The Trust remains deeply committed to raising standards and achievement for all children regardless of ethnicity, race, gender or religion.
If children are to achieve academically, socially and emotionally to the best of their ability, it is essential that their basic needs for safety, protection and inclusion are successfully and confidently addressed. All children have a fundamental right to be protected from harm, attend school and have their specific individual needs met.
OWLS Multi Academy Trust aims to promote and protect the well-being of the children in our care. Our first priority is always the welfare of our children.
In September 2018 the DfE published revised ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education – statutory guidance for schools and colleges’. This guidance contains information on what schools, including academies, should do and sets out the legal duties which they must comply with.
In law, individual academies are deemed to be ‘relevant partners’ of their local authority and as such are under a duty to co-operate in that local authority’s Local Safeguarding Children’s Board arrangements. Discovery Schools Academy Trust ensures not only compliance at the local level but also assumes a strategic responsibility to ensure that safeguarding practice is of high quality.
OWLS Trust’ Safeguarding Governance Framework
The Trust’s Safeguarding Team reviews and discusses safeguarding with our named Safeguarding Trustee/s at least termly. Mr Osiur Rahman.
Safeguarding and the protection of our children, young people and staff is a key priority for the Trust. The core is to share and learn practice; and to challenge schools to ensure that children and staff are kept safe, attend, have equal access and their welfare promoted.
Our Trustees also have responsibility for ensuring that our schools are compliant with safeguarding legislation. This includes having rigorous recruitment processes for staff and volunteers, induction and mandatory and ongoing training. Our Trustees, meet at least five times a year. The Trust reviews each schools safeguarding processes annually.
Each school has a named Safeguarding Governor. We expect our Safeguarding Governors to have an overview of all things Safeguarding in their own school.
We also expect that they are appropriately trained, have a good level of safeguarding knowledge and conduct regular visits in schools focusing on safeguarding.
All our Governors are expected to have attended basic safeguarding training. This can be done through their school, through the Trust’s online training, by attending face-to-face training event, or through their own workplace. We do expect our Safeguarding Governors to have also completed Safer Recruitment.
Named staff and contacts
- Trust Designated Trust Safeguarding Lead: Peter Merry (CEO) • firstname.lastname@example.org • 0116 216 9963
- Nominated Safeguarding Trustee is: Osiur Rahman
The OWLS Trust fully recognises the contribution it can make to protect children and support pupils in school. The aim of the guidance is to safeguard and promote our pupils’ welfare, safety and health by fostering an honest, open, caring and supportive climate. The pupils’ welfare is of paramount importance.
It is the requirement of the OWLS Trust that each individual school within the partnership adopts, and meets the statutory compliance, of the Safeguarding requirements of the Local Authority.
Please refer to the Safeguarding Policy for each individual school for further details – available via the school website or contacting the school office.
Local authorities have overarching statutory responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area. Whilst local authorities play a lead role, safeguarding children and protecting them from harm is everyone’s responsibility.
The OWLS Trust Partnership ensures that all OWLS academies:
- have a designated professional lead and a designated governor for safeguarding
- have in place safeguarding arrangements which are designed to take account of all possible safeguarding issues including Child Sexual Exploitation and Preventing Radicalisation
- adhere to safe recruitment practices
- have arrangements for working together with other agencies and for sharing information with other professionals
- take account of their local authority’s procedures and practices established by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and comply with any requests from that Board
- have in place effective child protection and staff behaviour policies
- develop a culture of listening to children and take account of their wishes and feelings
- provide appropriate supervision and support for staff including undertaking safeguarding induction and training
- follow clear policies for dealing with allegations against people who work with children
- have clear procedures in place to handle allegations of abuse against children
- have clear whistle-blowing procedures which reflect the principles of Sir Robert Francis’s Freedom to Speak Up review
- consider how children may be taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities as part of a broad and balanced curriculum
- appoint a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of children who are looked after and ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keeping looked after children safe
- put in place appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from education
- fulfill all of their statutory responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
- Monitor the quality of safeguarding practices and their impact on outcomes for children across the Trust and provide regular reports to the Chief Executive and the Trust Board of Directors
- Ensure all schools complete an annual Safeguarding audit to identify areas for development, best practice to share across the Trust and to ensure OWLS schools are not just compliant but aspiring to develop leading practice in this area – schools to complete identified action plans and cascading of best practice as a Trust non-negotiable
- Work with the Directors of School Improvement and Quality Assurance to ensure that the performance of vulnerable children is effectively monitored and that appropriate support is made available to those children who are at risk of achieving poor outcomes.
- Liaise with local authority lead professionals for safeguarding, LSCBs, Ofsted, ESFA and other agencies as required
- Produce an annual Safeguarding action plan as part of the Trust’s business planning arrangements informed by activity undertaken by the external Safeguarding lead for the Trust
- Commission additional external challenge and support where appropriate to ensure academies meet their statutory responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children Policy in respect of safeguarding is mainly determined at national and local authority level and it is the responsibility of each academy to implement such policy. OWLS safeguarding support ensures adherence to national and local policy in the interests of vulnerable children and young people. Failure to implement appropriate arrangements in academies to safeguard and promote the well-being of children carries significant reputational risk for the Trust.
Policy in respect of safeguarding and child protection is determined at Trust and local authority level. It is the responsibility of each school to personalise and implement such policy. Each individual school is responsible for ensuring compliance with its Local Safeguarding Children’s Board procedures and policies and for publishing its own safeguarding and child protection policy in accordance with statutory requirements.
School's specific safeguarding and child protection policy can be found on their respective school websites.
Other Relevant Guidance and Policies
- Designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children
- Keeping children safe in education
- Working together to safeguard children
- Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation
- Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006
- Promoting the education of looked-after and previously looked-after children
- Supervision of activity with children
- Children Act 1989: court orders
- Children Act 1989: care planning, placement and case review
Operation Encompass letter for parents
All Leicestershire Schools are now part of a safeguarding initiative, which aims to improve outcomes for children and families affected by domestic violence and abuse.
This scheme has been designed to provide early reporting to schools of any domestic abuse incidents that might have an impact on a child that attends their school. The approach, known as Operation Encompass is being rolled out across the UK. In Leicestershire the scheme is run in partnership between Leicestershire County Council and Leicestershire Police.
All public agencies currently share information where there are safeguarding concerns or risk of harm to children and the Police currently share information on all incidents of domestic abuse in Leicestershire with Leicestershire County Council.
To further support the welfare of children this information sharing is being extended. During the school term our Designated Safeguarding Lead will now be informed when any domestic abuse incident has been reported to the police and one of our pupils was in the household.
This has been introduced because domestic abuse in a household can have a big impact on children, even if they do not see what is happening.
This information will be used to ensure the school is able to provide appropriate support to our pupils. The information will remain confidential and only shared on a strictly need-to-know basis, for example with the class teacher. It will not be shared with any pupils.
If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about domestic abuse or sexual violence, call the United Against Violence and Abuse (UAVA) helpline on 0800 80 200 28. The helpline is open 8am to 8am Monday to Saturday. You can also visit www.uava.org.uk
We look to offer the best support possible for our pupils and believe that this scheme is going to be beneficial and supportive for all those involved. In other areas of the country where it is in place it has been found to be a very effective way of supporting children at a most difficult time.