Every member of our community is known, valued and supported to achieve in all areas at the highest level to become successful, confident and responsible for the pursuit of lifelong learning.
Under section 175 of the Education Act 2002 (as amended), *the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015, and the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (as amended) to have arrangements in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
We will endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued.
The school will therefore be alert to signs of abuse and neglect and will follow the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children Partnership Board’s procedures to ensure that children receive appropriate and effective support and protection.
Parents/carers should know that the law requires all school staff to pass on information which gives rise to concern about a child’s welfare, including risk from neglect, and physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Parents/carers should know that records of safeguarding concerns may be kept about their child. They should be informed that school staff will seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with them including referrals to other agencies.
Local procedures state that “Consent should always be sought from an adult with parental responsibility for the child/young person before passing information about them to Children’s Social Care unless seeking consent would place the child at risk of significant harm or may lead to the loss of evidence, for example, destroying evidence of a crime or influencing a child about a disclosure made.” This includes allowing them to share information without consent if it is not possible to gain consent if it cannot be reasonably expected that a professional gains consent, or if gaining consent would place a child at risk.
Where there is a need to share special category personal data, the Data Protection Act 2018 contains ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk as a processing condition that allows professionals to share information.
In accordance with legislation and local Information Sharing protocols, we 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. In all circumstances, the safety of the child will be the paramount concern.
Schools will contact Children’s 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 Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead) 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, any person who has care of a child “may….do what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding promoting the child’s welfare”. This means that on rare occasions, a school may need to “hold” a child in school whilst Social Care and the Police investigate any concerns further.
The safety of our students is paramount and through our house and tutoring systems, we ensure children in our care are known, valued and supported. We have support systems in place to enable us to act quickly on concerns.
Visitors are given a copy of our safeguarding leaflet and visitors who have a concern about a student should contact the main reception in the first instance as soon as possible. We have a designated team of safeguarding officers who will follow up promptly (pictured).
Top row left to right: Lynn Riches (Lead Officer) and Rachel Mustill (AP).
Lower row: Debbie Knott, Claire Lucas, Stuart Patman, Gina Garret and Anita Lightfoot
Our practise is informed by national government guidance outlined in these documents:
Meridian Trust Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy found here.
Keeping Children Safe in Education found here.
PREVENT Guidance and Procedures found here
We also work hard to ensure that students are safe in and outside of school when using the internet and social media. You can find more details here about our work on E-Safety and Mental Health.
Through our values, curriculum, house and PLEDGES systems we promote understanding and integrity, British values and kindness; addressing the dangers of extremism and promoting wellbeing and mental health.
When reporting bullying, we encourage students to talk to their tutor or House SSA, but if you would like to discuss your concerns directly, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more details here regarding our pastoral care and mental well-being support links. Students can also now see our onsite ELSA (E-emotional, L-literacy, S-support, A-advisor).
ELSA is an educational psychology led intervention for promoting the emotional well-being of children and young people. The ELSA's role in schools is to provide support for students to understand their emotions and respect the feelings of those around them. They provide the time and space for students to think about their personal circumstances and how they can manage them.
The ELSA programmes will usually last for around 6-12 weeks, helping students to learn specific new skills or coping strategies. Students who have attended ELSA sessions can gain confidence and become more resilient, therefore enabling them to reach their full potential in school.
We are working in partnership with Cambridgeshire Police and Cambridgeshire County Council to identify and provide appropriate support to pupils who have experienced domestic abuse in their home; this scheme is called Operation Encompass.
In order to achieve this, Cambridgeshire’s Education Safeguarding Team will share police information of all domestic incidents, where one of our pupils has been present, with the Designated Safeguarding Lead(s) (DSL)/Domestic Abuse (DA)Lead. On receipt of any information, the DSL/DA Lead will decide on the appropriate support the child may require.
The Operation Encompass information is stored in line with all other confidential safeguarding and child protection information. All information sharing and resulting actions will be undertaken in accordance with the ‘Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Joint Agency Protocol for Domestic Abuse – Notifications to Schools, Colleges and Early Years settings’.
Government Definition of Domestic Abuse and Violence:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse and it is present in 60% of all serious case reviews. It is estimated that children are present in 80% of incidents.