From 5th January 2021 parents were asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response – who absolutely need to attend.
Educational providers were asked to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable young people
Vulnerable young people include those who have a social worker and those children and young people up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans.
Those who have a social worker include children who have a Child Protection Plan and those who are looked after by the Local Authority. A child may also be deemed to be vulnerable if they have been assessed as being in need or otherwise meet the definition in section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Those with an EHC plan will be risk-assessed in consultation with the Local Authority and parents, to decide whether they need to continue to be offered a school or college place in order to meet their needs, or whether they can safely have their needs met at home. This could include, if necessary, carers, therapists or clinicians visiting the home to provide any essential services. Many children and young people with EHC plans can safely remain at home.
The Seeds of Change will continue to work with and support social workers to help protect vulnerable children. This includes working with and supporting social workers, carers and the local authority. The lead people for this will be: Jemma Fuccillo and Rachel Wiles. In their absence Rachael Frossell and Katherine White.
There is an expectation that vulnerable children who have a social worker will attend an education setting, so long as they do not have underlying health conditions that put them at risk. In circumstances where a parent/carer does not want to bring their child to our setting, and their child is considered vulnerable, the social worker will explore the reasons for this directly with the parent and communicate this with The Seeds of Change in the normal way.
Where parents/cares are concerned about the risk of the child contracting COVID-19, The Seeds of Change or the social worker will talk through these anxieties with the parent/carer following the advice set out by Public Health England.
The Seeds of Change will encourage our vulnerable children and young people to attend their sessions, including remotely if needed.
The Seeds of change will monitor attendance, communicate this with the Local authorities and education settings. Attendance for Luton Local Authority is through the mechanism of CPOMS.
In all circumstances where a vulnerable child does not attend their session, or discontinues, The Seeds of Change will notify the referring body or point of contact for the young person.
The optimal scenario is to have a trained DSL (or deputy) available on site. Where this is not the case a trained DSL (or deputy) will be available to be contacted via phone or online video – for example when working from home.
Where a trained DSL (or deputy) is not on site, a senior leader will assume responsibility for co-ordinating safeguarding on site. This will be Lisa Hobbs. These staff members are also qualified to deputise having attended the Working Together Course and continued Safeguarding CPD.
This might include updating and managing access to child protection online management system, CPOMS and liaising with the offsite DSL (or deputy) and as required liaising with referring bodies.
The DSL will continue to engage with all referring bodies which can be done remotely.
Reporting a concern
Where coaches have a concern about a young person, they should continue to follow the process outlined in the Seeds of Change Safeguarding Policy, this includes making a report via CPOMS (only applies to ALPS learners) which can be done remotely.
In the unlikely event that a member of staff cannot access their CPOMS from home, they should email the Designated Safeguarding Lead who will ensure that the concern is received by the referring body. Coaches are reminded of the need to report any concern immediately and without delay.
Safeguarding Training and induction
DSL training is very unlikely to take place whilst there remains a threat of the COVID-19 virus.
For the period COVID-19 measures are in place, a DSL (or deputy) who has been trained will continue to be classed as a trained DSL (or deputy) even if they miss their refresher training.
All existing coaches have had safeguarding training and have read part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (2019). The DSL will continue to communicate updates to the rest of the organisation.
The Seeds of Change will continue to provide a safe environment, including online. This includes a 15 minute remote coaching session – see Procedure for Remote coaching session. The Seeds of Change will share messages on its website and social media pages.
Supporting young people on site
The Seeds of Change is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all its students. As an organisation we will continue to be a safe space for all young people to attend and flourish. The Seeds of Change will refer to the Government guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement social distancing and continue to follow the advice from Public Health England on hand washing and other measures to limit the risk of spread of COVID-19.
Jemma Fuccillo- DSL
Rachel Wiles- Deputy SO
Rachael Frossell- Deputy SO