The International School of Penang (Uplands) has a duty to provide a safe school for all pupils, teachers and community members. It is a fact that children who feel safe at school and at home are more likely to develop socially and emotionally and, as a consequence, perform better at school.
The Safe School Policy is the guiding document which provides our school with clear and effective practices aimed at protecting and safeguarding the health and welfare of our students and keeping our school safe.
A community-wide safety net.
Every teacher, parent, pupil and wider community member has a responsibility to protect and safeguard the children in our school. Each one of us is part of a safe school ‘safety net’ which aims to keep everyone safe from harm, abuse and exploitation.
THE UPLANDS SAFE SCHOOL TEAM
Uplands School has a Safe School Committee which is comprised of staff members, parents and students who work together on improving and developing school safety.
Uplands School also has a Safe School Coordinator who is a single point of contact for anyone wishing to report child welfare concerns.
If you have concerns about the welfare of any child in the school you can report your concerns directly to the Safe School Coordinator by:
The Safe School Coordinator is: David Johnston – School Counsellor
A DUTY TO REPORT
Employees of the school and all members of the school community have a duty to report any issues of concern they have in relation to child welfare. The school in turn has a duty to assess all child welfare concerns that are reported and take steps within the power of the school to ensure the child is safe.
What must be reported?
Any issues at school which relate to potential or actual harm, abuse or exploitation of an Uplands pupil must be reported. Also actions at school that may adversely affect a child’s physical, emotional, or psychological development must be reported to the Safe School Coordinator. This includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, exploitation, neglect, bullying or harassment.
Note: If the school becomes aware of issues relating to the harm, abuse or exploitation of children outside school, the information will be passed to the relevant authorities.
Reportable behaviour includes any of the following (list not exhaustive).
- Bullying or harassment
- Self harm
- Threatening or violent behaviour
- Substance possession or use (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, other substances)
- Pornography (physical or on-line).
- Inappropriate behaviour between staff / adults and students
- Inappropriate emotional behaviour between staff / adults and students
- Inappropriate physical, emotional, sexual behaviour between students
- Sexual harassment
- Any indicators of abuse (physical signs, emotional or psychological)
- Disclosures of abuse (at home or school)
- Allegations of abuse (at home or school)
What is bullying and harassment?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive or overbearing behaviour among school aged children or adults that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and which generally is experienced as intimidating.
Bullying is not tolerated at Uplands School and will be considered a form of abuse that must be reported.
Harassment is the undertaking of systematic or continued unwanted and annoying actions by one party (or group) toward another, including threats and demands. Harassment can include written or verbal derogatory or hostile comments. It can include behaviour which is obscene, suggestive or sexual in nature.
Prejudice and discrimination due to race, gender, age and sexuality will not be tolerated at The International School of Penang (Uplands) and will be considered to be a form of abuse that is reportable.
What is abuse?
There are 4 main types of abuse
The failure to provide for the child’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, health or emotional care.
Neglect can include educational, physical, medical and emotional neglect.
The inflicting of physical injury on another person. Any form of physical assault which results in a physical injury.
The deliberate use of intimidating, humiliating, threatening, hostile or overly critical or undermining behaviour toward another. Emotional abuse is also known as verbal abuse, mental abuse and psychological maltreatment.
Sexual abuse is inappropriate sexual behaviour with a child.
Sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, is forced or coerced into or that violates the laws and social taboos of society.
THE SAFE SCHOOL PROCEDURE.
When a child welfare concern comes to light there are several procedural steps that need to be taken.
The key stages of protecting children
- Making safe
- Fact finding
STEP 1. REPORTING ABUSE
Your duty to report
If you have cause to suspect abuse or have any other Child welfare or safeguarding concerns all staff, students, parents or other stakeholders have a duty to report.
Who do I report my concerns to?
All Child Welfare issues must be reported to the Safe School Coordinator without delay.
This can be done by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP 2. ASSESSING
The Safe School Coordinator role is to assess the levels of risk to the child, to collate all information received and instigate appropriate action.
STEP 3 MAKING SAFE
Some child welfare information may indicate that a child is ‘at risk’ of continued harm or abuse.
In this case the School will convene a ‘Child at Risk Meeting’ without delay which will consider immediate short term measures to ensure the child is safe in school.
STEP 4 FACT FINDING
For school-based cases the school will endeavour to ascertain the facts of the issues reported before deciding on a course of action.
STEP 5 RESPONDING
On completion of the Fact Find, a meeting will be convened to listen to the facts and make child welfare decisions based on known facts.
The Safe School Policy is an essential part of Uplands School’s responsibility to ensure every child in its community is safe. For us to be effective at protecting children the whole school community needs to be aware of the Safe School policy and have an awareness of our collective responsibility to make sure children are safe from harm, exploitation and abuse.
The full policy is available on request.