Child Protection Policy

(Including Student/Staff Behaviour Policy)

Last Reviewed: 10/08/2021


Theatre Cats Stage School believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to practice which protects them.

We recognise that:

• the welfare of the child/young person is paramount

• all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse

• working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

The purpose of the policy is:

• to provide protection for the children and young people who receive Theatre Cats Stage School tuition, including the children of Theatre Cats staff

• to provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.


This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers, paid staff, volunteers, workshop leaders, agency staff, students or anyone working on behalf of Theatre Cats Stage School


We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

• valuing them, listening to and respecting them

• adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers

• recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made

• sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers

• sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately

• providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.

We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.


Code of Conduct For children and young people

Introduction

This code has been developed in order to provide children and young people with advice on the behaviour that is expected of them when attending and using the facilities at Theatre Cats Stage School.

Purpose

To ensure children and young people are treated fairly by all adults working with them at Theatre Cats Stage School.

Basic Principles

This code of behaviour for children and young people is intended to:

• identify acceptable behaviour for children and young people

• promote self respect and self control

• raise children and young peoples’ self esteem and self confidence

• encourage individual responsibility for behaviour and outline the consequences of poor behaviour

• encourage children and young people to recognise and respect the rights of others

• encourage cooperation at all times in all situations

• promote the values of honesty, fairness and respect

• anticipate and resolve any conflict that may arise

• ensure that children and young people are aware of the point that sanctions will be put into place.

Do’s

Children and young people are expected to:

• cooperate with each other

• be friendly

• listen to each other

• be helpful

• follow the rules (code of conduct, equipment use etc.)

• have good manners

• join in

• respect each others differences

• treat staff and volunteers with respect

• report concerns and worries to Catherine Budworth.

Don’ts

Children and young people shouldn’t:

• pick on or make fun of each other

• stare at others

• yell and or shout at others

• be abusive

• use equipment to be abusive (eg, mobile phones to send nasty messages, photos without permission, nasty emails).


Breach of Code of Conduct

This code of conduct is only useful if it forms part of a process for signposting children and young people into appropriate support. It is the responsibility of the teachers and parents to regularly ensure that all children and young people attending Theatre Cats Stage School are informed of this code of conduct and to confirm with them that they have seen, understand and agree to follow it. Children and young people must also be made aware of the consequences should they breach the code.


All parents/carers are given a copy of our Terms and Conditions which they and their child must agree and sign to.


Code of Conduct For adults working with children and young people

Introduction

This section outlines the behaviour expected of Theatre Cats freelance staff, volunteers, peer leaders and staff from other organisations who engage with children and young people through Theatre Cats and its activities.

Purpose

This code has been developed to provide advice which will not only help to protect children, but will also help identify any practices which could be mistakenly interpreted and perhaps lead to false allegations of abuse being made against individuals.

Following this good practice code will also help to protect Theatre Cats Stage School by reducing the possibility of anyone using their role within the organisation to gain access to children in order to abuse them.

When working with children and young people for Theatre Cats Stage School, all staff and volunteers are considered to be acting in a position of trust. It is therefore important that staff, volunteers, peer leaders are aware that they may be seen as role models by children and must act in an appropriate manner at all times and follow the code of conduct.

All members of staff and volunteers are expected to report any breaches of this code to Catherine Budworth on 01283 337953.


Staff who breach this code of conduct may be subject to Theatre Cats Stage School disciplinary procedures.

Any breach of this code involving a volunteer or member of staff from another agency may result in them being asked to leave. Serious breaches of this code may also result in a referral being made to a statutory agency such as the Police or Children’s Services Department.


When working with children and young people it is important to:

• always follow the Theatre Cats Stage School child protection policy

• listen to and respect children at all times

• always avoid favouritism

• treat children and young people fairly and without prejudice

• value and take children’s contributions seriously

• always ensure equipment is used appropriately and for the purpose it was designed for

• ensure any contact with children and young people is appropriate and in relation to the work of the project

• always ensure language is appropriate and not offensive or discriminatory

• actively involve children and young people in planning activities wherever possible

• provide examples of good conduct you wish others to follow

• challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of abuse.


You must not:

• patronise or treat children and young people as if they are silly

• allow allegations to go unreported

• develop inappropriate relationships such as contact with children and young people that is not a part of the work of the project and agreed with the manager or leader. Sexual relationships between any adult member of staff or volunteer and a child or young person at Theatre Cats Stage School represents a serious breach of trust and are not permissible in any circumstances

• let children and young people have your personal contact details (mobile number or address)

• use sarcasm or insensitive comments to children and young people

• act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive

• make inappropriate promises to children and young people, particularly in relation to confidentiality.


The role of parents and carers

Theatre Cats Stage School welcomes and encourages parental involvement. Parents and carers are regarded as valuable partners in promoting positive behaviour and will be involved as appropriate. In the event of their child becoming the subject of behaviour sanctions, parents / carers will be informed and involved.


Some other points for workers to consider are:

Adults must:

• ensure that, whenever possible, there is more than one adult present during activities with children and young people or at least that you are within sight or hearing of others

• respect a young person’s right to personal privacy/encourage young people to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like

• recognise that special caution is required when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people

Adults must not:

• make suggestive or derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children or young people

• jump to conclusions about others without checking facts

• either exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues

• rely on your good name or that of the organisation (Theatre Cats) to protect you

• believe “it could never happen to me”


Theatre Cats Stage School will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education and Skills to:

  • Ensure we have a designated senior person for child protection who has received appropriate training and support for this role. This person is Catherine Budworth.

  • Ensure every member of staff (including temporary and supply staff and volunteers) parent and child knows the name of the named person responsible for child protection.

  • Ensure all staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the designated senior person responsible for child protection.

  • Ensure that parents have an understanding of the responsibility placed on the school and staff for child protection by setting out its obligations on the website.

  • Notify social services if there is an unexplained absence of more than two classes of a pupil who is on the child protection register.

  • Develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters including attendance at case conferences.

  • Keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.

  • Ensure all records are kept securely, separate from the main pupil file.

  • Develop and then follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer.

  • Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed including interviews, references, DBS etc.


Theatre Cats Stage School will offer young people the opportunity to enjoy drama, music and dance. All staff, managers and volunteers have a responsibility to ensure the protection and well being of the young people involved in the classes. Should there ever be cause for concern, or any allegations made, Catherine Budworth- The Principle, should be informed immediately.

Parents are encouraged to discuss issues with Catherine Budworth should they have any concern regarding the safety of their child.

Catherine Budworth will be responsible for instigating any necessary action should abuse be seen or alleged.

Should an allegation be made, do not make promises to keep secrets and explain that the information will need to be shared with others. Reassure the child that they are doing the right thing and listen carefully to what is said but don't push the child for more information. Record the following details and pass them on to Catherine Budworth immediately.

·Name of the child

·Parent’s/carer’s details

·Child’s address

·Relevant phone numbers

·What is said to have happened or what was seen

·When it occurred

·Who else, if anyone, was there?

·What was said by those involved

·What evidence of abuse can be recorded

·Who has been told about it

·Who was involved in the incident, and if possible record in what way concerned?

·Was the child able to say what happened, if so how did they describe it?

·Whether the parent(s) have been advised.

Signed and dated.


This information will be kept in a secure location and every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned when an allegation has been made and is being investigated.

There are different types or abuse, including physical, emotional or sexual abuse and also bullying and neglect. Signs of abuse may include a change in character, bruising which reflects hand or finger marks, being scared, suddenly emotional or quiet, injuries which the child cannot explain, cigarette burns, bite marks, self harm, eating problems, being in an unkempt state, change in weight, sudden speech disorder, skipping school.


Complaints Procedure:

Any complaints of suspected or actual child abuse or of young people being put at risk must be taken seriously and acted upon immediately. If a member of staff believes that a child may be suffering, or may be at risk of suffering significant harm, then he/she will need to make Catherine Budworth aware who will inform the appropriate authorities



Theatre Cats Stage School aims to create a safe and secure environment for young people to learn and enjoy theatre and performing arts.

ALL staff will, under no circumstance, tolerate bullying, racism, or sexism.

ALL staff will report any suspicions to Catherine Budworth.

ALL staff will be checked by the DBS.

ALL staff will be aware that they are in a relationship of trust with the young people at the Theatre School. Under no circumstance should this trust be abused. Staff should note that while we are all friendly and professional, we are teachers.

Theatre Cats students, staff and volunteers can voice ANY concerns about abusive or unethical conduct. Staff & pupils should note that it takes courage to challenge inappropriate behaviour but that concerns should be voiced immediately. This will prevent further incidents and also make staff aware should anything take place in the future.



Theatre Cats Stage School follow the NSPCC's core values, which are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They are:

  • Children must be protected from all forms of violence and exploitation

  • Everyone has a responsibility to support the care and protection of children

  • We listen to children and young people, respect their views and respond to them directly

  • Children should be encouraged and enabled to fulfil their potential

  • We challenge inequalities for children and young people.

  • Every child must have someone to turn to



Counter-bullying policy:


Statement of intent

Theatre Cats Stage School is committed to creating an atmosphere within activities/ services for children and young people that explicitly acknowledges that any bullying is unacceptable. All workers/staff/volunteers must have measures in place to prevent and/or respond to observed or reported bullying.

Where adult to child bullying is suspected, observed or reported it must be managed as a concern about an adult’s behaviour within safeguarding procedures.


Guidelines

Definition: Bullying is deliberate, offensive, intimidating, malicious, abusive or insulting behaviour which makes the individual feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable.


Bullying can be:

• emotional – being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g., taking another's belongings, threatening gestures, abusive notes or graffiti)

• physical – pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence

• racist – racial taunts, graffiti, gestures

• sexual – unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments

• homophobic – because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality

• discriminatory – about disability, gender, age or other differences

• verbal – name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing

• cyber – all areas of internet ,such as email and internet chat room misuse

• mobile - threats by text messaging and calls

• misuse of associated technology i.e., camera and video facilities.


Why is it important to respond to bullying?


Bullying can frequently be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress to children, to the extent that it affects their health and development or, at the extreme, cause them significant harm (including self-harm).

Staff will encourage children to reduce incidences of the above behaviours by:

• role modelling acceptable behaviour

• teaching appropriate methods of communication

• offering motivation for the individual to work with others

• building tolerance of group situations

• offering praise for appropriate behaviour

• developing appropriate assertiveness skills

• ensuring each child is aware of the complaints procedure and how to access support (through their teacher or assistant)

• having adults or peer mentors who are someone to turn to, and can be trusted to take action (their teacher or assistant)

Any child who has been subjected to bullying-type behaviour will be supported, and staff will undertake a risk assessment to ensure that the victim, other children and the perpetrator are kept safe.


Procedures

1. Report bullying incidents to staff.

2. In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be recorded by staff.

3. In serious cases parents/carers should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem.

4. If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted.

5. The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.

6. An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour.


Outcomes

1) The bully (bullies) may be asked to genuinely apologise. Other consequences may take place.

2) In serious cases, suspension or even exclusion from the group will be considered.

3) If possible, the young people will be reconciled.

4) After the incident/incidents have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.


Prevention

We will use these methods for helping children to prevent bullying. As and when appropriate, these may include:

• writing a set of group rules

• signing a behaviour contract

• writing stories or poems or drawing pictures about bullying

• reading stories about bullying or having them read to a group

• making up role-plays

• having discussions about bullying and why it matters.


Signs and symptoms

A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs.


Monitoring and review

The Principal Catherine Budworth is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Policy and Guidelines via staff observations and feedback and consultation with children and their parents/legal guardians and colleagues.


This policy will be reviewed on 10/08/2021

01283 337953

info@theatrecats.co.uk

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