Woodthorpe Children Centres Policies

Safeguarding – Protecting Children from Harm

Updated 13 Oct 2020


Sunshine Pre-School provides services to babies, toddlers, children 0-11 and their parents/carers. We aim to improve social, emotional and educational opportunities.

If at any stage you believe that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm you should refer to the following policy or contact the Sheffield Safeguarding Hub.   www.safeguardingsheffieldchildren.org

We have no duty to investigate child abuse. We do have a responsibility to protect children from harm at all times.

We also have a duty to pass on concerns to the appropriate agency, including the Access and Assessment Team at Social Care Team based at Stadia Tel 01142073463 so that children can be protected and families’ needs can be met.

Dealing with child protection issues can have an impact on staff. Sunshine Pre-School (Manor and Castle Development Trust) will ensure that practical and emotional support is available to staff involved.

All staff will raise Safeguarding issues with the relevant person, and the impact on workers will be monitored.   Those needing additional support will be offered it.


  1. Child Protection Policy Statement
  2. Ten Key Points
  3. Referral Diagram
  4. Responsibilities for Child Protection
  5. What to Look Out For
  6. Background Issues
  7. Promoting Child Safety


1. Child Protection Policy Statement

Safeguarding Children

“Every child has a right to good food, shelter, education and play, the right to say what they think and be listened to, and the right to protection from abuse”

(The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)

Pre-School is committed to these rights and believe that: 

  • They apply to all children under 18 regardless of their age, culture, disability, gender, sexuality, racial origin, language or religious belief
  • Abuse includes physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect of children or young people (as well as bullying, harassment and radicalisation)
  • All children are individuals and should be treated with dignity and respect
  • Children’s needs are best met wherever possible within the family. Pre-School will therefore work to support parents and carers to improve children’s welfare and increase awareness and understanding of risks to children.
  • Awareness of child protection and safeguarding is central to all our work with children, parents, carers and volunteers.
  • Safety is the responsibility of everyone who comes into contact with children. We will work to create an environment that protects children and reduces the opportunities for them to suffer harm.

In order to minimise the risk to children using Pre-School services it is important that Pre-School uses accepted procedures that are easy to follow and implement.  We will:

  • Apply Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board Procedures: complete an Early Help Assessment Form to refer to MAST for additional Support, contact Sheffield Safeguarding Hub for advice or report to Social Care (telephone number above), in accordance with “Working Together to Safeguard Children” 1999, 2006, and the Children’s Act 1989, 2004
  • Ensure that all allegations or suspicions of abuse are responded to swiftly and that they are not ignored.
  • Ensure that all Pre-School workers (directly employed, paid and unpaid) have been recruited and vetted appropriately using the safer recruitment policy, this will include undertaking enhanced DBS checks and taking up all references.
  • Develop integrated practice with other agencies, statutory and voluntary. With the appropriate use of Early Intervention.
  • Work in partnership with parents and carers to promote good childcare practice.
  • Establish clear guidelines so all children, their parents / carers and all workers in the Pre-School will be aware of what is expected of them and what will happen if abuse is suspected.
  • Establish a clear complaints procedure that enables parents, children and staff to voice concerns and make complaints that will be dealt with promptly and efficiently.
  • Provide training in child protection issues for all Pre-School staff and volunteers and encourage and support attendance by all.
  • Adhere to the policy, procedures and guidelines outlined in this document.
  • Review and update this policy in line with the procedure outlined under Manor and Castle Development Trust responsibility.

2. Ten Key Points

Ten key points to follow if you suspect, or are told of abuse

Adults working with children or young people under 18 should be aware of the risks of abuse (by adults or other young people), and take steps to reduce those risks.

Staff or volunteers in charge of children or young people should know what to do if they suspect that someone is being physically or sexually abused, or if someone tells them that this is happening.

The following key points give a guide on what to do and not to do:

  1. Always stop and listen straight away to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse.
  2. If you can, write brief notes of what they are telling you while they are speaking (these may help later if you have to remember exactly what was said) – and keep your original notes, however rough and even if you wrote on the back of something else (it’s what you wrote at the time that may be important later – not a tidier and improved version you wrote up afterwards!). If you don’t have the means to write at the time, make notes of what was said or observed as soon as possible afterwards (within 24 hours).
  3. Never make a promise that you will keep what is said confidential or secret – if you are told about abuse you have a responsibility to tell the right people to get something done about it (see below). If asked, explain that if you are going to be told something regarding the safety/welfare of children, you will need to tell the appropriate agency, but that you will only discuss it with the people who absolutely have to know.
  4. Do not ask leading questions that might give your own ideas of what might have happened (e.g. “did he do X to you?”) – Just ask “what do you want to tell me?” or “is there anything else you want to say?”
  5. If someone has made an accusation to you about a member of staff, YOU should speak to Sunshine Pre-School’s Safeguarding Lead, Becky Kirk or the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) Tel: 01142734850 yourself and ask them what to do next.
  6. Discuss with your Manager what steps need to be taken to protect the person who has told you about the abuse (this may need to be discussed with the person who told you).
  7. Never attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected or alleged abuse by interviewing people etc. – Safeguarding personnel and police staff are the people trained to do this – you could cause more damage and spoil possible criminal proceedings. It is your duty to refer concerns on, not investigate.
  8. As soon as possible (and certainly the same day) the Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead should refer the matter to the relevant Social Care Team and follow their requests about what to do next. They will set up any necessary investigations, and advise you – that is their statutory role.
  9. Never think abuse is impossible in your organisation or group, or that an accusation against someone you know well and trust is bound to be wrong.
  10. Signs of abuse may be picked up by other adults, parents, or carers as well as Sunshine Pre-School staff.  Make sure that the points on this sheet are shared as widely as possible within the nursery setting, and encourage people with concerns to share them as soon as possible.

3. Flow Chart Following Referral to Social Services

Flow chart following referal to social services

The safety and welfare of children is the priority of all Pre-School staff and volunteers at all times.

This includes children of any age and young adults under the age of 18 (who are classed as children under the law).

Vulnerable adults aged 18 and over should also be protected.

4. Responsibilities for Child Protection

Manor and Castle Development Trust Board of Directors

  • Adopts policy and agrees changes to policy
  • Ensures that policy is reviewed at appropriate intervals including
  • When legislation and/or advice changes
  • When significant research findings are made public
  • Ensures that the implementation of the policy is monitored
  • Receives annual reports and data on implementation (for example; – number of children recorded as being ‘in need’, number of occasions when staff have recorded concerns, number of referrals to Children & Young People’s Directorate, arrangements for supporting children identified as ‘in need’, arrangements for supporting vulnerable young people or adults who are parents)
  • Supervision of designated Safeguarding officer in conjunction with the Pre-School Manager.

The Manager for Pre-School

  • Ensures that resources are allocated for training and implementation of policy
  • Ensures that awareness remains high, and that a prominent public statement of policy is displayed in Pre-School
  • Ensures that induction, training and awareness raising take place
  • Ensures co-ordination of policies and practices
  • Is the nominated person for safeguarding, and when at work takes the lead in all referrals and decision making in conjunction with the relevant Managers
  • Ensure staff maintain clear records of all concerns, reports, and action taken, which is made available to a named manager always when the post-holder is not at work
  • Is responsible for coordinating Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and ensuring its implementation
  • Ensures that all staff understand their responsibilities and are trained as necessary
  • Takes immediate action when abuse is seen or alleged
  • Advises other team members ensuring that staff involved in groups and activities are aware of their child protection responsibilities, are supported in developing and implementing policies and have training as appropriate.
  • Maintains guidance for staff and parents, and a library of guidance and reference documents

Preschool Manager is the designated Safeguarding Lead for Sunshine Pre-School

  • Takes the lead in ensuring all Pre-School staff involved in groups and activities are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities, are supported in developing and implementing policies and have training as appropriate.

All Staff and Official Volunteers

  • Are given in depth induction into Safeguarding Procedures
  • Participate in training
  • Follow and implement the procedures
  • Discuss all concerns with the designated Safeguarding Lead.
  • Report any child at risk immediately
  • Work sensitively with parents and carers to raise issues of
    safety and protecting children from harm
  • If at anytime you feel that your concerns are not being taken seriously within the children centre tem?  You should phone for external advice and support 0114 273 4855

All Line Managers and Senior Early Year Practitioners

  • Raise the issue of safeguarding at every supervision meeting, staff meeting and room meeting.
    ”Have you got any concerns about the safety or welfare of any child or young person”
  • Prioritise safeguarding training for all staff

Responding to allegations of abuse against a colleague

All allegations or concerns regarding another member of staff or any other person, whether paid or voluntary, who is working within or on behalf of the Trust, must be reported to the Preschool Manager. The accused employee will be informed of the allegation at a private meeting in the presence of another member of staff. They will then be suspended immediately impending an investigation.

The safety and welfare of children is the priority of all Pre-School staff and volunteers always.

5. What to Look Out For


  • Bruises –  remember skin tone can effect the clarity of the bruising, be vigilant.
  • Pin prick blood spots under the skin – these can be caused by slaps or by serious shaking
  • Black eyes – All eye injuries should be seen by a doctor
  • Bruising around the mouth
  • Grasp marks – on arms or chest of a small child – these can be caused by grabbing a child by the arm, swinging a child around by arm or leg etc.
  • Finger-mark bruises – the shape of thumb and/or fingers
  • Bruising in a line – behind the ears, on cheeks or ears, on back or bottom – could be caused by hand slaps or hitting with a belt or stick
  • Bite marks – usually an oval shape of bruise, sometimes teeth marks can be seen (animal bites look different)


  • Cigarette burns are usually small round marks with a dark thick base and look as though they have been ‘punched out’.  They look very similar to impetigo, so the child should be seen by a doctor. (accidental cigarette burns can be flame shaped)
  • Scalding by very hot water or drinks will be very sore.  There may be splash marks.  The child should be seen by a doctor.

Adult behaviours

  • Domestic abuse between carers and/or others
  • Punishments that seem too harsh
  • Blaming a child for things that are not the child’s fault
  • Being cold or cruel to a child
  • Treating different children in the family differently (not letting one child have gifts or toys when others do)
  • Not letting the child have basic things like food, drinks, clothes, warmth

Child behaviours

  • Fearfulness, over-reaction to mistakes or accidents (for example panic stricken when a drink is spilled)
  • Fear of new situations
  • Seems very unemotional and withdrawn or unable to play
  • Seems to be very aggressive
  • Seems delayed in speech, and/or mental growth
  • Seems delayed in physical development
  • Disturbed emotionally (for example pulls own hair out, crawls into corners and bangs head on the wall)

6. Background Issues in Child Protection

Racism and Racial Harassment

 Racism can be defined as ‘conduct or words or practices which disadvantage or advantage people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin’.
The effects of racism should be taken into account, and stereotyping and jumping to prejudged conclusions should be avoided.  Institutional racism and racial harassment may have these effects.

  • Some children may experience systematic disadvantage in many areas of their lives due to racism.
  • A family may be victimised and experience severe stress, for example a mother may be afraid to go out, children may not be safe play in the garden, or it may cause mental health problems.
  • Racial harassment can occur in some dual heritage families and can result in a child being rejected, called names or victimised

Domestic Abuse

  • Child abuse very often overlaps with domestic abuse (between 45 & 70% of cases)
  • The abuser may threaten to harm or abduct the child
  • The children often know about the abuse and have been in the same room when an attack has occurred, or have heard it happen (90% of incidents)
  • Just after a woman has left an abuser she and her children are at risk of a particularly violent attack
  • Often the victim of abuse is too hurt or upset to help the children with their needs

Parent or Carer’s Substance Misuse

Substance abuse does not necessarily lead to child abuse but raises questions that need to be answered. Specialist advice and help will always be needed. All cases should be discussed with the Manager for Pre-School Safeguarding.

  • The substance abuse may lead to behaviour that puts children at risk of neglect or injury
  • The risk may be worse when the parent is withdrawing from the substance use
  • If the home is chaotic the child may suffer harm
  • The need for money for drugs or alcohol may cause the child to be put in danger or neglected
  • The substances and any equipment may be left lying around the house where a child can play with them
  • An assessment of the child’s needs is important

Mental Illness of Parent or Carer

As a result of maternal/postnatal depression babies and very young children can be affected in many ways.  Mental illness does not always mean children will be harmed, but it will always be important to assess the effect on any children in the family.  Research has found that mental illness was a factor in one third of extreme cases where serious abuse or neglect led to the death of the child.

  • All cases should be discussed with the Pre-School Safeguarding Officer
  • It will be important to link with Community Mental Health Services to make good assessments of risks to children.
  • If the adult is not receiving help from mental health services general advice should be sought as to whether or not a referral should be made, and to whom.
  • In case of emergency action being needed close liaison will be needed with Mental Health practitioners to ensure that the needs of the child and the parent are met.
  • Where the concerns are about a black family, specialist advice from black mental health service providers will be needed.

Disability and Special Needs

A disability could be a major physical impairment, a severe medical illness, or a quite bad learning difficulty.  It is where someone will need support with personal care and basic needs on an ‘on-going’ basis.

Special Needs are where people have less severe needs, but still benefit from extra help and care. They could include medical conditions such as asthma or epilepsy that may not be immediately obvious or difficulties such as dyslexia.

  • Children and parents who are disabled or have special needs may be especially vulnerable
  • They may have fewer social contacts than other families
  • They may be subject to bullying and harassment
  • They may have communication difficulties that make it difficult for them to complain or tell others about what is happening to them
  • They may have practical problems, with transport or access to medication which may prevent them from doing things
  • An assessment of the family’s needs may have been carried out by a Health Visitor or other professional who should be consulted in case of concerns

Radicalisation and Extremism

Preventing extremism and radicalisation is part of our overall arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in line with our Statuary duties set out in Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework 2015, Inspecting Safeguarding in early years, education and skills from September 2015 and Statuary Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, 2014.

There is no place for extremist views of any kind in our setting, whether from internal sources ie children, staff or management, or external sources ie school community or individuals.   Our setting is a safe place where children can ask questions about the world.  Extremist views will be challenged, recorded and reported in line with the Prevent Strategy.

A ‘Changes in Child/Parent or Carer’ form must be completed to record all concerns of radicalisation and extremism and our safeguarding procedures followed.

7. Promoting Child Safety

  • A strong bond between parent and child is the first assurance of child safety.
  • A strong family and community network can help to safeguarding children.
  • Parents and carers need to know about and understand the risks that face their child.
  • High levels of contact between Pre-School and families, and other agencies and families can help to protect children.

High levels of contact between Pre-School staff members and families, and between agencies and families can help to protect children.


To inform OFSTED about harm to a child or abuse committed by any person living, working or looking after children at a registered setting phone the general Ofsted helpline 0300 123 1231

 Safeguarding Advisor Early years:  Val Linnett 0114 2735484, val.linnett@sheffield.gov.uk