Safeguarding responsibility to safeguard children but in an early

Safeguarding is a term that describes keeping children
safe and is more varied than ‘child protection’, it includes: keeping
children protected from maltreatment; preventing damage to children’s health
and development; Making sure that children grow up in circumstances consistent
with the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to ensure all
children to have the best outcomes – Keeping children safe in education, 2016.

(D1)The title is relevant to children’s care because
safeguarding is about how children are kept safe and protected from any sort of
harm and are well cared for. It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard
children but in an early years setting it is predominantly the Early Years
Practitioner’s (EYP’s) main role as they have a duty of care to the children. In
order to ensure the children receive the correct care practitioners should
regularly observe the children to make sure their care needs are being met, for
example if a baby appears to be hungry or tired or needs changing, because the
children rely on the adults around them to care for them. The EYP’s must also
follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Welfare requirements, the
relevance here is that this is a mandatory framework that sets the standards to ensure that children are kept
healthy and safe. For example, being reactive and recognising if a child is at
risk so that they are kept safe and cared for. Working together to safeguard children 2015 states that “staff
complete safeguarding training that enables them to recognise signs of
potential abuse and neglect” To
this is so that the staff can properly care for the children.

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It is also important that
EYPs remember that children are vulnerable because, depending on their age they
cannot verbalise their care needs. The EYP must have appropriate training and
qualifications in order to meet the care and safeguarding needs of each unique
child. 

(D2)Effective practice in relation to supporting
children’s well-being is to make sure that all children benefit and develop as
much as they can from their time in the setting. Effective practice is ensuring
the EYP is following the EYFS and Welfare requirements. A vital role is that of
being an effective key person. This is achieved by EYP’s working very closely
with children to get to know them and their needs so that they can help them feel
settled and secure in the setting so they can then learn and develop. This
relates to the title because in order for children to learn and develop the early
years settings should be secure physically but also emotionally so children can
develop without obstacles. As the key person will know the child extremely
well, they are best placed to notice any changes in the child’s well-being. For
example, they may notice signs of abuse or neglect. This could have a big
impact on a child’s well-being because if the child was experiencing physical
abuse, the injuries could effect a child emotionally as well as physically and
in consequence the child may not develop to their full potential.

Another way of ensuring effective practice which supports
the well-being of children when safeguarding all children in an early years
setting is to ensure all EYPs are appropriately qualified and trained In my
setting all staff working around the children must have a Disclosure and
Barring Service (DBS) check to make sure they are suitable to be around the
children and a level 3 education and care qualification or above to work there.
Having unsuitable practitioners could be an obstacle to children and effect
their well-being. The Statutory framework
for the early years foundation stage says that “Providers must ensure that
people looking after children are suitable to fulfil the requirements of their
roles. Providers must have effective systems in place to ensure that
practitioners, and any other person who is likely to have regular contact with
children (including those living or working on the premises), are suitable.”
If a member of staff is unsuitable for any reason this could put the
children at risk of harm and therefore damage the child’s well-being.

(C1)All settings have policies and procedures that relate
to the title. They are there to ensure that all children are kept safe, every
setting will have slightly different policies and procedures some examples are:
health and safety, safeguarding children, staffing, equality and inclusion,
record keeping, childcare practices, illness and medication.

In my setting to safeguard children one of their
procedures is for ensuring ‘safe collection of children’. It means that if the
EYP doesn’t recognise somebody at the door, the manager will answer it after
locking all the doors behind them so that if it is someone that is a risk to
the children they cannot get to them, keeping the children safe. If they are
there to collect a child, they will have been given a password to say before
they are let in. ‘Queen Emma Nursery’ have a policy for the collection of
children, one of their procedures is “If an authorised person is unknown to the
staff, they will be required to provide the child’s pick up password before
staff will release the child. The collecting adult will be required to sign the
child out in the ‘Pick up Book’.” This is the same as the procedure at
my setting and is an important step to safeguard all children in an early years
setting because letting someone in the nursery who could be a risk would affect
all of the children as well as the child they are collecting.

My placement setting also has a procedure for ‘illness
and health’. Which is what the Statutory
framework for the early years foundation stage says, “The provider must promote the
good health of children attending the setting. They must have a procedure,
discussed with parents and/or carers, for responding to children who are ill or
infectious, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection, and take
appropriate action if children are ill”. Their procedure is if a child
becomes ill whilst at the setting their carer will be asked to come and collect
them, if they are ill whilst at home or a given antibiotics they must wait 48
hours for the antibiotics to start working or until they feel better before
coming back to nursery. If the child has suffered chicken pox they must wait
until their spots have scabbed over before coming back into the setting,
although it is good for children to catch chicken pox early it could be
dangerous to the practitioners who haven’t had chicken pox or who are pregnant
so it is to keep them safe as well. The National Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says that in order for children to be kept safe,
providers must: establish and implement good safeguarding
policies and procedures; ensure all staff and volunteers are aware of and
follow the settings safeguarding policies and procedures and ensure that all
staff and volunteers receive child protection training.

(C2)When children feel safe and secure, it supports their
emotional well-being. Routines promote good emotional well-being and if a child
has a disrupted home life they may lack routine and security and as a result
feel unsafe, if children can predict what is coming they will feel safe and in
control. Planned daily routines also allow practitioners some control over
where the children are and what they are doing. Children who don’t have a
routine and structure can: feel stressed, have poor sleep, have an unbalanced
diet, don’t exercise regularly and don’t use their time effectively. When I am
on placement they have routines, for example, before the children go outside
they know to wait in front of the door so that the practitioner can count them
and write all their names down and then once they are let outside they have to
wait again in front of the gate so that they can again be counted again.
Although it is a secure building and the nursery is surrounded by a fence this
is so that the practitioner knows how many children they are responsible for
and no children are lost when they are outside. The Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage supports this
routine as it says “Staffing arrangements must meet the needs of all children and ensure
their safety. Providers must ensure that children are adequately supervised and
decide how to deploy staff to ensure children’s needs are met.” This
backs the routine that my placement setting have when going outside.

Another routine that my placement have to keep all of the
children safe is circle time. When all the children are sat in a circle and in
the same place it makes it easier for the practitioners to do the register,
make sure that everyone is where they should be there, and make sure nobody is
missed. When children have circle time there should be no tables or chairs that
could act as barriers, adding to it being a time when children can be open and
express their feeling, ideas and thoughts. Practitioners should make sure to
make it a positive experience and if a child is speaking out of turn say
something like “please can you tell everyone after” as appose to “stop
talking”. This is because children could disclose information about their
well-being or they could say very bluntly something like “mummy hit me” so it
is important that every child in the early years setting gets an opportunity to
speak so that they can all be safeguarded. Children who don’t speak much could
also be at risk of harm or have been harmed, no pre judgements should be made
by EYP’s. Routines can go wrong, especially when they are new to a child so
practitioners need to be patient so that the children can feel safe. Routines shouldn’t
be more important than the child and should be flexible so that they suit
everyone.

(B1) The Forest
School philosophy offers children regular opportunities to grow their confidence
and self-esteem and practise new skills through practical experience in
woodland or natural environments. Forest schools first began in the UK to
improve children’s self-esteem and self-confidence to support emotional safety
and security and to promote outdoor play. Children who have low self-esteem or
confidence, may hide themselves away from social situations, stop trying new
things and avoid things they find challenging or scary. This has an impact
especially on children because they need social situations to help them develop
their language, communication and social skills and they need to try new things
and do things they find difficult to learn, explore and discover the world
around them. In the longer term low self-esteem will cause somebody to think
that the only way to cope with things is by avoiding them.  A child with good mental health and a
strong sense of self-worth will thrive. EYP’s should be able to spot if a child
has low self-esteem so that they can raise it so that the child can develop to
their full potential, low self-esteem could also be a result of emotional abuse
from parents or carers who are consistently putting the child down. Forest
schools are good for children educationally but also in terms of their health.
In an article for The Daily Mail it says “Scientists have found people who
spend more time outside have a more positive body image and higher
self-esteem.”-Rosie Taylor 2016, this is why it is important for children to
spend lots of time outside or at a forest school. My placement has planned forest school
sessions where the children can makes fires, learn to use and make new tools,
dig in the mud and build dens, all things often seen as dangerous or risky. In forest schools they
encourage children to take risks and make risk assessments themselves as the
EYP’s see this as the children being actively involved in keeping themselves
safe and learning how to manage and reduce risk while still gaining all the
benefits from outdoor play.  “Every day, we risk-assess,” says Harwood. She was surprised
how quickly children grasped fire safety. “We hugely underestimate what
children can do.” Tree-climbing and tool-use is closely supervised. “Children
are going to get stung by nettles, they will get caught on brambles,” (Patrick
Barkham, Guardian, 2014 )To ensure safety, the forest school
leaders must all have a current first aid certificate and risk assessments are
in place. But there is the balance between being over protective and enjoying
risks and challenges.

(B2) Inclusive practice in
the EYFS is making sure that all children are included and any possible obstacles
are removed so that they are free to learn and develop, it should be
implemented to safeguard all children in an early years setting. In order to
include all children EYP’s should know what it is about each child that makes
them different, and remember that each child is unique. Act 2 of The United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child 1989 “States Parties shall
respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child
within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of
the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social
origin, property, disability, birth or other status.” Meaning that
everybody, no matter who they are or what difficulties they may have, should be
provided with equality and opportunity because each child has all of the same
rights. EYPs have a responsibility of understanding each child’s particular
needs so that they can appropriately provide for these and keep them safe. This
means the EYP must be able to observe children and analyse their behaviour and
recognise any concerns. An EYP who knows individual children well will be
better placed to ensure the child is safe and be able to take action. For
example, a child with a physical disability may need the setting to adapt the
environment suitably to make sure they can join in safely.

Children with special
educational needs and physical disabilities are vulnerable and most at risk of
harm so more thought may be needed to keep them safe. The EYP must work closely
with parents and with professionals. According to Safeguarding disabled children 2009, children with disabilities
were around three to four times more likely to be victims of abuse than other
children, the research also found that 9% of non-disabled children were victims
of abuse and, in comparison, 31% of disabled children were victims. Working together to
Safeguard Children 2015 agrees with this as
it states that “The available evidence on the extent of abuse among disabled children
suggests that disabled children are at increased risk of abuse, and that the
presence of multiple disabilities appears to increase the risks of both abuse and
neglect.”  Disabled children are
also at a higher risk of neglect. One reason for this that disabled children
can be very frustrating for parents or carers and they could struggle to deal
with the strain of caring for the child and as a result neglect them. In this
situation EYP’s have a duty of care to the child but should provide the
parents/carers with support and advice for caring for the child. Some support
available is something like respite or family support from a Children’s centre,
this is so the parents can have a break while the child is being cared for or
have some extra advice and support. Disabled children tend to have more complex
basic needs because they are not as independent as other children. If their
parents/carers don’t look after them they can’t take action and in some cases
may be able or capable of speaking out, this is why they are more likely to be
neglected and why it is important to safeguard them. The EPY must ensure they
understand the complex needs of all children and be able to put each child’s
unique needs first. They may also need to ask for support or guidance from
other services. Signs of abuse and neglect such as developmental delay may be
missed in disabled children as it is just put down to their disability.

Another group of children
who may not be included are children with Emotional and Behavioural
Difficulties (EBD). EBD is a condition where a child’s behaviour or emotional
responses are different to the accepted norm that it has an impact on the
child’s performance. Some symptoms of EBD
include: disruptive anti-social and aggressive behaviour; poor relationships;
hyperactivity, attention and concentration problems. A
child could also have behaviour and emotional difficulties as a result of
abuse. Managing challenging behaviour is difficult for EYP’s because initially
the instinct is to discipline them by having some time out, but too much time
out from play can affect a child’s learning and development. EYP’s need to be
aware that there might be more to the situation than just a child playing up.

(A1) Enabling environments are an important part of
safeguarding all children in the early years setting. Enabling environments are
key to encouraging children to play (and therefore develop) because it will
make them feel relaxed, comfortable and at home so they should be safe. Enabling environments should
be rich and varied spaces where risks are minimal and safe.

To
make it an enabling environment the setting should be kept generally safe. So that
children can feel relaxed any obstacles that could interfere with their
learning and development should be removed. These obstacles could be: unsuitable
people, staff ratios and staff qualification (as stated in the safeguarding and
welfare requirements under section 3 of the EYFS).

An
environment is made enabling by risks being minimised and managed. The
environment should be warm and welcoming so that the children feel relaxed. If
they feel emotionally secure and have a secure attachment with their key person
and they practitioners the child will feel as if they can share things, this
will in turn help the setting to keep the child safe from harm. This supports
what the EYFS says, “Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and
secure, when their individual needs are met, and when they have positive relationships
with the adults caring for them.” The enabling environment should stimulate and
excite the child, for this to happen the toys and equipment should be changed
or updated regularly as well as the layout of the setting. Another way to
stimulate children is by risk taking. Outdoor play is seen to be more risky
because it is a limitless environment, it important for children to explore the
outdoor environment so that they can develop physically but also intellectually
because it will give them opportunities to learn and develop concepts of things
that cannot be gained indoors. Many parents or practitioners will be wary of
taking young children outdoors because it is too risky and dangerous but this
is what stimulates children. Kidsafe NSW Inc. says that “Children both need and want to
take risks in order to explore their limits, venture into new experiences and
for their development. Any injury is distressing for children and those who
care for them, but the experience of minor injuries is a universal part of
childhood and has a positive role in child development.” So it is
apparent that children need to take risks and injure themselves in order for
them to automatically make mental risk assessments in the future.

 

 (A2) Working in partnership with parents is
vital to safeguarding all children in an early years setting, getting to know
the parents or carers will allow EYP’s to develop a picture of the family’s
home life and the child’s but it is important not to pre judge or make
assumptions of them, for instance, if a parent/carer doesn’t look after
themselves it doesn’t mean that they neglect their child. An assumption that
could be made is that a particular parent wouldn’t hit their child because the
EYP might have a close relationship with that parent and not believe they could
do that or not want to believe it. Alerting social services in this situation
will help to prevent any further damage occurring or can clear up a
misunderstanding.

Parents will most likely
know their children best and can provide insight into their dislike and
interest which will not only let EYP’s keep the children safe but will also
mean they can stimulate their learning by activities that will stimulate the
children.

Working in partnership with
parents and together with colleagues is also essential if a child has an allergy
or an intolerance. Reactions to some foods are common, but most are caused by
an intolerance rather than an allergy. They have some of the same signs and
symptoms so are sometimes confused. Food intolerances are usually much less
serious and often result in digestive problems but allergies can be life threatening.
When a child is enrolled in the setting the parents/carers should make the
EYP’s aware and all practitioners should be informed. In my placement setting
they have lists in the kitchen and snack area of who has what allergy so that
everyone can check. Them particular children are also highlighted in red or the
register and are given a red bowl at snack and lunch time with what their
allergy or intolerance is. Practitioner need to work in partnership with each
other and with parents to make sure that a child is not given the wrong food.
In April 2002 a 5 month old baby died from an
acute allergic reaction, although his allergy was known to the nursery “Thomas’s
parents and staff at Brownswood Nursery, Milton Keynes, knew of his milk
allergy, but a breakdown in communication and procedures resulted in Thomas
being fed a cereal containing milk products.” – Ruth Thompson 2003,
Nursery world. This scenario would have been avoided if practitioners had
worked in partnership with each other and the child would have been kept safe.

If a family are from a
cultural background or have a religious belief then a setting needs to be aware
of this because the child could have a different needs such as: prayer time,
unable to have certain foods or religious festivals. Some culture and religions
will have some practices, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of them, and
it is done for cultural, religious and social reasons and illegal in the UK.
FGM is a procedure where a females genitals are deliberately cut for no medical
reason. Working in partnership with parents/carers will help EYP’s to learn
about their culture or religion but also pick up on any signs that they are
going to put their child through something like FGM. It is vital to keeping the
children safe.

(A*1) Statutory framework
for the early years foundation stage (2017)
provides guidance in relation to safeguarding, section 3 of the guidance is the
safeguarding and welfare requirements that should be implemented.
A
child will learns best when they’re healthy, safe and secure. The safeguarding
and welfare requirements in section 3 are to help providers create high quality
settings which are welcoming, safe and stimulating, and where children are able
to enjoy themselves. It
provides information on: child protection, suitable people and staff, staff
qualifications, key people, staff ratios, health, managing behavior, safety and
suitability of premesis, special educational needs and keeping information and
records.

So that all
children can be protected from harm the EYP’s must know about any issues of
concern surrounding the child that could put them at risk. The setting should
have a policy and procedure for safeguarding the children that is in line with
the Local Safeguarding Childrens Board (LSCB), in my placement setting if
anyone has any concerns they should be reported to the manager straight away.