Safeguarding at the Quality First Education Trust
The Q1E trust's first aim is that all adults and children are safe.
Our safeguarding principles and practice underpin all of our aims in order for children and adults to be excellent learners, have excellent social and emotional skills, and achieve and succeed.
At Q1E we believe and ensure that SAFEGUARDING AND PROMOTING THE WELFARE OF CHILDREN IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY.
No single professional can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. If children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action. We ensure a child-centred approach where we consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.
The trustees of the Quality First Education trust fully recognise the responsibilities and duties placed on them to have arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of all pupils in our schools. We believe that the trust’s schools provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment in which pupils can learn and that promotes the social, physical and emotional wellbeing of each individual pupil. We recognise that all staff (regardless of employment status), including volunteers, have a full and active part to play in protecting pupils from harm.
The full Q1E Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy can be found on our policies page. It underlines that across the trust we share in the following key principles:
- All children have a right to be protected from harm and /or abuse whilst in and out of school care, in person or via the internet.
- Abuse and neglect are complex issues and rarely stand-alone events. We recognise that schools require a culture of vigilance, professional curiosity, respectful challenge and effective recording and monitoring systems. Safeguarding incidents could happen anywhere and staff should be alert to possible concerns being raised in school.
- Abuse occurs in all cultures, religions and social classes. Staff need to be sensitive to the many differing factors which need to be taken into account depending on the child’s cultural and social background. However, we also recognise that the needs of the child are paramount and any concerns will be referred on appropriately, whatever the family background of the child concerned.
- Both mental and physical health are relevant to safeguarding and the welfare of children.
- Because of their day to day contact with children, school staff are extremely well placed to observe outward signs of abuse.
- A child who is abused or witnesses abuse or violence may find it difficult to develop and maintain a sense of self-worth. They may feel helpless and humiliated and may feel self-blame.
- School may provide the only stability in the lives of children who have been abused or are at risk of harm.
- Research shows that the behaviour of a child in these circumstances may range from that which is perceived as normal to that which is overtly aggressive, disturbed or withdrawn. It is important that children feel secure, are encouraged to talk and are sensitively listened to, and that children know that there are adults in school whom they can approach if they are worried or unhappy.
- There may be occasions where it may be appropriate to consider whether specific or additional arrangements need to be put in place where an issue is particularly sensitive due to gender issues or cultural or faith issues. If possible, in cases of sexual abuse in particular, we will try to ensure that a pupil can be spoken to by a same sex member of staff who has received enhanced training if this is felt to be appropriate.
- We adhere to the principles of working in partnership with those who hold parental responsibility for each child. Staff will raise child protection or safeguarding concerns with parents/carers at the earliest appropriate opportunity and work in partnership with them and other agencies to improve outcomes.
- The prime concern at all times must be the welfare and safety of the child. Where there is a conflict between the needs of the child and the parent/carer, the interests of the child must be paramount.
The ethos of our trust supports open practice, good communication and a safe culture in which children can thrive and learn.
All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the school’s safeguarding regime and know that such concerns will be taken seriously by the relevant school leadership team, local governors and trustees.
In order to ensure we are providing the safest and best care for our pupils and staff we have regular training for all staff, and constant updates within staff meetings. Understanding is assessed through monitoring practice, referrals, outcomes etc; and other aspects like quizzes and case studies.
The individual school safeguarding teams meet at least fortnightly and the trust designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) meet at least termly. During the recent school closure owing to Covid-19, the DSLs met weekly, in recognition of the increase in risk to families during this time.
Each school's local governing body appoints a safeguarding lead governor, and a deputy safeguarding lead. At trust board level we have a named safeguarding lead trustee. These roles are key to ensuring safeguarding practice in each school - and collectively - is robustly monitored, challenged, reviewed and improved.
We have regular audits of safeguarding, once a year by the trust lead for safeguarding and once a year by an external auditor. Audits have indicated that there are a great many strengths in our safeguarding systems and structures across all four schools. This is constantly monitored and improved upon to ensure robust and thorough safeguarding at all times.