Safeguarding children and protecting them from harm is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is :
- 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; and
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Safeguarding Within Our Curriculum
Our school has three curriculum pathways followed by our pupils, these curriculums are underpinned by our three Key Drivers: Communication, Wellbeing and Independence. Our school values of Respect, Teamwork and Resilience are also at the heart of our curriculums.
Our curriculums are designed to ensure that our pupils are explicitly taught to keep themselves safe within school, at home, in the community and within their life going forward, in the most appropriate way for the pupils.
Please see the below document for a detailed view of how safeguarding is embedded within our curriculums, for all of our students.
Working with Our Pupils
The Safeguarding team have been working with our Student Council to update the documents that we use to keep our pupils safe. We worked with them to design and create two new ‘Pupil Friendly’ versions of our policy documents, listening to their ideas and comments to ensure they were fit for purpose.
The documents have now been introduced to classrooms to support pupils with keeping safe in school, and knowing who their trusted adults are.
We have also worked with our therapy team in school to create other documents for school to ensure all pupils know the communications to keep themselves safe. These will be used in areas of personal care and within classrooms.
You can see the documents below:
Every term a safeguarding letter is produced for parents and carers, see past issues below:
As we approach the end of the summer term, we are writing to provide you with an update on Safeguarding topics and highlight the support available.
During the holidays there are often reports on the news about child exploitation with gangs using children to move drugs, cigarettes etc around the country, this is called County Lines.
County lines is a form of criminal exploitation. It is when criminals befriend children, either online of offline, and then manipulate them into drug dealing. The ‘lines’ refer to mobile phones that are used to control a young person who is delivering drugs, often to towns outside their home county.
Young people aged 14-17 are most likely to be targeted by criminal groups but there are reports of children as young as seven-year-old being groomed into county lines.
Pupils (where appropriate) and staff have had contextual safeguarding training and education about this topic, and the implications this could have for them. We have a good relationship with Northumbria Police and consult with them as needed. A guide to spotting County Lines activity can be found within the Safeguarding section of our Website, in the Parents and Carers tab.
Prevent is a national safeguarding programme that supports people who are at risk of becoming involved with terrorism through radicalisation. Radicalisation means someone is being encouraged to develop extreme views or beliefs in support of terrorist groups and activities. There are different types of terrorism and Prevent deals with all of them. Prevent is run locally by experts who understand the risks and issues in their area, and how best to support their communities.
These experts include local authorities, the police, charities, and community organisations.
Radicalisation can happen both face to face or online. It is easier than ever to be groomed by terrorist recruiters on the internet and to find extremist materials, even when searching for seemingly innocent things, especially on YouTube. Everyone is different, and there is no checklist that can tell us if someone is being radicalised or becoming involved in terrorism.
Further information can be found on Tips for talking about radicalisation | ACT Early and on the safeguarding link on our website. If you are worried about a child, report it.
During sporting events, which often happen over the summer, levels of Domestic Violence rise. Children are now classed as victims of Domestic Violence whether they have witnessed it or not.
Domestic abuse isn’t just physical. It includes controlling, coercive, threatening, and degrading behaviour, usually by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It can also include financial control, belittling someone, isolating them from their friends and family, making threats to children or pets, controlling who they see or what they do or sexual violence. Living with domestic abuse can cause long term emotional as well as physical harm to everyone involved.
Further support can be found online at Harbour (myharbour.org.uk), who work with all domestic abuse cases including child on parents and Man Kind which has been set up for male victims of Domestic Abuse (mankind.org.uk).
When the weather is sunny and warm it is tempting to go for a splash, but would you know what to do if you or anyone else got into trouble in the water?
Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous, children should always go swimming with an adult. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water outside. Further information can be found online at Summer Water Safety | Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK).
Self-care is all about what you can do to help yourself feel better or to keep yourself feeling good. It can help to reduce stress, improve wellbeing, and help young people develop healthy coping strategies as they grow through life. Parents/carers, educators and family members can give young people a helping hand when it comes to learning essential self-care skills. We are aware that during the summer holidays, some young people may struggle without the routine, structure and support of the school network, therefore further information regarding self-care can be found online at Self-care summer | Resources for primary schools, secondary schools and staff (annafreud.org)
We hope you find this information useful; it is our responsibility to work together to ensure all our pupils are safe. We hope you and your families enjoy the summer break.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead Team at PHS
As we approach the third term of the school year, we are writing to give you an update on safeguarding developments within our school and within our local area, so far this year:
A Crisis on Our Doorstep – New Report from Barnardo’s
In October 2022, Barnardo’s published their first report on the cost-of-living crisis. Their latest reveals that the winter has forced parents to choose between heating or purchasing food. The report includes findings from a YouGov poll of a thousand parents in Great Britain, plus a survey of 316 children and young people who have received support from Barnardo’s.
The poll from Barnardo’s in February 2023 found:
23 per cent of parents struggled to buy food (up 3 per cent from October 2022).
1 in 3 parents believed their child’s mental health had become worse (up from 1 in 4 in October 2022).
49 per cent of parents worried about being able to keep their homes warm for their children.
If you would like any support in this area please contact our Family Liaison Officer Eileen, her family information blog can be found in the Parents and Carers section of our website and contains a wealth of support for families. To contact her directly use firstname.lastname@example.org
Attendance is important, and we are grateful for your support and cooperation. There is a clear link between attendance and attainment, so it’s important pupil attendance is strong. As I write this, the national average for special schools is 86.4% whereas our school attendance is 85.9%. We are ambitious for our pupils, and we are determined to improve this. We have been working hard with North Tyneside to ensure that our policy supports pupils and families to have a clear understanding of the importance of attendance at school, where this is possible. Our attendance leads have been collaborating with our school attendance officer to support families who may be struggling with any element of attendance, which has prompted us to reflect on what else we can do to help our pupils and their families.
Our new absence request forms are working well. Parameters around absence requests are in our new attendance policy, which you can find on our website. We will continue to update you on our progress around this important topic.
Our location, and the location of our pupils means that we have a large area to cover for our contextual safeguarding. As our pupils come from many of the twelve local authorities in the North East we need to keep up to date with the local safeguarding for those areas. Our staff receive regular contextual safeguarding training sessions across the year, which ensures staff know what the current risks are to our pupils and what signs could indicate a concern.
A current contextual issue which we must remain vigilant of is County Lines. Our location and demographic mean that pupils within several of our local authorities could be at risk from organised criminal gangs from elsewhere who deal drugs and engage in criminal activities. Pupils and staff have had contextual safeguarding training and education. We have a good relationship with Northumbria Police and consult with them as needed. A guide to spotting County Lines activity can be found within the Safeguarding section of our Website, in the Parents and Carers tab.
We regularly review our site security to ensure that pupils are safe at our school. This academic year we have made some improvements to our reception area, creating more room for visitors, and giving us an extra level of security at the entrance to our school. We have added extra measures to the fire exits that lead into our staff car park, to prevent any pupils from exiting the school site without us knowing about this.
Recently, the BBC and The Guardian have highlighted the rise of teen vaping. Whilst we have not seen the effect of this in school many Headteachers are reporting that children as young as ten have acquired illegal and unregulated vaping products, despite UK laws to prevent those under eighteen from buying such products. In a survey with UK wide teaching staff concerns about the symptoms of addiction displayed by pupils in the classroom and during break times, and the potential impact it may have on their learning were raised.
Medical professionals and campaigners are worried about the lack of research regarding the effects of vaping on the long-term health of children and young people and are calling for tighter rules regarding the packaging and advertising of vapes. If you are concerned about the rise of vaping in young people, there will be a factsheet available on our Safeguarding website page.
We have recently reviewed the guidance on mobile phone use within school to support the safeguarding of pupils and staff within our school building. We appreciate that many of our young people have long journeys to and from school, and phones are often used as calming strategies at these times. However, we have had an increasing number of phones being used within the school day and therefore pupils have been reminded about the rules within school. Pupils who need to keep their phones on them for medical reasons have individualised contracts agreed with parents around the use of mobile phones. We are in the final stages of finalising our mobile phone guidance and will send this to you once it is complete.
This week has been Personal Development week within school. Pupils have been learning about internet safety, relevant to the age and stage of the pupils. We have a wealth of information on our ESafety section of the blog, which can be found in our Parents and Carers area of the website. Our ESafety lead Maria adds the most up-to-date information on games, apps etc and is happy to support with training needs where they arise. If you need any support in this area, please contact Maria at email@example.com
We hope you found the information in this update useful as we continue to work together to ensure all the pupils within our care are safe and secure. Should you, or your child ever have any safeguarding queries please do not hesitate to contact the school.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead Team at PHS