Woodham Academy are fully committed to ensuring that your child is safe whilst with us. We recognise our responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of the children and young people entrusted to our care by establishing a safe environment in which children can learn and develop.
The staff and Governing Body are committed to establishing and maintaining an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are listened to. We ensure that children know that there are adults in the school who they can approach if they are worried and that the principles of confidentiality are made clear to children and young people. The school promotes a positive, supportive and secure ethos, giving students a sense of being valued.
We recognise that because of the day-to-day contact with children, staff in school are well placed to observe the signs of possible abuse and therefore need to be constantly vigilant. The Pastoral Team work closely with other agencies in protecting children from harm and in responding to concerns about possible abuse, including the Police, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Educational Psychology Service and other agencies/services coming into school to support individual students/groups of students.
As well as making every effort to ensure that the school site is safe and secure, there are stringent checks made on all applicants for posts at the school. All staff have been safeguarding trained and we have two highly qualified Designated Safeguarding Officers; all adults are fully aware of their duty of care and receive regular training and updates.
Distinctions and categories
There is a distinction between
- a concern about the quality of an aspect of school provision
- a complaint
- an allegation against an adult working with children
In the case of an allegation, it may relate to someone working with children who has:
- behaved in a way that has harmed or may harm a child
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or
- behaved in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children
- (‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ March 2015)
|Nature of complaint||Contact
|General School Complaints||Headteacher, in writing
|Allegations against staff||Headteacher
|Allegations against Headteacher||Chair of Governing Body (Mr S Barnett) and Local Authority Designated Officer
|Allegations about the School/Governors conduct||LADO and / or Ofsted
Anyone with a concern about a child’s safety and wellbeing can contact Children’s Social Care to make a referral directly at First Contact on 03000 267979
Sharing of information
Parents/carers should know that the law requires all school staff to pass on information which gives rise to a concern about a child’s welfare, including risk from neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. The school should make parents/carers aware that records of safeguarding concerns may be kept about their child. They should be informed that school staff will seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with them including referrals to other agencies. However, in situations where the child is suspected to be at risk of harm, the law says that schools may take advice from other agencies without informing parents/carers.
In accordance with legislation and local Information sharing protocols, we will ensure that information is shared securely and sensitively. Information will only be shared with other services where it is deemed necessary and proportionate to ensure that children and young people are safe and receive the right service. In all circumstances, the safety of the child will be the paramount concern.
Where there is a need to share special category personal data, the Data Protection Act 2018 contains ‘safeguarding of children and individuals at risk’ as a processing condition that allows professionals to share information. This includes allowing them to share information without consent, if it is not possible to gain consent, it cannot be reasonably expected that a professional gains consent, or if to gain consent would place a child at risk.
Schools will seek advice from Social Care when they have reasonable cause to suspect a child may be suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Occasionally, concerns are passed on which are later shown to be unfounded. Parents/carers will appreciate that the member of staff in the school with responsibility for child protection (known as the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Designated Person) was carrying out their responsibilities in accordance with the law and acting in the best interests of all children.
Under Section 3 (5) of the Children Act 1989, any person who has care of a child “may….do what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare”. This means that on rare occasions, a school may need to “hold” a child in school whilst Social Care and the Police investigate any concerns further.
* The word ‘school’ is used throughout but this would include all educational settings e.g. Academies, Pupil Referral Units, Further Education establishments and Independent schools.
Witnessing domestic abuse is really distressing for a young person. They can often see the abuse, hear it from another room, see a parent’s injuries and distress afterwards, or be physically hurt themselves.
The school is a part of Operation Encompass, which aims to support children affected in any way by domestic abuse. The project is a joint initiative involving Durham County Council, Durham Police and schools across the county.
A major part of the project is the training of school staff, known as ‘key adults’ in each school to liaise with police and work with the young people affected.
Following any serious domestic abuse incidents being reported into Durham Police, specialist staff will identify which school that child attends, make contact with the school and communicate relevant and necessary information. This will ensure that the school is made aware at the earliest possible opportunity and they can subsequently provide support in a way that means the child feels safe and supported.
At Woodham Academy, we are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of our all our students. If you are concerned about a child, please contact:
Designated person in charge of Safeguarding: Mrs S McGinnety
Designated Safeguarding Lead: Mrs K Reynolds
For a copy of our Safeguarding Policy please see our Policies page.
Student Support is there to resolve any issues that may arise during a normal school day. These can be uniform, lunch money, speaking with parents, arranging medication etc. Our purpose is focused around ensuring students can attend lessons, behave well and make good progress. If you have concerns about your child’s wellbeing in school, please contact the team.
Additional support can be accessed from the following links. In an emergency, please contact the emergency services using 999.