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Appendix 4: specific safeguarding issues

Children missing from education

A child going missing from education, particularly repeatedly, can be a warning sign of a range of safeguarding issues. This might include abuse or neglect, such as sexual abuse or exploitation or child criminal exploitation, or issues such as mental health problems, substance abuse, radicalisation, FGM or forced marriage.


There are many circumstances where a child may become missing from education, but some children are particularly at risk. These include children who:

  • Are at risk of harm or neglect
  • Are at risk of forced marriage or FGM
  • Come from Gypsy, Roma, or Traveller families
  • Come from the families of service personnel
  • Go missing or run away from home or care
  • Are supervised by the youth justice system
  • Cease to attend a school
  • Come from new migrant families


We will follow our procedures for unauthorised absence and for dealing with children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect, including sexual exploitation, and to help prevent the risks of going missing in future. This includes informing the local authority if a child leaves the school without a new school being named, and adhering to requirements with respect to sharing information with the local authority, when applicable, when removing a child’s name from the admission register at non-standard transition points.


Staff will be trained in signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns which may be related to being missing, such as travelling to conflict zones, FGM and forced marriage.


If a staff member suspects that a child is suffering from harm or neglect, we will follow local child protection procedures, including with respect to making reasonable enquiries. We will make an immediate referral to the local authority children’s social care team, and the police, if the child is suffering or likely to suffer from harm, or in immediate danger.


Child criminal exploitation

Child criminal exploitation (CCE) is a form of abuse where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child into criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator, and/or through violence or the threat of violence.


The abuse can be perpetrated by males or females, and children or adults. It can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse.


The victim can be exploited even when the activity appears to be consensual. It does not always involve physical contact and can happen online. For example, young people may be forced to work in cannabis factories, coerced into moving drugs or money across the country (county lines), forced to shoplift or pickpocket, or to threaten other young people.


Indicators of CCE can include a child:

  • Appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions
  • Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
  • Suffering from changes in emotional wellbeing
  • Misusing drugs and alcohol
  • Going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late
  • Regularly missing school or education
  • Not taking part in education


If a member of staff suspects CCE, they will discuss this with the DSL. The DSL will trigger the local safeguarding procedures, including a referral to the local authority’s children’s social care team and the police, if appropriate.


Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of abuse where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. It may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence.


The abuse can be perpetrated by males or females, and children or adults. It can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse.


The victim can be exploited even when the activity appears to be consensual. Children or young people who are being sexually exploited may not understand that they are being abused. They often trust their abuser and may be tricked into believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship.


CSE can include both physical contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity. It can also happen online. For example, young people may be persuaded or forced to share sexually explicit images of themselves, have sexual conversations by text, or take part in sexual activities using a webcam. CSE may also occur without the victim’s immediate knowledge, for example through others copying videos or images.


In addition to the CCE indicators above, indicators of CSE can include a child:

  • Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Suffering from sexually transmitted infections or becoming pregnant


If a member of staff suspects CSE, they will discuss this with the DSL. The DSL will trigger the local safeguarding procedures, including a referral to the local authority’s children’s social care team and the police, if appropriate.


Domestic abuse

Children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse and/or violence at home where it occurs between family members. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.


Exposure to domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long-lasting emotional and psychological impact on children.


If police are called to an incident of domestic abuse and any children in the household have experienced the incident, the police will inform the DSL/Deputy DSL in school before the child or children arrive at school the following day. This is the procedure where police forces are part of Operation Encompass – if your local force is not, check your local procedures and adapt if necessary.


The DSL/Deputy DSL will provide support according to the child’s needs and update records about their circumstances.



Being homeless or being at risk of becoming homeless presents a real risk to a child’s welfare.


The DSL will be aware of contact details and referral routes in to the local housing authority so they can raise/progress concerns at the earliest opportunity (where appropriate and in accordance with local procedures).

Where a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm, the DSL will also make a referral to children’s social care.


So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (including FGM and forced marriage)

So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) encompasses incidents or crimes committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community, including FGM, forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing.


Abuse committed in this context often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators.


All forms of HBA are abuse and will be handled and escalated as such. All staff will be alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBA or already having suffered it. If staff have a concern, they will speak to the DSL, who will activate local safeguarding procedures.



The DSL will make sure that staff have access to appropriate training to equip them to be alert to children affected by FGM or at risk of FGM.


Section 7.3 of this policy sets out the procedures to be followed if a staff member discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out or suspects that a pupil is at risk of FGM.


Indicators that FGM has already occurred include:

  • A pupil confiding in a professional that FGM has taken place
  • A mother/family member disclosing that FGM has been carried out
  • A family/pupil already being known to social services in relation to other safeguarding issues
  • A girl:
    • Having difficulty walking, sitting or standing, or looking uncomfortable
    • Finding it hard to sit still for long periods of time (where this was not a problem previously)
    • Spending longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet due to difficulties urinating
    • Having frequent urinary, menstrual or stomach problems
    • Avoiding physical exercise or missing PE
    • Being repeatedly absent from school, or absent for a prolonged period
    • Demonstrating increased emotional and psychological needs – for example, withdrawal or depression, or significant change in behaviour
    • Being reluctant to undergo any medical examinations
    • Asking for help, but not being explicit about the problem
    • Talking about pain or discomfort between her legs


Potential signs that a pupil may be at risk of FGM include:

    • Name three indicator

The above indicators and risk factors are not intended to be exhaustive.


Forced marriage

Forcing a person into marriage is a crime. A forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats, or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage.


Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological.


Staff will receive training around forced marriage and the presenting symptoms. We are aware of the ‘one chance’ rule, i.e. we may only have one chance to speak to the potential victim and only one chance to save them.


If a member of staff suspects that a pupil is being forced into marriage, they will speak to the pupil about their concerns in a secure and private place. They will then report this to the DSL.


The DSL will:

  • Speak to the pupil about the concerns in a secure and private place
  • Activate the local safeguarding procedures and refer the case to the local authority’s designated officer
  • Seek advice from the Forced Marriage Unit on 020 7008 0151 or
  • Refer the pupil to an education welfare officer, pastoral tutor, learning mentor, or school counsellor, as appropriate


Preventing radicalisation

  • Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups
  • Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. This also includes calling for the death of members of the armed forces
  • Terrorism is an action that:
    • Endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people;
    • Causes serious damage to property; or
    • Seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system


The use or threat of terrorism must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.


Schools have a duty to prevent children from being drawn into terrorism. The DSL will undertake Prevent awareness training and make sure that staff have access to appropriate training to equip them to identify children at risk.


We will assess the risk of children in our school being drawn into terrorism. This assessment will be based on an understanding of the potential risk in our local area, in collaboration with our local safeguarding partners and local police force.


We will ensure that suitable internet filtering is in place, and equip our pupils to stay safe online at school and at home.

There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to an extremist ideology. Radicalisation can occur quickly or over a long period.


Staff will be alert to changes in pupils’ behaviour.


The government website Educate Against Hate and charity NSPCC say that signs that a pupil is being radicalised can include:

  • Refusal to engage with, or becoming abusive to, peers who are different from themselves
  • Becoming susceptible to conspiracy theories and feelings of persecution
  • Changes in friendship groups and appearance
  • Rejecting activities they used to enjoy
  • Converting to a new religion
  • Isolating themselves from family and friends
  • Talking as if from a scripted speech
  • An unwillingness or inability to discuss their views
  • A sudden disrespectful attitude towards others
  • Increased levels of anger
  • Increased secretiveness, especially around internet use
  • Expressions of sympathy for extremist ideologies and groups, or justification of their actions
  • Accessing extremist material online, including on Facebook or Twitter
  • Possessing extremist literature
  • Being in contact with extremist recruiters and joining, or seeking to join, extremist organisations


Children who are at risk of radicalisation may have low self-esteem, or be victims of bullying or discrimination. It is important to note that these signs can also be part of normal teenage behaviour – staff should have confidence in their instincts and seek advice if something feels wrong.


If staff are concerned about a pupil, they will follow our procedures set out in section 7.5 of this policy, including discussing their concerns with the DSL.


Staff should always take action if they are worried.


Further information on the school’s measures to prevent radicalisation are set out in other school policies and procedures, see appendix.


Checking the identity and suitability of visitors

All visitors will be required to verify their identity to the satisfaction of staff and to leave their belongings, including their mobile phone(s), in a safe place during their visit.


If the visitor is unknown to the setting, we will check their credentials and reason for visiting before allowing them to enter the setting. Visitors should be ready to produce identification.


Visitors are expected to sign in electronically and wear a visitor’s badge/ lanyard – green if DBS and red if no DBS (the visitor will be accompanied by a member of staff at all times)


Visitors to the school who are visiting for a professional purpose, such as educational psychologists and school improvement officers, will be asked to show photo ID and:

  • Will be asked to show their DBS certificate, which will be checked alongside their photo ID; or
  • The organisation sending the professional, such as the LA or educational psychology service, will provide prior written confirmation that an enhanced DBS check with barred list information has been carried out


All other visitors, including visiting speakers, will be accompanied by a member of staff at all times. We will not invite into the school any speaker who is known to disseminate extremist views, and will carry out appropriate checks to ensure that any individual or organisation using school facilities is not seeking to disseminate extremist views or radicalise pupils or staff.


Non-collection of children

If a child is not collected at the end of the session/day, we will:

  • Contact authorised adults by phone, children will wait in the school entrance.
  • If contact cannot be made, children will go to Funzone until collected and families may be charged for a full session at the discretion of the Headteacher.
  • Upon collection, one of SLT will speak with the adult to understand reasons for late collection and any further support needed.
  • Non-collection will be monitored using Pupil Asset
  • In the case of 3 non-collections in a half-term or any additional concerns raised, the DSL/Deputy DSL will meet with parents/carers to discuss any further support needed.


Missing pupils

Our procedures are designed to ensure that a missing child is found and returned to effective supervision as soon as possible. If a child goes missing:


Attendance, absence and exclusions are closely monitored, (see attendance policy) A child going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. The DSL will record on CPOMs and monitor unauthorised absences and take appropriate action including notifying the local authority particularly where children go missing on repeat occasions and/or are missing for periods during the school day in conjunction with ‘Children Missing Education: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities. Staff must be alert to signs of children at risk of travelling to conflict zones, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

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