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This week is Safeguarding Awareness Week and coincidentally the Senior Leadership and Management Team within the Kidzrus Group are to undertake refresher training with Starting Life Well at Salford City Council.  This information will be cascaded down to team members.

Health and safety and safeguarding are an essential aspect of any early years setting, as it helps to protect our community.  It is a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that our children, staff and visitors are protected from harm, and by implementing robust safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures, we are able to ensure that our environment is both safe and secure.  Everyone who encounters children and their families within the Kidzrus Group has a role to play in keeping them safe and promoting positive outcomes.  

A key aspect of safeguarding is protecting our children from harm.  This includes protecting them from physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect.  Our settings have policies and procedures in place to help prevent these types of incidents from occurring.

Another important aspect of safeguarding in early years education is to support children who are vulnerable or may be at risk.  This includes children who may have special educational needs, mantal health issues, or who come from difficult backgrounds.  We have a duty to identify and support these children, and safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures help us to ensure that they receive appropriate support and services.

In addition to protecting and supporting our children, our safeguarding policies and practices enable us to ensure that team members and visitors are not a risk to the Kidzrus Group community. Robust policies and procedures are in place so that staff are aware of their responsibilities and how to report any concerns.

Safeguarding in education is vital so that the environment is safe and secure for all.  This includes ensuring that our premises and grounds are safe and that emergency policies and procedures are in place should any incidents occur, and our colleagues know what to do in case of any such incident.

The safeguarding lead within the Kidzrus Group is one of the most important roles in early years education and this is integrated into the job of our setting Managers and Deputy Managers. It is their responsibility to promote a whole-setting culture of safeguarding and listening to children.

Everyone working or volunteering within the Kidzrus Group is aware of the importance of the role of the safeguarding lead at each setting. Their role is very broad and bound by statutory guidance. They take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, embedding them into everything their setting does with a definite and clear understanding of the safeguarding challenges in the local area and how they may affect children in their care.

The Group Senior Leadership and Management Team also ensure that policies, procedures and training in their settings are effective, staff are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities, remain vigilant and will take action should they need to through the reporting systems in place for staff, volunteers, parents and children.

The Group Directors, working with their senior leadership teams and especially their safeguarding leads are key in implementing safeguarding within the Group.

The safeguarding arrangements within the Kidzrus Group include:

  • Following all policies and procedures 
  • Safe and effective recruitment
  • Making risk assessments 
  • Completing accident and medication forms 
  • Providing healthy food choices 
  • Offering outdoor play opportunities 
  • Hand washing and other hygiene routines 
  • Safe and healthy care procedures e.g. nappy changing 
  • Cleaning 
  • Providing activities to support children’s development 
  • Supporting parental partnerships 
  • Feeding into inductions, supervisions, appraisals 
  • Peer observations
  • Trust and openness with children, staff and parents

Safer recruitment training  is implemented to ensure potential recruits are checked before coming into contact with children. All staff undergo robust induction training, including safeguarding and child protection training. We ensure that training is regularly updated and in line with national and local requirements.  Our Senior Leadership and Management team members attend frequent Safeguarding Cluster Meetings with the Starting Life Well team at Salford City Council to share best practice and to keep informed about any cases or concerns within our local area.

Induction is an ideal opportunity for us to establish our new colleagues and to assess their skills, development needs and fill in any gaps by supporting them and scheduling training at key stages during their probation period. This process is carefully planned so that team members feel part of the setting, develop their understanding of safeguarding and child protection, to ensure that they know their own and colleagues roles and responsibilities and their limits and to maintain the high standards that we set within the Kidzrus Group. Everyone, regardless of their role, is allotted an induction period to allow them to be fully integrated into their new role and setting.

Induction meetings and training sessions are scheduled so that they are not overloaded with information, and to allow them to participate at various stages – before they start, and at regular intervals ongoing so that they understand our safe processes and procedures that are implemented as part of our daily routines.

Providing our new colleagues with the full set of Kidzrus policies and procedures and the Kidzrus Staff Handbook ensures that that they are fully conversant, and able to read, understand and comply with their contents prior to Day One working within their setting.  These are reviewed and updated periodically and any revisions are communicated to our team members.

Health and Safety issues – Whilst the policy and procedure list is not exhaustive we discuss at length Accident Reporting and First Aid, Medication Administration, Fire Evacuation, Personal Hygiene, Nappy Changing and Intimate Care, Risk Assessments, Safety and Cleaning, Healthy Eating inc. Allergies and Dietary Requirements and Nursery Security. 

Child Protection training – Colleagues need to have up to date knowledge of safeguarding and they participate in both face to face and online safeguarding and child protection training at induction under the requirements of the EYFS.  This is a key ole in working with children, therefore it is a priority during induction and refreshed at regular intervals to ensure that team members are aware of safe and effective practice. Our colleagues receive training that enables them to understand what their legal requirements are, how to spot different signs of abuse and what to do if they have concerns. We also look at what happens after they share concerns and importantly how to support children to keep themselves safe. 

Emergency evacuation procedures – This is vital for new recruits as they will have responsibility for ensuring that children are evacuated safely and promptly, and we can never predict when this may need to be used.  

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) training – There is a mandatory reporting duty on FGM which requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s which they identify in the course of their professional work to the police.

The Prevent duty – all staff participate in training based on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation. As early years providers we serve arguably the most vulnerable and impressionable members of society. The EYFS places clear duties on us as providers to keep children safe and promote their welfare. It makes clear that to protect children in our care, we must be alert to any safeguarding and child protection issues in the child’s life at home or elsewhere (paragraph 3.4 EYFS). We must take action to protect children from harm and should be alert to harmful behaviour by other adults in the child’s life. 

As early years providers we already focus on children’s personal, social and emotional development. The EYFS frame- work supports us to do this in an age-appropriate way, through ensuring children learn right from wrong, mix and share with other children, value other’s views, know about similarities and differences between themselves and others and challenge negative attitudes and stereotypes. 

The statutory guidance makes clear that we, as childcare providers are expected to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This means we are able to demonstrate both a general understanding of the risks affecting children and young people in the area and a specific understanding of how to identify individual children who may be at risk of radicalisation and what to do to support them. 

Even very young children may be vulnerable to radicalisation by others, whether in the family or outside, and may display concerning behaviour. The prevent duty does not require us to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life but as with any other safeguarding risk, we must act when we observe behaviour of concern.

We understand when it’s appropriate to make a referral to the Channel programme. Channel focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for us to make referrals if we are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation. 

With support from our local authority, Starting Life Well at Salford City Council, we have some insight into the nature of the threat locally e.g. Islamist, white extremism and be aware of prevent priority areas in your local community. We are in receipt of periodic updates and newsletters from Salford City Council that are specific to Prevent.

Whilst teenagers are understood to be a high-profile risk particularly due to online grooming, it’s important to remember the early years age group. What a child says may indicate that the child/family is at risk. 

Data protection training – The Data Protection Act 2018 is the main law in the UK. You may also have heard of the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. This is a European Union law which, following Brexit, has been fully transposed into UK law as the UK GDPR. The laws set out the main data protection obligations for schools and other organisations in the UK. All organisations will have to show their record keeping is compliant.

Equality and Diversity training  – The Kidzrus Group has an appointed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Co-Ordinator who ensures that colleagues are familiar with our inclusive practice and are compliant with our policies and procedures.  

All staff receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates in writing and at staff training sessions and meetings, as required, and at least annually, to provide them with the relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.

When it comes to staff training, we ensure that staff have the right training, skills, knowledge and experience to do their job safely, effectively and efficiently.  Their learning needs are identified at regular and scheduled Observations and Supervision and Appraisal Meetings.  This is delivered by a combination of methods; in-house at our Head Office Training Academy, externally in conjunction with our local authority and/or external training providers and also via our accredited online training portal.  Staff are encouraged to acquire new skills, knowledge and behaviours that improve their daily practice by their line managers as well as the Kidzrus Group Quality Manager responsible for teaching, learning and staff development.  The effectiveness of staff safeguarding training is closely monitored by regular Observation of practice and also by direct and individual questioning of team members so that they are aware of how best to act where they may have concerns regarding the wellbeing of a child in our care or about a team member.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Starting Life Well Team at Salford City Council for their support and proactive input and express our gratitude to The Kidzrus family for their continued efforts in maintaining a healthy and safe environment for our children, their colleagues and our visitors.  

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