Cottesmore School


Child Protection Safeguarding Policy

Child Protection Safeguarding Policy

Staff Responsibilities 

(DSL = Designated Safeguarding Lead

EYFS = Early Years Foundation Stage)

  • For all contacts call the school office -  01293 520648

Contact Details of West Sussex Child Services 

Please note: concerns should also go to the Local Authority where the child lives. 

Address: Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) Fourth FloorCounty Hall North (Parkside)Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XH 

LADO West Sussex - Lindsey Tunbridge-Adams 

TEL: 0330 2223339 Email: [email protected]

Assistant LADO West Sussex - Claire Coles TEL: 03302223339  Email: [email protected]

Manager, Safeguarding in Education: 

TEL: 03302 224030 EMAIL: [email protected]

Principal Manager, Children's Safeguarding: Susan Ellery - 01243 642315, 0330 2223339 [email protected]

West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board (The Local Safeguarding Children Board - LSCB)0330 222 4908 [email protected] 

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub 

TEL: 01403 229900, [email protected] 

Sussex Police Prevent Team/ Channel101 ext 531355 [email protected]



The following personnel have advised on various aspects of this document:

  • LADO West Sussex
  • Chief Inspector ISI: Christine Ryan
  • Kidscape personnel 
  • Brave the Rage personnel
  • Safeguarding In Schools: consultant Andrew Hall
  • Vice-Chairman of Governors Handcross Primary School: WPC Fowler

Flow Chart for Raising Safeguarding Concerns

Please click the following link to read the Safeguarding Flow Chart.

In conjunction with other policies This policy should be read alongside the school's Anti-bullying Policy, the Anti-Cyberbullying and Online safety Policy and the Safer Recruitment Policy.

Policy Statement

Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility and anyone can make a referral to Children's Social Care - please see contacts below.

Cottesmore School fully recognises its responsibilities for child protection and that every child has the right to protection from abuse and exploitation. Cottesmore School recognises it's duties to both children in need and children at risk of harm. Our policy applies to all staff and others working in the school, including EYFS staff.

At Cottesmore School, pupils are taught about safeguarding, including online, through various teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. Children are taught to recognise when they are at risk and how to get help when they need it.

The school assesses the risks and issues in the wider community when considering the well-being and safety of its pupils.

There are five main elements to our policy: a. Ensuring we practise safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children. b. Raising awareness of child protection issues and equipping children with the skills needed to keep them safe. c. Developing and then implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse. d. Supporting pupils who have been abused, in accordance with his/her agreed child protection plan. e. Establishing a safe environment in which children can learn and develop. We recognise that because of the day-to-day contact with children, school staff are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse. Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018), paragraph 75 states; ‘The Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe.’ and from paragraph 77: ‘This includes allowing practitioners to share information without consent.’ 

The ‘relationships and associations’ that staff have in school and outside (including online), may have an implication for the safeguarding of children in the school. Where this is the case, the member of staff must speak to the school

These are detailed in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 - Page 14. We will therefore:

  • Establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to.
  • Ensure children know that there are adults in the school whom they can approach if they are worried.
  • Include opportunities in the PSHCE curriculum for children to develop the skills they need to recognise and stay safe from abuse.
  • Provide one person to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children within the EYFS setting;

We will follow the procedures set out in the Pan Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures agreed by West Sussex, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove SCBs (The Local Safeguarding Children Board) and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education (DfE) to: 

  • Provide a DSL who has received appropriate training and support for this role. There will always be cover for this role if the DSL is out of the building - the Headmaster is the Deputy DSL.
  • Ensure that every member of staff knows the name of the DSL and their role.
  • Ensure all staff understand their responsibilities through termly inset, in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the DSL.
  • Ensure that parents have an understanding of the responsibility placed on the school and staff for child protection. 
  • Notify Social Services if there is an unexplained absence of more than two days 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 when there is no need to refer the matter immediately.                               
  • Keep records in a file with the DSL, separate from the main pupil file. All records are kept separate, confidential and securely.
  • Develop and then follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff (see ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education - Part 4: (Allegations)’, held by the DSL).
  • Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed, 'Keeping Children Safe in Education - Part 3: Recruitment'.
  • Cottesmore School recognises that children who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. School may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children at risk. When at school their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn. We will endeavour to support the pupil through:
  • The content of the curriculum.
  • The school ethos, which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives pupils a sense of being valued.
  • The school behaviour policy, which is aimed at supporting vulnerable pupils in the school. The school will aim to ensure that the pupil knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse, which has occurred.
  • Liaison with other agencies that support the pupil such as social services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, education welfare service and educational psychology service.
  • Ensuring that, where a pupil on the child protection plan leaves, their information is transferred to the new school immediately, separately from their main school file, and that the child’s social worker is informed.
  • Ensuring that EYFS staff have access to the school’s safeguarding policies.
  • All staff and parents should be fully aware of the school’s Child Protection Policy and to whom they should report any concerns. 

Guidelines for all staff for dealing with suspected child abuse 


At the beginning of term, Form Tutors should ensure that their class understand that if they have any problems or complaints they should feel able to tell one of the following:

  • Form Tutor
  • Teaching Assistant 
  • Subject teacher 
  • Set Master 
  • School Nurse 
  • Matron 
  • Head of Boarding/ Houseparent 
  • Deputy Head 
  • Head 
  • Any other member of staff 
  • Designated Person within the EYFS
  • Independent Listener

The children should feel assured that the staff will listen sympathetically and non-judgementally.

  • If they do not feel able to talk to a member of staff they may see the School Doctor at surgery time.
  • There is an option of seeing a female Doctor if required.
  • There is a worry box as a channel of communication between pupils and staff on all personal issues including child abuse.
  • They have access to the telephone and to Childline. The number for Childline is posted by the telephones.
  • They have contact details (phone and email) of PC Sue Fowler, our Independent Listener on the Happiness Charter.
  • The Happiness Charter is prominent around the school to help the children. The number for the Office of the Children's Commissioner, Anne Longfield OBE, 02077838330 is also on this document. The children can also call Ofsted on 03001231231.

All staff may report concerns directly to the LADO (advice from Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018) 


Parents are encouraged to share minor problems with their child’s Form Tutor or appropriate member of staff. If appropriate, the problem will be taken to and dealt with by a Head of Department. Problems of a more serious nature should be raised either orally or in writing with the Head. 

Procedures for dealing with suspected child abuse  

Abuse may happen at home or at school. All staff (and in particular the School Nurse, Matrons, Boarding and Games staff) have opportunities to observe evidence of abuse or neglect. All staff must be aware of the possibility of abuse and be vigilant. Suspicions of abuse may arise through observation or from information from parents, children, or other staff.  If any member of staff has suspicions of abuse having taken place whether physical, sexual, emotional or neglect (KCSIE 2018, page 11), they have an absolute duty to report their suspicions to the School’s DSL immediately (unless the DSL is accused or absent, in which case the Head should be approached).  The Deputy DSL has a 24-hour phone number available to all. It is essential for the DSL to keep clear, factual notes, dated and signed for the school records. The School Nurse keeps a record of physical injuries and any of a safeguarding nature are immediately passed on to the DSL; (Note -  if a pupil who is registered with the School Doctor attends an Accident and Emergency Department, a record of that visit is sent to the School Doctor.) 

Signs and Monitoring 

Regular meetings of staff who are responsible for the care and welfare of the children are encouraged, and it is hoped that any unhappiness, distress or abnormal behaviour in a child would come out at these meetings. Staff have a responsibility for sharing information that is relevant to the welfare of pupils. Staff are encouraged to look out for any of the following:

  • abnormal behaviour, including changes in character or performance
  • aggressive behaviour
  • changes in eating pattern, loss of appetite or excessive preoccupation with food
  • loss of self-esteem
  • onset of attention seeking, disobedience or aggression
  • severe sleep disturbances and nightmares, especially with sexual content
  • bed-wetting
  • any words or actions indicating any problems, other than minor ones, at home or in school, including inconsistencies between parental explanations and those from children
  • any physical sign such as bruising, unexplained bleeding, difficulty in any normal bodily functions and any aches or pains which seem to have no physical cause
  • signs of self-harm
  • inconsistencies between parental explanations and those from children
  • any hints from children about sexual activity or abuse of any kind amongst the children or from a member of staff on a child. These must be reported to the Head and DSL.

If staff are concerned about a child’s well-being but feel that it is not a child protection issue, they should discuss their concerns with the DSL and Head first. Consideration should then be given to sharing that concern with the child’s parents and whether to advise counselling from a qualified child counsellor.

If the DSL is not available, staff should speak to a member of the SLT and/or take advice from local children’s social care (KCSIE (2018), paragraph 26)


What to do if a child approaches you 

The Children and Young Persons Act 1989 states: “It shall be the duty of ‘the school’ to cause enquiries to be made into the case unless they are satisfied that such enquiries are unnecessary.” If a child approaches you:

  • Always stop and listen straight away to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse.
  • If possible, write brief notes on what the pupil is telling you while they are speaking (these may help later if you don't remember exactly what was said). Keep your original notes, however rough, even if you wrote on the back of something else (it is what you wrote at the time that may be important later – not a tidier and improved version you wrote up afterwards). If you do not have the means to write at the time, make notes of what was said as soon as possible afterwards. Always date the notes. Good record-keeping underpins sound future action.
  • Do not give a guarantee that you will keep what is said confidential or secret – if you are told about abuse you have a responsibility to tell the right people to get something done about it that day. If this is questioned by the child, explain that you will need to tell the people who can sort it out, but that you will only tell people who absolutely have to know.
  • Do not ask leading questions that might give your own ideas of what might have happened (e.g. “Did they do X to you?”); ask instead questions like “What do you want to tell me?” or “Is there anything I ought to know?” or “Can you tell me when… who…?”.
  • Immediately tell the DSL, unless he is accused or suspected of abusing, in which case you should tell the Head. Make sure that when you do so you distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion. The DSL will inform the Head and LADO. You should not tell other adults or children what you have been told.
  • Discuss with the DSL whether any steps need to be taken to protect the person who has told you about the abuse (this may need to be discussed with the person who told you).
  • Never attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected or alleged abuse. Social services and police are trained to do this; you could cause more damage and spoil possible criminal proceedings.
  • As soon as possible (and certainly the same day) the DSL should consult with the Manager, Safeguarding in Education:  0330 2223339, [email protected] The Duty Officer there will give advice and, if the DSL decides to make an official referral he will, within 24 hours, complete and fax to the Social Services a referral form. The Social Services Child Protection team will then decide whether to set in motion any investigations. A full and careful investigation may follow. This will result in contact with any or all of the following: School Nurse, Matrons, Doctors, the LEA Welfare Service, the parents of the child, the adult implicated, the child (if appropriate) and the Proprietor.
  • Never think abuse is impossible at Cottesmore, or that an accusation against someone you know well and trust is bound to be wrong.
  • Bear in mind that Children often tell other young people, rather than staff or other adults, about abuse. It is therefore important to make sure that prefects and other older pupils are aware of relevant points on this sheet. This is included in the 5th and 6th Form PSCHE programme. Dorm Monitors are reminded termly of their responsibilities.

Procedure for handling cases of suspected abuse 

  • In all cases where abuse is suspected or a sustainable allegation is made members of staff should report the information to the DSL.
  • The DSL should refer these cases to or discuss them with the investigating agencies according to the procedures established by the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board (WS SCB) - also known as The Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) - and the DSL should also inform the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer).
  • If the DSL is unsure about whether a case should be formally referred or has a general concern about a pupil’s health or development, he can seek advice and support from the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer), the NSPCC, MASH Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub), or use TAC (Team Around the Child), CAF (Common Assessment Framework), or the Children's Access Point.
  • If there is concern for a child with regards to suspected abuse, the DSL will refer to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer.
  • When referring a case of suspected or alleged child abuse, the DSL should ask to be informed of the timing of the strategy discussion between the statutory agencies which will decide whether and how to investigate. The DSL may wish to clarify with the investigating agencies when, how and by whom the parents and the pupil will be told that a referral has been made. 

Definitions of abuse and neglect (as stated in KCSIE 2018)  

Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children. 

Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child. 

Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.

Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. 'Upskirting' (the act of taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission) is also now deemed a specific criminal offence and will not be tolerated at Cottesmore.

Neglect: the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges because:

there may be assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;

children with SEN and disabilities can be disproportionally impacted by things like bullying without outwardly showing any signs; and

difficulties may arise in overcoming communication barriers.

At Cottesmore School we identify pupils who might need more support to be kept safe or to keep themselves safe by putting into practice the procedures set out in the KCSIE document 2018 and for being ever watchful for any signs and symptoms of abuse.

    Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

Indicators of child sexual exploitation may include:

  • Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phones, etc. without plausible explanation;
  • Gang-association and/or isolation from peers/social networks;
  • Exclusion or unexplained absences from school, college or work;
  • Leaving home/care without explanation and persistently going missing or returning late;
  • Excessive receipt of texts/phone calls;
  • Returning home under the influence of drugs/alcohol;
  • Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age/sexually transmitted infections;
  • Evidence of/suspicions of physical or sexual assault;
  • Relationships with controlling or significantly older individuals or groups;
  • Multiple callers (unknown adults or peers);
  • Frequenting areas known for sex work;
  • Concerning use of internet or other social media;
  • Increasing secretiveness around behaviours; and
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being.

Potential vulnerabilities include:

Although the following vulnerabilities increase the risk of child sexual exploitation, it must be remembered that not all children with these indicators will be exploited. Child sexual exploitation can occur without any of these issues.

  • Having a prior experience of neglect, physical and/or sexual abuse;
  • Lack of a safe/stable home environment, now or in the past (domestic violence or parental substance misuse, mental health issues or criminality, for example);
  • Recent bereavement or loss;
  • Social isolation or social difficulties;
  • Absence of a safe environment to explore sexuality;
  • Economic vulnerability;
  • Homelessness or insecure accommodation status;
  • Connections with other children and young people who are being sexually exploited;
  • Family members or other connections involved in adult sex work;
  • Having a physical or learning disability;
  • Being in care (particularly those in residential care and those with interrupted care histories); and
  • Sexual identity.

More information can be found in: Child sexual exploitation: Definition and a guide for practitioners (DfE 2017) 


    Peer on Peer

Staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but not limited to:

• bullying (including cyberbullying);
• physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm;
• sexual violence and sexual harassment;
• gender-based violence
• sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); and
• initiation-type violence and rituals.

Abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as “banter” or “part of growing up”. Different gender issues can be prevalent when dealing with peer on peer abuse. This could for example include girls being sexually touched/assaulted or boys being subject to initiation-type violence.

At Cottesmore School we believe that all children have a right to attend school and learn in a safe environment. Children should be free from harm by adults in the school and other students.
We recognise that some students will sometimes negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of others and their behaviour will be dealt with under the school’s Behaviour Policy.
Occasionally, allegations may be made against students by others in the school, which are of a safeguarding nature. Safeguarding issues raised in this way may include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. It is likely that to be considered a safeguarding allegation against a pupil, some of the following features will be found.

The allegation:

• is made against an older pupil and refers to their behaviour towards a younger pupil or a more vulnerable pupil
• is of a serious nature, possibly including a criminal offence
• raises risk factors for other pupils in the school
• indicates that other pupils may have been affected by this student
• indicates that young people outside the school may be affected by this student

At Cottesmore School we will support the victims of peer on peer abuse by following the school's behaviour policy.

In cases of ‘sexting’ we follow guidance given to schools and colleges by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) published in 2017: ‘Sexting in schools and colleges, responding to incidents, and safeguarding young people’.

   Child criminal Exploitation

Criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns. Key to identifying potential involvement in county lines are missing episodes, when the victim may have been trafficked for the purpose of transporting drugs. Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation:

• can affect any child or young person (male or female)under the age of 18 years;
• can affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years;
• can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual;
• can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
• can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults; and
• is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation.

Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources. If there are any concerns a child or young person is at risk of Criminal exploitation MASH must be contacted for advice.

Fundamental British values and the Prevent Duty 

At Cottesmore School we train our staff to identify children at risk of radicalisation and extremism.

Cottesmore School comply with the Independent School Standards, which include an explicit requirement to promote fundamental British values as part of broader requirements relating to the quality of education and to promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. We support pupils to build resilience to the risk of radicalisation through our PSCHE programme (SMSC), promoting British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs within our curriculum and through the day to day ethos of the school, and visual displays. 

In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), we have a duty to keep children safe and promote their welfare. We protect children in our care, being alert to any safeguarding and child protection issues in the child’s life at home or elsewhere. We take action to protect children from harm and are alert to harmful behaviour by other adults in the child’s life. We focus on children’s personal, social and emotional development through The Early Years Foundation Stage framework , in an age appropriate way, through ensuring children learn right from wrong, mix and share with other children and value other’s views, know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and challenge negative attitudes and stereotypes.

We consult the documents Working Together to Safeguard Children, Keeping Children Safe in Education and Information Sharing: Her Majesty’s Government advice for professionals providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers to ensure correct procedure is followed, alongside the revised guide of Prevent Duty Guidance, 18th September 2015, from the Home Office.

At Cottesmore School, we have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into extremism and radicalisation  and staff understand that support is available to refer children for further help by contacting the DSL or the Deputy DSL, or consulting the WSLSCB website.  (Prevent update and training delivered to all staff September 2018) Advice and support is available with regards to extremism and radicalisation on the through the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board on 0330 2225296 or email: [email protected]

Being drawn into terrorism includes not just violent extremism but also non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views which terrorists exploit. We ensure a safe environment for our pupils, in which children can understand and discuss sensitive topics, including terrorism and the extremism, amongst other discussion relevant to the children. We are, however, mindful of our existing duties to forbid political indoctrination and secure a balanced presentation of political issues. These duties are imposed on us by the Independent School Standards.

In any concern raised, Cottesmore School consider the level of risk to identify the most appropriate referral, which could include Channel or Children’s Social Care, for example. Our policies set out clear protocols for ensuring that any visiting speakers – whether invited by staff or by children themselves – are suitable and appropriately supervised. We ensure that our safeguarding arrangements take into account the policies and procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).

Should any concern be raised about radicalisation at Cottesmore School, we refer to the Prevent strategy information page on the West Sussex LSCB website initially and then make a Channel Referral in West Sussex through using the Prevent Channel Referral Form.  The LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) can be contacted for additional advice. The DSL will act on behalf of any member of staff who is concerned or will support them in their referral. Records are kept up to date and concerns are followed up until resolution.

Cottesmore school’s IT policies ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in school, including by establishing appropriate levels of filtering. In the EYFS, we promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs reflecting the requirements in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. We do this through creating a fair and balanced curriculum with expectations of mutual respect of all backgrounds. Fundamental British values are encouraged throughout the school through clear guidance of behaviour expectations for the pupils and staff, being respectful of each and every person’s views and feelings, through the Happiness Charter, through PSCHE lessons and through the School Council.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018) also makes specific reference to Child Sexual Exploitation and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Cottesmore School includes in its staff training, reference to and discussion of, these issues. Further reference is made to the duty to report FGM within the Staff Handbook. 

Duty to Report Female Genital Mutilation

At Cottesmore School, we believe that all our pupils should always be kept safe from harm. Female Genital Mutilation affects girls particularly from North African countries, including Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and Sierra Leone. Although our school has few children from these backgrounds and consider girls in our school safe from FGM, we will continue to review our policy annually.

In any instance of concern about FGM practises from discussion with children or noticeable changes in behaviour, the DSL must be informed and appropriate reporting must take place immediately (within 24 hours).

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in England and Wales under the FGM Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”). It is a form of child abuse and violence against women. FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Section 5B of the 2003 Act1 introduces a mandatory reporting duty which requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report ‘known’ cases of FGM in under 18s which they identify in the course of their professional work to the police. The duty has applied from 31 October 2015 onwards. ‘Known’ cases are those where either a girl informs the person that an act of FGM – however described – has been carried out on her, or where the person observes physical signs on a girl appearing to show that an act of FGM has been carried out and the person has no reason to believe that the act was, or was part of, a surgical operation within section 1(2)(a) or (b) of the FGM Act 20032 .

The FGM mandatory reporting duty is a legal duty provided for in the FGM Act 2003 (as amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015). The legislation requires regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to make a report to the police where, in the course of their professional duties, they either:

  • are informed by a girl under 18 that an act of FGM has been carried out on her; or
  • observe physical signs which appear to show that an act of FGM has been carried out on a girl under 18 and they have no reason to believe that the act was necessary for the girl’s physical or mental health or for purposes connected with labour or birth (see section 2.1a for further information).

This procedure often takes place in the summer, as the recovery period after FGM can be 6 to 9 weeks. Schools should be alert to the possibility of FGM as a reason why a girl in a high risk group is absent from school or where the family request an ‘authorised absence’ for just before or just after the summer school holidays.

Although, it is difficult to identify girls before FGM takes place, where girls from these high risk groups return from a long period of absence with symptoms of FGM, advice should be sought from the police or social services.

For the purposes of the duty, the relevant age is the girl’s age at the time of the disclosure/identification of FGM (i.e. it does not apply where a woman aged 18 or over discloses she had FGM when she was under 18). Complying with the duty does not breach any confidentiality requirement or other restriction on disclosure which might otherwise apply. The duty is a personal duty which requires the individual professional who becomes aware of the case to make a report; the responsibility cannot be transferred. The only exception to this is if you know that another individual from your profession has already made a report; there is no requirement to make a second.

Where there is a risk to life or likelihood of serious immediate harm, professionals should report the case immediately to police, including dialling 999 if appropriate.

Online Training Programme

The Home Office has created a free online learning package to help professionals across all disciplines understand FGM and help them identify and assist girls who are at risk.


    Honor Based Violence

So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV) encompasses crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. All forms of so called HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and should be handled and escalated as such.

Where staff are concerned that a child might be at risk of HBV, they must contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead as a matter of urgency.

    Children Missing in Education

Knowing where children are during school hours is an extremely important aspect of Safeguarding. Missing school can be an indicator of abuse and neglect and may also raise concerns about others safeguarding issues, including the criminal exploitation of children.

We monitor attendance carefully and address poor or irregular attendance without delay.

We will always follow up with parents/carers when pupils are not at school. This means we need to have a least two up to date contacts numbers for parents/carers. Parents should remember to update the school as soon as possible if the numbers change. 

In response to the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2018) the school has:

  1. Staff who understand what to do when children do not attend regularly
  2. Appropriate policies, procedures and responses for pupils who go missing from education (especially on repeat occasions).
  3. Staff who know the signs and triggers for travelling to conflict zones, FGM and forced marriage.
  4. Procedures to inform the local authority when we plan to take pupils off-roll when they:
    1. leave school to be home educated
    2. move away from the school’s location
    3. remain medically unfit beyond compulsory school age
    4. are in custody for four months or more (and will not return to school afterwards); or
    5. are permanently excluded

We will ensure that pupils who are expected to attend the school, but fail to take up the place will be referred to the local authority.

When a pupil leaves the school, we will  record the name of the pupil’s new school and their expected start date. 

Child Protection  

Cottesmore provides a safe environment for children and young people to learn; it identifies children and young people who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. We take appropriate action with the aim of making sure they are kept safe both at home and in Cottesmore. The school acknowledges that within boarding there is potential for abuse by peers. Our procedures for dealing with abuse by one or more pupils against another pupil are outlined in our Anti-bullying policy and in the West Sussex Threshold Guidance - .

We will also consult CAP and LADO for further advice and referral if necessary. This also includes our Early Years Foundation Stage. (EYFS)              

We achieve this objective by: 

  • preventing unsuitable people working with children and young people using DBS Enhanced and Barred List checks (and in the event that the DBS Enhanced checks are delayed, thorough Risk Assessments, plus chaperoning by staff who are DBS Enhanced checked), following safer recruiting guidelines
  • ensuring safe practice and challenging poor and unsafe practice
  • identifying instances in which there are grounds for concern about a child’s welfare, and therefore initiating or taking appropriate action to keep them safe
  • contributing to an effective partnership working between all those involved with providing services for children and young people. 
  • following the safer recruitment process which includes DBS Enchanced checks.
  • When children use the school’s network to access the internet, they are protected from inappropriate content by our filtering and monitoring systems. .Children at Cottesmore whilst at school can only access staff approved websites on the internet.
  • At Cottesmore School, we adhere to the government advice from 2018 regulation under section 75 of the Childcare Act 2006.

Allegations against a member of staff 

Cottesmore School will follow government guidance in managing such allegations, given in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education'. At Cottesmore we believe that it is essential that any allegation of abuse made against a teacher or other member of staff or volunteer is dealt with fairly, quickly, and consistently, in a way that provides effective protection for the child, and at the same time supports the person who is the subject of the allegation. All allegations under Child Protection, in the Prep School, Pre-prep School and EYFS, as listed below go initially to the Headmaster (or to the Proprietor in the absence of the Headmaster) who will contact the LADO for advice - see ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education' paragraph 17 on page 8  and ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education, Annex B 'Roll of the Designated Safeguarding Lead' on page 52. In the event of an allegation against the DSL, this will be immediately reported to the Headmaster. If the Headmaster is absent, the allegation will be passed to the Proprietor (Cathryn Rogerson). If the allegation concerns the Headmaster, the person receiving the allegation will immediately inform the Proprietor or the Chairman of the Board of Governance Advisors (Mr Johny Armstrong) without notifying the Headmaster first. If the allegation concerns the Proprietor the concern should be taken directly to the local authority Designated Officer (LADO). In case of serious harm, the police will be informed from the start. On receipt of an allegation against a member of staff and volunteers, the Headmaster, the DSL or Proprietor or Chairman of the Governing Advisors, as appropriate, will report the allegation to the LADO within one working day. Alternative arrangements will be made to accommodate members of boarding staff off site if any allegation is made against them. The school's arrangements for whistle-blowing can be found on the website under Whistle-blowing Policy. The DSL will receive appropriate higher-level training, including inter-agency working every two years. The DSL has received higher level training, including work with the LADO, according to ISSR requirements. The entire staff body, including part time, support and voluntary staff, receives appropriate training in Child Protection Safeguarding. To clarify, temporary staff will be made aware of the school’s Child Protection Safeguarding arrangements.  The contact telephone number for reporting concerns about staff to the DBS is 01325 953795. If any deficiencies or weaknesses are found within Cottesmore’s policy they will be remedied without delay by the DSL. The Proprietor undertakes an annual review of the school’s Child Protection policies and procedures and checks the efficiency with which the related duties have been discharged. Cottesmore School have consideration in making a referral to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) where a teacher has been dismissed (or would have been dismissed if he or she had not resigned) and a prohibition order may be appropriate, because of 'unacceptable professional conduct', 'conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute', or a 'conviction at any time for a relevant offence'.  

At Cottesmore we ensure that:

  • staff immediately report to the DSL either verbally or by written document, the signs of possible abuse
  • if abuse/bullying occurs, confidentiality cannot be promised to a pupil giving information
  • when listening to the child, staff need to avoid asking leading questions
  • all staff follow procedures for dealing with abuse by one or more pupils against another pupil
  • all staff are aware of the school’s reporting arrangements (including contact with a welfare agency within 24 hours of a disclosure or suspicion of abuse)
  • all staff are aware of how to acquire the contact details for agency involvement if needed
  • assurance is obtained that appropriate child protection checks and procedures apply to any staff employed by another organisation and working with the school’s pupils on another site (for example, in a separate institution)


The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017) requires schools to have a safeguarding policy and procedure which includes the use of mobile phones and cameras in the school to minimise the risk of inappropriate sharing of images. We place restrictions on the use of mobile phones and cameras within the EYFS setting as stated in our Mobile Phone and Camera Policy - The Mobile Phone and Camera Policy also covers the whole school.  Pre-Appointment Checks for Safer Recruitment Please access Cottesmore's Safer Recruitment Policy, the Safer Recruitment Quick Reference Tick List and the Safer Recruitment Pending DBS Check Policy and Risk Assessment in the Pastoral Caresection of the School website. Post Appointment: Induction Cottesmore runs its own thorough induction programme for all staff and volunteers newly appointed to the school, including teaching staff, regardless of previous experience.  

The purpose of induction is to:

  • provide training and information about the establishment’s policies and procedures
  • support individuals in a way that is appropriate for the role for which they have been engaged
  • confirm the conduct expected of staff within the school - Staff Code of Conduct is available in our Staff Handbook
  • provide opportunities for a new member of staff or volunteer to discuss any issues or concerns about their role or responsibilities
  • enable the person’s line manager or mentor to recognise any concerns or issues about the person’s ability or suitability at the outset and address them immediately

The content and nature of the induction process will vary according to the role and previous experience of the new member of staff or volunteer, but as far as safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is concerned the induction programme will include information about, and written statements of:

  • policies and procedures in relation to safeguarding and promoting welfare e.g. child protection, anti-bullying, anti-racism, physical intervention or restraint, intimate care, internet safety and any local child protection and safeguarding procedures, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education - Part One: Safeguarding Information for all Staff' ; 
  • safe practice and the standards of conduct and behaviour expected of staff and pupils in the establishment - the Staff Code of Conduct can be found in our Staff Handbook; 
  • how and with whom any concerns about those issues should be raised; 
  • other relevant personnel procedures e.g. whistle-blowing
  • The programme also includes attendance at child protection training with the Designated Person with Responsibility for Child Protection. This is reinforced on a bi-annual cycle.

Maintaining a Safer Culture

Cottesmore School believes that it is important that all staff have appropriate training and induction so that they understand their roles and responsibilities and are confident about carrying them out. Staff, pupils, students and parents also need to feel confident that they can raise issues or concerns about the safety or welfare of children, and that they will be listened to and taken seriously. This is achieved by maintaining an ethos of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and protecting staff which is supported by: 

  • a clear written statement of the standards of behaviour and the boundaries of appropriate behaviour expected of staff and pupils that is understood and endorsed by all;
  • appropriate induction and training; 
  • regular briefing and discussion of relevant issues; 
  • inclusion of relevant material from the framework for Personal Social Health and Citizenship Education in the curriculum; 
  • ensuring all those working with children in education settings are familiar with Keeping Children Safe in Education: Information for all School and College Staff, DfE 2018A copy is given to the member of staff on arrival and can be found in the Staff Room in the Safeguarding Folder.
  • a clear reporting system if a pupil, learner, member of staff or other person has concerns about the safety of children. 


Monitoring at Cottesmore of both the recruitment process and induction arrangements will allow for future recruitment practices to be better informed. It will cover:

  • staff turnover and reasons for leaving; 
  • exit interviews; 
  • attendance of new recruits at child protection training. 

DBS Enhanced checks 

DBS Enhanced checks at Cottesmore are in compliance with the ISS Regulations (September – December 2009) which states that all staff employed by the school must have a complete Enhanced DBS check before the start date of their employment. This will be signed by A.Owens (Head of Finance and Operations) and T. Rogerson (Headmaster). These DBS checks will be kept on the Single Central Record. In the event of the DBS Enhanced checks being delayed, Barred List Checks are used, plus a thorough Risk Assessment, plus strict chaperoning by staff who have been DBS Enhanced checked.  

Final Important Points 

The Head will ensure that no adult is given substantial unsupervised access to children without being satisfactorily checked through the DfE procedure. Any prospective member of staff will first be DBS Enhanced checked. Bullying can develop into physical and sexual abuse – as can idiosyncratic punishments introduced by individuals. Our school practices must be effective in countering and monitoring bullying and the misuse of discipline, including the effects of cyber bullying on our pupils (see cyber bullying policy). We must be vigilant for early warning signs of inappropriate behaviour of staff: for example favouritism, development of excessive one-to-one contact and increased involvement with showering and changing. Open discussion with pupils should be encouraged regarding issues such as times of day or week and locations in school that are high risk for bullying or illicit activities. If an allegation or suspicion occurs, the DSL will consult the LADO on issues such as informing parents, other children or staff and seeking medical help. The school aims to co-operate as fully as possible with Police and Social Services investigations – and will participate in their planning meetings if appropriate. The Head will consider suspension of staff without prejudice during any child protection investigation involving the staff member. Guidance should be sought from the LADO, Police or Social Services about the timing of any suspension or disciplinary action. The School will inform the DBS of any staff member or adult who resigns or is dismissed in circumstances which may render him or her unsuitable to work with children or young people. Procedures are in place for managing allegations against a member of staff’s conduct or competency regarding child protection issues. If there is a child protection issue, this must take precedence over any other action the School might wish to take. 

The role of DSL at Cottesmore School 

The Role of the DSL is set out in 'Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 - Annex B'. All cases of suspected abuse should be reported to the DSL in the first instance. The DSL must:

  • Act as a source of advice, support and expertise within the school and be responsible for co-ordinating action regarding referrals by liaising with Social Services and other relevant agencies over cases of abuse and allegations of abuse, regarding both pupils and members of staff. 
  • Plus refer any suspected cases to:
  • The local authority designated officer (LADO) for child protection concerns 
    • (all cases which concern a staff member); 
    • Disclosure and Barring Service (cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child); and/or 
    • Police (cases where a crime may have been committed). 
    • Ensure each member of staff has access to and is aware of the School’s Child Protection Policy. This is essential in respect of staff that are perhaps part time or work with more than one school (e.g. trainee or supply teachers).
  • Liaise with the Head to inform him of any issues and ongoing investigations and ensure there is always cover for the role or the designated person within the EYFS, especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations 
  • Ensure the School’s child protection policy is updated and reviewed annually.
  • Keep detailed, accurate, secure, written records of referrals or concerns.
  • Where pupils leave the School, ensure that their file is transferred to the new school as soon as possible. If a pupil leaves and the future school is not known, the DfE should be alerted so that these children can be included on their database for missing pupils. Ellie Evans is West Sussex's local contact for the Children Missing Education Team.
  • Have training in how to identify abuse and training in when it is appropriate to refer a case. Also the DSL must have a working knowledge of how the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board operates. The DSL must also have a working knowledge of the procedure of a Child Protection Case Conference and be able to attend and contribute to these when required.
  • Attend any relevant or refresher training courses and then ensure that any new or key messages are passed to other staff and governors.
  • Act as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies

West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board (also known as Local Safeguarding Children Board - LSCB) 

  • LSCBs have the primary responsibility for promoting the safeguarding of children in the local community.
  • They review local child protection policies and promote effective co-operation between the agencies involved.
  • They should play an active role in training school staff in child protection.
  • LSCB membership is determined locally and should include representatives of the main agencies responsible for working together to safeguard children.

Records and Reports for Child Protection Conferences 

Child protection records should include the DATE, EVENT and ACTION taken. Reports prepared for child protection conferences should focus on the pupil’s:

  • Educational progress and achievements
  • Attendance
  • Behaviour
  • Participation
  • Relations with other children and young people
  • Appearance, where appropriate
  • Interaction with other children and adults.

If relevant, reports should include what is known about the pupil’s relations with his or her family and the family structure. Reports should be objective and based on evidence. They should distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion. The School should:

  • Make reports available to the pupil’s parents prior to the child protection conference.
  • Provide written reports to the child protection conference.
  • Arrange for an appropriate person from the school to attend the child protection conference.
  • Ensure that child protection records are held securely with limited access and separate from the main school pupil file.
  • Transfer any child protection records if the child moves schools.

Related Legislation(See references in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 Annex A)

  • Children Act 1989 and 2004 update: The Children Act 1989 gives every child the right to protection from abuse and exploitation and the right to have enquires made to safeguard his or her welfare. Sections 27 and 47 of the Act place duties on a number of agencies, including LEAs (and therefore indirectly LEA maintained schools), to assist Social Services departments acting on behalf of children and young people in need (s27) or enquiring into allegations of child abuse (s47). 
  • Education Act 2002 -  it requires school local education authorities, the governing bodies of maintained schools and further education institutions to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Education.
  • The School Staffing (England) Regulation 2009 as ammended by SI 2012/1740 and SI 2013/1940
  • The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2014 No 3283
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003 - This act sets out an offence of 'abuse of trust' - a sexual or otherwise inappropriate relationship between an adult who is responsible for young people and a young person in his or her care. Subject to a number of limited defences, it will be a criminal offence for a person in a position of trust in a school to engage in any sexual activity with a person aged 18 and under with whom a relationship of trust exists, irrespective of the age of consent, even if the basis for their relationship is consensual.

 New statutory guidance 

The Local Authority require the school to complete an annual report named The Learning Providers Annual Safeguarding Report. This will be sent to The Manager of Safeguarding In Education Team in the first week of the September term, annually. In 2018 the DfE published new statutory guidance on safeguarding called Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE). All staff at Cottesmore School must read Part 1 of KCSIE, see below.

KCSIE 2018 Part 1

We refer to the revised Prevent Duty Guidance, 18th September 2015, from the Home Office in our safeguarding policy. 

  Relevant Literature 

A. Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2018)B. Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2018)C. Policy Review Dates

  • Reviewed by Compliance Officer, February 2020
  • Review due: September 2021


  1. Rosemary Terry, (who is the the LADO/ Manager, Safeguarding in Education/ Local SET and Allegations Manager)  delivered a complete day of Safeguarding training to all employees in the school on the first day of the academic year 2013. The LADO details are listed above.
  2. Julie Wilkinson from the Boarding Schools Association delivered a complete day of training to all employees in the school on Safeguarding from the aspect of Anti-bullying. training on the first day of the Spring term 2014. Her details are:
  3.  Safeguarding training through the NHS: How to spot and what to do about eating disorders. (Sussex Healthline Liaison Officer - Marina Moores – telephone support and information 0300 5000 101 Summer Term 2013, 17.04.13
  4. West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board (The Local Safeguarding Children Board - LSCB) will give Safeguarding training to every staff member at Cottesmore on 02.09.14
  5. The DSL has attended the following courses: "Advanced Safeguarding for Designated Staff" by Andrew Hall, Success in Schools 01.03.13; "West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board: Working Together to Safeguard Children: Module 2 - 08.12.11 and was refreshed in 2015 on advice from the county council.
  6. The EYFS Deputy DSL has attended "Child Protection for the Designated Person" by Hempsall's 08.02.12; for "West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board:  Refresher Training for Designated Member of Staff for Child Protection" 13.05.14
  7. The DSL updates the whole staff on Safeguarding Matters on a termly basis at the start of each term.
  8. The DSL trains all new staff in Child Protection Safeguarding procedures at the start of each term.
  9. Educare online training for all teaching staff in the Prevent Duty, Level 2 Child Exploitation and Online Safety, Level 2 Child Protection in Education from November 2016 onwards with further training including: 'Child Protection Refresher Level 2', 'Raising Awareness of Peer-on-peer Abuse Level 2', 'The Prevent Duty - Level 2' and 'Sexual Violence and Harassment between Children and Young People Level 2' in January 2019.
  10. The DSL trained the whole staff on FGM in November 2018. It was also covered in the online training from Educare.
  11. Deputy DSL's completed full DSL training in February 2016 through West Sussex County Council.
  12. All staff have been given a copy of KCSIE (part 1) to read. 
  13. Induction Training - this is mandatory and should include; the behaviour policy and the safeguarding response to children who go missing from education as well as the child protection policy, staff behaviour policy (sometimes called a code of conduct), the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (including the identity of the safeguarding lead and the deputies). (see KCSIE 2018))


  • DBS = Disclosure and Barring Service. This constitutes a merger of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.  
  • DSL = Designated Safeguarding Lead EYFS = Early Years Foundation Stage 
  • KCSE = Keeping Children Safe in Education  Keeping Children Safe in Education.  
  • LADO: Local Authority Designated Officer LEA: Local Education Authority 
  • LSCB: Local Safeguarding Children Board  (This is WS SCB) 
  • WS SCB: West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board (This is the LSCB)