Lewis Court High School

Safeguarding - how we keep your child safe

 

Keeping your child safe at Good Shepherd

So how do we do this? There are many policies and procedures we have, some statutory and some unique to our school, that are all designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your child. Some of these may be visible, some you may know about but some may seem as though we are being difficult, but they all have the same purpose – so that we can work with you to ensure the best for your child. I wanted to share a few with you:

 

Online Safety

Every child is taught online safety repeatedly through the year. They are taught about how to keep themselves and their personal information safe, what to do if they are worried and how to understand which information they see is genuine and which information is fake news or propaganda. In addition, every Wednesday parents are emailed #WakeUpWednesday leaflets which provide essential advice for families. Help us by talking to your child about online safety and monitoring their access to websites or social media.

 

Attendance

If your child is not in, we will contact you in the morning to find out what is wrong. If we have not heard from you by the following day, we may do a home visit to ensure that you and your child are safe. I’m sure you’ve seen recent events in the news, and during the course of last year, where children and families were hurt or worse and left undiscovered for days. We never want to think that someone was overlooked. Also, if your child is off for more than a day, regular updates will keep us informed of how your child is doing. If your child is absent for a period of time, we would want to know that they have seen a medical professional so that they have been diagnosed accurately and can have a speedy recovery. Long term unknown absences mean we worry about your child’s health. Help us by contacting us as soon as you know your child won’t be in and keeping us updated during their absence.

 

Holidays

There is a form on the website (or from the office) for when you know you may be away. Though approval for absences can only be granted in extenuating circumstances, we need to know if your family is away otherwise we will be phoning and emailing to see if you are all ok. Help us by telling us you’re away on holiday (agreed or not) so that we are not trying to organise home visits to check on your wellbeing.

 

Contact details

We need at least two contacts who we can call if your child is hurt or ill. We will always try you first but sometimes you may not be able to either hear or answer the phone. This can mean your child sitting in First Aid for hours, having been sick and waiting to be collected. Help us by ensuring your contact details are always up to date and that we have at least two contacts with their phone numbers.

 

If you are away on holiday but your child will be in someone else’s care and still coming to school, we need to know. There is a form in the office to complete so that we know who is looking after the children, where they will be staying and who to contact if they are ill. If we don’t know, it may be that we are unable to release your children to that person as we don’t have your consent. Help us by making sure we know your holiday dates and who will be the primary carer for your child.

 

We communicate with families via text, email and the newsletter and now WhatsApp groups are being set up. While we often send extra texts as reminders, the information is always in the newsletter. Also, there are times when more serious information will be shared with you via email. Help us by always checking your emails and reading the newsletter each week.

 

Drills

As you are no doubt aware, every half term we have a fire drill so that the children are completely used to the sound of the alarm and what to do. As it happens so frequently, it doesn’t cause anxiety in the children or the staff. We will also be starting lockdown drills this year, but done in a fun, can-we-hide-from-the-Headteacher sort of way. We will not be putting thoughts or worries into the children’s minds but, as with the fire drills, making it normal routine practice. Help us by talking to your child about the need to do these drills carefully and following the rules when they are carried out.

 

Children's injuries

One of the most difficult things we have to handle is when a child comes to school with a mark on them or tells us that something happened at home. No matter how uncomfortable we feel, it is our duty to listen to the child, provide reassurance and then follow the Safeguarding Policy. Sometimes we have to contact Social Care for advice. This does not mean we think you are a bad parent but that we are told the steps to follow and we do exactly that. It’s about putting your child’s safety first and being fair to all parents, not showing favouritism by handling it differently for some. Believe me, we do not relish being told that we may need to keep the child in school, nor do we look forward to telling you. It causes you a lot of distress especially as we are often told that we are not allowed to tell you why. Help us by understanding that in these situations we are not judging you but putting your child’s safety and wellbeing above the relationship we have.

 

In Nursery, it has been recommended that we have a form for parents to complete when an injury has occurred at home. We will be rolling these out next week. Again, it’s not to judge you or be nosy but to ensure that between us we all have a full and correct picture. Help us by telling the staff if your child has a mark and filling the form.

 

Issues with other children

From time to time children fall out and occasionally they are physical with each other. If you are ever concerned about how you think another child is treating your child, please come and see us. It is far easier for us to investigate and then address the situation, applying sanctions where necessary. Please do not speak to the parents/carers/older siblings/extended family/child minders of those children as the situation escalates quickly and leads to families feeling very uncomfortable with each other. Most importantly, DO NOT approach other people’s children. The school, and the area around it, is a safe place for our children and community. No one has the right to change that. Help us by coming straight to us so that we can deal swiftly with your concerns.