Keeping children safe a key priority in school. Safeguarding takes many forms including: protecting children from harm; preventing impairment of children’s health and development; enabling safe and effective parenting and giving children equal opportunities in life. We do many things every day in school to ensure pupils are safe including: ensuring all staff are trained in safeguarding; having clear policies and procedures in place to keep children safe; monitoring pupil attendance; ensuring a safe and healthy site; ensuring the behaviour of pupils is in line with the Academy behaviour policy and using our curriculum to teach children about risk taking, diversity, healthy lifestyles, managing relationships, online safety and much more.
A culture of safeguarding is embedded at Huntingdon Academy. We pride ourselves in knowing our children and the needs of both the individuals within our community and the needs of the wider community itself. As a result of our knowledge and experience of the challenges some our students face we recognise that they are at greater risk of:
- Online Safety – This is addressed by our online safety curriculum delivered through the PSHE curriculum and computing lessons using Purple Mash as a basis. We also use SENSO to monitor student’s computer use whilst using academy owned devices.
- Mental health and Well-being – This is addressed by our PSHE curriculum using Jigsaw as a basis. This connects the pieces of Personal, Social, Health and Well-Being Education with a block of lessons specifically focusing on Mental Health for each year group. The programme teaches children emotional literacy, social- and lifelong skills, RSE/RSHE and resilience in an age-appropriate manner. Huntingdon is a Mental Health Support Team School (MHST) This have been developed to increase earlier access to support with mental health and wellbeing, they are based in school one day a week to help children access support and help to increase a whole school approach to mental health wellbeing. An Educational Mental Health Practitioner is based in the school one day a week and work closely with Louise Yarnell the mental health lead to ensure that the mental health needs within the school are identified and bespoke interventions offered. MHST offer interventions that have been shown to help support children and young people overcome difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing. These may be offered on a 1-1 basis or with parents/caregivers. The majority of our interventions use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches. Where students require CAMHS support a referral will be completed.
- Domestic Abuse – School receive Project Encompass calls. Encompass is a process that inform schools of reported domestic abuse incidents, where a child has been in the same household or is affected by the incident, during the next school day. The school Safeguarding lead Louise Yarnell is the school nominated Encompass contact who is contacted after the referral to discuss the incident. Encompass is managed and run in the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) which is able to link Police, Social Care and Health information about children. Starting in the summer term 2023 school will have a work from Imara in school one day a week. This is a Domestic Abuse Therapeutic Service for Children & Young People from 3-18 years. They provide a range of creative arts therapies, designed to allow children to communicate in ways that come most naturally to them, to process what they have experienced and overcome trauma. This is to help empower our children and families to move forward from the impact of domestic abuse. Year 5 and 6 children also benefit from the Great project run by Equation which is designed to promote healthy relationships and domestic abuse awareness.
- Community issues including anti-social behaviour and drug misuse – Our Year 6 children benefit from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the highly acclaimed program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence. D.A.R.E. is led by a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives. We must acknowledge that it can and does happen and ensure we offer intervention at the earliest opportunity.
- Risk of FGM – We educate children on their rights, through PSHE/RSE and Oracy and this our way of starting the conversation and laying the foundations of introducing FGM, as we know that girls are most risk between the ages of 5 – 12 years old, and as a primary school we play an important part in safeguarding girls from FGM. The Key Stage two children benefit from an assembly by the Equation charity in the summer term. FGM is a safeguarding issue and is treated like any child protection concern. It is a mandatory part of safeguarding training and is untaken yearly by all staff. Absences are requested in advance, all travel during school term time requires a meeting with the head teacher and/or attendance leave and any holidays to countries of prevalence are explored further.
In addition to ensuring our safeguarding procedures, displays around the academy and training are of the highest standard and ensuring staff remain vigilant, we also recognise the need to safeguard our children through education and the curriculum within school.