexually abuse children are men, but some women sexually abuse too.


Indicators of sexual abuse

Physical observations

  • Damage to genitalia, anus or mouth
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unexpected pregnancy, especially in very young girls
  • Soreness in genital area, anus or mouth and other medical problems such as chronic itching
  • Unexplained recurrent urinary tract infections and discharges or abdominal pain

Behavioural observations

  • Sexual knowledge inappropriate for age
  • Sexualised behaviour or affection inappropriate for age
  • Sexually provocative behaviour/promiscuity
  • Hinting at sexual activity. Inexplicable decline in school performance
  • Depression or other sudden apparent changes in personality as becoming insecure or clinging
  • Lack of concentration, restlessness, aimlessness
  • Socially isolated or withdrawn
  • Overly compliant behaviour
  • Acting out, aggressive behaviour
  • Poor trust or fear concerning significant adults
  • Regressive behaviour,
  • Onset of wetting, by day or night; nightmares
  • Onset of insecure, clinging behaviour
  • Arriving early at school, leaving late, running away from home
  • Suicide attempts, self-mutilation, self-disgust
  • Suddenly drawing sexually explicit pictures
  • Eating disorders or sudden loss of appetite or compulsive eating
  • Regressing to younger behaviour patterns such as thumb sucking or bringing out discarded cuddly toys
  • Become worried about clothing being removed

Link to OSCB guidance on sexual abuse

Neglect: the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s physical and mental health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy, for example, as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

NSPCC research has highlighted the following examples of the neglect of children under 12:

  • frequently going hungry
  • frequently having to go to school in dirty clothes
  • regularly having to look after themselves because of parents being away or having problems such as drug or alcohol misuse
  • being abandoned or deserted
  • living at home in dangerous physical conditions
  • not being taken to the doctor when ill
  • not receiving dental care.


Neglect is a difficult form of abuse to recognise and is often seen as less serious than other categories. It is, however, very damaging: children who are neglected often develop more slowly than others and may find it hard to make friends and fit in with their peer group.

Neglect is often noticed at a stage when it does not pose a risk to the child. The duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (What to do if You’re Worried a Child is Being Abused DfE 2015) would suggest that an appropriate intervention or conversation at this early stage can address the issue and prevent a child continuing to suffer until it reaches a point when they are at risk of harm or in significant need.

Link to the OSCBB guidance on Neglect:  the OSCB have also created a neglect toolkit:

Neglect is often linked to other forms of abuse, so any concerns school staff have should at least be discussed with the DSL.

Indicators of neglect

The following is a summary of some of the indicators that may suggest a child is being abused or is at risk of harm. It is important to recognise that indicators alone cannot confirm whether a child is being abused. Each child should be seen in the context of their family and wider community and a proper assessment carried out by appropriate persons. What is important to keep in mind is that if you feel unsure or concerned, do something about it. Don’t keep it to yourself. The OSCB neglect toolkit provides a more detailed list of indicators of neglect and is available to all staff

Physical indicators of neglect

  • Constant hunger and stealing food
  • Poor personal hygiene – unkempt, dirty or smelly
  • Underweight
  • Dress unsuitable for weather
  • Poor state of clothing
  • Illness or injury untreated

Behavioural indicators of neglect

  • Constant tiredness
  • Frequent absence from school or lateness
  • Missing medical appointments
  • Isolated among peers
  • Frequently unsupervised
  • Stealing or scavenging, especially food

Safeguarding issues

All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm. Behaviours linked to issues such as drug taking, alcohol abuse, deliberately missing education and sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery) put children in danger.

Mental Health

All staff should also be aware that mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Only appropriately trained professionals should attempt to make a diagnosis of a mental health problem. Staff, however, are well placed to observe children day-to-day and identify those whose behaviour suggests that they may be experiencing a mental health problem or be at risk of developing one.

Where children have suffered abuse and neglect, or other potentially traumatic adverse childhood experiences, this can have a lasting impact throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. It is key that staff are aware of how these children’s experiences, can impact on their mental health, behaviour and education. If staff have a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following their child protection policy and speaking to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy.

See page 11 in KCSIE for further guidance and links to documents.

Peer on peer abuse

All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to as peer on peer abuse). This is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:

• bullying (including cyberbullying);

• physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;

• sexual violence, (see Annex 2) such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault;

• sexual harassment, (see Annex 2) such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be stand-alone or part of a broader pattern of abuse;

• upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm;

• sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); and

• initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

All staff should be clear as to the college’s policy and procedures with regards to peer on peer abuse and should consider the context within which such incidents and behaviours occur. Staff should be aware that peer on peer abuse is applicable across all gender mixes.  

(See Annex 2: Further information on specific safeguarding issues)

Students will receive age-appropriate education and training in safeguarding to help them further develop the skills they need keep themselves safe from harm; this will include anti-bullying (refer also to the Anti-Bullying Policy), e-safety (refer also to the IT Policy for Students), cyberbullying/sexting (refer also to Appendix A of the Anti-Bullying Policy), substance misuse, consent.

If dealing with students with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, staff should keep in mind that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children. This can include:

  • assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
  • children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying- without outwardly showing any signs; and
  • communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers.

Section 4

A special feature of St. Clare’s is its relaxed and informal atmosphere. Boarding staff and teachers fulfil many roles, not least that of temporary parent. Given the risk, however slight, of teenage confusion about their roles leading to imagined offences, staff must ensure that their behaviour and actions do not place themselves or students at risk of harm or of allegations of harm to a student.

  • Staff should bear in mind the following points:

    Private one-to-one and group meetings with students in your own home or at social events outside the college are prohibited. This includes meeting students at their own home. Obviously, this does not apply to boarding staff talking to students in their houses or to teachers talking to students in the non-residential areas of the college, though it would be prudent to have another person present even in a “public” area if the matter under discussion is serious or very delicate. 
    Meetings/communications with students outside agreed working arrangements should not take place without the approval of a senior manager. This applies during term time and during vacation periods.

    It is inappropriate to offer a lift to a student outside your normal working duties, such as taking students on an approved college trip, unless this has the approval of a senior manager. 

    If you have a serious disagreement with a student, make a brief written record of it and pass this to your line manager.

    The students’ bedrooms are private areas and only boarding, nursing, cleaning and maintenance staff, Assistant Principal Pastoral as well as Senior Management (or those given express permission by a member of the SMG) can access those areas in connection with the fulfilment of their duties.

    Staff in charge of activities or facilities where safety regulations and precautions are required must make sure that these are clearly published and should draw students’ attention to them from time to time. Any accidents or unusual incidents should always be recorded on the College’s accident/incident form.

    All staff should be acquainted with the following documents, copies of which are on the intranet:

  1. Employee Code of Conduct
  2. Recruitment Policy & Procedure
  3. Whistleblowing Policy & Procedure
  4. E-Policy
  5. Trips Policy (relevant to staff taking students on a trip)
  6. College Regulations (relevant to staff working with IB & PIB students)
  7. Complaints Policy & Procedure (for IB & PIB students)
  8. Behaviour Policy

Most recent review and/or amendment
VPP, Principal, APP, HoB September 2020

Reviewed and approved by governors December 2019

Dealing with Allegations of Abuse Made Against Members of Staff & Volunteers

This policy is about managing allegations that might indicate that a person is unsuitable to continue to work with children in their present position, or in any capacity. It is drawn from and is consistent with Department for Education guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE September 2020), Part four: Allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff.

The policy should be used where it is alleged that a member of staff has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he would pose a risk of harm to children.
  • Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children

Allegations against a member of staff or volunteer who is no longer working should be referred to the   police. Historical allegations of abuse should also be referred to the police.

1.       Allegation made to the school
Where a member of staff is made aware of an allegation of abuse against an adult working with children and young people, whether in a paid or voluntary position, the allegation should be reported immediately to the Principal. If the Principal is absent or the allegation is about the Principal, it should be reported to the Chair of Governors (see Section 2 point 12 for contact details) without any delay. If the allegation is about the Designated Safeguarding Lead, it should be reported to the Principal and if the Principal is absent, it should be reported to the Chair of Governors without any delay.

If the allegation meets the criteria above, before taking further action the Principal will need to notify and seek advice from the local authority designated officer or team of officers (LADO(s)) on the same day. Schools must not undertake their own investigations of allegations without prior consultation with the LADO(s). The Principal may decide to ask the Designated Safeguarding Lead to take the lead in liaising with the LADO(s).

Whilst schools and colleges are not the employer of supply teachers, they should ensure allegations are dealt with properly. In no circumstances should a school or college decide to cease to use a supply teacher due to safeguarding concerns, without finding out the facts and liaising with the local authority designated officer (LADO) to determine a suitable outcome.

In more serious cases, the Principal or Chair of Governors can report the allegation immediately to the police and the LADO(s) should be informed by the Principal or Chair of Governors within one working day.

The local authority designated officer (LADO) for Oxfordshire is Alison Beasley (01865 815956). She has overall responsibility for oversight of the procedures for dealing with allegations and for providing advice and guidance to the College.

2.         Initial consideration

From these initial discussions, the LADO(s) and the Principal or Chair of Governors will decide what course of action will be taken, including the possible involvement of Children’s Social Care and/or the Police and may include consideration of whether the allegation constitutes gross misconduct or not.

The Principal or Chair of Governors may be asked by the LADO(s) to clarify details or the circumstances of the allegation, but this must not amount to an investigation.

In borderline cases the initial discussions can be held informally and without naming the individual.

Any communication with the person involved and the parents of the child(ren) will be agreed by the Principal or Chair of Governors and the LADO(s).

All discussions should be recorded by the Principal, in writing, and any communication with both the individual and the parents of the child(ren) agreed with the LADO(s).

It is extremely important that when an allegation is made, the College makes every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered.

3.       Action following initial consideration

Where there is cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm, a referral must be made immediately to MASH and a decision taken to call a Strategy Discussion, in accordance with the statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children’.

Where it is clear that an investigation by the police or children’s social care services is unnecessary, or the strategy discussion or initial evaluation decides that is the case, the LADO(s) will discuss the next steps with the Principal. Possible options will range from taking no further action to dismissal or a decision not to use the person’s services in future. If a disciplinary hearing is required and can be held without further investigation, the hearing will be held in accordance with St. Clare’s disciplinary policy.

The progress of the investigation and enquiries must be reviewed regularly by the LADO(s).

4.        Supporting those involved

The Principal or Chair of Governors should inform the accused person about the allegation as soon as possible after consulting the LADO(s), providing them with as much information as possible at that time. In addition, the Principal will inform the parents or carers of the child(ren) involved about the allegation as soon as possible if they do not already know of it, unless it would compromise the safety of the child(ren). However, where a strategy discussion or police/children’s social care involvement is necessary, the Principal or Chair of Governors should not discuss the matter with anyone until those agencies have been consulted and have agreed the information that can be disclosed to the accused and to the parents/carers of the child(ren).  Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity whilst the allegation is being investigated or considered.

The College has a duty of care to its employees and will act to manage and minimise the stress inherent in the allegations process. The accused individual will be advised to contact their trade union representative and the Principal or Chair of Governors will appoint a named representative to keep the employee informed of the progress of the case, particularly if it is deemed necessary to the suspend the accused individual during the investigation process. Further support can be accessed via the College’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

The parents or carer will also be kept informed about the progress of the case, and told the outcome where there is not a criminal prosecution, including the outcome of any disciplinary process. The deliberations of a disciplinary hearing, and the information taken into account in reaching a decision, cannot normally be disclosed, but the Principal or Chair of Governors will inform the parents or carers of the child(ren) in confidence.

In cases where a child may have suffered significant harm, or there may be a criminal prosecution, children’s social care or the police, as appropriate, will consider what support the child(ren) involved may need.

5.            Suspension

The possible risk of harm to children posed by an accused person needs to be effectively evaluated and managed in respect of the child(ren) involved in the allegations. Careful consideration will need to be given to whether the circumstances of the case warrant suspension or whether alternative arrangements should be put in place.

Suspension will only be considered in any case where there is cause to suspect a child is at risk of significant harm, or the allegation warrants investigation by the police, or is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal. However, a person will not be suspended automatically, or without careful thought. Alternative arrangements such as redeployment will be considered. Due regard will be given to the opinion of the LADO(s) but the final decision regarding suspension rests with the Principal and Governing Body.

 6.       Resignations and Compromise Agreements
The fact that a person tenders his or her resignation, or ceases to provide their services, will not prevent the Principal or Chair of Governors from following up an allegation in accordance with these procedures.

It is important that every effort is made to reach a conclusion in all cases of allegations bearing on the safety or welfare of children, including any in which the person concerned refuses to cooperate with the process. Wherever possible, the person should be given a full opportunity to answer the allegation and make representations about it, but the process of recording the allegation and any supporting evidence, and reaching a judgement about whether it can be regarded as substantiated on the basis of all the information available, will continue even if that cannot be done or the person does not cooperate. It may be difficult to reach a conclusion in those circumstances, and it may not be possible to apply any disciplinary sanctions if a person’s period of notice expires before the process is complete, but it is important to reach and record a conclusion wherever possible.

So called “compromise agreements” by which a person agrees to resign and a school agrees not to pursue disciplinary action, and both parties agree a form of words to be used in any future reference, must not be used in these cases. 

 7.       Action on conclusion of a case
If the allegation is substantiated and the person is dismissed or the College ceases to use the person’s services, or the person resigns, the Principal or Chair of Governors will consult the LADO(s) about whether a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is required. If a referral is appropriate (if the person has caused harm or posed a risk of harm to a child) the report will be made as soon as possible after the resignation or removal of the individual. There is a legal requirement for employers to make a referral to the DBS where they think that an individual has engaged in conduct that harmed (or is likely to harm) a child; or if a person otherwise poses a risk of harm to a child. The DBS will consider whether to bar the person. Additionally, in cases involving teaching staff, consideration will be given as to whether the Principal or Chair of Governors should refer the matter to The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) to consider prohibiting the individual from teaching. This applies where a teacher has been dismissed (or would have been dismissed had she/he not resigned) for serious/unacceptable professional conduct. 

In cases where it is decided on the conclusion of the case that a person who has been suspended can return to work, consideration will be given to how best to facilitate that. Most people will benefit from some help and support to return to work after a very stressful experience. Depending on the individual’s circumstances a phased return and/or the provision of a mentor to provide assistance and support in the short term may be appropriate. Consideration will be given to how the person’s contact with the child(ren) who made the allegation can best be managed if they are still attending St. Clare’s.

 8.       Record Keeping
Details of allegations that are found to have been malicious will be removed from personnel records. For all other allegations it is important that the College keeps a clear and comprehensive summary of any allegations made, details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved and a note of any action taken and decisions reached. This information will be kept on a person’s confidential personnel file, and a copy provided to the person concerned. The purpose of the record is to enable accurate information to be given in response to any future request for a reference if the person has moved on. It will provide clarification in cases where a future DBS check reveals information from the police about an allegation that did not result in a criminal conviction and it will help to prevent unnecessary re-investigation if, as sometimes happens, an allegation re-surfaces after a period of time. The record will be retained at least until the person has reached normal pension age or for a period of 10 years from the date of the allegation if that is longer.

References – cases in which an allegation(s) was proven to be unsubstantiated, false or malicious will not be included in employer references. 
 9.       Action in respect of False Allegations

If an allegation is determined to be false or malicious, the Principal or Chair of Governors will discuss with the LADO(s) what action should follow both in respect of the individual and those who made the initial allegation. The matter may be referred to children’s social care to determine whether the child(ren) concerned is in need of services or may have been abused by someone else. In the event that an allegation is shown to have been deliberately invented or malicious the Principal or Chair of Governors will consider whether any disciplinary action is appropriate against the child(ren) who made it, or the police should be asked to consider whether any action might be appropriate against the person responsible if s/he was not a student. 
10.     Confidentiality
Every effort should be made to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered, in line with the reporting restrictions revised on 1 October 2012, detailed in the Education Act 2011.
11.     Further Guidance
The framework for managing cases of allegations of abuse against people who work with children is set out in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education: Statutory guidance for schools and colleges’ (September 2020) and ‘Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’ (July 2018). 

Further information on specific safeguarding issues

Serious violence:
All staff should be aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs.

All staff should be aware of the associated risks and understand the measures in place to manage these. Advice for schools and colleges is provided in the Home Office’s Preventing youth violence and gang involvement and its Criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: county lines guidance

A child missing from education:
A child going missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, can act as a vital warning sign of a range of safeguarding issues such as abuse, neglect, which may involve sexual abuse or exploitation and child criminal exploitation.  It may indicate mental health problems or risk of substance abuse. All staff need to be alert to signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns such as travelling to conflict zones, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. 

Early intervention is necessary to identify the existence of any underlying safeguarding risk and to help prevent the risks of a child going missing in future.

College will inform the local authority if a student is added to the admission register or if a student is going to be deleted from the admission register so that the local authority can as part of their duty identify children of compulsory school age who are missing education.

In addition, the local authority must be informed if a student fails to attend school regularly or has been absent without the school’s permission for a continuous period of 10 school days or more.

Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Between Children:
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and offline (both physically and verbally) and are never acceptable. It is important that all victims are taken seriously and offered appropriate support.

Reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment are extremely complex to manage. It is essential that victims are protected, offered appropriate support and every effort is made to ensure their education is not disrupted. It is also important that other children, adult students and school and college staff are supported and protected as appropriate.

St Clare’s uses the Brooks sexual behaviours traffic light tool.

“The tool uses a traffic light system to categorise the sexual behaviours of young people and is designed to help professionals:

For further information, please refer to the College’s Behaviour Policy.

Further information on so-called Honour-Based Abuse (HBA):
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBA) encompasses incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. Abuse committed in the context of preserving ‘honour’ often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. It is important to be aware of this dynamic and additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take. All forms of so called HBA are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such. If in any doubt staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead. Professionals in all agencies, and individuals and groups in relevant communities, need to be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBA, or already having suffered HBA.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM):
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and is a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.
There is a range of potential indicators that a girl may be at risk of FGM – refer to Chapter 3, ‘Identifying Girls and Women at risk’ of the guidelines
If staff have a concern they should activate local safeguarding procedures, using existing national and local protocols for multi-agency liaison with police and children’s social care. 
There is a specific legal duty on teachers to report FMG. Where a teacher discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl who is aged under 18, the teacher must report it to the police. The teacher should also discuss any such case with the Designated Safeguarding Lead and involve children’s social care as appropriate.

Forced marriage:
Forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological. A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities, for example). Nevertheless, some communities use religion and culture as a way to coerce a person into marriage. Schools and colleges can play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.

School and college staff can contact the Forced Marriage Unit if they need advice or information. Contact: 020 7008 0151 or email:

Sexting is defined as the production and/or sharing of sexual photos and videos of and by young people who are under the age of 18. It includes nude or nearly nude images and/or sexual acts. It is also referred to as ‘youth produced sexual imagery’. ‘Sexting’ does not include the sharing of sexual photos and videos of under18-year olds with or by adults. This is a form of child sexual abuse and must be referred to the police.

Cases of ‘sexting’ should be reported to the DSL. Refer also to Appendix A: Cyberbullying of the Anti-Bullying Policy

Preventing Radicalisation:
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism. Protecting those vulnerable to extremism is a safeguarding issue. From 1 July 2015 specified authorities, including schools, are subject to a duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (“the CTSA 2015”), in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.

All staff need to be alert to changes in a student’s behaviour, which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection. Possible Indicators are:

  • Withdrawal from usual activities
  • Feelings of anger, grievance or injustice
  • Truanting/going missing from school or care
  • Expressing ‘them and us’ thinking
  • Use of inappropriate language;
  • Advocating violent actions and means;
  • Possession of violent extremist literature;
  • The expression of extremist views;
  • Association with known extremists;
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology.

To support in identifying possible signs that may indicate that a student may be in need of help, teaching and other key pastoral staff at St. Clare’s are required to complete the Prevent training module In addition, they may wish to also complete the Channel Panel awareness module

Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for schools to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation. An individual’s engagement with the programme is entirely voluntary at all stages.

Following a referral, the panel will assess the extent to which identified individuals are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism, and where considered appropriate and necessary consent is obtained, arrange for support to be provided to those individuals.

What to do if you have a concern:

Follow normal safeguarding procedures – discuss the concern with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).

The DSL will consider whether the case warrants reporting and if so, will follow the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board guidance on reporting concerns about a child or adult at risk of radicalisation:

Although it is advised that concerns are reported to the DSL, anyone can themselves make a referral. There is no need for parental consent for referrals to statutory agencies.

If you think that someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation you can call 03 45 050 7666 during office hours to go through to the Oxfordshire MASH (for a child) or the Social and Health Care Team (for an adult).

Additional contacts:
DfE dedicated telephone helpline and mailbox for non-emergency advice for staff and governors: 020 7340 7264 and
Anti-Terrorist Hotline: 0800 789 321
Crime stoppers: 0800 555 111

Modern Slavery:
Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

Victims of modern slavery may be;

  • forced to work – through coercion, or mental or physical threat;
  • owned or controlled by an ’employer’, through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’;
  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom of movement

Many people think that slavery happens only overseas, in developing countries. In fact, no country is free from modern slavery, even Britain. The Government estimates that there are tens of thousands people in modern slavery in the UK.

Modern slavery can affect people of any age, gender or race. However, contrary to a common misconception that everyone can be a victim of slavery, some groups of people are much more vulnerable to slavery than others.

People who live in poverty and have limited opportunities for decent work are more vulnerable to accepting deceptive job offers that can turn exploitative. People who are discriminated against on grounds of race, caste, or gender are also more likely to be enslaved. Slavery is also more likely to occur where the rule of law is weaker and corruption is rife.

Follow the link for further guidance:

Domestic Abuse / Domestic Violence:
Domestic abuse is widespread, often escalates, and almost invariably impacts on children in the household. All children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse in the context of their home life where domestic abuse occurs between family members. Domestic abuse has been defined in legislation as harmful and abusive to children. Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence affects their emotional wellbeing, behaviour, attainment, and long term life chances: the younger the child, the greater the risk.

In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.

Definition (Home Office 2013)

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse: psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.

Further facts and information:

Domestic abuse comprises a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour which the government defines in the following way:

“Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.”

“Coercive behaviour is: an act or a patter n of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”

Because abuse is driven by a need to control, any change may escalate the abuse. It is important, when intervening to protect a child, to consider how to best to undertake this safely

Getting help

Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 731 0055

Open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 4pm.

A freephone number that will not show on your telephone bill but may appear on an itemised mobile phone bill.

Agencies are encouraged to contact ODAS via rather than through the helpline.

St Clare’s is a part of Operation Encompass. Key Adult is Elena Hesse, VPP & DSL and Deputy Key Adult is Emily Woodeson, APP & Deputy DSL.

Operation Encompass directly connects the police with schools to secure better outcomes for children who are subject or witness to police-attended incidents of domestic abuse. Rapid provision of support within Operation Encompass directly connects the police with schools to secure better outcomes for children who are subject or witness to police-attended incidents of domestic abuse. Rapid provision of support within the school environment means children are better safeguarded against the short-, medium- and long-term effects of domestic abuse. 

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE): County Lines (this includes Child Sexual Exploitation- CSE & Child Drug Exploitation- CDE):
Both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse and both occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual or criminal activity.

The abuse can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse. It can be physical and/or take place online,

County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs (primarily crack cocaine and heroin) into one or more importing areas [within the UK], using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”.

The term ‘county lines’ is becoming more widely recognised and used to describe situations where young people may be internally trafficked for the purpose of criminal exploitation (e.g. sexual or drug)

Criminal exploitation interlinks with a number of multiple vulnerabilities and offences including the child being exposed to and/or victim of physical and emotional violence, neglect, sexual abuse and exploitation, modern day slavery and human trafficking, domestic abuse and missing episodes. The risk to a young person, and their family and friends, as a result of experiencing criminal exploitation can include but is not limited to: 

Physical injuries: 

  • risk of serious violence and death 
  •  Emotional and psychological trauma 
  •  Sexual violence: sexual assault, rape, indecent images being taken and shared as part of initiation/revenge/punishment, internally inserting drugs 
  •  Debt bondage- young person and families being ‘in debt’ to the exploiters; which is used to control the young person. 
  • Neglect and basic needs not being met 
  •  Living in unclean, dangerous and/or unhygienic environments 
  •  Tiredness and sleep deprivation: child is expected to carry out criminal activities over long periods and through the night 
  •  Poor attendance and/or attainment at school/college/university

Criminal Exploitation involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them completing a task on behalf of another individual or group of individuals; this is often of a criminal nature. Child criminal exploitation often occurs without the child’s immediate recognition, with the child believing that they are in control of the situation. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.

The police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines”. It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money. Gangs establish a base in the market location, typically by taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

Warning indicators

There are a number of indicators listed that could alert us to a young person being criminally exploited. Indicators 

  •  Frequent missing episodes and been found out of area 
  •  Found with large quantities of drugs or weapons 
  •  Found with drugs inside rectum or vagina 
  •  Unexplained amounts of money, mobiles, credit, clothing, jewellery, new hair cut or other items/gifts 
  •  Returned from missing episodes with injuries, or dishevelled 
  •  Change in behaviour; more secretive / withdrawn/isolated from peers or not mixing with usual friends 
  •  Unexplained absences from, or not engaged in school/ college/ training/ work 
  •  Increasingly disruptive, hostile or physically aggressive at home or school Including use of sexualised language and language in relation to drug dealing and/or violence 
  •  Expressions around invincibility or not caring about what happens to them 
  •  Increased interest in making money 
  •  Reports being taken to parties, people’s houses, unknown areas, hotels, nightclubs, takeaways or out of area by unknown adults 
  •  Increasing use of drugs or alcohol 
  •  Fear of reprisal from ‘gang’ members or violence from young people or adults 
  •  Having multiple mobile phones, sim cards or use of a phone that causes concern – multiple callers or more texts /pings than usual 
  •  Possession of hotel keys/cards or keys to unknown premises
  • Disclosure of sexual/ physical assault followed by withdrawal of allegation 
  • Abduction or forced imprisonment 
  •  Entering or leaving vehicles cars with unknown adults 
  •  Receiving rewards of mo ney or goods for introducing peers 
  •  Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being 
  • Agencies unable to engage 
  • New peer groups and/or relationships 
  •  Relationships with controlling /older individuals or groups 
  •  Parental concerns 
  •  Repeated STI’s and/or pregnancy 
  •  Increase referrals to agencies for other known peers
  • Multiple referrals for incidents in the same location

It is also important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of this abuse. 

In Oxfordshire we have the Kingfisher team that specifically deals with CSE. 

Link to OSCB guidance on CSE and the CSE screening tool

Link to OSCB guidance on child criminal exploitation

Government Guidance:

Child sexual exploitation: guide for practitioners

Children with family members in prison:
Approximately 200,000 children in England and Wales have a parent sent to prison each year. These children are at risk of poor outcomes including poverty, stigma, isolation and poor mental health. NICCO provides information designed to support professionals working with offenders and their children, to help mitigate negative consequences for those children.

Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (based on KCSIE, September 2019, Annex B)

Governing bodies, proprietors and management committees should ensure an appropriate senior member of staff, from the school or college leadership team, is appointed to the role of designated safeguarding lead (DSL). The DSL for the St Clare’s IB and Pre-IB programmes is Elena Hesse. She takes the lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety).  As the pastoral Vice Principal, Elena Hesse has the appropriate status and authority within the school to carry out the duties of the post. She is given the time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters, to take part in strategy discussions and interagency meetings – and/or to support other staff to do so, and to contribute to the assessment of children. At the International College and Summer and Short Courses, Andrew Rattue, Director of the International College, is the DSL. They have an ‘it could happen here’ approach to safeguarding.

Deputy designated safeguarding leads
St Clare’s has two deputy DLS’s for the IB and Pre-IB programmes: Emily Woodeson and Karen Stobbart. Jessica Black, Patricia Alvarez and Denise Hopwood are Assistant DSLs at the International College and Summer and Short Courses. They are trained to the same standard as the designated safeguarding lead. Whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to these appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead; this lead responsibility should not be delegated.

Manage referrals

The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:

  • refer cases of suspected abuse to the local authority children’s social care as required;
  • support staff who make referrals to local authority children’s social care;
  • refer cases to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern as required;
  • support staff who make referrals to the Channel programme;
  • refer cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child to the Disclosure and Barring Service as required; and
  • refer cases where a crime may have been committed to the Police as required 

Work with others

The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:

  • liaise with the Principal to inform him of issues especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations;
  • as required, liaise with the “case manager” and the designated officer(s) at the local authority for child protection concerns in cases which concern a staff member; 
  • be aware of students who have a social worker and liaise closely with their social worker
  • liaise with staff (especially pastoral support staff, school nurses, IT Technicians, and SENCOs or the named person with oversight for SEN in a college) on matters of safety and safeguarding (including online and digital safety) and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies; and
  • act as a source of support, advice and expertise for all staff. 


The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years. The designated safeguarding lead should undertake Prevent awareness training. In addition to the formal training set out above, their knowledge and skills should be refreshed (this might be via e-bulletins, meeting other designated safeguarding leads, or simply taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, as required, but at least annually, to allow them to understand and keep up with any developments relevant to their role so they:

  • understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention, for example through locally agreed common and shared assessment processes such as early help assessments;
  • have a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so;
  • ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school or college’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff;
  • are alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers; 
  • are able to keep detailed, accurate and secure written records of concerns and referrals;
  • understand and support the school or college with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation;
  • are able to understand the unique risks associated with online safety and be confident that they have the relevant knowledge and up to date capability required to keep children safe whilst they are online at school or college;
  • can recognise the additional risks that children with SEN and disabilities (SEND) face online, for example, from online bullying, grooming and radicalisation and are confident they have the capability to support SEND children to stay safe online;
  • obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses; and
  • encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school or college may put in place to protect them.

Raise Awareness

The designated safeguarding lead should:

  • ensure the school or college’s child protection policies are known, understood and used appropriately;
  • ensure the school or college’s child protection policy is reviewed annually (as a minimum) and the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly, and work with governing bodies or proprietors regarding this;
  • ensure the child protection policy is available publicly and that parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school or college in this; and
  • link with the local LSCB to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local policies on safeguarding.
  • help promote educational outcomes by sharing the information about the welfare, safeguarding and child protection issues that children, including children with a social worker, are experiencing, or have experienced, with teachers and school and college leadership staff. Their role includes ensuring that the college, and its staff, know who these children are, understand their academic progress and attainment and maintain a culture of high aspirations for this cohort; supporting teaching staff to identify the challenges that children in this group might face and the additional academic support and adjustments that they could make to best support these children

Child protection file
Where children leave the school or college ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible. This should be transferred separately from the main pupil file, ensuring secure transit and confirmation of receipt should be obtained. Receiving schools and colleges should ensure key staff such as designated safeguarding leads and SENCOs or the named person with oversight for SEN in colleges, are aware as required.

In addition to the child protection file, the designated safeguarding lead should also consider if it would be appropriate to share any information with the new school or college in advance of a child leaving. For example, information that would allow the new school or college to continue supporting victims of abuse and have that support in place for when the child arrives.

During term time the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns. Appropriate and adequate cover arrangements will be arranged by the DSL and the school leadership for any out of hours/ term activities.

Whilst generally speaking the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) would be expected to be available in person, it is a matter for individual schools and colleges, working with the designated safeguarding lead, to define what “available” means and whether in exceptional circumstances availability via phone and or Skype or other such media is acceptable. It is a matter for individual schools and colleges and the designated safeguarding lead to arrange adequate and appropriate cover arrangements for any out of hours/out of term activities.

Annex 5 of Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy

Form for recording safeguarding and child protection concerns.   

Members of staff are required to record their safeguarding or pastoral concerns to CPOMS (Child Protection Online Monitoring and Safeguarding System)

Staff can use the form below to record concerns and pass to the DSL as their initial notes in the first instance, however, they are still required to record their concerns on CPOMS without any delay. Click here for a word version of this form. 

Record of Concern Form 

Staff member’s name:
Child’s name:
What prompted this record? (Please include dates, times, incidents, behaviours, what the child said)

Remember to record any questions that you asked (do not ask leading questions, if you need more fact or detail think of T.E.D “Tell me……” “Explain to me…..” “Describe to me……”)   
Additional relevant information that relates to the child or family

Does the concern fall into one of the following categories (please circle)?
Neglect/Sexual Abuse/Physical Abuse/Emotional Abuse/ Child Sexual Exploitation/Child Drug Exploitation/Honour based violence/FGM/Forced marriage/Online/sexting/Peer on peer/ Upskirting/Radicalisation/Domestic abuse
PRINT________________________________________________ (Member of staff) 
PRINT________________________________________________ (Designated member of staff for children protection)
SIGNED ______________________________________________ (Member of staff) 
SIGNED_______________________________________________ (Designated member of staff for children protection)
Has this information been discussed/ passed to any other agencies?  (Please give details) If not, please record reasons why    
Actions by designated lead:   

Most recent review and/or amendment

VPP, Principal, APP, HoB September 2020

Seen by governors December 2019

Annex 6  of Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy

Terminology Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as: protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this guidance as: protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Child Protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare of children. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are at risk to suffer, significant harm.

Early Help means the providing support as soon as additional needs and support emerge at any point in a child’s life.

Staff refers to all those working for or on behalf of the school, full or part time, temporary or permanent, in either a paid or voluntary capacity. It includes supply teachers as well.

Child(ren) includes everyone under the age of 18.On the whole, this will apply to pupils of our College; however, the policy will extend to visiting children and students from other establishments

Parents refers to birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, for example step-parents, foster carers and adoptive parents.

DSL refers to Designated Safeguarding Lead

DDSL refers to Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead

OSCB refers to Oxfordshire Children Safeguarding Board

LCSS refers to Locality Community Support Service

DO refers to the Designated Officer, also referred to as Local Authority Designated Officer

Social Care refers to Children’s Services in the area in which the child is resident, unless a child is a Child Looked After then this will be the Children’s Services in their home authority.

MASH refers to the Oxford Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub.

Abuse could mean neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse or any combination of these. Parents, carers and other people can harm children either by direct acts and/or failure to provide proper care. Explanations of these are given within the procedure document.


Annex 7 of Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy
Child Protection Procedures Flowchart