1. Introduction- Who it is by and who it is for
1a. This Safeguarding Policy is written in accordance with current legislative rules and maintained by members of the management team. This Policy applies to all students interacting with all services under the brand names ‘Study Mind’, ‘Medic Mind’, Oxbridge Mind’, ‘Dentist Mind’, ‘Law Mind’ ‘Vet Mind’ and any other part of this company. This applies to both direct students, referrals and groups coming from third party organisations. For ease of reference, this policy will refer to the business under the name ‘Study Mind’.
1b. Every student who participates in a Study Mind course should be able to do so in a safe and comfortable environment. Study Mind is committed to providing the best possible level of safeguarding and the wellbeing and safety of each student is vital.
1c. Study Mind has a duty to ensure all service providers of Study Mind courses are given appropriate safeguarding measures and all lessons take place in a safe environment.
1d. As well as students, this applies to all Study Mind tutors and staff. Appropriate measures are put in place to ensure that tutors are protected in terms of safety and wellbeing in all communications with Study Mind clients, staff and students.
2. Legislative Framework
2a. This Safeguarding Policy is to ensure all students on a Study Mind course are able to benefit from our services within the remits of the child safeguarding standards of the United Kingdom Law. This Policy is derived from a variety of legislative provisions and statutory guidance. In particular, it is based on good practice found in:
- Children Act 1989
- Human Rights Act 1998
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1991
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003
- Children Act 2004
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007
- The Equality Act 2010
- Children and Families Act 2014
- Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
- Modern Slavery Act 2015
- Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
- Data Protection Act 2018
- Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019
- Domestic Abuse Act 2021
- Children’s Code (issued under S125 DPA 2018, effective Oct 2021)
2b. Our safeguarding policy and procedures comply with all of this guidance and is updated with local arrangements agreed and published by the three local safeguarding partners.
2c. The following legislation is also incorporated into this policy:
- The Children Act 1989 (and 2004 amendment), which gives a broad framework for the care and protection of children and includes provisions for Local Authority inquiries, care proceedings, and emergency provisions.
- Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 S 5B(11), as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.
- The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 outlines provisions for when people with criminal convictions can work with children.
- ‘Regulated activity’ in relation to children is found in Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
2d. Where discloses are pertaining to international students, Study Mind will seek to inform local authorities when working with organisations and schools so that they can deal with the matter in an appropriate manner. If it is an individual student booking, or there is no suitable responsible adult involved (for example, if the allegation is against the guardian we have on file), then Study Mind will attempt to share relevant information with international and UK authorities.
3. Definitions of Abuse
3a. Abuse is a violation of a person’s human and civil rights by any other person. It is where someone does something to another person, or to themselves, which puts them at risk of harm and impacts on their health and wellbeing.
Abuse comes in many forms and can often have a damaging effect on the health and wellbeing of an individual, the effects may be short term, or may last a long time. The signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, and the victim may not tell anyone what is happening to them – sometimes they may not even be aware they are being abused.
Adults and children are potential victims and perpetrators, so Study Mind has an obligation to monitor and safeguard all interactions to ensure safety across all services.
3b. Abuse can be (but not limited to):
- Emotional abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Organisational abuse
3c. Children are considered to be abused or at risk of abuse by parents/carers when the basic needs of the child are not being met through acts of either commission or omission. Children includes everyone under the age of 18 (KCSIE, 2022).
Knowing what to look for is vital to the early identification of abuse and neglect. It is imperative that staff at Study Mind are able to use their experience to identify signs. If staff are unsure, they should always speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy).
All staff are aware that children may not feel ready or know how to tell someone that they are being abused, exploited, or neglected, and/or they may not recognise their own experiences as harmful (KCSIE 2022).
All staff should have an awareness of safeguarding issues that can put children at risk of harm. Behaviours linked to issues such as drug taking, alcohol abuse, deliberately missing education and consensual and non-consensual sharing of nudes and semi-nudes images and/or videos can be signs that children and young people are at risk.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people is defined as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
(Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), DfE, September 2022)
4a. Study Mind recognises that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their parents or carers has a role to play in safeguarding children.
4b. Study Mind management are responsible for:
4b.1- Safer Recruitment
Study Mind complies with all legislation around safeguarding during recruitment and all senior management are required to attend Safer Recruitment and general safeguarding training as part of their role.
Safer Recruitment measures at Study Mind include (but not limited to):
- Requiring video interviews of all employees prior to recruitment.
- Requiring references, which include explicit reference to suitability to work with children and young people, from all administrative and management recruitment cycles. For tutors, who sometimes do not have explicit working experience, a history of working with young people in a supervised setting is required.
- Requiring DBS checks and suitability checks on all employees prior to recruitment.
4b.2- Communications monitoring
All communications between staff, students, parents, tutors and organisations is monitored by Study Mind staff to ensure that guidelines are followed. All chats are accessible by multiple members of staff to ensure additional security.
4b.3- Allegations monitoring
Study Mind keeps detailed records of all and any allegations made against, to or by Study Mind to ensure that these are follow up correctly and monitored by the DSL. Where needed, these records are incorporated into training. All records are anonymised if made accessible to staff other than senior management team.
4b.4- Safeguarding training for all staff
Study Mind provides training to all employees on general safeguarding, reporting procedures and following the Code of Conduct.
4c. All Study Mind tutors are required to:
- Observe and comply with the Study Mind Code of Conduct.
- Attend all relevant training and development provided by Study Mind and be aware of all their responsibilities in line with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019.
- If a student discloses to a tutor that they are being abused, the tutor should report this to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) as soon as possible. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is responsible for ensuring that children are identified and the appropriate agency involved.
- Know how to deal with a disclosure of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, overdosing or eating disorders. The Designated Safeguarding Lead should be informed.
- Report instances of actual or suspected child abuse or neglect to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or in their absence, the Deputy, in line with the Child Protection Procedures and legal duty for reporting FGM as set out in this policy.
- Know what to do in the event of an allegation made against someone working with children. If such a disclosure is made, the tutor should report this to the DSL.
- Be alert to the signs of harm and abuse, including issues that can manifest themselves due to peer on peer abuse. This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender-based violence/sexual assaults and sexting.
- Tutors should follow the Child Protection Procedures with regards to peer on peer abuse as outlined in this policy.
- Know the Designated Safeguarding Lead’s name and contact details including telephone numbers and email.
- Be aware of the early help process. This includes identifying emerging problems, liaising with the Designated Safeguarding Lead, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment and, in some cases, acting as the lead professional in undertaking an early help assessment.
4d. Study Mind will:
- Assess the impact of this policy in keeping children safe.
- Contribute any local, contextual information that may support children’s safety and welfare.
- Receive and consider regular reports from tutors about the effectiveness of safeguarding and child protection at the company
- Keep abreast of training to ensure that tutors have the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep all children safe.
4e. Study Mind has a duty of care to tutors, who are often young people themselves. Study Mind will:
- Educate and engage tutors on working rights in the UK, ensuring that tutors have clear information around work, fair and prompt payment and policies that ensure that no tutor is disadvantaged through their work at Study Mind.
- Provide safe and open spaces for communication on grievances, so tutors are able to provide feedback on their experience at Study Mind.
- Ensure that no direct communication between tutors, students or guardians happens outside of the communication set up by Study Mind. At all times a member of Study Mind must be present (either through presence in a group chat or through recording) to review communication and ensure that no abuse takes place.
- Operate a zero tolerance policy on any abuse towards any one associated with Study Mind. Abuse from Study Mind employees or clients will be investigated thoroughly by the DSL and, where necessary, may lead to an immediate termination of contracts, suspension of lessons and referral to local authorities.
4f. Any member of Study Mind staff disclosing, investigating or dealing with abuse allegations are given additional support and encouragement for leave if needed and urged to seek out mental health support.
4g. Study Mind will create an environment in which there is no such thing as ‘low level concerns’. All allegations are treated seriously and by taking a zero tolerance approach, Study Mind seeks to create an environment in which abuse is spotted early and does not have any chance to embed itself or for toxic practices to go uninvestigated. As such, Study Mind will investigate all allegations in good faith.
5. Online Safety and Communication
5a. All Study Mind online communication is monitored and tracked for safety. These procedures are made clear in the tutor induction documents, Code of Conduct and this document.
5b. Social media safety is an integral part of this policy. Social media is defined as all methods of direct online communication, including (but not limited to) Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube.
All social media coming from Study Mind must be approved by the management team and must not:
- Include anything amounting to bullying or discrimination
- Include any identifying information of Study Mind staff or students
- Include any images without permission
- Include anything amounting to abuse of any kind
- Divulge any Study Mind intellectual property, policies not public or speak in a disparaging way about interactions
- Misrepresent Study Mind, its services or staff members.
Staff and students must not under any circumstances, either during or after a booking, communicate or add each other on private or personal social media. Discovery of this will lead to immediate termination of contracts on both sides. In cases where staff and students knew each other personally prior to joining Study Mind, then employees must ensure that all communications abide by this policy.
5c. Photography policy- Study Mind recognises that it is vital to protect images of children and young people from misuse.
- Study Mind requires all lessons to be recorded for safety and monitoring purposes. Tutors are guided through the Code of Conduct to keep these recordings safe for no more than 3 months and never save them or share them. This means keeping them on their platform and only ever share recordings either directly with students within Study Mind’s messaging platform, via email through Study Mind or to Study Mind directly.
- Any images or recordings used for promotional purposes must be approved by students and guardians and not have any identifying information about anyone involved.
6. Safeguarding procedures
6a. Tutors and staff will follow the necessary child protection procedures if an incident occurs. They will be made aware that:
- Where a child is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, a referral should be made to the DSL immediately. Tutors can ring the direct number to the DSL in this document, or call the central office on +44 (0) 20 3305 9593 to report the incident. Study Mind staff will then be able to contact relevant authorities and, if needed, 999 in order to disclose the situation with access to the students’ personal information.
- Anyone can make a referral.
- Tutors should not assume that somebody else will take action/share information that might be critical in keeping children safe. All allegations are treated as serious and confidential.
- Where referrals are not made by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, the Designated Safeguarding Lead should be informed, as soon as possible, that a referral has been made.
- The reporting of concerns relating to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is mandatory.
- The DSL or deputy DSL will always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns.
6b. When a tutor suspects that any student may have been subject to abuse, or a student has suggested that abuse has taken place either to themselves or another student, the allegation must be reported immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). The DSL will ensure the allegation is acted on within the same day. It is best practice to ensure that all colleagues who are involved in the allegation are informed of the outcome, so there is closure or continual vigilance as necessary.
All Safeguarding concerns will be investigated within 24 hours of receiving the report. It is vital that incidences are reported as soon as possible to allow prompt investigation.
To help the Safeguarding team respond and refer appropriately you should follow the guidance below.
- Remember that concern forms are used in court cases and inquests as evidence.
- Reports should be objective and detailed.
- Please alert the team as soon as possible. It can take several hours to deal with even urgent concerns and the earlier we start the better.
7. Allegations Against Study Mind Tutors and Staff
7a. All allegations of abuse made against tutors must be brought to the attention of the Study Mind immediately. All investigations will be investigated thoroughly and may involve disclose to third party associations where necessary.
7b. Study Mind is committed to holding any staff member to account and all incidences of abuse allegations, whether confirmed or not, must be accompanied by a full company investigation into the culture and situation that led to it, to ensure that lessons are learned and that policies and procedures are improved.
7c. Study has clear Code of Conduct documents and disciplinary measures in place in order to ensure that clear expectations are set for working with Study Mind.
8a. All tutors and students using Study Mind’s services have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the Safeguarding Policy.
8b. Any tutor who is reported for a breach of the Safeguarding Policy will be suspended from Study Mind tutoring effective immediately. The final decision for a minor breach will be the responsibility of Study Mind.
8c. Any tutor reported for illegal activity whilst using Study Mind services will be reported to policy and appropriate authorities including the General Medical Council and General Dental Council if necessary. This also include tutoring students independently outside of Study Mind contracted hours and sharing of materials without notifying Study Mind.
8d. Staff found to be not following this policy will be subject to disciplinary measures and may also be reported if they fail to undertake the duties to the best of their ability. There may also be penalties in place for responsible staff members who are found to have not disclosed information that was vital to an investigation or to withholding information.
9. Safeguarding Governance
9a. Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone in Study Mind. The senior management team are however responsible for ensuring that procedures are followed, clear and that records are kept up to date.
Designated Safeguarding Lead:
Name: Daniela Prataviera
Role: Senior Manager
9b. Study Mind is committed to quality assurance of the Safeguarding procedures and policy. All disclosures are reviewed as part of regular updates to this policy. One full review is completed each year (next one due October 2023) and smaller updates are added throughout the year to ensure that this policy is fit for purpose. The senior management team at large are responsible for this oversight to ensure that it is kept to a high standard.
10. Prevent and anti-radicalisation
10a. Radicalisation is defined as the introduction of extreme views that are detrimental to society to any member of the public. Vulnerable groups such as students are especially susceptible.
10b. Study Mind has a specific Prevent and anti-radicalisation policy that details the measures and procedures in place to protect students, staff and partners. In summary, this policy forms part of the overall provision of safeguarding support and any disclosures are made under the same procedures as in this document.
10c. Study Mind has an Anti-Radicalisation risk assessment in Annex A on the Prevent policy.