It may be helpful for parents/carers to know that the law requires all the school staff to pass on information which raises concern that a child may be at risk from radicalisation, non-accidental injury, neglect, emotional or sexual abuse. This procedure is intended to protect children and schools are encouraged to take the attitude that where there are grounds for concern it is better to be over cautious than to risk a child's safety. They therefore have an unavoidable duty to contact Social Care. Occasionally, this duty means that the Head Teachers or Safeguarding Lead (as Designated Safeguarding Officers) must risk upsetting some parents by reporting a concern which, on investigation, proves unfounded. In these circumstances, it is hoped that parents / carers will appreciate how difficult it is for schools to carry out this delicate responsibility, and accept that the action was taken in good faith and in the best interest of the children. Any parent who would like further information on this subject should consult the Head teachers who have the authority's manual outlining the procedures concerning child protection issues. The Chair of Governors can also be consulted.
Under the Education Act 2002 (section 175), schools must "make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children". We will endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. The school will therefore be alert to signs of abuse, radicalisation and neglect and will follow the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) procedures to ensure that children receive appropriate and effective support and protection. The staff will seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the parent/carer, and where possible inform them of a referral to Social Care. However, this will only be done where such discussion will not place the child at increased risk of significant harm. In accordance with local information sharing protocols, we will ensure that information is shared securely and sensitively. Information will only be shared with other services where it is deemed necessary and proportionate to ensure that children and young people are safe and receive the right service.
Bassingbourn Primary School takes part in a jointly run operation between Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Constabulary which is called Operation Encompass. Encompass has been set up to help schools and colleges to provide support to children who have been present at incidents of domestic abuse and violence. We know that children can be significantly physically or emotionally harmed when they are involved in, present at or are a witness to domestic abuse.
The school/college will receive a confidential, secure email from Cambridgeshire’s Education Safeguarding Team, now working across both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, before 9am or as soon as possible on the morning after any domestic incident which Cambridgeshire Police have attended where a child at their school/college has been involved in, present at or witness to domestic abuse.
We, as part of Operation Encompass, are notified if police attend an incident of domestic abuse. This information sharing allows school staff to provide support for the child so that all interactions, post-notification, can be of a positive and appropriate nature. Staff are informed of these notifications on a need to know basis.
What can I do?
Domestic violence is a crime. Never hesitate to call the police who have specialist domestic violence officers trained to help children and put you in touch with other agencies who can help you with safety planning, housing issues, drug or alcohol problems or give details of solicitors who can assist you with the legal side of things.
Cambridgeshire Police can be contacted on 101 (non-emergencies). In case of emergency, please dial 999.
If you are female and feel reluctant to speak to the police, we recommend you call Women’s Aid who is an independent charity run by women to help other women. You can speak to them in the strictest confidence about your problems and they can offer you practical and emotional support or help you find emergency refuge accommodation if you are escaping abuse.
Peterborough Women’s Aid can be contacted on 01733 894455 (office Hours) or call 0808 2000 247 (Free phone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline).
Designated Safeguarding Officers: Mrs C Coles, Mrs S Titchmarsh, Mrs A Remington Davidson, Mrs Hannah Paradis
Designed Prevent Officer: Mr M Sweeney
Designated Officer for Looked After Children: Mrs Remington Davidson