All schools are required to have policies and procedures in place to support staff in their management of situations which may involve violence, threatening behaviour or abuse amongst other policies which are all legal requirements within the setting of a school. Schools need to meet current legislation so that parents, staff, governors and others who are involved with the school are able to work from a clear set of guidelines. Every member of the school’s staff must adhere to these policies and familiarize on where these policies can be found within the school surroundings. Policies are meant to set out criteria that should provide a framework that ensures all consistent principles are applied to practice across the educational setting; therefore, they are not intended to detail every single event that might be applied within each policy framework. Policies can also provide prospective employees, governors and parents of prospective pupils with valuable information. For example, parents might wish to see the school’s homework policy or the behaviour policy before deciding whether to apply for their child to attend the school. Similarly, a prospective employee may wish to see the school’s staff development policy, its performance management policy or its leave of absence policy before deciding whether to accept a position at the school. Prospective governors should be made aware of any policy relating specifically to governors. These might include a governors’ induction policy, a governors’ allowance scheme or a governors’ training policy. Also, schools’ policies should enable staff, governors, parents, LEA officers and Ofsted inspectors, to see at a glance what principles they can expect to see applied at school.
Policies and Procedures
Every member of the school’s staff needs to ensure they use confidentiality where needed. They must be aware where they discuss sensitive information and with whom they are discussing it to. They have to make sure that all documents such as reports and records, are used appropriately. They also need to be professional on how they present themselves to children and young people, other staff, agencies and parents/carers. A confidentiality document has to be signed and before anyone can work in a school, a DBS check is done, and a child protection induction day is prepared. All staff should be updated regularly on courses and induction days and trained in first aid. In fact, the governing body and the Head Teacher need to ensure that training and professional development needs are reflected in the school’s plan, and opportunities are available to every member of the staff within the school. Every school should have in place a performance management policy that complies with the Education School Teacher Appraisal Regulations 2000, effective in England since the 1st of September 2000. The governing body has the responsibility for agreeing the overall policy for performance management in the school and the development and review of the policy should be based on consultation and agreement with the staff.
Another policy that staff should require is the school’s pay policy: this document should set out the basis on which the governing body will determine all school employees’ pay. It also establishes the procedures for determining appeals. Another relevant policy is the grievance policy between staff members. Grievance procedures at work should be followed by employees with complaints about their treatment; pay; or terms and conditions at work. Governing bodies of maintained schools are legally obliged to establish workplace procedures to deal with staff grievances. They will normally have separate grievance procedures for dealing with pay appeals. For example, separate procedures are sometimes used to deal with complaints of harassment or workplace bullying.
b) Pupil Welfare
The pupil welfare policies are related to child protection and safeguarding of children from neglect, physical and psychological abuse, harm etc. They may include:
• Child protection policy;
• Health and safety policy;
• Drugs awareness policy;
• Behaviour management policy;
• Anti-bullying policy;
• Attendance policy.
Child protection is the process of protecting individual children identified as either suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect. It involves measures and structures designed to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect. The term “child protection” is increasingly being replaced by that of “safeguarding”; however, child protection serves to protect specific children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm and for this reason, is a central part of safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare. Child protection is part of safeguarding’ definition and refers to all the welfare activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or to protect individual children identified as either suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. For child protection to work effectively, practitioners must ensure to have good interrelationships with other agencies and a good cooperation with competent professionals able to respond to every child protection circumstance. It is crucial to monitor the success of the work done by the local agencies to guarantee that all members of staff and managers within a specific borough have a clear understanding of safeguarding procedures, policies and requirements. It is important to identify multi-agency success in case of concerns regarding safeguarding issues and assist with the recognition of training needs and requirements across the children’s workforce.
Schools’ Health and Safety policies should contain details of what schools are responsible for whilst children are in their care.
This policy is put into place because there are risks involved in looking after children and young adults. Every school setting should maintain the highest possible security of the premises to ensure that each child is safely cared for during their time at school. The procedures in place need to make sure that all employed staff have been checked for criminal records by an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau. The setting premises’ security must be maintained. The times of children’s arrivals and departures need to be recorded together with the arrival and departure times of adults. Staff and parents’ helpers should be recorded in the register and visitors should be required to sign a visitors’ book. School’s systems need to prevent unauthorised access to premises.
All identified incidents should be formally recorded and reported to the line manager. Keeping records of all incidents will help schools to manage individual cases effectively and monitor their resolution, demonstrating a defensible decision making in the event of incidents. Parents are fully entitled to request a copy of the school’s health and safety policy (and any other school policies) and if by reading the policy they have questions or concerns they can contact the HSE directly.
Below is briefly stated what the school’s health and safety policy includes:
• Arrangements made to put in place, monitor and review measures necessary to reach satisfactory health and safety standards;
• Training of staff in health and safety including competence in risk assessments;
• First-Aid and supporting pupils’ medical needs;
• School Security;
• Occupational health services and work-related stress;
• Consultation arrangements with employees;
• Workplace safety for teachers, pupils and visitors;
• Management of asbestos;
• Control of hazardous substances;
• Maintenance, examination and test of plant and equipment such as electrical equipment, local exhaust ventilation, pressure systems, gas appliances, lifting equipment and glazing safety;
• Recording and reporting accidents to staff, pupils and visitors including those reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR);
• Fire safety, including testing of alarms and evacuation procedures;
• Dealing with health and safety emergencies procedures.
The Health and Safety Policy therefore enables the safety of all children within the hands of the school.
Many schools have also a dual Drugs awareness policy with the purpose of protecting both staff’ and students’ welfare. This policy determines how professionals should respond to and deal with incidents with drugs and other forbidden items, but also clarifies the legal responsibilities of teaching and non-teaching staff. In fact, children are exposed to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs at increasingly younger ages. In fact, as children enter school and spend more time with their peers, they become more influenced by the media and the world around them. Adults and practitioners should articulate and reinforce the difference between right and wrong behaviour. Talking about different lifestyles, drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships and their effects, it is very important. Adults should give strategies at the appropriate developmental stage. All schools should have in place a guidance on all matters relating to drug education and the management of drugs within the school community. The document should define drugs as including alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs, as well as medicines and volatile substances and should outline the important role that schools play in tackling drug misuse in England, by providing drug education and wider support to all pupils, in particular those who need extra help. Drug education should be delivered as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education.