The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory guidance has specific safeguarding and welfare requirements and steps that providers must take to keep children safe and promote their welfare.
Early years providers should pay particular attention to Section 3 in the guidance. This mentions that providers must have and implement a policy, and procedures, to safeguard children.
These should be in line with the guidance and procedures of Waltham Forest's Safeguarding Children Board.
The safeguarding policy and procedures must include an explanation of the action to be taken in the event of an allegation being made against a member of staff, and cover the use of mobile phones and cameras in the setting.
This DfE statutory guidance sets out the responsibilities of all schools and colleges in England to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.
Statutory Guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Non Statutory guidance - The Minister for Children and Families recommends that schools, colleges and Local Safeguarding Children Boards consider using this guidance in conjunction with the DfE's statutory guidance - 'Keeping children safe in education' when devising and implementing their safeguarding and child protection policies and training plans.
Waltham Forest Council's Safeguarding in Schools and EY Settings Model Policy.
Schools are not required to use this policy but it is available should you wish to use it. All settings are expected to tailor the policy to the needs and requirements of individual settings and the children within them.
A practitioner must be designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children in every setting (Designated Safeguarding Lead - DSL). Childminders must take the lead responsibility themselves.
Training should ensure that practitioners:
It is essential that the DSL training practitioners receive, is refreshed within 2 years as per the WFSCB requirement.
If the settings DSL changes to an individual who has undertaken DSL training elsewhere, as long as the training is within the 2-year window and is ‘appropriate and comparable’ this would be acceptable.
It would be expected that in all instances staff joining the setting would receive an induction to the settings policies procedures and arrangements for safeguarding children.
Registered providers must inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere). Registered providers must also notify Ofsted of the action taken in respect of the allegations. These notifications must be made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made. A registered provider who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with this requirement, commits an offence.
Ofsted has recently produced a short guidance document regarding Early Years Inspections to dispel any myths around the process and confirm the facts. The guidance should be read alongside the early years inspection handbook.
To ensure children are safeguarded new staff undertaking “regulated” activity i.e. work with children, must not commence employment in that role until all of the statutory pre-employment checks have been carried out, including the DBS Enhanced Disclosure check.
In the unlikely event that it has not been possible to obtain a satisfactory Disclosure before the individual is scheduled to commence employment and the setting believes that it is necessary for the individual to start work, i.e. to ensure ratios are met, the manager and/ or chair of the management committee has discretion to allow the individual to begin work pending receipt of the DBS. However, in such case the manager can only allow the staff member to commence work on the basis that they are appropriately supervised AND that all the other statutory pre-employment checks have been completed.
To assist in this process the undertaking of an assessment of risk is essential in ensuring that the children in your care are safeguarded. Overall you should ensure you have:
Access the Model Risk Assessment template
Though the requirement for a single central record only applies to schools and colleges. Early years providers must be able to demonstrate to Ofsted, during inspection, that they too have carried out the necessary DBS checks on all relevant staff. Ofsted expects all early year’s settings to keep a single central record containing various checks related to anyone who will have contact with children in the setting.
There is a range of guidance and support available to support your safeguarding needs.