Safeguarding children information for schools

Safeguarding children information for schools

This page has been developed by the Northumberland local safeguarding children board (LSCB) and the education service at the council to ensure safeguarding procedures are fully understood by all professionals who come into contact with our children and young people in school settings.

Key safeguarding messages for schools & information leaflets

Below is a briefing, which highlights key messages for schools from Operation Sanctuary, and other information schools might find helpful.

If you feel your school needs advice in relation to child sexual exploitation, please contact Lorraine Topping, social worker for missing children, on 01670 622900.

Child sexual exploitation - further information & resources
Child sexual exploitation is a major child protection issue across the UK. Hidden from view and going unnoticed, vulnerable young girls and boys are groomed and then abused, leaving them traumatised and scarred for life.  

If you think a child is in immediate danger, please dial 999. If you are a child or young person who needs help, please call Childline on 0800 11 11.

Alternatively, please call 0808 800 5000 to discuss your concerns with the NSPCC 24-hour child protection helpline.
What is child sexual exploitation?
Child sexual exploitation is when children and young people receive something (such as food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, or money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of the internet or on mobile phones.

In all cases, those exploiting the child or young person have power over them because of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or resources. For victims, the pain of their ordeal and fear they will not be believed means they are too often scared to come forward.
How many are affected in the UK?
  • Child sexual exploitation is a hidden issue, so we can only go on estimates from national levels of service provision, including our own. Last year, Barnardo's services worked with 1,940 children and young people who had been sexually exploited.
  • The true number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation is likely to be much higher. For victims, the pain of their ordeal and fear they will not be believed means they are too often scared to come forward.
Risks faced by children?
  • Children at risk of sexual exploitation are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Many have experienced abandonment or have suffered from physical and mental abuse. They need help but don’t know where to look.
  • Younger victims are being targeted. In one month alone, Barnardo’s services worked with 126 children aged 10 to 13 who had been subjected to sexual exploitation.
  • Perpetrators of these crimes are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using the internet to protect their identity and trafficking children around the country to avoid detection. 
The services Barnardo’s provide
  • Barnardo’s is the largest provider of child sexual exploitation support services in the UK. Last year we worked with 1,940 victims through 29 specialist services.
  • Our services work hard to identify and reach out to young people at risk in the community. By showing concern and building trust, our staff help children to break free of abusive and exploitative relationships.
  • Staffed by qualified professionals, these services provide a safe and confidential environment where young people can go for help, advice and support. Children are offered a range of therapeutic interventions including one-to-one counselling, group-work sessions and drop-in support.
  • Services raise awareness of child sexual exploitation in their local area, working with schools and others to deliver preventative education programmes and providing specialist training to professionals so they know what signs to look out for. 
Read stories of how we help to transform the lives of sexually exploited children.

Barnardo’s has teamed up with MP for Rotherham Sarah Champion to conduct a parliamentary inquiry into child sexual exploitation and trafficking within the UK. The inquiry aims to shine a light on these terrible crimes and what the authorities are doing to protect and support victims.

The inquiry was launched on 20th November 2013 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act and will test how effectively the legislation is working. Help us tackle child sexual exploitation – join our campaign.
Spot the signs
Advice for parents, professionals and young people on signs of sexual exploitation and how to keep safe
Barnardo’s has published the set of advice leaflets, available to download below for parents, professionals and young people across the UK.

Sexual exploitation affects thousands of children and young people every year. We can all play an important role in reducing that number, helping to cut children free from this abuse. Get to know the tell tale signs, and a number of practical steps you can take to protect children in your life.

Download the leaflets:

Children and young people Parent/carers Professionals
Wud U? App - Barnardo's
Wud U? is an educational tool for teachers and care professionals who interact with young people that might be at risk of sexual exploitation. 

Download the app here.

The app aims to educate young people about behaviour that could put them at risk of being sexual exploited, through illustrated, interactive stories.

Wud U? will enable you to present sensitive issues to your group of young people. You will be able to discuss the decisions they would make if they were in the same situation as the characters within the stories. This app also offers advice about their decisions

Through the Wud U? app you can:
  • demonstrate how young people can make safe decisions
  • provide your group with more information about sexual exploitation, from a trusted source
  • help us raise awareness of sexual exploitation by sharing the Wud U? app
Barnardo’s would like to thank Microsoft and young people we work with for their support in developing this app.

Police-led sexual exploitation operation information from Northumbria Police

'Police-led sexual exploitation operation' is an investigation into allegations of a series of sexual offences predominantly within Newcastle, but also in other local authority areas, involving a number of men from a range of communities and vulnerable female victims, including teenagers and young adults.

Actions taken by Northumbria Police
To date a number of people, from a range of backgrounds and communities, have been arrested in connection with sexual exploitation.

While much of the activity has been in Newcastle, other areas of the force are affected. The investigation continues to progress at pace and there is a dedicated team of officers looking at all the information police continue to receive.

Northumbria Police's absolute priority is to protect any victims or potential victims and they are working closely with those involved and our partners to ensure they receive the appropriate support.

All the latest information about the operational activity, investigation and information for the public can be found on the following pages, and this includes advice for victims.

Safeguarding measures in place

Staff should feel confident to deal with a disclosure of abuse or concerns about a child’s safety and welfare through:

  • familiarity with this guidance
  • the safeguarding and child protection policies of the setting in which they are working
  • up to date and appropriate training
  • the name and contact details of the chair of governors who has specific safeguarding responsibilities

What is required by law
Schools are required by law to have the following safeguarding measures in place:
  • child protection policy, reviewed annually, which details procedures for handling suspected cases of abuse, including procedures to be followed if an allegation is made against a member of staff
  • designated safeguarding lead (DSL), who is a senior member of staff and whose training is updated every two years
  • policy outlining procedures for the safer recruitment of staff
  • single central record of all staff and volunteers used by the school
  • safeguarding training every three years for all staff and volunteers working with children in schools
  • an anti-bullying policy which prevents all forms of bullying and ensures pupils are safe to learn
  • procedure for passing child protection records to a receiving school
  • awareness of statutory requirements regarding forced marriage, extremism, female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation
  • work experience
In addition to the above national legal requirements, in Northumberland we strongly recommend schools have a designated person for e-safety and an e-safety policy. Guidance on good practice in this area is published in Ofsted’s inspecting e-safety briefing for inspectors.

All schools are automatically partners in their local safeguarding children’s board and are required to follow the relevant local authority’s procedures. Northumberland LSCB also offers advice, information and guidance to schools.

Advice from the education & skills service and LSCB

Find out more about safeguarding from the education and skills service and Northumberland local safeguarding children’s board.

Documents available to download and print
Safe to Learn newsletter
Advice for school workforce
Never mention to parents what a child has disclosed before the matter has been reported to the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) and a decision made as to what action should be taken.

Even if a child retracts an initial disclosure, it should still be discussed with the DSL. Remember it is important to report any suspicious injury or worrying conversations, no matter how small to the DSL.

It is always best action is taken at an early stage to prevent things from getting worse. Longer-term abuse is much more likely to cause problems for a child.

Even if you think an incident may be just a one-off, other professionals may already have concerns about a child. Your information could be very important.
Worried about a child - report your concerns
Emergency: If a child is in immediate danger or left alone, you should contact the police or call an ambulance on 999.
You can report abuse and neglect by completing the form at the links below, or you can contact us on 01670 536400 during office hours, or 0345 6005252 out of hours

If this is a new contact then please ring:-

First Contact : 01670 536400 or send a written referral to:
If you know a child already has a social worker then contact the social workers telephone number or ring First Contact.
For the 14+ Team please ring 01670 622930
Opening Times:
Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 5pm and Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm
Out of Hours 
All calls outside these hours please ring 0345 6005252

Early Help Assessments

To make a referral to the Early Help Hubs please send your referral to :-   

For enquiries about completion or registrations of Early Help Assessments please contact: 01670 536400

Please click here to view a map that provides the details of boundaries of the locality teams 
If you are a professional who works with children, you should first discuss your concern with your manager or designated professional. If there are still concerns you should contact the numbers above.
  • Alternatively call the NSPCC 24 hour child protection helpline on 0808 800 5000

 If you are a professional who works with children, you should first discuss your concern with your manager or designated professional. If there are still concerns you should contact the numbers above.

Ofsted 'whistleblowing'

Although it is a difficult decision to make, there may be times when those working with young children will want to report to Ofsted their concerns about the safeguarding practices and procedures of other professionals/volunteers working with children.

Contacting Ofsted
You can contact the Ofsted hotline in three ways.
  • Call: 0300 123 3155 (Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.00pm).
  • Email: 
  • Write: WBHL, Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD
This document outlines Ofsted’s processes and procedures for dealing with whistleblowing referrals about a local authority’s safeguarding arrangements.
Before you contact the hotline
Read your employer’s whistleblowing policy and then raise your concerns with your employer. If your employer does not have a whistleblowing policy, or if you are not sure how to raise concerns, it is suggested you first get free confidential advice from independent whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work. They can help you to decide whether and/or how to raise your concern.

You can call on 020 7404 6609 or email 
Information & guidance
The following information and guidance is available to schools from Northumberland LSCB, the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted to make sure minimum requirements are in place and good practice can be developed.

Department for Education
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 - This guidance sets out what schools and colleges must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18. It should be read alongside Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013, which applies to all the schools referred to above, including maintained nursery schools. This guidance replaces ‘Safeguarding children and safer recruitment in education’ (December 2006).
  • School behaviour advice and guidance - bullying
Ofsted Working Together to Safeguard Children - 2015
This guidance sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and how practitioners should conduct the assessment of children.

This guidance covers:
  • the legislative requirements and expectations on individual services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
  • a clear framework for local safeguarding children boards (LSCBs) to monitor the effectiveness of local services.
This document replaces Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013). Links to relevant supplementary guidance that professionals should consider alongside this guidance can be found at Appendix C.
Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB): multi-agency safeguarding procedures
  • NSCB safeguarding children procedures manual - With flowcharts for referral to social care team when
    • practitioner or member of public has concerns about a child’s safety and welfare
    • urgent action to safeguard children – emergency action may be necessary
  • Dealing with allegations against people who work with children
  • Early help assessment (EHA) - to prevent things from going wrong in children’s lives when a response under child protection procedures is not required
  • Multi-agency thresholds document - guidance to clarify the circumstances in which to refer a child to a specific agency to address an individual need
  • Local authority designated officer (LADO) - to deal with allegations against people who work with children  
  • NSCB training programme 2015-2016 with details of:
    • whole school partnership training (annual)
    • newly-appointed designated safeguarding lead training
    • refresher training for designated safeguarding Lead 
    • school governor training
    • training for trainers in child protection in schools
    • e-learning course for school staff (to meet three-yearly training requirement)
  • NSCB social media guidance - this guidance has been developed by Northumberland safeguarding children board (NSCB) to encourage good practice in the use of social media, and to assist partner-agencies of the NSCB (which includes schools) to proactively address issues around the misuse of social media. The purpose of this guidance is to provide a building block for organisations to develop their own advice and guidance, which includes;-
    • safer working practice in relation to the use of social media
    • keeping personal and professional lives separate
    • keeping safe when using electronic media
    • adopting responsible behaviour that should protect staff from putting themselves and their career at risk
This document is guidance only, it is not intended to interfere in an employee's private life, but to help avoid work and private lives clashing in inappropriate ways because of social networking activities. There is also a model policy contained within the guidance on page 16, which could assist in writing your own social media policy. Please note the guidance is not intended to replace individual agencies' policy guidance and/or single agency internal policies around social media. This is a self-audit resource for schools to help to review and monitor current safeguarding arrangements and identify areas which might need strengthening.
Case reviews
Case reviews provide a valuable tool for learning and for improving practice and policy in relation to safeguarding children. One of the ways in which Northumberland safeguarding children board will share information about case reviews is through the publication of leaflets that highlight lessons learned and set out implications for practice from key local, regional and national case reviews.


Serious case reviews

Set out below are the Serious Case Review Reports from Northumberland published during the last 12 months
Serious case reviews are a statutory process and are governed by Chapter 4 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015). SCRs are part of the reviewing and investigative function of LSCBs set out in Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006.    

The leaflets below have been produced by the serious case review panel to facilitate learning. It is recommended they are discussed in team meetings and supervisions, where appropriate, to ensure they are embedded in frontline practice.

Regional National While every effort has been made to protect the confidentiality of individuals involved in these cases, we ask that persons accessing these documents show due respect to the families concerned when reading and sharing content.
Useful definitions
  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
(DfE, July 2012)
Child protection Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. (DfE July 2012)
Child in need A child is in need if:
  • he/she is unlikely to achieve or maintain or have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services from a local authority
  • his/her health or development is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired without the provision of services
  • he/she is disabled
Child protection plan A detailed inter-agency plan setting out what must be done to protect a child from further harm, to promote the child's health and development and if it is in the best interests of the child, to support the family to promote the child's welfare.
Looked-after child A child or young person is ‘looked-after’ if they are in the care of the local authority either under a legal order or voluntary agreement with parents. They may be placed with foster carers, in a residential home, with family and friends who are approved as foster carers or remain at home with parents under a care order. The local authority shares parental responsibility with parents where there is a legal order. Where it is a voluntary agreement, the parents retain full responsibility for their child.
Who can help

Non-emergency: If there is no immediate danger or you need advice or information, you should contact the following numbers:

Children’s Social Care Locality Teams
Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 5pm
Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm

  • Central Locality Ashington 01670 536000
  • North Locality Alnwick and Berwick 01670 629400
  • South East Locality Blyth and Cramlington 01670 629600
  • West Locality Hexham 01434 611499
  • Disabled Children Team 01670 516131
  • 16+ Team 01670 852225
  • All calls outside these hours please ring 01670 822386

Please click here to view a map that provides the details of boundaries of the locality teams 

 If you are a professional who works with children, you should first discuss your concern with your manager or designated professional. If there are still concerns you should contact the numbers above.

Advisor for e-safetyinternet and mobile phone safety – all schools have strict user protocols for internet and mobile phone usage. However, if you have any concerns about a child/young person being the victim of cyber-bullying or internet abuse, you must discuss these with the designated teacher.
Contact: Richard Taylor.

Safer Northumberland – for support in dealing with anti-social behaviour in school and the community, gang, gun and knife crime and Prevent Implementation Team for support in dealing with extremist behaviour:
Inspector Sharon Ross
Northumbria Police
Prevent Implementation Team
Office: 01661 868 073

Public Protection for support regarding domestic violence:
Allan Brown - 01670 623734

Northumbria Neighbourhood Policing Teams:
Contact: Safeguarding

Standards in Schools
Carol Leckie, health and wellbeing team manager - 01670 622720

Health and wellbeing team for support regarding drug education
Justine Clephane, drug education co-ordinator - 01670 622738

Sex and relationships education/teenage pregnancy
Helen MacPhail - 01670 622731

Training of school workforce
Anne Lambert - 01670 623159

Equalities and schools team for support with identity based bullying eg racist, homophobic
Gill Finch - 01670 622728