The Harbour School: Our Safeguarding culture
“No Stone Left Unturned”
These are fundamental beliefs of the school and the practice which we prioritise to ensure vigilance and depth of understanding for learners:
- We observe what learner behaviours tell us; we notice, and are interested in, the slightest change;
- Learners having the right to say “No” and “I don’t like that”; and to be listened to;
- We prioritise seeing things through the learner’s eyes;
- We work on gaining the learner’s cooperation, not compliance, so that they can learn about how best to do things;
- We ensure the learners can develop safe relationships of trust with adults as all will have some level of support throughout their lives;
- For those people with the most complex needs we do everything we can to make things right for them to learn by paying the greatest attention to their basic needs and rights to be comfortable, protected and cared for.
- We plan holistically; based on a very detailed knowledge of the learner’s strengths and needs at any point in their journey;
- We listen, we look and we notice what the children tell us in their unique ways;
- We constantly talk to people and reflect;
- We monitor the wellbeing of the family and notice positive changes over time in addition to picking up concerns very quickly. Parents/Carers are completely comfortable with phone-calls home about every type of concern; they respond very well even if a member of staff feels that something is ‘not quite right’ for the learner that day and wants to discuss possible reasons; no stone is left unturned;
- Staff are observant, reflective and completely tuned-in to the different approaches that need to be in place for the individual young people. Staff are intuitive and sensitive and notice changes in the young people in terms of attitude and how they look and behave; there is a clear link with the quality of learning and with learners being well protected and safe.
Working effectively with Other Professionals
- We work to ensure highly effective and productive professional relationships with external partners; in this way information and observations flow freely (but appropriately) in the best interest of each learner. This important ‘join-up’ helps us to be sure we are looking at the complete picture for a young person and that nothing is missed.
- Leaders also work strategically with services such a Social Care and the Police in order to have influence over the systems which support our learners.
Working in Partnership with our Families
- Strong relationships with families and detailed knowledge about the challenges they face at any one time helps us see the wider safeguarding picture
- In most cases parents and carers should be informed when concerns have been raised about their child. It is important that parents and carers are given an opportunity to address concerns raised and to know (when this does not put the child at risk) when a referral has been made.
- Attendance is promoted through first day follow up for absences and staff work hard to achieve good attendance though detailed work with families and other agencies on an individual basis. Action is proactive, prompt and in line with what individuals and families need.
Foresight and Attention to Detail
- Safeguarding is pursued with foresight and attention to detail which means that there is a proactive approach throughout, woven through the curriculum and ethos of the school; for learners who cannot communicate concerns or ask for help easily this approach is vital.
- Through early intervention around safeguarding concerns we are very often able to prevent low level concerns escalating to greater risks. We do not shy away from difficult conversations because we have the best interest of the learners at the heart of our work.
Recording our Concerns
- The aim of reporting and recording is to create an accurate account of the concerns about a young person, with a clear chronology and follow-through notes made over time. In this way monitoring ensures that nothing is missed, connections are made and that the right decisions are made around finding solutions and referring on.
How we Test Ourselves
- We seek parent/carer views on whether their child is, and feels, safe; we respond promptly to concerns. Conversations are frequent, responding to the slightest anxiety or difference in behaviour or physical appearance. “Follow through” and monitoring past the initial concern is a clear expectation.
- Our strong partnerships with a wide range of professionals from Health and Social Care leads us to seek feedback from colleagues that know us well, including comments about safeguarding. Governors and leaders analyse and evaluate these returns to seek areas for development.
- The Senior Leadership Team meet fortnightly to review and analyse both individual cases and note any trends which emerge and need to be addressed through improvements in process, practice or performance.
- We are open to scrutiny from the Local Authority and share practice and ideas with other schools.
- Our Link Governor for safeguarding has a strong professional background that ensures rigour around questioning practice and impact.
We do sometimes need to report our concerns to Social Care. The following link explains this further;