A safe and secure environment gives a child the best chance to learn, develop and maximise their chances of having a happy, healthy and successful life.
At Oatlands Pre-school, we strongly support policy and procedures that protect the health and happiness of the children in our care and invest in their futures at our setting. Safeguarding is embedded throughout our ethos and culture and the charity prioritises investment in safeguarding training for both our staff and volunteers – this helps to ensure they all receive up to date safeguarding training relevant to their role. Staff attend safeguarding management workshops and we regularly reflect as a team sharing information which helps us to keep up to date with legislative and recommended safeguarding practices.
What is child protection and safeguarding?
Child protection is the process of protecting a child identified as suffering from, or potentially suffering from, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect. The term safeguarding is used more broadly and according to the latest government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015), it means:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensuring the 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
Several key principles underpin safeguarding to ensure the welfare and happiness of children. First and foremost, a child’s needs should be put first – always. Following this, it’s important to help and support children as early as possible. Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and everyone in early years settings should act in a timely and coordinated manner in response to any concerns about the welfare of a child.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the foundation of safeguarding measures for early years providers to follow. They are based on four overarching principles, including:
- Children learn and develop best in an enabling environment.
- Children are unique, learn constantly and can become resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Children learn and develop best in different ways and at different rates.
- Children learn strength and independence from positive relationships.
How do we protect children in our care?
The government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) and What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2015) provides a national framework for all agencies working with children to join in partnership to safeguard children effectively. Providers also ensure that their policies align with the safeguarding policies of their local children’s safeguarding board. The Pre-school Manager and trustees work together to make sure all staff and volunteers understand, and can implement, our policies and procedures. The setting also takes guidance from other Department of Education publications which include, but are not limited to, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2016 and Prevent Duty Guidance 2015.
More information about our LSCB here in North Yorkshire can be found at North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
Registered Early Years settings must obtain DBS checks from all childcare workers and volunteers through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
- The Disclosure and Barring Service was created to help prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It is a measure put in place to ensure any person working or volunteering on behalf of an organisation with children has no record of previous harm or risk.
- Ofsted check the suitability of each individual who applies to register an early years provision with them.
Providers are not expected to eliminate all risk — children should be given the opportunity to take appropriate risks in fact— but they must take ‘reasonable precautions’ and ensure that staff are trained and aware of their responsibilities. We undertake regular risk assessments which help us to identify aspects of the early years environment that need to be checked on a regular basis. Risk Assessments help us decide what should be done to prevent harm and make sure that the relevant actions are taken and updated when necessary. They cover areas of work such as arrivals and departures, any hazards in the building or outdoor play area, how outings will be safely managed, how children with challenging or distressed behaviour will be managed. Risk assessments are dynamic and continuous, and are not a one off event. They are realistic and shared with everyone relevant in our organisation. It is vital that everyone working in our organisation is committed to robust and meaningful risk assessment. .