RLI Policy for Safeguarding and Child Protection
REVISION: April 2020
We acknowledge the right of children and vulnerable adults undertaking language courses with Robertson Languages to be safe and protected from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability or beliefs. We will follow legislation, statutory guidance and recognised good practice and take all reasonable steps to safeguard a child or vulnerable person’s welfare, protect them from abuse and take appropriate action if allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse are raised. We will train teachers and staff who are in contact with children or vulnerable adults in the three core elements of this policy: prevention, protection and support.
- Prevention: safe recruitment; careful and vigilant teaching; support to students of all ages; teachers and staff acting as good adult role models
2. Protection: good practice procedures in place, staff and teachers trained and supported to respond appropriately and sensitively to child protection matters
3. Support: procedures to be followed in the event of a student, member of staff, teacher or child being abused or accused of abuse; trained Designated Safeguarding Lead to provide advice and to take relevant action
Child: Defined here as a young people who is not yet 18 years old
Vulnerable adult: A person who is unable to protect himself or herself against significant harm or exploitation
Teacher: Person working for Robertson Languages on a freelance or employed basis providing language teaching
Staff: Employed personnel carrying out teaching or administrative tasks
Safeguarding: Protecting children from abuse and preventing impairment of children’s health or development
This policy was revised on May 27, 2016 and will be reviewed by the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) every 12 months or as necessary. The policy is available publicly on our website and is distributed to staff and teachers on the internal network.
It will be made available in separate formats for Teachers, Parents/Guardians, and on individual contracts with our Clients.
Implementation of this policy
- train a member of staff to be the DSL
- follow safe recruitment procedures
- provide training to teachers and staff in how to work appropriately with children and vulnerable adults, and in the legal and moral framework of safeguarding
- provide training and resources to teachers and staff in how to respond to an allegation or how to report a concern
- alert teachers, when appropriate, to the PREVENT Strategy
- involve parents and guardians by informing them of the policy and requiring a safe environment in the home
- keep up to date as far as is reasonable with national developments in safeguarding
- review this policy every 12 months
Code of Conduct
This code of conduct will be supplied to all teachers working with under 18s or vulnerable adults and will form the basis of training provided by the DSL.
The teacher aims to build a positive relationship with any child who is being taught. In a one-to-one setting, it is possible for actions or words to be misunderstood and it is the intention of this code of conduct to reduce the risks to both parties that could result from such misunderstanding. The code of conduct also explains what actions are inappropriate or illegal.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003, states that any person in a Position of Trust is breaking the law if they engage in sexual activity of any kind with a 16/17 year old, even if the legal age of consent is 16. Teachers or members of staff who are in contact with the identified groups are in a Position of Trust.
Since teaching is taking place at the person’s home or other locations that can be considered as not public areas (summer schools), the parent or guardian must be in the building at all times. If this is not the case, the teacher should cancel the lesson and inform RLI.
Always keep the door of the teaching room open.
In summer school conditions, teachers are not allowed to have individual, one to one sessions with any of the students unless there’s parent/guardian present
If the child is very young and wants physical contact, insist that the parent or guardian stays with you.
The adult should provide a good role model in terms of professional skills, attitude, dress and behaviour.
Examples of appropriate behaviour would include:
- Being well prepared
- Being formal but friendly
- Listening to the trainee and give clear feedback and positive praise
- Wearing clothes that are not revealing
- Observing a sensible ‘personal space’ by sitting at least an arm’s length away
- Language learning often requires us to ask about hobbies, TV programmes etc in order to practise relevant lexis and structures. Be aware that a teenager may find this intrusive or even threatening, so explain why you are asking and give them the option of inventing answers.
- Always contacting the parent/guardian to arrange lessons – never the child (even if they are older teenagers)
- Protecting your phone, laptop etc with passwords which you do not share
- Never leaving unprotected equipment in the room when you have to leave the room
Examples of inappropriate behaviour would include:
- Sharing passwords or photos
- Asking for or offering personal contact details
- Linking on Facebook, Snapchat etc
- Arranging to meet outside the booked lesson time
- Asking personal questions about relationships
- Making controversial statements about the person’s religion or politics
- Using obscene language
While whistleblowing regarding another teacher or member of staff is of limited relevance (our exposure to children is in an individual teacher taking lessons in the child’s home with the exception of summer schools), nevertheless trainers are assured that if they report inappropriate behaviour or concerns, they will not be penalised, and that their report will remain confidential other than that required by law. This reassurance must remain in place in the event of a member of staff or trainer feeling the need to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in RLI’s own safeguarding practices.
The nominated point of contact for any allegation is the Training manager, Steven Hope. He is RLI’s DSL (Designated Senior Lead) and can be contacted at Steven.Hope@robertsonlanguages.com and on his direct line in the office +44 (0)118 934 6000.
The four areas of abuse are: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. This section covers allegations of abuse directed to a teacher of member of staff and also the responsibility of a teacher or member of staff to handle the situation in which the child needs to be protected from another source of abuse. This could be as a result of a suspicion of abuse, or of a child making a disclosure or alleged disclosure about someone else.
Teachers and staff must understand there are other specific situations which need to be reported through the system described in this document. These include child sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation. Because a teacher is in a one-to-one environment and creates a relationship of trust, it is possible for a child or young person to feel that they can disclose something very personal. The teacher must know how to respond sensitively and how to take the necessary action.
All members of staff in contact with children have to read, and then receive follow-up training, on the HM document “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused”, which is sent to teachers prior to any course involving children. In this document particular attention is paid to pages 4 to 10, dealing with recognising the signs of abuse, and also on the action to be taken.
As part of our ISO 9001 Quality Management System we have capacity for keeping secure records. Therefore if an allegation is made against a teacher or member of staff the records will be kept confidentially. Similarly, any concern or disclosure will be held confidentially and only disclosed to the relevant responsible persons.
RLI has detailed procedures for dealing with all aspects of safeguarding based on LSCB procedures. They are outlined here:
In the event of a child making a disclosure to a teacher or member of staff: The relevant LSCB (Local Safeguarding Children Board) procedures will be followed both for the investigation and support for the child and member of staff using guidance from the HM document, ‘Working together to safeguard children’. As the allegation is likely to come from a child in their own home, LSCB will be involved at an early date in order to assess the immediate risk of harm to the child.
In the event of a child making an allegation against a teacher: The first duty would be to withdraw the teacher from the course, to record the incident, to contact the LSCB and to make a decision- if necessary in accordance with LSCB directions- about contacting the child’s parents. Teachers are to be reminded that this is another reason why the “open-door” policy should be maintained at all times in the child’s house.
In the event of a teacher making an allegation against a child: The first duty would be to withdraw the teacher from the course, to record the incident and to make a decision about contacting LSCB and the child’s parents. Teachers are once again reminded that this is another reason why the “open-door” policy should be maintained at all times in the child’s house.
In the event of the DSL being accused by either a child or a teacher/member of staff, the conduct of the investigation would be taken up by Liz Robertson, again in the expectation that LSCB would be contacted early on in the investigation.
The person responsible for all teachers receiving training in appropriacy and awareness is Steven Hope.
Training will be delivered to every teacher embarking on a course with a child. If the teacher takes more than one course, the training will take place at least once a year, or more often if there have been significant updates on policy.
RLI have a firm commitment to safer recruitment. Freelance teachers and any members of staff who are likely to have contact with under 18s or vulnerable adults are expected to share our ethos in regard to safeguarding. It will be made clear to any teacher who is being interviewed that the course they are applying to teach involves a child. Applicants are informed that they will require proof of identity; that any gaps in CVs will be followed up; that references will be required, and that DBS clearance will be required. In case of delayed suitability checks, RLI will temporary assign another teacher with all required checks up to date, or if not possible, will request parent/guardian to delay course start until designed teacher has all checked cleared.
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