SCHOOL STAFF ARE MANDATED REPORTERS
Mandated reporter must report under the following circumstances:
- A report should be made when there is reasonable cause for concern that a child may be at risk
- Reasonable cause to suspect a child who you see in your professional or official capacity has been abused (including neglected)
- When parent or legal guardian states from a personal knowledge facts, conditions, or circumstances that would appear that child has been abused
IF IN DOUBT, REPORT IT
Any staff member who receives a disclosure of abuse, allegation, or suspects abuse may have occurred, will report it immediately to the lead or deputy Child Protection Officer (CPO)
- Director – Scott Crawford, Lead CPO
- School Counsellor – Kate Mallin
- Head of Secondary – Zach Pascoe
- Head of Primary – Fiona Mayer
If receiving disclosure;
- Listen to the child. Allow the child to tell what has happened in their own way, and at their own pace. Do not interrupt a child who is freely recalling significant events.
- Remain calm. Be reassuring and supportive but endeavour to not respond emotionally.
- Don’t ask leading questions. Staff are reminded to ask questions only when seeking clarification about something the child may have said. Use TED; Tell, Explain, Describe.
- Repeat back what has been said.
- Make an accurate record of what they have seen/heard and then transfer that information to the Child Protection Referral Form at the first opportunity. When doing so, record people, times, dates or locations mentioned, using as many words and expressions used by the child as possible. Do not substitute anatomically correct names for body part names used by the child. Spell any words phonetically which are unclear.
- Reassure the child that they did the right thing in telling someone; reassure the child that they have not done anything wrong. Explain to the child what will happen next and the need for the information to be shared with the CPO.
Procedure for staff expressing concerns or receiving disclosure:
- Ensure the child is in a safe place to receive support if necessary.
- Initial report orally communicated to CPO comprising of a factual account (in child’s own words verbatim) of incident and followed up with a referral form.
- Immediately submit the form to CPO, signed and dated. All allegations of child abuse should be made to Social Development Department by a child protection officer as well as to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Community Liasion Officer within 24 hours of initial report.
Staff cannot promise a child to keep secrets which might compromise the child’s safety. Do not attempt to investigate the allegation. All matters relating to child protection are to be treated as highly confidential, including within staff.
Child Protection and Safeguarding
All staff at Cedar International School believe our school should provide a safe, caring, positive, and stimulating environment that promotes the social, physical, and moral development of the individual child. A child centred approach means we strive always to keep the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and in working together with them, their families as well as external agencies. All staff are expected to be vigilant to the needs of our students.
This policy has been developed in accordance with the protocol established by the International Task Force on Child Protection (ITFCP) in ‘Managing Allegations of Child Abuse by Educators and Other Adults Protocol for international schools’, (2018), and in line with the BVI’s ‘Protocol for the Prevention, Investigation and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect’ (2014), as well as the UN’s convention of the Right’s of the Child, in that children should have access to safe education. Reference was also made to The Department for Education, England ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2018). It also reflects the practices outlined in the IB Standards and Practices (2018)
Student Support – The school fosters the social, emotional, and physical well-being of its students and teachers. (0202-03).
The school takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; and to work together with other agencies to ensure adequate arrangements are in place within our school to identify, assess, and support those children who are suffering harm or whose welfare may be in question. All staff are required to read and adhere to the Staff Code of Conduct which outlines behaviours expected of them as well as having an understanding of the behavioural guidelines and the attendance guidelines which can be found in the staff and student handbooks.
We recognise all staff and Board of Trustees have a duty of care to safeguard all children, and have a full and active part to play in protecting our pupils from harm and actively promoting their welfare. Whilst ensuring the safety and protection of all children the needs of people with disabilities, children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.
The school recognises that as well as threats to the welfare of children from within their families, children may be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation outside their homes and from other children. Staff will remain vigilant and alert to these potential risks. This policy applies to both real world and online environments.
The aims of this policy are:
- To help to provide an environment in which children and young people feel safe, secure, valued, respected, and feel confident that they know how to approach adults if they are in difficulties.
- To ensure all teaching and non-teaching staff are aware of the need to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children. Identifying the need for support early to promote well-being and promptly reporting cases of actual or suspected abuse.
- To ensure our school has a clear system for communicating concerns and a model for open communication between children, teachers, parents and other adults working with children.
- To underpin a structured procedure within the school, outlining roles and responsibilities, which will be followed by all members of the school community in cases of suspected abuse.
- To ensure the school has robust systems in place which accurately records safeguarding and child protection concerns, which are clearly understood by staff and adhered to.
- To develop effective working relationships with all other external agencies involved in safeguarding and promoting the needs of children at our school in line with BVI protocol.
- To ensure that all staff appointed within our school have been through safe recruitment process and understand the principles of safer working practices as set out in our Staff Code of Conduct. We understand that staff should have access to advice on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour in order to define and underpin the safe working practices adhered to within our school.
- To provide clarity to other community users of our facilities with regard to our expectations of how they should maintain a safe environment which supports children’s welfare and development.
All school staff should be aware that abuse, neglect and safeguarding issues are rarely standalone events that can be covered by one definition or label. In most cases, multiple issues will overlap with one another. See Appendix 1 for indicators of abuse.
1 Unless otherwise stated, all references to ‘staff’ or ‘member of staff’ should be interpreted as meaning owners, trustees, all former and current teaching, pastoral, support, occasional, supply and contract staff, leaders, volunteers, visitors, any other adults working in the school setting on any basis, including contract, employment, and volunteering.
2 ITFCP document defines safeguarding as ‘protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of their right to safe and effective care; taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
All staff understand safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility. We are mandated reporters. All staff must review the school’s Child Protection Policy each year and complete an appropriate safeguarding training every 3 years. Any member of staff, volunteer or visitor to the school who receives a disclosure of abuse, an allegation or suspects that abuse may have occurred will report it immediately to a nominated child protection officer (Director – Lead Child Protection Officer, Deputy Child Protection Officers; Head of Primary, Head of Secondary or School Counsellor). In the absence of all of the above, concerns should be brought to the attention of the most senior member of staff on site.
Staff understand if there is an immediate risk of harm then, under the Children’s and Young Persons act Part 1 Section 4, they should report to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) and update the lead CPO at the earliest opportunity.
Furthermore, the BVI Protocol for the Prevention, Reporting, Investigation and Management of Child Abuse and Neglect stipulates that mandatory reporting requires that the mandated reporter must report the incident or suspicions immediately in the following circumstances:
- Where there is reasonable cause to suspect the child whom you see in your professional or official capacity has been abused or neglected;
- When the parent or legal guardian states from a personal knowledge facts, conditions, or circumstances that if substantiated, would appear to you that the child has been abused or neglected; and
- If you suspect child abuse or neglect while working in your capacity as a staff member of a educational institution.
All staff should be aware of the process for making referrals to the child protection officers and what to do if a student tells them he/she is being abused.
All staff should be aware of indicators of abuse and neglect so that they are able to identify cases of children who may be in need of help or protection (see Appendix 1).
All staff should know how to manage the requirement to maintain an appropriate level of confidentiality. This means only involving those who need to be involved, such as the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) and children’s social care. Staff should never promise a child that they will not tell anyone about a report of abuse, as this may ultimately not be in the best interests of the child.
Reviewed May 2023