The following is a brief guide to what happens when we are concerned. Please see the links at the bottom of the page if you have any questions or would like more information.
Any member of staff, visitor, volunteer, parent or child can raise a concern about the safety or welfare of a child.
- Staff have access to a system called CPOMS and are required to use it to record (write) their concern.
- Visitors and supply staff have access to a concern form that they are required to complete and hand to a member of the safeguarding team.
- CPOMS automatically alerts our safeguarding team to the concern
- For serious [child protection] concerns, everyone is expected to speak in person to a member of the safeguarding team as well as make their written report.
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead (Mrs Sutton) or one of the deputies will respond to the concern as soon as possible and immediately if it is potentially very serious; if a child is thought to have been significantly harmed or will be significantly harmed, for example.
What will Mrs Sutton or one of the deputies do?
- The child will be spoken to.
- This is done in a very careful way. The safeguarding team is trained to speak to children about what may have happened to them or what they are worried about and do so compassionately, respectfully and without leading the conversation or asking leading questions.
- Children are not interrogated.
- Children are believed.
- Secrets are never kept, and promises to keep them never made
- Children are told if further action needs to be taken, what this is and if they are OK with it
- Parents or Carers will be contacted
- In most cases, parents/ carers will be asked to come to school to speak to two safeguarding team members.
- A record will be made of the conversation. One member of the team will lead, and the other will take notes which will be added to the CPOMS record.
- An explanation of our duty of care and possible next steps will be given.
- Parents/ Carers will be listened to and treated respectfully. But it is not our job to decide on what has happened or investigate further than listening to and reporting accurately what a child has said or how they have presented.
- Parents/ Carers will be challenged appropriately.
What are the possible next steps?
- Advice and offer of support.
- The safeguarding team may agree that contact with the safeguarding hub is unnecessary and will seek to advise families and offer support.
- Support could be offered by the school, by referral to a MAST advice session or full referral to MAST for allocation of family support.
- Contacting the Safeguarding Hub
- The Safeguarding Hub is part of Sheffield City Council and is staffed by Social Care workers who can discuss the concern with us and agree on actions. We can contact them by telephone or by sending a written referral called a MACF.
- Social care may decide that the concern does not meet their threshold (is not serious enough) for them to become involved, and we may be advised to speak to the family about a referral to MAST.
- Social Care may decide to make contact with the family to discuss the concern.
- Social Care may decide the concern is serious enough to see the child in school immediately.
- Social care may decide to hold a strategy meeting where professionals (including the school) decide together if the concern meets the threshold for a section 47 (child protection) investigation.
Why do you believe very young children?
- We do not choose between the child and the parents/ carers when there is a disagreement about what has happened.
- We record what both parties say and refer to statutory agencies that can investigate and make such decisions.
- All staff at Phillimore would rather be wrong 100 times so as not to miss the 1 child that really needs our help.