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Harris Academy Merton is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for children, staff and visitors and promoting a climate where children and adults will feel confident about sharing any concerns they may have about their own safety or the well-being of others.
This page will serve as a source of information about safeguarding for students, parents and the community.
The Academy philosophy, vision and expectation on safeguarding is very clear. Every person connected with the Academy has a personal responsibility for the highest standards of safeguarding of our students.
The Academy understands and is committed to the vital contribution that all Governors, staff, parents and students can make to safeguarding children. Our curriculum is designed to create awareness in students of safeguarding issues and how to deal with them. Training of all staff in identifying, reporting procedures and dealing with such issues is regular and thorough.
It does not matter how a person is connected to the Academy, as part of this community all have a responsibility for safeguarding our students.
The Academy takes the welfare and safety of students very seriously, working hard to reduce all the kinds of harm that children can suffer, including abuse, bullying, discrimination and avoidable injuries. We strive to make sure that every student in the Academy feels secure, well cared for, and able to reach their full potential.
We will continue to ensure that all our staff, other professionals, parents/carers and students work together to know the rules about keeping children safe. They will understand the importance of following procedures and listening to each other, especially when there are concerns about safety.
The Safeguarding Team
Safer Schools Police Officer
PC Simon Hirsh is our Safer Schools Police Officer. His role here is to support the Academy and provide a safe and secure learning environment for all students and staff.
PC Simon Hirsh can be contacted by telephone on 0208 687 1154 or by email on S.Hirsh@harrismorden.org.uk.
Other Safeguarding Contacts
Safeguarding referrals can be made directly to Children's Social Care on the following numbers:
Merton 020 8545 4226 / 4227
Croydon 020 8726 6464
Sutton 020 8770 4343 / 4943
Lambeth 020 7926 7856 / 6583
Merton has a Local Safeguarding Partnership (Merton Safeguarding Children’s Partnership). (MSCP). It has links to local child protection policies and procedures, training, publications and links to other relevant websites and good practice in child protection and safeguarding.
The Merton Prevent Police Officer is Chris Kendrick who can be contacted via the Merton MASH team via email Chris.Kendrick@met.police.uk or phone 0208 545 4226/ 4227.
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) is John Shelly. There is a duty system and one of the CP Coordinators in the Quality Assurance Unit is on duty each day to deal with LADO issues. The duty telephone number for all LADO enquiries/referrals is 020 8545 3633 or they can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information relating to the referrals process can be found on the website – http://www.merton.gov.uk/health-social-care/children-family-health-social-care/safeguardingchildren/lscb/lado.htm
The Head Teacher for Merton’s Virtual School (VS) is Anne Halliday. The VS provides support and challenge to all those who work with LAC and Care Leavers to promote their educational achievement and to make sure they reach their potential. You may contact Anne Halliday on email@example.com or 020 8454 4199. For the contact details of the VS Head Teacher’s in other London Boroughs please visit this link.
How to report a concern
Priorities and signposting
Although the Academy teaches students online safety as part of the curriculum, it is vital that parents are aware of the risks too, and what they can do to develop a culture of online safety in the home.
For any concerns about a child's online safety, there is always someone at the Academy who is available to discuss this. Simply call the Academy and ask for our Lead Designated Safeguarding Officer, Mrs Simpson, or speak to any member of staff.
· Think You Know website - NCA CEOPs advice on online safety
· CEOP - Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre – REPORT HERE
· UK safer internet centre - Contains a specialist helpline for UK schools and colleges
· www.childnet.com – Visit the ‘Know It All’ Section for an interactive guide about online safety
· www.getsafeonline.org – Free up-to-date security advice
· Internet matters- Help for parents on how to keep their children safe online
· www.bbc.co.uk/onlinesafety – guidance about how to stay safe on line
· www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/share-aware - this provides straightforward advice to parents on how to keep children safe on social networks
· www.childnet.com/resources/know-it-all-for-parents/kiafp-cd - an e-safety presentation from Childnet International
· http://parentinfo.org/ - Advice for parents to keep children safe online
· http://swgfl.org.uk/ - South West Grid for Learning Internet safety advice
Radicalisation and Extremism
The Academy believes and actively supports the view that all students should be protected from radicalisation and extremism. The Academy has a designated, accredited Prevent Duty Lead who is Mrs Simpson, the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
The Prevent duty lead has two specific strategic objectives to safeguard our students against radicalisation, extremism and any actions or beliefs that are contrary to British values and our Academy ethos:
- Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it
- Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support
Harris Academy Merton opposes all form of extremism. We define ‘extremism’ as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.
The Merton Prevent Police Officer is Chris Kendrick who can be contacted on
Chris.Kendrick@met.police.uk 0208 545 4226/ 4227
- Educate Against Hate website
- Download a parents' guide to extremism and radicalisation.
Wellbeing and Mental Health
Harris Academy Merton aims to create a climate where children and adults understand the importance of well-being and supports all to have the best possible outcomes during their education. We recognise that we have a full and active part to play in protecting our students from issues which may arise surrounding mental health and self-injury.
The Designated Teacher for Mental Health and Well-being is Ms. J Hall, Student and Family Support Officer, contactable on 020 8623 1055 firstname.lastname@example.org
Children who are mentally healthy have the ability to:
- Develop psychologically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually;
- Initiate, develop and sustain mutually satisfying personal relationships;
- Use and enjoy solitude;
- Become aware of others and empathise with them;
- Play and learn;
- Develop a sense of right and wrong; and
- Resolve (face) problems and setbacks and learn from them
The Merton Mental Health Directory for young people can be found here and provides a list of local services. Further information for young people in Merton can be located here. The Academy works closely with the WISH Centre, a Merton based mental health charity found here.
- www.minded.org.uk - Mental Health advice for all
- www.relate.org.uk - Support and advice on mental health issues
- www.stonewall.org.uk - Support for LGBT young people, as well as families.
- www.samaritans.org – Support available 24 hours a day
- www.rethink.or.uk – Support and guidance and helpline
- www.youngminds.org.uk – Child and adolescent website
- www.stem4.org.uk – Teenage Mental health Charity
Peer on Peer Abuse
Safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via Peer on Peer abuse, which can take many forms, such as:
· bullying (including cyberbullying)
· physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm
· sexual violence
· sexual harassment such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment which may be stand-alone or part of a broader pattern of abuse; upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing.
· sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery – please see Appendix 2 for more information); and
· initiation/hazing type violence and rituals
Harris Academy Merton deems sexting (sending of provocative material including photos, videos and texts) as inappropriate and unsafe behaviour which threatens the social, emotional and/or physical safety of students.
Sexting is the creation or sharing of explicit images of a child and is illegal, even if the person doing it is a child (someone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday)
A young person is breaking the law if they:
§ take an explicit photo or video of themselves or a friend
§ share an explicit image or video of a child, even if it’s shared between children of the same age
§ possess, download or store an explicit image or video of a child, even if the child gave their permission for it to be created
For more information and guidance for parents and children visit the Childnet website.
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
The DfE, in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019, highlights potential signs of CSE as children that appear with unexplained gifts, children who have older boyfriends/ girlfriends, children who show changes in emotional well-being, children who misuse drugs/ alcohol and children who go missing from school/ home.
The National Crime Agency, the UK body charged with fighting organised crime, is very concerned that crime gangs are taking over drug networks using telephone hotlines (called 'county lines’) and recruiting vulnerable people, often children, to act as couriers and to sell drugs. Please see our information sheet about 'county lines' and 'cuckooing' - the practice whereby professional drug dealers take over the property of a vulnerable person and use it as a place from which to run their drugs business.
More young people across the UK are being approached by criminals who want to use their bank accounts or pin numbers for criminal purposes. This is called being a ‘money mule’. A ‘mule account’ is used to hide money that comes from illegal activities. The young person may be asked to transfer money, allow access to their account or open up a new one.
We need support to help educate young people around this issue. Has a child been approached or asked for their bank account to be used? Police are working in partnership with many schools across London to combat this issue. To report any concerns, speak to our Safer Schools Police Officer (see above) and/or Action Fraud (www.actionfraud.police.uk) on 0300 123 2040.
Children Missing in Education
Missing school can be an indicator of abuse and neglect, and in older children may raise concerns around child sexual exploitation. To safeguard pupils who are missing education, the school will ensure compliance with local authority policy and procedures for Children Missing Education.
The Attendance officer and Safeguarding Team will monitor unauthorised absence and follow procedures, particularly where children go missing on repeated occasions.
Early Help Offer
Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life. The Academy recognises that early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children, than reacting later and therefore is central to the Academy’s safeguarding ethos. Examples of early help available to students are below.
The Learning Zone: The Learning Zone has been designed to support the educational needs of vulnerable students in the Academy, It provides a quiet, safe working space at lunch times and after school and if required throughout the day.
The Intervention Zone and 1:1 room: The intervention zone is a designated room in the Academy for workshops, intervention sessions and 1:1 support and advice sessions. It serves all students but also provide targeted intervention for the most vulnerable students. It is open at KS3 and 4 lunch times for students to seek support and advice about anything that is worrying them. Students can also spend lunchtimes in the intervention zone socialising with their peers.
Operation Encompass is the implementation of key partnerships working between the Metropolitan Police (MPS), the local authority and Designated Safeguarding Lead's (DSL) working in schools. Mrs Simpson is the DSL at Harris Academy Merton. Operation Encompass went live in Merton on 14th June 2019.
A letter that has been circulated to all parents to inform them of this initiative can be found here.