Guidance to Camden Schools, Nurseries and FE Colleges
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Safeguarding in Schools, Colleges and Other Providers
In March 2020, the Department for Education updated three sets of guidance on Friday including new guidance on safeguarding, which is available here. This highlights that although Keeping Children Safe in Education still applies, the following are key areas in which schools will wish to modify their safeguarding policies and practices as a result of the changes forced by COVID-19. Schools should still prioritise the safety and welfare of children and continue to make referrals to the MASH where there are concerns.
- Review School Child Protection Policies to reflect new arrangements in response to COVID-19 — keep under review as circumstances continue to evolve. An annexe or addendum is sufficient.
- Take note of any advice from the Camden Safeguarding Children Partnership.
- The DSL or their deputy must be available at all times. If a DSL isn’t available on site, schools could consider either having their trained DSL or deputy available by phone or online video, or sharing DSLs or deputies with other schools and colleges, who would be available by phone or video.
- Where a trained DSL or deputy is not on site, the department recommend a senior leader takes responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site.
- Ensure that each vulnerable child has an easily transferable record of why they are vulnerable, a copy of the EHCP and/or CIN or CP Plan, the name of their social worker and contact details.
- Schools should ensure all their staff and volunteers known “on any given day” who their available DSL or deputy is, and how to speak to them.
- DSLs or deputies who have been trained will continue to be classed as a trained DSL (or deputy), even if they miss their refresher training.
- Where children are attending another setting schools should do “whatever they reasonably can” to provide the new school with “any relevant welfare and child protection information”.
- For LAC, changes should be led and managed by the local authority virtual school head who has responsibility for the child.
- Schools should continue to follow safe recruitment procedures to ensure any staff or volunteers are suitable to work with children.
The DfE also published updated guidance on vulnerable children and young people which is available here; it contains updated information on when and why vulnerable pupils should be at school. It also updated its guidance for schools about temporary closures available here and includes additional frequently asked questions.
Last updated: 24th June 2020
Government announcement on social distancing rules
Guidance remains that wherever possible to keep 2 metres apart, people should. But where it is not, from Saturday 4 July Government will be advising people to keep a social distance of 1 metre plus — meaning that they should remain 1 metre apart, as long as other measures are put in place to limit transmission of the virus.
Government plans to ease guidance for people who are shielding
On Monday 22 June, the Government announced plans to ease guidance for people in the shielding group (who are at high risk from Covid-19) from Monday 6 July. This means that:
From Monday 6 July people who are shielding;
- Do not need to try to stay 2 metres away people you live with.
- Can meet with one other household if you live alone or you’re a single parent who lives alone with your children — this is called a support bubble.
- Can meet outside with people you do not live with, in groups of up to six — as long as you stay 2 metres away from each other.
From Saturday 1 August people at high risk from coronavirus will no longer be advised to shield. If you are shielding you should continue to follow the current Government guidance until at least Monday 6 July. More information on guidance for people who are shielding can be found on the NHS website.
Last updated: 3rd June 2020
Camden schools and nurseries open
Camden schools and nurseries open for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. There has been a significant increase in attendance overall, with nursery settings seeing 564 children, and schools up to 1,027.
Wellbeing for schools and settings in transition
Camden’s Educational Psychology Service recently sent out guidance to support school leaders to think about and manage the wellbeing aspects of the transition back to on-site learning for more of our staff and children.
Round-up of guidance / updates to guidance for early years, schools and other educational settings
- The DfE has updated their statutory guidance for schools and childcare providers on the early years foundation stage (EYFS) to provide clarification on the progress checks for children aged 2. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak it is not expected for providers to undertake this check, but providers should look out for any emerging concerns about any child in their care and endeavour to provide or seek additional support if needed. The guidance can be found here
- Ofsted has updated their guidance on the regulation and inspection of early years providers as they return to providing care for all children. During this period, Ofsted will not be doing routine inspections, which report on the quality of education that children in the EYFS receive while attending an early years or childcare provider. They will, however, continue to take action against providers and intervene when there is evidence that they are not meeting any of the other requirements that continue to apply. The guidance can be found here
- The DfE has updated their information for parents and carers about the wider opening of education settings to include details about opening secondary schools to years 10 and year 12 pupils from 15 June and to provide links to guidance on safer travel. The guidance can be found here
All DfE coronavirus guidance for educational settings can be found in one place on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings
Last updated: 14th May 2020
Updated government guidance on the opening of educational and childcare settings
1) The link below provides latest guidance on how educational and childcare settings should prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020, including information on:
- year groups in first phase of wider opening
- the latest science
- managing risk and rate of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- initial planning framework for schools in England.
2) The link below provides Information for parents and carers about the wider opening to nurseries, schools and colleges from 1 June 2020.
Last updated: 2nd April 2020
Schools and safeguarding: COVID–19 contingency plan
Schools play a vital role in all aspects of safeguarding and therefore it is important to maintain this communication and liaison to the highest extent possible, despite the obvious challenges posed by COVID-19 and associated school closures.
Consequently, practice will continue to uphold the values of London Child Protection Procedures whilst following a different course in terms of process where usual approaches are no longer practicable.
- Family workers, benefits advice and other help continues to be available — please call us. If you would like information, help or support, Monday to Friday (9am to 5pm), please phone on the numbers below.
- If you need information and support about baby or infant feeding, please call 07808 891260 or email: email@example.com
- You can also contact the duty health visitor on 020 3317 3032
- Regents Park Children’s Centre: 020 7974 8934
- Children’s Centre: 020 7974 8961
- Agar Children’s Centre: 020 7974 4789
- Langtry Nursery: 020 7974 5080
- Regents Park Children’s Centre
- Harmood Children’s Centre
- Agar Children’s Centre
- Langtry Nursery
- 1a Children’s Centre (some alternative provision at Thomas Coram)
- Kilburn Grange Children’s Centre (for refurbishment)
- Hampden Nursery
- Konstam Nursery
- Gospel Oak Nursery
- Where strategy discussions and child protection enquiries are undertaken on new cases, information shared by schools is particularly valuable, partly as the families concerned may not be previously known to Children’s Social Care
- School knowledge is also important where strategy discussions and child protection enquiries are undertaken on cases that are already open to Children’s Social Care
- Therefore, schools are requested to be available for dial in conversations to assist the assessment of risk
- The DSL should be the primary point of contact for Children’s Social Care, but a list of back up options from each school is also needed, given the unpredictability of who and when individuals may be impacted by COVID-19
- Every effort will be made to continue to hold initial and review child protection conferences in the usual way where this is possible for the chair and participants concerned
- Where this is not possible, conferences will no longer be a single meeting but will be a series of meetings or discussions running over a period of no more than two working days
- Reports from each agency remain a requirement and should be emailed to CSF-SSCNorthCP@camden.gov.uk 48 hours in advance of an initial or pre-birth and five working days in advance of a review
- Reports must make clear whether the agency assesses the child to be at on-going risk of significant harm, whether a child protection plan (or other plan) is needed and what should be included in the plan
- The chair of the conference will read all reports and speak with involved professionals by phone/skype where necessary.
- The DSL should be the primary point of contact for this purpose, but a list of back up options from each school is also needed, given the unpredictability of who and when individuals may be impacted by COVID-19
- The chair will call parents/carers/young people to seek their views
- At the end of the conference process, the chair will define the content of the harm and safety statement, make a decision as to whether a child protection plan (or other plan) is needed, and draw up an outline plan where required
- The chair will share the decision and recommendations directly with the family by telephone or, if this is not possible, by email
- The chair will ensure that members of the professional network are updated
- Core group meetings are governed by the same principles i.e. where it is not possible to convene a face to face meeting, a ‘virtual’ meeting should take place instead
If school staff have any queries regarding the above contingency plan, then please contact one of the following Heads of Service:
LADO — Child Protection Conferences, Looked After Children Reviews — Sophie Kershaw
020 7974 3828
Looked After Children — Sally Joseph
020 7974 6798
Children in Need — Michelle O’Regan
020 7974 1905
Children and Young People Disability Service — Crina Popa
020 7974 4867
Virtual School — Natalie White
020 7974 2359
These measures will remain in place and may be reviewed in the eventuality of further change, until it is determined that the COVID-19 crisis is over and normal business can be resumed.