Child Protection Policy

Alexanders School of Dance & Theatre  recognizes its duty of care under the Children and Young Persons Act 1963, the Child (Performances) Regulations 1968, the Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (in Scotland change to Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003).

The school recognizes that abuse can take many forms, whether it be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. The society is committed to practice which protects children from harm. All members of the society accept and recognize their responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm.

The school believes that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount.
  • All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
  • All members and employees of the society should be clear on how to respond appropriately.

The school will ensure that:

  • All children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity.
  • The duty of care to children will always be put first.
  • A balanced relationship based on mutual trust will be built which empowers the children to share in the decision-making process.
  • Enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given.
  • Bullying will not be accepted or condoned.
  • All adult members of the society provide a positive role model for dealing with other people.
  • Action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour.
  • It will keep up-to-date with health & safety legislation.
  • It will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children.
  • It will undertake relevant development and training.
  • It will hold a register of every child involved with the society and will retain a contact name and number close at hand in case of emergencies.
  • The society has a dedicated Child Protection Officer, who is in charge of ensuring that the child protection policy and procedures are adhered to.
    That person’s name is CATHLEEN SMITH…and he/she can be contacted on 07932063937

 

CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES

Responsibilities of the School 

At the outset of any production involving children the society will:

  • Undertake a risk assessment and monitor risk throughout the production process.
  • Engage in effective recruitment of chaperones and other individuals with
  • responsibility for children.
  • Ensure that children are supervised at all times.
  • Know how to get in touch with the local authority social services, in case it needs to report a concern.

Parents

  • All parents have the responsibility to collect (or arrange collection of) their children after rehearsals or performances. It is NOT the responsibility of the society to take children home.

Managing sensitive information

  • Permission will be sought from the parents for use of photographic material featuring children for promotional or other purposes.
  • The society’s web-based materials and activities will be carefully monitored for inappropriate use.

Suspicion of abuse

  • If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of the society, please make this known to the person with responsibility for child protection. If you suspect that the person with responsibility for child protection is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the Principal.
  • Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response in case there is follow-up in which you are involved.
  • If a serious allegation is made against any member of the society, chaperone, venue staff etc., that individual will be suspended immediately until the investigation is concluded.

Disclosure of abuse

If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:

  • Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
  • Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer.
  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help.
  • Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone.
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next.
  • Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually social services or the police.
  • As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.

Recording

  • In all situations, including those in which the cause of concern arises from a disclosure made in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will be recorded, regardless of whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.
  • An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or disclosure, the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken eg. suspension of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported.
  • The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation.

Rights & Confidentiality

  • If a complaint is made against a member of the school, he or she will be made aware of his rights under the society’s disciplinary procedures.
  • No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.
  • In criminal law the Crown, or other prosecuting authority, has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Accidents

  • To avoid accidents, chaperones and children will be advised of “house rules” regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.
  • If a child is injured while in the care of the society, a designated first-aider will administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in the society’s accident book.
  • If a child joins the production with an obvious physical injury a record of this will
    be made in the accident book. This record will be countersigned by the person with responsibility for child protection. This record can be useful if a formal allegation
    is made later and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in the production.

Chaperones

  • Chaperones will be appointed by the society for the care of children during the production process. By law the chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give to a child
  • Where chaperones are not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of the principal. If changes cannot be made satisfactorily, the chaperone should consider not allowing the child to continue.
  • If a chaperone considers that a child is unwell or too tired to continue, the chaperone must inform the principal and not allow the child to continue.
  • Under the Dangerous Performances Act, no child of compulsory school age is permitted to do anything which may endanger life or limb. This could include working on wires or heavy lifting. Chaperones should tell the principal to cease using children in this way and should contact the local authority.
  • Chaperones will be aware of where the children are at all times.
  • Children are not to leave the theatre unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents.
  • Children will be adequately supervised while going to and from the toilets.
  • Chaperones should be aware of the safety arrangements and first aid procedures in the venue and will ensure that children in their care do not place themselves and others in danger.
  • Chaperones should ensure that any accidents are reported to and recorded by the school.
  • If someone different than the parent is to collect the child, the Stage Door Manger needs to be informed.
  • If a parent has not collected the child, it is the duty of the chaperone to stay with that child until other arrangements have been made.

Disclosure of abuse

If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:

  • Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
  • Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer.
  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help.
  • Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone.
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next.
  • Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually social services or the police.
  • As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.

Recording

  • In all situations, including those in which the cause of concern arises from a disclosure made in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will be recorded, regardless of whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.
  • An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or disclosure, the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken eg. suspension of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported.
  • The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation.

Rights & Confidentiality

  • If a complaint is made against a member of the school, he or she will be made aware of his rights under the society’s disciplinary procedures.
  • No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.
  • In criminal law the Crown, or other prosecuting authority, has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Accidents

  • To avoid accidents, chaperones and children will be advised of “house rules” regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.
  • If a child is injured while in the care of the society, a designated first-aider will administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in the society’s accident book. .
  • If a child joins the production with an obvious physical injury a record of this will
    be made in the accident book. This record will be countersigned by the person with responsibility for child protection. This record can be useful if a formal allegation
    is made later and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in the production.

Chaperones

  • Chaperones will be appointed by the society for the care of children during the production process. By law the chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give to a child
  • Where chaperones are not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of the principal. If changes cannot be made satisfactorily, the chaperone should consider not allowing the child to continue.
  • If a chaperone considers that a child is unwell or too tired to continue, the chaperone must inform the principal and not allow the child to continue.
  • Under the Dangerous Performances Act, no child of compulsory school age is permitted to do anything which may endanger life or limb. This could include working on wires or heavy lifting. Chaperones should tell the principal to cease using children in this way and should contact the local authority.
  • Chaperones will be aware of where the children are at all times.
  • Children are not to leave the theatre unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents.
  • Children will be adequately supervised while going to and from the toilets.
  • Chaperones should be aware of the safety arrangements and first aid procedures in the venue, and will ensure that children in their care do not place themselves and others in danger.
  • Chaperones should ensure that any accidents are reported to and recorded by the school.
  • If someone different than the parent is to collect the child, the Stage Door Manger needs to be informed.
  • If a parent has not collected the child, it is the duty of the chaperone to stay with that child until other arrangements have been made.