Safeguarding at Beechen Cliff

Beechen Cliff school is committed to keeping children safe, fulfilling its child protection duties, adopting safer working practices and ensuring all members of the school community can thrive. The school operates under the MNSP Trust’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy which can be found in the downloads section below, along with other relevant DfE guidance.

Safeguarding is defined by the government as follows:

● Protecting children from maltreatment;
● Preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development;
● Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
● Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

As Beechen Cliff is also a boarding school, it is inspected by both Education and Social Care Ofsted Inspectors. This means our standards of safeguarding are particularly high, which benefits all in the school community. In the most recent Ofsted inspection, inspectors reported that the school has “…a safeguarding culture that underpins day-to-day practice.” See Related Pages: Ofsted Inspection Reports for more information

All staff are trained in safeguarding in accordance with Government and Local Authority requirements. New staff cannot start working with children until they have undergone extensive checks, induction and training, and existing staff have weekly updates on safeguarding matters.

Our Safeguarding Team

Every school must have a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). At Beechen Cliff this is James Oldham. There are four Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads: Oliver Abbott, Clive Hall, Kant Mann and Kim Mather. One of these members of senior staff is always on call in the event of a safeguarding or child protection concern arising.

The DSL and Deputies, supported by a safeguarding administrator, comprise the core safeguarding team of the school. There are weekly safeguarding team meetings, weekly reports to the Senior Management Team and termly reports to the Trust Board on safeguarding matters. These reporting mechanisms ensure that pupils at risk are constantly under review, that the strategic safeguarding plan is delivered and that safeguarding work across the school is quality assured; the latter includes boarding, site safety, educational visits, staff awareness and contextual safeguarding as just some examples.

Our Safeguarding Strategy

Our strategic safeguarding activity plan and related strategic activity plans address a range of important issues for safeguarding young people. These include, but are not exclusive to:

● Mental health and well-being (see Related Pages below)
● Online safety
● PSHE
● Sex and relationship education
● Educational visits
● Staff supervision
● Alternative provision
● Prevent Duty

The core safeguarding team is complemented by a team of experienced Heads of House and the Sixth Form Pastoral Manager who are trained to the same level at the DSL and Deputies, the PSHE team, the Health & Safety and Human Resources Lead and other staff who have specific duties related to safeguarding. Above all, safeguarding is the responsibility of all staff, underpinned by three core statements:

● It could happen here.
● Always act in the best interests of the child.
● If there is any doubt, there is not doubt – always report a concern.

Sexual harassment and violence

We understand that attitudes, behaviours and beliefs in society have the effect of normalising and trivialising sexual violence. Misogyny, rape jokes, sexual harassment, online sexual abuse (upskirting, non-consensual sharing of intimate photos, cyberflashing), and sexual coercion are examples of behaviours which should not be tolerated by society and are not tolerated at Beechen Cliff School. We know that when behaviours such as these are normalised, they can act as a gateway to more extreme acts such as sexual assault and rape. Pupils and students are taught in age-appropriate ways about the consequences of these behaviours and how everyone in society has a role to eliminate them. This is rooted in our core value of respect, which we define as showing an understanding of the rights, wishes and feelings of others through words and actions. Accordingly, we teach pupils and students that being a bystander, not reporting or not showing compassion towards a victim equally do not align with our values.

For young people who are victims of sexual harassment and/or violence, we want to provide support, guidance and signposting. We are in regular contact with BANES Children’s Social Care and the Police and make referrals to support organisations such as SARAS (Somerest and Avon rape and Sexual Advice Support) https://www.sarsas.org.uk/. If you are a pupil or student, or are the parent of a child, who has been the victim of sexual harassment and/or violence, we urge you to speak to us so we can provide assistance. This can be to a Head of House or Sixth Form, or any member of the Safeguarding Team.

Peer-on-peer abuse

Peer-on-peer abuse is any form of abuse between children, including physical or verbal bullying, cyber-bullying, sexual abuse or sustained equalities-based harassment. Pupils and students are taught about these issues, how to report them and the school’s stance, which is one of zero tolerance. Parents who are concerned about peer-on-peer abuse should contact the school in order that we can address the matter quickly and involving the relevant external agencies if required (e.g. Police, social care).

Online Safety

All pupils and students at Beechen Cliff receive age-appropriate teaching and information about keeping safe online. Whilst the internet and mobile technology provide numerous positive opportunities for young people, they also represent a risk and the school recognises its important role in mitigating this. Through assemblies, the tutor programme, PSHE, the KS3 ICT/Computing Curriculum and information for parents, the school maintains a high profile for online safety. Issues covered include peer-on-peer abuse, cyberbullying, sexting, grooming, fake news and screen time. Pupils and students are also strongly encouraged to report online abuse, either to the school, their parents or the Police. The links below provide lots of useful information for children and their parents:

Visitors

Visitors to the school are required to sign in and we have lanyard system for ensuring all members of the community are aware of access rights to the school:

● Blue lanyards are for staff members
● Green lanyards are for approved visitors, who can move about the school site unaccompanied
● Red lanyards are for visitors who require escorting at all times.

All visitors to the school are provided a leaflet about safeguarding on arrival. This can be found in the downloads section below.

Local Safeguarding Partner

Beechen Cliff’s local Safeguarding Partner is the Bath & North East Somerset Community Safety & Safeguarding Partnership (BCSSP). In the event that they cannot do so through the school, staff, parents or members of the public can report a concern about a child via the contact details found here: https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/report-concern-about-child.

Details of other local safeguarding partnerships can be found at https://www.proceduresonline.com/swcpp/

Safeguarding Hot Topics

Every week, all staff at Beechen Cliff are sent a Safeguarding ‘Hot Topic’ to keep them abreast of key safeguarding issues. These repeat on and/or supplement the formal training safeguarding staff have each year (which includes input on INSET days, online training modules, safeguarding knowledge tests and briefings, discussions and scenarios throughout the year).  Many of these Safeguarding Hot Topics will be of interest to parents and we therefore publish some on the website each term. You can see these below.

Reporting Concerns

If you are concerned about a safeguarding issue please see the MNSP Child Protection and Safeguarding policies under the MNSP Policies section. Any concerns should be communication to the school Designated Safeguarding Lead, James Oldham.

If you are worried about about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online, you can make a report to one of CEOP’s Child Protection Advisors by clicking here.