Under the Education Act of 2002 (section 175/157), schools must ‘make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.’
DHMAT academies will endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued.
Our schools will therefore be alert to signs of abuse and neglect and will follow the Local Safeguarding Children Board (Local Authority specific) and DHMAT procedures to ensure that children receive appropriate and effective support and protection.
Parents/carers with pupils in DHMAT academies should know that the law requires all school staff to pass on information which gives rise to a concern about a child’s welfare, including risk from neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. DHMAT academies will make parent/carers aware that records of welfare concerns may be kept about their child. They should be informed that the academy staff, in general, may discuss any concerns with them, including referrals to other agencies. However, in situations where the child is suspected to be at risk of harm, the law says that schools and academies may take advice from other agencies without informing parents/carers.
In accordance with local information sharing protocols, DHMAT academies will ensure that information is shared securely and sensitively. Information will only be shared with other services where it is deemed necessary and proportionate to ensure that children and young people are safe and receive the right service.
DHMAT academies will seek advice from Social Care when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child may be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Occasionally, concerns are passed on which are later shown to be unfounded. Parents/carers will appreciate that the member of staff in the school with responsibility for child protection (known as the Designated Person for Child Protection) was carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with the law and acting in the best interests of all children.
Under Section 3 (5) of the Children Act 1989, schools or any person who has a care of a child ‘may do what is reasonable in all circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare’. This means that on rare occasions, a DHMAT academy may need to ‘hold’ a child in school whilst Social Care and the police investigate any concerns further.