Imperial College London Early Years Education Centre: Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

This policy was last updated in January 2024
Key contacts

Head of Centre: Tracy Halsey

Designated Safeguarding Lead: Tracy Halsey 020 7594 5127 Mobile 07950549061

Deputy Safeguarding Lead: Liz-Anne des Vignes 020 7594 5120

Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO): 020 7641 7668

Westminster Duty and Assessment Team (DAT): 020 7641 7560

Emergency Out of Hours Duty and Assessment team: 020 7641 6000

Westminster Prevent Duty Team: 07817 054699 or 07790 980223

Westminster Early Years strategic lead Iraklis Kolokotronis 020 7598 4771

Nominated person for Ofsted Louise Lindsay 07872 850291

Ofsted: 0300 123 1231


 The Early Years Education Centre at Imperial College London ('the Centre') educates and cares for up to 210 children whose parents work or study at the College and in the local community. The Centre's staff are dedicated to keeping children safe and the welfare of children is paramount in the day-to-day running of the Centre.  This is reflected in our policies and procedures and our planning and delivery of learning experiences for the children.

It is unacceptable for a child to experience abuse of any kind and we recognise our responsibility to safeguard the physical and mental welfare of all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, and no child or group of children will be treated less favourably in being able to access services which meet their particular needs.  We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that children receive effective support and protection. We will work with others involved in the child’s care, putting the child at the centre of all decisions.

Aims and objectives

Our aim is to safeguard and promote the welfare, health and safety of children who are cared for at the Centre by creating and maintaining an open, safe, caring and supportive atmosphere, and by supporting staff in achieving best practice.  The Centre achieves these aims by:

  • Valuing, listening to and respecting children
  • Teaching children to identify and manage risks in an age-appropriate way
  • Complying with applicable safeguarding rules and guidance by developing and implementing appropriate procedures, including a code of conduct for staff
  • Recruiting staff who are suitable to work with children and who have positive attitudes to safeguarding, and ensuring all necessary checks are made
  • Ensuring that at least one member of every interview panel has undergone safer recruitment training
  • Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
  • Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately, working together to ensure the welfare and safety of the child
  • Providing effective management for staff through supervision, support and training.

Who this policy applies to

This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers and committee members, volunteers, agency staff, students training at the Centre and anyone working at the Centre on behalf of Imperial College.

References to 'staff' throughout the rest of this policy shall be read to include references to all of these groups.

Parents and children will be informed of this policy and the procedures contained within as appropriate.

External guidance

This policy complies with:

  • Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (Published 8 December 2023. Effective 4 January 2024)
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023 (December 2023)
  • Keeping children Safe in Education 2023 (1 September 2023)

It also takes into account the following guidance:

  • What to do if you are worried a child is being abused – advice for practitioners (DfE, March 2015)
  • The Prevent duty Guidance: England and Wales (2023)
  • Information sharing: advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services (DfE July 2018)
  • The National Police Chief’s Council Child Centered Policing Guidance on When to Call the Police
  • Safeguarding children and protecting professionals in early years settings: online safety guidance for practitioners (DfE February 2019)

In child protection matters the Centre will follow also the inter-agency and child protection procedures laid down by the Bi-borough Local Safeguarding Children Partnership, which can be found here

Keeping this policy up to date

This policy is reviewed at least annually and was last updated on the date stated at the start of this policy.  If any changes are needed before the next annual review is due, these will be made as soon as reasonably practicable.

Other relevant policies

The following policies provide further information in relation to safeguarding, and can be found in the staff handbook

  • Health and Safety policy
  • Risk assessments
  • Garden Risk assessments
  • Outings risk assessment
  • Lost child policy
  • Uncollected Child policy
  • Code of Conduct.
  • Whistle blowing policy
  • Child on Child anti-bullying policy
  • Annex updates in light of coronavirus (Covid-19)

How this policy is structured

The remainder of the policy is divided into two sections:

  1. Creating a safe environment for children
  2. Responding to child protection concerns.

These are followed by three appendices:

  1. Safer recruitment
  2. Types and signs of abuse
  3. Preventing radicalisation and extremism ('the Prevent Duty').

A: Creating a safe environment for children

(i) Designated Safeguarding Lead

The practitioner with lead responsibility for safeguarding children at the Centre, or Designated Safeguarding Lead, is Tracy Halsey ('the DSL'). 

Liz Anne des Vignes is the Deputy DSL and will support the DSL and act as DSL when the DSL is absent or unavailable.

Contact details for the DSL and Deputy DSL are provided at the start of this policy.

These senior members of staff have the necessary status and authority to take responsibility for safeguarding matters including committing resources and, where appropriate, supporting and directing other staff.

The DSL is responsible for:

  • Raising awareness of this policy and ensuring that it is kept up to date and observed
  • Liaising with Bi-borough Children's Social Care and the Bi-borough LADO and with other external agencies, such as other local authorities, the police and the DBS, as necessary
  • Providing support, advice and guidance to other staff on an ongoing basis, and on specific safeguarding issues as required
  • Ensuring that appropriate induction and training is provided to all staff and that a record is kept of all safeguarding training received by staff.

(ii) Safer Recruitment

The Centre is committed to safe recruitment, selection and vetting and ensures the implementation of safe recruitment practices. Such as, ensuring candidates have a commitment and understanding to safeguarding and whistle blowing. Statutory procedures for checking the suitability of staff who work with children are always followed, including obtaining enhanced criminal records checks and barred list checks via the DBS, overseas police background checks where relevant, gaps in employment or education are checked and detailed references taken up.    Online searches may be carried out for shortlisted candidates to identify any incidents or issues related to suitability to work with children.

No one whose suitability has not been checked will be permitted unsupervised contact with children.  Visitors to the Centre will always be supervised.

Assurance is obtained that appropriate child protection checks and procedures apply to any staff employed by another organisation who might be working onsite (such as agency workers, building or service contractors) and to any working with children on an external site (such as on day trips). Any visitors, volunteers, contractors or other external workers working at the Centre or off-site with children, for whom DBS checks cannot be obtained, will not be permitted to have unsupervised access to children.   

Please refer to the Appendix to this Policy for the Centre's full safe recruitment policy.

(iii) Training and Induction

The DSL and Deputy DSL have attended child protection training in accordance with advice from the Bi-borough Local Children's Safeguarding Partnership which enables them to identify, understand and respond appropriately to signs of possible abuse and neglect. This training is updated every 2 years.

The recruitment panel have attended safer recruitment training.

All staff are trained to understand the safeguarding policies and procedures and have up to date knowledge of safeguarding issues.  Staff are trained in identifying signs of possible abuse at the earliest opportunity and in responding in a timely and appropriate way.

On joining the Centre, staff are given a full induction, including safeguarding training, and their conduct (including in relation to safeguarding) is evaluated during their probationary period.

Updates on Safeguarding and child protection are sent out via email to all staff on a regular basis and they attend annual refresher and update training. Whole team 1 day safeguarding training takes place every 2-3 years.

(iv) Code of Conduct for Staff

It is every staff member’s responsibility to ensure that all children are respected and kept safe.  All staff are expected to set and maintain the highest standards for their own performance, to work as part of a team and to be an excellent role model for colleagues, children, parents, visitors and students. 

No individual can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances.   Everyone has a role in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.

All staff will adhere to these rules and the Centre's code of conduct, which outline the expectations for all staff with regard to children, parents and carers and interactions within the team.

General principles

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined 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
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

All staff should:

  • Maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned.
  • When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff should always act in the best interests of the child
  • Treat the safety and welfare of children as paramount at all times
  • Treat all members of the community at the Centre, including children, parents and colleagues, with consideration and respect
  • Adhere to the principles and procedures contained in safeguarding and child protection policy
  • Treat each child as an individual and make adjustments to meet their individual needs
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of and commitment to non-discriminatory practice
  • Recognise the power balances between children and staff, and different levels of seniority of staff and ensure that power and authority are never misused
  • Understand that staff at the Centre are in a position of trust
  • Be alert to, and report appropriately, any behaviour that may indicate that a child is at risk of harm
  • Share low-level concerns in line with EYEC’s reporting procedures
  • Encourage all children to reach their full potential
  • Promote the welfare of children including preventing impairment of children’s mental as well as physical development
  • Never condone inappropriate behaviour by children or staff
  • Report and challenge abusive adult activities, such as ridicule or bullying
  • Share concerns about inappropriate adult behaviour with the DSL including behaviour not directly involving children but that indicates an adult may not be suitable to work with children
  • Be confident and understand the Whistleblowing policy and procedure
  • Take responsibility for their own continuing professional development
  • Refrain from any action that would bring the Centre into disrepute
  • Use appropriate language at all times
  • Work in partnership with parents and maintain the relationships with parents on a completely professional level
  • Notify the Head of Centre if work is carried out for families of children at the Centre outside the Centre (e.g. babysitting) and ensure that any safeguarding concerns which arise in the context of such work are reported immediately to the DSL
  • Value themselves and seek appropriate support for any issue that may have an adverse effect on their professional practice.

Staff should not:

  • Play inappropriate physical contact games with children
  • Engage in inappropriate verbal banter
  • Make suggestive remarks or gestures or tell jokes of a sexual nature
  • Believe that an allegation could not be made against you – it could
  • Give their personal contact details – such as home or mobile phone number, email or home address – to any child, parent or carer that they work with, without prior permission from the Head of Centre.
  • Make contact with, or allow contact from children, parents or carers, within social networking sites.


Safeguarding matters are highly sensitive and must be kept confidential.  They must not be discussed with those outside the Centre, only in the context of a necessary external referral (which will usually be made by the DSL) or where it is appropriate to have a discussion with parents (in which case guidance should be sought from the DSL in advance, and no information disclosed to parents which may place their child or another at risk of harm).

It is not permitted to discuss with parents the health or development of any other child except their own. Staff are not permitted to discuss with parents any other member of staff, including the management team. Please refer to the confidentiality policy.       

Staff should never guarantee confidentiality to children or adults wishing to tell them about something serious. You can say that you will pass on information in confidence only to the people who must be told in order to ensure that the appropriate action is taken. You can also reassure those involved that the Centre will take all available steps to protect the informant from any retaliation or unnecessary stress that may occur after a disclosure has been made.                      

Health & Safety                                                                                                   

All staff are obliged to ensure the health and safety of every child at the Centre by following the written policy and procedures. Every member of staff will have received a copy of the staff handbook which contains all relevant policies and procedures.                                                                                                

Staff are expected to carry out risk assessments daily.

Staff taking medication or other substances

Staff must not be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may affect their ability to care for children.

If staff are taking medication which may affect their ability to care for children, those staff should seek medical advice, and will only be permitted to work directly with children if medical advice confirms that the medication is unlikely to impair that staff member’s ability to look after children properly.

Staff are required to sign the EYEC safeguarding declaration form annually and inform management as to any changes that may affect their ongoing suitability.

Staff medication on the premises must be securely stored, and out of reach of children, at all times.

Use of mobile phones, cameras and devices

The use of personal mobile phones is not allowed during work times except lunch breaks in the staff room or off site. The use of personal cameras and cameras on mobile phones or any other electronic device with imaging and sharing capabilities is strictly prohibited, (this includes watches).Under no circumstances should staff take pictures of children on their own devices.  Where parents have given written consent, any pictures which are taken for the purpose of recording children’s development or events, must be taken using the Centre's camera, or tablet device with prior permission from the Centre's management team.

Online safety

The use of using devices such as tablets and computers may be used to role model positive use of technology. However, staff must be aware of the following issues if the activity is not planned or properly supervised.

  • Exposure to inappropriate videos, pictures or messages which might upset worry or frighten children
  • Imitate harmful or inappropriate behaviour they may see online
  • Searching for inappropriate consent or stumbling upon it by accident, this includes voice activated tools to search for content
  • Inadvertently giving apps or websites permission to share location or other personal information
  • Spending real money via in-app or in-game purchases

Staff are expected to act responsibly when using the internet and the viewing of inappropriate sites is not allowed. Internet use must be in accordance with the College’s ICT code of conduct. If using the internet with children, research must be carried out before allowing children to view the content to prevent the viewing of inappropriate material. Children must be monitored at all times while viewing internet material.

Ongoing requirement to disclose conviction or disqualification

Before and during your employment (or period of volunteering, etc) you must disclose any convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that you have received, whether these are historical (i.e. pre-dating your time at the Centre) or new, including both child-related offences and offences which do not relate to children.

You must also disclose if you become disqualified from working in childcare.  The criteria for disqualification are summarised below:

  • inclusion on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Children’s Barred List
  • being found to have committed certain violent and sexual criminal offences against children and adults, in the UK or overseas
  • certain orders made in relation to the care of children (for example, if your own child is taken into care)
  • refusal or cancellation of registration relating to childcare, or children’s homes, or being prohibited from private fostering
  • being found to have committed an offence overseas which would constitute an offence regarding disqualification under the 2009 Regulations if it had been done in any part of the United Kingdom

Staff must be aware that if they meet any of these criteria, disqualification from childcare is automatic.  Ofsted does not generally inform individuals that they are disqualified, and nor does any other body: it is for staff to consider and report to the Head of Centre any possibility that they may be disqualified from working in childcare.

If you are disqualified from childcare you may not work at the Centre unless and until you obtain a waiver of disqualification from Ofsted.  The Centre is required to make a report to Ofsted if any of its staff are disqualified from childcare.

Staff are required to sign the EYEC Safeguarding Declaration form annually and inform management as to any changes that may affect their ongoing suitability.

Gathering of information and sharing of concerns

Steps will be taken to ensure that information is gathered on children and families where there may be vulnerabilities or concerns.

  • Parents will be asked to provide evidence of their parental status when registering for a place at the early years
  • Parents will be asked to share any concerns they may have for their child’s health and well being
  • Parents will be asked to share information regarding any other agencies involved in their child’s care e.g. social workers or health care professionals
  • Any concerns regarding the safeguarding of children will be recorded on a ‘Safeguarding Concerns’ form and kept securely and shared with other professionals on a need to know basis only
  • Where children have attended or are attending another childcare setting or child minder, we will request information regarding any safeguarding concern.

B: Responding to safeguarding concerns

(i) What to do if you are concerned about a child's welfare

All staff should exercise vigilance and be watchful for and aware of signs of abuse and neglect or other issues for concern in a child's life, at home or elsewhere.  A list of types of abuse and potential signs that a child is being abused are set out in Appendix [2] to this policy.

If you have any concerns about a child (including if a child is missing from the Centre), you should raise these with the DSL and complete a Safeguarding concerns form.

(ii) Procedure for making external referrals

Once the DSL is alerted to a concern, the DSL will discuss the matter with the member of staff and will decide on an appropriate course of action.

If it appears that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm, the DSL will immediately make a report to the Westminster Duty and Assessment Team, who will contact Children’s Social Care in the local authority where the child lives (or, in an emergency, to the police).  Ordinarily referrals will be made by the DSL, although any member of staff can make a referral (and contact details are provided at the start of this policy).

If a child has not suffered and is not at risk of suffering serious harm, but is in need of additional support, the DSL will take steps to initiate an inter-agency assessment using local processes.

If concerns are raised about the conduct or suitability of a member of staff, the DSL will immediately refer the matter to the Tri-borough LADO.

A record of all referrals made and any resulting action will be kept by the DSL. EYEC’s safeguarding record of concerns is reviewed by the Nominated Person on a termly basis.

(iii) How to respond if a child raises a concern

Staff should always listen to a child who wants to talk about a concern. If a child tells you something which suggests that they know about or have been a victim of child abuse or neglect:

  • Listen to what the child says
  • Be comforting and sympathetic
  • Ensure that the child feels as little responsibility as possible
  • It is particularly important not to make any suggestions to the child regarding how the incident may have happened, therefore do not question the child except to clarify what he/she is saying
  • Promises to keep the matter secret should not be given (see Confidentiality section above)
  • Tell the child what will happen next if it is possible to do so in way that he/she will understand, and reassure him/her
  • Write down exactly what the child says or what actions concern you, and what you have said in response as soon as possible (within the hour, if possible), using the child’s own words as far as you can.  All notes should be timed, dated and signed, with your name printed alongside the signature
  • Report the matter to the DSL immediately, and the DSL will decide whether it is appropriate to make an external referral (alternatively you may make external referrals yourself, and the relevant contact details are provided at the start of this policy)
  • Do not make assumptions about who the allegation might concern.  However, if a member of staff is or may be involved, appropriate steps must be taken to ensure the safety of the child and other children, so please alert the DSL so that they can co-ordinate necessary actions.
  • Seek support if you feel distressed. The DSL will contact your early years adviser who will offer advice and support (and will not be responsible for investigating the incident).

(iv) What to do if a child arrives at the Centre with injuries

Staff should:

  • Ensure immediate medical attention is given, if necessary
  • If possible ask the parent/carer how the injuries occurred, and try to ensure that a reasonably full and clear account is obtained. Ask the parent to complete an accident form and sign it.
  • Record your concerns on a ‘Safeguarding Concerns Form’. Write down exactly what the parent/carer says or what concerns you, and what you have said in response as soon as possible (within the hour, if possible), using the parent/carer's own words as far as you can.  All notes should be timed, dated and signed, with your name printed alongside the signature
  • Report the matter to the DSL immediately, and the DSL will decide whether it is appropriate to make an external referral (alternatively you may make external referrals yourself, and the relevant contact details are provided at the start of this policy)
  • Seek support if you feel distressed. The DSL will contact your early years advisor who will offer advice and support (and will not be responsible for investigating the incident).

(v) Consideration for ‘Looked after’ children

The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse and/or neglect. The team should ensure they have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the child’s circumstances and background as far as possible and necessary to keep looked after children safe.  In particular information in relation to children’s looked after legal status (whether they are looked after under voluntary arrangements with consent of parents or on an interim or full care order) and contact arrangements with birth parents or those with parental responsibility.

(vi) Children with special educational needs and disabilities

Children with SEN and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Staff should be vigilant and ensure they know the child well and recognise the barriers that children may have and liaise with the SEND team as well as the DSL.

(vii) Whistleblowing procedure and duty to report concerns and suspicions

All staff have a responsibility to report any concerns about improper, poor or unsafe practice, including in relation to the care and protection of children.  This is especially important as children may not be able to raise concerns verbally.

If you have concerns about the behaviour of a colleague or if you believe that best practice is not being adhered to or that a practice may put a child or children at risk, you should follow this procedure.

In the first instance you should raise the matter immediately with the DSL, or with the Deputy DSL if the DSL is unavailable or the concern is about the DSL.

If you do not feel that it is appropriate to raise the matter with the DSL or the Deputy DSL, you should approach the Nominated Person for Ofsted (see contact details at the start of this Policy)  or contact Ofsted or the LADO (see contact details at the start of this Policy)

Any matters raised will be taken seriously and dealt with fairly and promptly.  No member of staff will suffer a detriment or be disciplined for raising a genuine concern about unsafe practice, provided that they do so in good faith.

Please refer to the next section of this policy for further detail on how allegations against staff will be dealt with.

(viii) Procedure if an allegation is made against a member of staff

Allegations of abuse may arise against any person who comes into contact with children.

If you think, for whatever reason (including where a child has disclosed abuse) that another member of staff has harmed or may have harmed a child, may be unsuitable to work with children and/or may pose a risk of harm to children, you should inform the Head of Centre immediately. Should the allegation concern the Head of Centre, you should inform the Nominated Person for Ofsted who will act in the place of the Head of Centre and will liaise with the Local Authority LADO as set out below.

In the event that an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff:

  • The Head of Centre will contact the LADO for advice or to make a referral as soon as possible and in any event within 24 hours of the Centre becoming aware of any concern or allegation which indicates that a member of staff may be unsuitable to work with or may pose a rsk of harm to children. All such concerns will be referred without delay. Borderline cases may be discussed without identifying individuals in the first instance.
  • The LADO and the Head of Centre will decide which further steps (if any) should be taken; this could involve informing parents or the person who is the subject of the allegations. In serious cases the police will be informed. Where a referral to the police has been made directly by the Head of Centre due to the seriousness or urgency of the matter, the Head of Centre will inform the LADO of the referral as soon as possible and in any event within 24 hours of the Centre becoming aware of the concern. All discussions with external agencies should be recorded in writing.
  • If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child, or if a child is suffering serious harm, a referral will be made immediately to the Westminster Duty and Assessment Team, who will contact Children’s Social Care in the local authority where the child lives.
  • Where allegations of serious harm or abuse are made against anyone working or looking after children at the Centre, a report will also be made to Ofsted as soon as possible, and not later than 14 days after the allegation comes to the attention of the Centre.
  • The initial sharing of information and investigation may lead to a decision that no further action is to be taken, in which case this decision should be recorded by the Head of Centre and an agreement should be reached with the LADO on what information should be put in writing to the individual concerned. The Head of Centre should then consider with the LADO what action should follow, both in respect of the individual and those who made the initial allegation. Where appropriate the matter will be dealt with under the College's Disciplinary Policy. Allegations that are found to have been malicious will be removed from personnel records and those that are unsubstantiated, false or malicious or unfounded will not be referred to in employment references.
  • The staff member against whom the allegation is made should normally be informed as soon as possible after the result of the initial investigation is known. However where a strategy discussion is needed or police or children's services need to be involved the person against whom the allegation has been made should not be informed until these agencies have been consulted.
  • The parents or carers of the child or children involved will also be informed as soon as possible after the result of the initial investigation is known (or after consultation with external agencies if a strategy meeting is required), save that if a child is injured or distressed then the parents or carers will always be informed as soon as possible that day unless to do so would place the child or other children at risk of harm.
  • During the course of the investigation the Centre, in consultation with the LADO, will decide what information should be given to parents and staff generally and other children and how any press enquiries are to be dealt with.
  • When the individual against whom the allegations have been made is spoken to, he/she will be warned that anything said will be recorded in writing. The Centre will appoint a representative to keep the person informed of the likely course of action and the progress of the case, and will also make arrangements for the individual to receive appropriate support.
  • If there is cause to suspect that a child or children at the Centre are at risk of harm from the accused person, or if the case is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal, then the person concerned may be suspended. Due weight should be given to the views of the LADO and to the police when making a decision about suspension and all alternative options should be considered prior to taking that step. The reasons and justification for suspension will be recorded and the individual informed of them. In the case of staff the matter will normally be dealt with in accordance with the College's Disciplinary Procedure and with support from the College's HR team.
  • A prompt referral to the DBS will be made in circumstances where a person is dismissed from working in regulated activity due to safeguarding concerns, or would have been had they not resigned. Failure to make a report constitutes an offence.
  • If there has been a substantiated allegation against a member of staff, the Centre will work with the LADO to identify any changes which could be made to help prevent similar events in the future.
  • This procedure will also apply to supply staff with the Head of Centre liaising with the Agency supplier as appropriate.


Appendix 1: Safer recruitment

Appendix 1: Safer recruitment

The Centre practices robust safer recruitment procedures and checks the suitability of all who work or come into contact with children. This includes requiring enhanced criminal records checks via the DBS (and overseas checks if applicants have lived or worked abroad for more than three months), health checks and always taking up detailed references.

All advertisements for roles at the Centre state the Centre's commitment to safeguarding.

In order to help promote a safe environment for children, candidates for roles at the Centre are:

  • provided with a job description and person specification for the role, which states the Centre's commitment to safeguarding
  • required to complete an application form and provide a full employment history, and any gaps in employment are scrutinised and addressed
  • are made aware that online searches may be carried out for shortlisted candidates to identify any incidents or issues related to suitability to work with children. This may include, as examples, drug or alcohol misuse, inappropriate images, discriminatory or abusive behaviour or language. Searches will be confined to information freely available to the public. Any information noted that gives cause for concern will be reviewed and discussed with the applicant at interview and will not be a barrier to interview.
  • required to provide two referees, including from his/her current or most recent employer, and at least one must refer to the applicant's suitability to work with children
  • required to provide evidence of their identity, right to work in the UK and qualifications and a declaration of any family or close relationships to existing employees
  • required to provide a chronological order of secondary education, training and qualifications
  • required to apply for an Enhanced Criminal Records Check from the DBS, to include a Children's Barred List check, and to show the Centre the original DBS certificate prior to starting work
  • required to confirm that they are not disqualified from working in childcare. (please refer to the relevant section of the Code of Conduct above for further details)
  • asked to interview to assess the candidate's knowledge and experience against the job description and person specification, to discuss safeguarding issues and, where appropriate, to undertake some supervised activities with children at the Centre so that their suitability can be assessed
  • interviewed by at least one individual with safer recruitment training
  • appointed subject to a probationary period involving regular reviews and supervision
  • required under the terms of their employment contract to understand and follow this Safeguarding and Child Protection policy, including the section on whistleblowing.
  • required to undergo an induction to help them understand their roles and responsibilities and which includes training on emergency evacuation procedures, safeguarding, child protection, the Centre's Equal Opportunities policy and Code of Conduct, and health and safety issues.
  • Required to sign up to the DBS Update Service to enable periodic employer checks to confirm that no new information has been added to the certificate since its issue.
  • Required to sign the EYEC annual safeguarding declaration form confirming their suitability to work with children in the context of safeguarding and child protection and update this annually or as needed prior to annually.

Appendix 2: Types and signs of abuse

Types of abuse

Abuse is 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Female Genital Mutilation: all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Breast ironing or flattening: the process during which prepubescent girls’ breasts are ironed, massaged, flattened and or pounded down over a period of time in order for the breast to disappear or delay the development of the breasts entirely.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE): 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. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources. In some cases, the abuse will be in exchange for something the victim needs or wants and/or will be to the financial benefit or other advantage (such as increased status) of the perpetrator or facilitator. 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 involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence. Victims can be exploited even when activity appears consensual and it should be noted exploitation as well as being physical can be facilitated and/or take place online.

Child on Child abuse:  All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to as child on Child abuse). Whilst this might not be prevalent in an Early Years setting, staff should be aware of this aspect of safeguarding in a wider context.   Peer on peer abuse 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, sexual harassment, upskirting, sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

Domestic abuse: Children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse (incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse) in the context of their home live where domestic abuse occurs between family members.  This can have serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children.

One of the best ways to help children is by being aware of the signs of possible abuse. All staff should be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so that they are able to identify children who may in need of help or protection. These signs can take many forms including physical injuries and behavioural indicators.

All staff should familiarise themselves with the list below which, although not exhaustive, includes common signs of abuse which may indicate a problem. It is important to recognise that some children who are being abused do not exhibit any external signs of this abuse. Sometimes children don't even realise that what's happening is abuse. It is also sometimes difficult to tell the difference between injuries suffered as part of normal childhood activities and those caused by abuse. If you are unsure you should discuss the case with the DSL.

Physical signs of abuse and neglect

Signs of abuse and neglect can include:

  • injuries to parts of the body where accidents are unlikely, such as thighs, back, abdomen
  • respiratory problems from drowning, suffocation or poisoning
  • untreated or inadequately treated injuries
  • bruising which looks like hand or finger marks
  • cigarette burns, human bites
  • abdominal pain
  • headaches
  • scarring, scalds and burns
  • sexually transmitted infection
  • pain/itching/bleeding/bruising/discharge to the genital area/anus
  • urinary infections/sexually transmitted diseases
  • difficulty walking or sitting
  • persistent sore throats
  • the child seems underweight or is very small for their age
  • recurrent/untreated infections of skin or head lice
  • untreated health/dental issues
  • poor hygiene
  • they are poorly clothed, with inadequate protection from the weather
  • they are often absent from education for no apparent reason
  • They are regularly left alone, or in the charge of brothers or sisters who are not old enough to look after them properly.

Behavioural signs of abuse and neglect

If a child is being abused, their behaviour may change in a number of ways. For example they may:

  • behave aggressively or be disruptive, act out, demand attention and require more behavioural support than other children
  • become angry or disinterested and/or show little creativity
  • seem frightened of certain adults
  • become sad, withdrawn or depressed
  • have trouble sleeping
  • exhibit inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age or sexualised drawings or behaviour in their play with other children
  • refuse to change their clothes for activities or participate in physical activities
  • develop eating disorders
  • self-harm
  • lack confidence or have low self-esteem
  • display a sudden change in behaviour – aggression, extroversion, depression, withdrawn
  • exhibit attention seeking behaviour, hyperactivity or a low attention span
  • appear frightened of parents or family members
  • display abnormal attachment between parent and child
  • display indiscriminate attachment
  • exhibit hyper alertness
  • provide reduced response
  • show frozen watchfulness
  • suffer from nightmares
  • suffer from anxiety/irritability
  • have poor peer relationships
  • display excessive or inappropriate masturbation
  • have frequent visits to the toilet (possible urinary infection).
  • fail to thrive
  • not meet normal developmental milestones.

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.

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.

Signs that a parent or other responsible adult may be abusing or neglecting a child

The parent/adult may:

  • offer conflicting or unconvincing explanation of any injuries to the child
  • appear indifferent to or overtly rejects the child
  • deny existence of or blames the child for the child's problems at home or at the Centre
  • display unrealistic expectations of the child i.e. demands a level of academic or physical performance of which they are not capable
  • see and describe the child as worthless, burdensome or in another negative light
  • refuse offers of help for the child's problems
  • be isolated physically/emotionally.

Signs of grooming manifested by sex offenders

It is important to remember that not all sex offenders will exhibit these signs and if an individual exhibits some or all of these signs it does not mean that they are a sex offender.

  • Overly affectionate behaviour with a child
  • Affording special attention or preferential treatment to a child
  • Excessive time spent with a child outside of the organisation
  • Frequently spending time with a child in private or isolated areas
  • Transporting a child to or from the organisation
  • Making friends with a child's parents and visiting their home
  • Acting as a particular child's confidante
  • Giving small gifts, money, toys, cards, letters to a child
  • Flirtatious behaviour or making suggestive remarks or comments of a sexual nature around a child.

Staff should also be alert to any comments or jokes made by other children at the Centre

Appendix 3: Preventing radicalisation and extremism ('the Prevent Duty')

Preventing radicalisation and extremism ('the Prevent Duty')

The Centre recognises its duty to have due regard to the need to prevent children from being drawn into terrorism. The referral procedures set out above also apply where there are concerns about children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

In accordance with the Prevent Duty, staff will be trained to understand:

  • The risk of children (even young children) being drawn into extremism
  • How to identify individual children who may be at risk of radicalisation and what to do to support them.

Most of the children at the Centre do not have access to the Centre's IT systems due to their age.  However, some older children may occasionally use the Centre's IT systems, on a supervised basis.  Supervision ensures that extremist (or other inappropriate) material is not viewed by children.

The DSL is the designated Prevent Duty person responsible for co-ordinating action within the Centre, liaising with other agencies and organising training for all staff on the Prevent Duty.


Updated by Tracy Halsey January 2024

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