The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory guidance has specific safeguarding and welfare requirements, which cover the steps that providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare. The relevant section for early years providers to be aware of is Section 3 in the guidance. This mentions that providers must have and implement a policy, and procedures, to safeguard children. These should be in line with the guidance and procedures of Waltham Forest's Safeguarding Children Board. The safeguarding policy and procedures must include an explanation of the action to be taken in the event of an allegation being made against a member of staff, and cover the use of mobile phones and cameras in the setting.
Early Years settings should be aware of the Department for Education's (DfE's) statutory guidance which sets out the responsibilities of all schools and colleges in England to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people - 'Keeping children safe in education'.
Early Years settings should also be aware and follow the statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The Safer Recruitment Consortium has produced non-statutory guidance for professionals working in education settings 'Guidance for safer working practice for those working with children and young people in education settings'. However the Minister for Children and Families recommends that schools, colleges and Local Safeguarding Children Boards consider using it in conjunction with the DfE's statutory guidance - 'Keeping children safe in education' when devising and implementing their safeguarding and child protection policies and training plans.
The original guidance was developed by a DfES network in 2005, with revisions in 2009. The 2015 update has been produced in consultation with representatives from local authorities, CAPE and a number of NASS schools. It should be helpful when developing your staff behaviour policy/code of conduct.
A practitioner must be designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children in every setting (Designated Safeguarding Lead - DSL). Childminders must take the lead responsibility themselves.
Training should ensure that practitioners:
- Recognise how to identify signs of abuse and know when it is appropriate to make a referral;
- Have knowledge of the Escalation Policy, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) role, conduct of a child protection case conference and be able to attend and contribute to these;
- Ensure that all staff have access to and understand the setting's/establishment's safeguarding policy;
- Ensure that all staff have induction training;
- Keep detailed, accurate and secure written records;
- Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses at least every two years.
Registered providers must inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere). Registered providers must also notify Ofsted of the action taken in respect of the allegations. These notifications must be made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made. A registered provider who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with this requirement, commits an offence.
Waltham Forest Council has produced a Model Safeguarding Policy for Early Years. A model policy is provided to assist those setting policies within early years settings in drafting and agreeing their own policy, the details of which will vary from setting to setting depending on their size, structure and needs.