‘Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right.’ (EYFS 2021)
Keeping children safe
The staff team of Otford Nursery and Oasis after school club believe that all those directly involved with our setting have an essential role to play in making it safe and secure. Our setting aims to create the safest environment within which every child has the opportunity to achieve their full potential and we take seriously our responsibility to promote the welfare and safeguard all the children and young people entrusted to our care. Otford Nursery and Oasis after school club recognise our statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and all those directly connected (staff, volunteers, parents, families, and children) are an important part of the wider safeguarding system for children and have an essential role to play in making this community safe and secure. Otford Nursery and Oasis after school club believe that the best interests of children always come first. All children (defined as those up to the age of 18) have a right to be heard and to have their wishes and feelings taken into account and all children regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection. Staff working with children at Otford Nursery and Oasis after school club will maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff will always act in the best interests of the child and if any member of our community has a safeguarding concern about any child or adult, they should act and act immediately. As part of the safeguarding ethos of the setting we are committed to:
o Maintaining children’s welfare as our paramount concern
o Providing an environment and culture in which children feel safe, secure, valued, and respected, confident to talk openly and sure of being listened to.
o Developing appropriate and positive relationships between children and the adults that care for them.
o Providing suitable support and guidance so that children have a range of appropriate adults who they feel confident to approach if they are in difficulties.
o Using learning opportunities to increase self-awareness, self-esteem, assertiveness, and decision making. This is so that young children develop a range of contacts and strategies to ensure their own protection and understand the importance of protecting others.
o Working with parents/carers to build an understanding of the setting’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of all children including the need for referral to other agencies in some situations.
o Ensuring all staff have regular and appropriate training (including induction) to enable them to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse and ensure they are aware of the setting’s procedures and reporting mechanisms.
o Monitoring children who have been identified as ‘in need’ including the need for protection, keeping confidential records which are stored securely and shared appropriately with other professionals.
o Developing effective and supportive liaison with other agencies. These procedures apply to all staff, including temporary or third-party agency staff and volunteers.
We also follow the Child Protection Procedures and advice from the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board local guidance. The Department for Education 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' document is valued and understood by all staff at nursery. We have systems in place to share concerns regarding children’s welfare, child sexual exploitation, PREVENT/radicalisation and female genital mutilation with our DSLs, with parents and with relevant external agencies.