The British School of Amsterdam is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for pupils, staff and visitors, and to promoting a climate where children and adults feel confident about sharing concerns they have about others or their own safety and well-being.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children, their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is vigilant and child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, that which is in the best interests of the child.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purpose of this guidance as: protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development; ensuring 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 educational outcomes and life chances.
Safeguarding applies to all children at school, and is a central consideration when planning changes to the School’s organisation, schemes of work, pastoral organisation and activities.
Children in this document and in the School’s context includes everyone under the age of 18, and will also extend to those over the age of 18 still on the School roll.
Safeguarding is not just about reacting to child protection concerns but is integral to:
- The provision of a safe learning environment
- Systems to ensure an effective equalities policy
- Safe recruitment practices, staff induction and training
- Effective behaviour management and anti-bullying strategies
- The recording of attendance, reporting of absence, off-rolling and exclusion
- Information sharing protocols
- Supporting vulnerable children
- Systems to support children with medical needs
- Substance abuse policies
- The curriculum, and ensuring all children are taught about safeguarding
- Extended schools and the use of premises by other groups
- Partnership working
Safeguarding needs to take account of many influences on children, including those out of our control, and emerging events in local, national and international environments.
The School’s safeguarding policies draw on guidance obtained from a range of sources, including:
2. Safeguarding Procedures
The British School of Amsterdam makes every effort to ensure the safety and well-being of the pupils in our care. The following procedures are in place:
2.1 Teaching and Learning
In formulating schemes of work and teaching materials, staff should be aware of potential safeguarding risks as well as opportunities to strengthen children’s ability to protect themselves and make good choices. Specific PSHE schemes of work operate across all areas of the School (Jigsaw as a base scheme across the school with adaptations as appropriate). The School as a whole has the responsibility in developing good behaviour, respect for each other and tolerance and acceptance of difference. Drugs awareness and the dangers of diet and smoking are also taught to allow children to make sensible and appropriate healthy choices in developing their lifestyles as young people. PSHE topics including arranged marriage, FGM, homophobia, sexism, racism, and sex education and relationships education are also included at age appropriate phases (see PSHE Schemes of Work). Staff are aware that the curriculum is not the only area where children will learn at school, and the School is alert to the need to clarify misunderstandings that may arise from what children teach each other, or what children misunderstand. The School also uses outside agencies and visiting speakers to supplement classroom teaching when appropriate.
2.2 School Enrolment and Admissions
The enrolment form includes information about the adults who have legal access to each child, and to the address of the child.
Children in the Netherlands are required to be registered with the Gemeente. The School checks the identity of children via their passports and birth certificates (and their parent’s passport), as well as their medical insurance number to ensure they are registered with appropriate medical practices
On enrolment, parents and previous schools are asked for references for each school aged pupil. A separate letter asking for any Child Protection concerns to be forwarded under separate cover is also sent to the previous school or Early Years setting. Any information received that pertains to Child Protection or Safeguarding is given to the receiving Head of School for safe storage in the relevant CP File and from 2022, uploaded to MyConcern. This information is also shared with the Principal and the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
2.3 Collection from School
Only a known and named adult may collect children in the Early Years and Junior Schools, although from the age of nine upwards parents may arrange for children to walk home alone (see below). Parents/carers must inform the School of any changes in child collection arrangements. Contact with a parent/carer is sought before a child is allowed off the School premises. Parents must give consent for Junior pupils aged nine and above to go home unsupervised by an adult. Late collection is recorded.
Pupils in the Senior School may go home alone, but the School should have details of their responsible adults. If a child is collected before the end of the school day they are signed out by the collecting adult. Time and reason for collection is included. Senior School pupils who have arrangements to leave early must sign out at the front door.
2.4 Absence from School
Parents are asked to inform the School of any illness/absence before the day of absence or on the morning of the absence. Children who do not come to school are noted in the registration system, and Receptionists/School Secretaries will telephone each morning if no reason for absence has been given. If there is no response to a telephone call, Receptionists/ School Secretaries will follow up with an email, and check with other named adults on the child’s file. If still no response, the Receptionist/ School Secretary will inform the Head of School who will decide if a home visit is necessary to determine the reason for absence. If the School is unable to make contact with the family we will consider informing the police.
2.5 Entry to School Site
Entry to the School site is restricted via the main front door and a staffed Reception, with the exception of the start of the day (8.25 – 8.45) and the end of the day (15.10 – 15.45), and for morning Nursery collection (12.00) and afternoon arrival. At these times, staff are on duty to supervise the entry / exit of the pupils. Unidentified visitors are challenged by staff and directed to the Reception Desk. Official visitors are issued with a Visitor’s badge and red lanyard. Interior playground gates are secured once the school is in session, and entry into the school at times other than pick up and drop off is through fob activated security doors.
Visitors, including parents/carers (other than at the start/end of the day), must report to the Reception Desk on entry to school, and sign in. A Visitor’s badge and red lanyard will be issued, and visitors with red lanyards must always be accompanied. The exception for this is if parents are attending a concert or show and forming an audience, when Receptionists will be aware of an event in advance and parents will be shown to the relevant hall.
2.7 Recruitment of Staff
All staff are recruited following safeguarding procedures as set out in the Safer Recruitment Policy. The Senior Leadership Team, Child Protection Officer and HR Manager have completed Safer Recruitment training, and all recruitment and vetting procedures follow strict guidelines and ensure the safety of all personnel.
All staff members should be aware of the systems within the School which support safeguarding; these will be explained to them as part of staff induction as well at the start of every school year. This will include this policy, the Staff Code of Conduct and the role of the DSL and Deputy DSLs.
Any person working at The British School of Amsterdam in a voluntary capacity is subject to all vetting procedures. All volunteers must have a current Verklaring omtrent gedrag (VOG) (Certificate of Good Conduct) to work in the School. Volunteers work under the direct supervision of a staff member and are subject to the same conditions as contractual paid employees, including undertaking Child Protection training.
2.9 Visibility and Facilities
For the protection of pupils and staff, all classroom doors have a glass panel (where practically possible) which must not be covered. Doors to classrooms are not locked whilst pupils are present, except for in a lockdown procedure (see also Health & Safety Policy and Lockdown Protocols) The school has identified doors that may need alteration as part of the maintenance plan.
The British School of Amsterdam has First Aid trained staff in each section of the School, including staff who are trained in the use of the AED defibrillator, which is renewed annually. If a child sustains an injury or is affected by an accident/incident whilst at school, parents/carers are notified as soon as possible. The School makes every effort to maintain emergency contact details for each child. Head injuries, however minor, are always reported to parents as soon as possible. (see also First Aid Policy)
2.11 Physical and Medical Concerns
A system for recording and monitoring pupils with serious physical or medical concerns is in operation. When the child starts at the School, or after a need emerges, a Care Plan is drawn up with their parents. Copies of this are circulated to all staff who come into contact with the child, and are posted in the School offices and staff work rooms.
For children on Phases 2,3 and 4 (previously SA and SA+) on the Learning Support Register, a Learning Support Plan (LSP) is developed by teachers, and the goals within it are shared with parents. A copy of the LSP is kept by the Learning Support Coordinator.
The administration of medicines is carefully managed, and parents must give written permission for medicines to be taken at school. Mobile storage for children who have EpiPens, or similar medical resources such as insulin kits, is carefully planned, and spare EpiPens are kept in the School (Staff Work room for Junior School Head of Schools office for EYS, and Student Services for Senior) (See also Learning Support Policy https://britams.fireflycloud.net/policies/learning-support-policy )
2.12 Risk Assessment and School Trips
Thorough risk assessments are undertaken for all school events, off-site trips and visits. Particular care should be taken in assessing the arrangements for overnight stays in camp and residential visits to ensure proper supervision of children whilst away from school. Staff should also be aware of the possibility of older children accessing recreational drugs, alcohol or underage smoking, and children and staff should have clear guidelines as to what is acceptable, what is unacceptable, and what to do in the event of misuse of substances whilst in the care of the School. Further details about measures to ensure the safety of children on site are found in the Health and Safety Policy.
2.13 Use of ICT
The School’s ICT systems have firewalls installed, however staff should be aware of content and context of internet based materials, and ensure trusted websites, educational resources and media outlets are used in supporting teaching and learning. (See also Acceptable use of IT policy: https://britams.fireflycloud.net/policies/acceptable-use-of-ict-policy) Photographs and images of children should not be kept on personal devices, where possible school equipment should be used if photographs are taken for school use (for example to celebrate a child's work or share on the school network) and if staff have to use their own devices, they should be downloaded onto the school's network within 24 hours and deleted from the personal device. Staff are responsible for ensuring this happens (see also GDPR and data handling policies)
2.14 Social Media
Children use social media increasingly as a means to communicate with each other and with the wider world. The School has the responsibility of working with children and parents to ensure that young people understand the risks and possible negative effects of using social media apps and websites. At school, children are not allowed to access social media in lessons, and use of mobile phone and tablet technology should be closely monitored. Children should also be encouraged to report misuse of social media to staff so that any potential abuse can be brought into the open and dealt with. Staff should be aware of sexting and of the possible presence of predatory behaviour. Children are given clear sanctions for misuse of mobile technology while at school; these sanctions include keeping the child’s phone or device securely locked away during the school day. Staff who have concerns that children are being abused by other children or by adults online should follow the Child Protection procedures (see https://britams.fireflycloud.net/policies/child-protection-policy ).
2.15 Extra Curricular Activities
The School applies the same vetting procedures to club providers and peripatetic music teachers as to School staff, and the choice of clubs on offer will be monitored by each Head of School to ensure that children are accessing appropriate activities. Once children are in the care of an extra curricular club provider or child care provider, they become the responsibility of that provider, but the school works together with any provision that takes place at school to ensure the continuation of a high standard of care.
Staff are on duty in all areas of the School when children are present, and the School has age-appropriate levels of supervision at each stage of the school. Staff should be aware that, as children grow and develop more independence, they may still be subject to safeguarding risks as they move around the School, and should be proactive in keeping a high staff visibility in and around student study areas, playgrounds, corridors and locker rooms. (see also Supervision Policy: https://britams.fireflycloud.net/policies/supervision-arrangements )
2.17 Peer Pressure and Child-on-Child Abuse
Pastoral systems are in place throughout the School, and staff communicate widely with each other to ensure that children have trusted adults to talk to if they feel under pressure from peers to become involved in behaviour they feel uncomfortable with. Staff should be aware of these risks, and raise issues through the pastoral system / Year Group or Key Stage Leaders / Heads of School if they have concerns.
The Child Protection Policy includes procedures to minimise the risk of child-on-child abuse and sets out how allegations of child-on-child abuse will be investigated and dealt with. The policy should reflect the different forms child-on-child abuse can take, and make it clear that abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as “banter” or “part of growing up”. It should be clear as to how victims of peer-on-peer abuse will be supported.
Instances of child-on-child abuse could include pupils being sexually touched/ assaulted or being subject to initiation/hazing type violence. All staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via child-on-child abuse. This is most likely to include, but is not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying); gender based violence/sexual assaults, and homophobia and sexting. Staff should be clear as to the School’s policy and procedures with regards to child-on-child abuse. Expert and professional organisations are best placed to provide up-to-date guidance and practical support on specific safeguarding issues.
2.18 Allegations About Other Pupils
All allegations against other pupils should be dealt with using the child protection protocols (see CP Policy)
2.19 Prevent Strategy
The School is aware of UK arrangements for reporting under the Prevent strategy, to safeguard children and families from possible influence from political/religious extremism and involvement in terrorism. Members of the Child Protection team (DSL and DDSLs and CPO) have completed online Prevent training and all staff are updated annually on the responsibilities placed on schools to protect children from extremism. The Dutch authorities are currently developing the channels for international schools to report. In the meantime, instances of extremism or concerns about children are dealt with through our Child Protection procedures.
2.20 Designated Police Officers
The School has a link Police Officer, who can be contacted for a range of advice or safeguarding concerns. These are:
Alex de Bruijne
Telefonisch bereikbaar via 0613814023
2.21 Links with Parents/Carers
Parents/carers are actively encouraged to share information about illness, injury, upset or the general well being of their child. School staff are available to speak to parents/carers concerning a child’s welfare.
Parents/carers are required to appreciate the School’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It is our responsibility to identify concerns as early as possible so that our pupils and their families get the help and support they need.
Helen Rigelsford is the designated safeguarding lead for the school (DSL). Each Head of School is a deputy designated safeguarding lead (DDSL) for their school. The DSLs and DDSLs will provide support to staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties and will liaise closely with other services. The DSL will lead responsibility for safeguarding and children protection. The Principal and all DDSLs will be trained to the same standard as the DSL. The training should be updated each year.
All staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help. Early help involves providing support as soon as the problem emerges at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to teenage years. In the first instances staff should discuss early help requirements with the Designated DSL for their School section.
Any member of staff who has a concern about a child’s welfare should follow the referral processes set out in the Child Protection Policy.
2.22 Low Level Concerns
We have procedures in place to manage any safeguarding concern or allegation (no matter how small) about staff members (including supply staff, volunteers, and contractors). If staff have such a concern this should be reported to the Head of School or to the Principal (not to the DSL). Where there is a concern/allegation about the headteacher or principal, this should be referred to the chair of governors. If such a concern meets the threshold of harm it will be dealt with via a disciplinary procedure and it is possible that 1) the police may need to be involved 2) the member of staff may be suspended whilst an investigation takes place
If staff have a safeguarding concern or an allegation about another member of staff (including supply staff, volunteers or contractors) that does not meet the harm threshold, this is referred to as a low-level concern.
- Staff are encouraged to share low-level concerns with their Head of School or with the Principal. If a staff member simply has a niggling feeling that won’t go away or a nagging doubt about an adult’s or their own behaviour, it is best to raise it and share the concern.
- Teaching and classroom-based staff can choose whether to go to their HoS or the Principal.
- Support staff should talk to the Principal.
- By sharing concerns at low level, support may be put in place for the member of staff to ensure that these concerns do not meet the ‘threshold of harm’.
- The concern will be taken seriously and recorded (low level concern form is here). The staff member reporting need not worry that they will be thought of as telling tales or causing trouble. The concern will be followed up by the HoS/Principal in a professional and tactful manner
Staff are encouraged to self report to their Head of School or to the Principal if they find themselves to have been in a worrying or undesirable situation. This helps to support the staff member and pupil/s, and to review policy and procedures as needed, in order to protect both the staff member and our pupils.
3. Building Capacity to Safeguard
The School will update all staff on the Safeguarding Policy at least once per year.
The School will seek to provide relevant training where an emerging need or crisis arises, e.g. Safer Handling training to effectively manage the need for restraint with children who present physical behavioural difficulties.
All staff should be aware of the early help process and understand their role in it. This includes identifying emerging problems, liaising with the DSL or the relevant Deputy DSL, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment and, in some cases, acting as the lead professional in undertaking an early help assessment
Outside providers who work within the School (peripatetic music teachers, club providers and enrichment providers) will also be counted as staff in the training cycle
4. What Staff Should Do if They Have Concerns About Safeguarding Practice in School
All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the School’s safeguarding regime, and understand that such concerns will be taken seriously by the Management Team. Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, which can be found in Firefly in the Staff section, are in place for such concerns to be raised with the Senior Leadership Team.
This conforms to Standard of the UK Government’s British Overseas School Standard 3 and 4, regarding welfare, health and safety and the suitability of proprietor and staff