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Southfields Academy

Southfields Academy

Advice for staff dealing with disclosures

Staff training:

Staff are expected to read Keeping Children Safe in Education - Part 1 (KCSE) and our Safeguarding / Child Protection Policy and attend comprehensive training annually.  Staff can revise the training materials as they are published on the Academy intranet, and they are made aware that the Academy DSLs are available to support and regular updates and refreshers take place during INSET sessions.

Staff awareness:

Staff should be alert to any signs which could indicate that a student is being subjected to abuse.  Signs could include:-

  • Physical marks, e.g. bruises, cuts etc.
  • Things said or written by the student or those who know them
  • Changes in behaviour or demeanour
  • Reluctance to go home
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour / language or promiscuity
  • Destructive behaviour e.g. self-harm, eating disorder, alcohol / substance abuse, lack of self-care
  • Neurotic behaviour
  • Poor attendance
  • Signs of neglect e.g. constant hunger, tiredness, unkempt, dirty, untreated ailments etc.
  • Lack of supervision
  • Reluctance to change for P.E.
  • Lack of trust in adults.

Staff must also have regard to their Prevent Duty This is the need to prevent people from being drawn into radicalisation and terrorism.  Students can be susceptible to radicalisation in the same way as they are susceptible to grooming.

Whenever dealing with a potential safeguarding issues, the welfare of the student must be put first.

the child's interests are of paramount importance in all decisions made about his or her welfare

S1(1) Children Act 1989

What does a member of staff do if a student tells them they are being abused?

This is known as a disclosure.  A disclosure is an allegation made by a child of abuse or behaviour by adults which might suggest this.

Staff must never offer confidentiality.  Staff must explain to the student that concern regarding their welfare must be passed on in order that appropriate support can be given to try to improve their situation.

Staff must remain calm and listen to what the child is saying.  Staff must not try to investigate, nor must they ever put words into the child's mouth or ask leading questions e.g. "Did your parent hit you?".

Staff should allow the student to tell them as much as they feel comfortable without pressing them for more information.

At the end of the disclosure, staff must pass on what has been said immediately for the reasons explained above.

Concerns raised must be reported immediately - see further information below.

What does a staff member do if they have concerns about a student?

If there are any concerns at all about the welfare of a student, these must be passed on to the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs), using "My Concerns".

Staff must not delay in passing on a concern; this is because the staff member could be the only person who has a piece of information that could be added to other concerns already held about the child.

Staff must try to not use email; concerns must be recorded on "My Concerns" as this is monitored by the DSLs throughout the day.

Staff must complete their referral, using the student's own words where possible and providing as much detail as they have available to them.  Staff must distinguish between fact and opinion and avoid their own judgements or interpretations in their write-up.

Further advice can be found on the government website here.

What should staff do if they discover concerns in the evenings, at the weekend or school holidays and closure times?

If staff discover something during evenings or at weekends which leads them to believe that a student's welfare could be under imminent threat they should make a referral to the local authority information on who to contact can be found on the Thrive Wandsworth website here or they should telephone the police.  They should also make a referral using "My Concerns" in the usual way.

During school holidays staff should contact the DSL using the contact details below and make a referral using "My Concerns".

If the information received is a concern, but the child's welfare is not under imminent threat then staff must make their referral using "My Concerns" in the usual way, and make contact via email with the Designated Safeguarding Lead.  

Designated Safeguarding Lead - Sara Sharpe
07379 862 150

What should staff do if they have concerns about poor or unsafe practices / procedures within the school?

Staff should use the Academy's Whistleblowing Policy.

Further advice

This can be obtained from the Safeguarding Team, from the NSPCC website.