Child Protection Policy
The Dunmow Theatre Dance School recognises that :
- the welfare of the child is paramount
- all children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse
- all suspicions and allegations of abuse and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
- all staff (paid/unpaid) working in sport have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate officer.
Staff/volunteers are not trained to deal with situations of abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred.
Dunmow Theatre Dance School has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in the Dunmow theatre dance school from harm. All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account. We will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in dance activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines adopted by the Dunmow theatre dance school
A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (The Children Act 1989).
The aim of the Dunmow Theatre dance school Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice:
- providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection whilst in the care of the dance school
- allow all staff /volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.
Promoting good practice
Child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, can arouse strong emotions in those facing such a situation. It is important to understand these feelings and not allow them to interfere with your judgement about the appropriate action to take.
Abuse can occur within many situations including the home, school and the sporting environment. Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them. A coach, instructor, teacher, official or volunteer will have regular contact with young people and be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection. All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document.
When a child enters the club activity having been subjected to child abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving the child’s self-esteem. In such instances the club activity organiser will work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the child receives the required support.
Good practice guidelines
All personnel are encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behavior in order to promote children’s welfare and reduce the likelihood of allegations being made. We will follow the good practice below:
Good practice means:
- Always working in an open environment (e.g. avoiding private or unobserved situations and encouraging open communication with no secrets).
- Treating all young people/disabled adults equally, and with respect and dignity.
- Always putting the welfare of each young person first, before winning or achieving goals.
- Maintaining a safe and appropriate distance with pupils
- Building balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children to share in the decision-making process.
- Making dance fun, enjoyable and promoting fair play.
- Ensuring that if any form of manual/physical support is required, it should be provided openly and according to guidelines provided by the Coach Education Programme. Care is needed, as it is difficult to maintain hand positions when the child is constantly moving. Young people and their parents should always be consulted and their agreement gained.
- Keeping up to date with technical skills, qualifications and insurance.
- Involving parents/carers wherever possible. For example, encouraging them to take responsibility for their children in the changing rooms. Always ensure parents, teachers, chaperones work in pairs.
- Being an excellent role model – this includes not smoking or drinking alcohol or swearing in the company of young people.
- Giving enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
- Recognising the developmental needs and capacity of young people and disabled adults – avoiding excessive training or competition and not pushing them against their will.
- Securing parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis, if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other medical treatment.
- Keeping a written record of any injury that occurs, along with the details of any treatment given.
- Requesting written parental consent if required to transport young people in their cars.
Practices to be avoided
The following should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of someone in charge in the club or the child’s parents. For example, a child sustains an injury and needs to go to hospital, or a parent fails to arrive to pick a child up at the end of a session:
- avoid spending time alone with children away from others
- avoid taking or dropping off a child to an event or activity. ( written permission from parent / guardian needed if lifts are to be given)
Practices never to be sanctioned
The following should never be sanctioned. You should never:
- engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
- share a room with a child
- allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
- allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
- make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun
- reduce a child to tears as a form of control
- fail to act upon and record any allegations made by a child
- do things of a personal nature for children or disabled adults, that they can do for themselves
- invite or allow children to stay with you at your home unsupervised.
N.B. It may sometimes be necessary for staff or volunteers to do things of a personal nature for children, particularly if they are young or are disabled. These tasks should only be carried out with the full understanding and consent of parents and the pupils involved. There is a need to be responsive to a person’s reactions. If a person is fully dependent on you, talk with him/her about what you are doing and give choices where possible. This is particularly so if you are involved in any dressing or undressing of outer clothing, or where there is physical contact, lifting or assisting a child to carry out particular activities. Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.
Incidents that must be reported/recorded
If any of the following occur you should report this immediately to the appropriate officer and record the incident. You should also ensure the parents of the child are informed:
- if you accidentally hurt a pupil
- if he/she seems distressed in any manner
- if a pupil appears to be sexually aroused by your actions
- if a pupil misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done.
- Use of photographic/filming equipment.
- Consent should be obtained for the photography and videoing of pupils used as a coaching aid and such films will be stored safely and used appropriately
- Recruitment and training of staff and volunteers
Dunmow Theatre Dance School recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way and that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. All staff / volunteers will have an up to date DBS check
Responding to allegations or suspicions
It is not the responsibility of anyone working in The Dunmow Theatre Dance School, in a paid or unpaid capacity to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place. However there is a responsibility to act on any concerns by reporting these to the appropriate officer or the appropriate authorities.
we will assure all staff/volunteers that we will fully support and protect anyone, who in good faith reports his or her concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.
Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:
- a criminal investigation
- a child protection investigation
- a disciplinary or misconduct investigation.
The results of the police and child protection investigation may well influence and inform the disciplinary investigation, but all available information will be used to reach a decision.
Action if there are concerns
1. Concerns about poor practice:
- If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the designated/Club Child Protection Officer ( louise Grout) will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
- If the allegation is about poor practice by the Dunmow Theatre Dance School Child Protection Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the relevant ABD ( Associated Board of Dance) officer who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
- Concerns about suspected abuse:
- Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Child Protection Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the child in question and any other child who may be at risk.
- The Child Protection Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police.
- The parents or carers of the child will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
- The Child Protection Officer should also notify the relevant ABD officer .
- If the Child Protection Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the appropriate Manager or in her absence the Associated Board of dance Child Protection Officer who will refer the allegation to Social Services.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
- the Club Child Protection Officer
- the parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused
- the person making the allegation
- social services/police
- The Associated Board of dance Child Protection Officer
Seek social services advice on who should approach the alleged abuser (or parents if the alleged abuser is a child).
Information should be stored in a secure place with limited access to designated people, in line with data protection laws (e.g. that information is accurate, regularly updated, relevant and secure).
Dunmow theatre dance school Holds public liability insurance specific for a dance school teaching children and for performance events.
Safe Guarding Officer
Our safe guarding officer is Mrs Louise Grout.
Other problems should be reported to Sue Bibb (principal)