Updated Dec 2022 (DM)
This policy applies to the main Wimbledon School of English in London. A separate Safeguarding policy applies to the WSE Juniors at Lord Wandsworth, which takes place during the summer months at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire.
The majority of students who attend Wimbledon School of English are 18 years of age and over, but we do also regularly accept students aged 16 and 17. We also accept 15-year-olds, but only as part of groups with a group leader, and 12 to 14-year olds but only as part of closed groups with a group leader. These students are accompanied by group leaders with a maximum of 15 students per group leader. Students aged 14 do not attend classes with anyone aged 18 or over who is not part of their group and study in separate premises. Students aged 15 may occasionally be in adult classes. We have a policy on Under 16s in class, which can be found in Appendix 13 of the WSE Employee Handbook.
In addition to this the school also runs specific Juniors courses for 14 to 17-year-olds during the summer and occasionally in January. These students do not need to be part of a group and they attend classes, activities and excursions only with other students on the Juniors programme. Specific safeguarding provisions are in place during the time that our Juniors courses are running and can be found at the end of this policy.
The school is located within self-contained premises consisting of two conjoined three-storey Edwardian houses, a garden and two modern small buildings contained within the garden. Extra classrooms are occasionally used in the Mansel Road Centre, which is a building behind Trinity Church in Mansel Road and in Wimbledon High School in the summer. We may occasionally use other buildings as appropriate. The school premises are located on a busy road on which there are bus stops within 3 minutes’ walking distance and Wimbledon Station within 5 minutes’ walking distance.
The school offers a range of accommodation options including homestay, student houses, and, in the summer, university accommodation. There are a number of homestay options offering students their own bathroom or a shared bathroom, different meal options and travel times. Students are generally placed in hosts that are no further than 30 minutes’ travelling time from the school. However, some hosts are a bit further away from the school than this. The school offers a choice of five student houses used by students to house share with other students from WSE. All the student houses are no more than 25 minutes’ travel time from the school. Only students aged 18 and over are offered the option of a student house.
The following terminology is used throughout this policy and other school policy. It is important that all members of staff are familiar with the terms used, and where a term refers to a named person, they know who that person is and how they can be contacted.
Under-18 – Any student or visitor who is under the age of 18. They are deemed to be a minor by law. All students of the WSE Main School who are under the age of 18 have their age highlighted on their name badge, which must be worn at all times on the school premises. Their name badges also have green stripes, while those who are 18 or over have purple stripes. Under-18s are also identified to class teachers on the class register.
Adult at risk of harm – Any student or visitor to the school whose personal circumstances may make them more vulnerable than many other adults. This term replaces ‘vulnerable adult’ which was used in pervious versions of this policy. It is also frequently shortened to ‘adult at risk’. Factors that may deem someone to be an adult at risk may include a physical disability (e.g. sight/hearing impairment, mobility impairment), special needs (e.g. learning difficulties, dyslexia), level of English (students with a low level of English may not fully understand instructions or be able to effectively express a concern), lack of local knowledge (unfamiliar with the local vicinity or customs). Each student’s level of vulnerability may depend on the context and it cannot be assumed that someone who is not regarded as an adult at risk within the school premises doesn’t become vulnerable off-site.
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – A named member of staff, trained to Specialist Safeguarding for the DSL, who has full overall responsibility to ensure WSE meets the aims of this policy. Since September 2019, the Designated Safeguarding Lead has been Julie Ransley. The identity of the DSL is advertised around the school in posters and on the student’s arrival she meets all new students during their Monday tour and in a meeting on the Friday of their first week.
Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) – A named member of staff trained to Specialist Safeguarding for the DSL, who is able to support the DSL and cover in her absence. The DSP is Akosua Sarpong. The following members of staff have also undergone training in Specialist Safeguarding for the DSL: Fiona Dunlop, Sandro Saviolo, Jane Dancaster, Julie Ransley, Susi Wright, Julian Oakley and Duncan MacInnes. When neither Julie or Akosua are working, the duties of acting DSP fall to Fiona Dunlop.
Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (LSCP) - key statutory mechanism for agreeing how the relevant agencies in each local area will co-operate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in that locality, and for ensuring the effectiveness of what they do. The Children Act and Social Work Act 2017 has significantly amended the Children Act 2014, and requires each local authority to establish a Safeguarding Partnership in place of what was the Local Safeguarding Children Board. Wimbledon School of English falls within the catchment area of Merton Borough Local Safeguarding Children’s Partnership.
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) – The officer or team of officers involved in the management and oversight of allegations against people that work with children.
Duty of Care – The school’s obligation to look after the wellbeing of all students but in particular children and adults at risk, and help them to achieve their potential.
Child Protection – This falls under Safeguarding. It focuses on protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.
Statement of Policy
We strive to make Wimbledon School of English a safe and welcoming place for students of all ages. However, we recognise that we have a duty of care towards both under-18s and any adults risk who attend the school or who are in other ways associated with the school. This duty of care applies to all adults associated with the school. All our policies and procedures are designed to ensure that we are vigilant to ensure children are protected against all forms of harm, we are able to identify students who are potentially vulnerable to harm, and are able to swiftly and efficiently take action when we believe a child is at risk or has been harmed. In all that we do, we ensure we always act in the best interests of the child.
All students and visitors under the age of 18 or who fall into the category of adult at risk are entitled to be protected under this policy regardless of their race, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or religious belief.
Staff Responsibilities related to Safeguarding
A detailed description of the responsibilities all staff and other adults connected to the school have in relation to safeguarding under-18s and adults at risk can be found in the sections below. The overarching principles are that all adults have the responsibility to safeguard under-18s and adults at risk, be vigilant and know to report concerns, including small ones, or allegations, and who to contact both within and outwith WSE. All staff must be trained in Safeguarding to the level of Basic Awareness, all Designated Persons and the Designated Lead to the level of Specialist Training for the DSL.
New homestay hosts are required to be trained in Safeguarding to the level of Basic Awareness and the Accommodation Manager is responsible for ensuring this is renewed on an annual basis.
Designated Safeguarding Team
The following members of staff form the Designated Safeguarding Team
Role Staff Member Location
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) Julie Ransley Top floor 41 side
Designated Safeguarding Person (DSP) Akosua Sarpong Reception
Additional trained staff Sandro Saviolo – Operations Director
Susi Wright – Director of Studies
Julian Oakley – Assistant Director of Studies
Duncan MacInnes - Academic Project Manager
Although not a member of the Designated Safeguarding Team, Jane Dancaster is also trained to the level of Specialist Safeguarding for the DSL.
In the absence of the DSL, the DSP assumes her responsibilities. In the absence of both the DSL and DSP, the Principal acts as the Designated Safeguarding Person or appoints another member of the Designated Safeguarding Team to the role of Acting DSL.
Weekly meetings are held on Wednesdays between the Designated Safeguarding Lead and the Academic Management team to discuss any ongoing student welfare and safeguarding issues. Quarterly meetings are held with the Designated Safeguarding Team to review the school Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. Staff have the opportunity to bring up Safeguarding concerns in their monthly staff meetings, and are encouraged to speak to the DSL or DSP at any time if they have a concern or are unsure about anything connected to Safeguarding.
The following contact information should be use to report a concern about a child.
London Borough of Merton Designated Officer (John Shelley)
tel: 020 8545 3187 / 07814 642 728
tel: 0808 800 5000
Wimbledon Police Station
This policy is informed by the following legislation enacted by the UK Parliament:
The Children Act 1989
Local Government Act 2000
The Sexual Offences Act 2003
Children Act 2004
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
Children & Social Work Act 2017
It is also informed by following documents produced by the UK Government:
Keeping Children Safe in Education – Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges, Sept 2019
What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused – Advice for practitioners, March 2015
This policy is reviewed at least on an annual basis and is updated whenever legislation or guidance changes and when a person named in the policy changes. It is also updated whenever school procedures covered in this policy change. It was last reviewed and updated by Duncan MacInnes on 9 December 2021. Issues raised in weekly and quarterly Safeguarding and Welfare meetings also feed into this policy.
This policy can be found in the Wimbledon School of English Employee Handbook, which all staff receive upon appointment. The Handbook is updated annually, and the updated version is sent to all staff. Staff are required annually to sign a declaration that they have read and understood the handbook. This policy is also available to the public on the Wimbledon School of English Website (www.wimbledon-school.ac.uk).
Condensed versions of this policy are also available as part of the Group Leader Handbook and the Homestay Host Handbook.
Code of Conduct
Statement of Intent
It is the policy of Wimbledon School of English to safeguard the welfare of all children and adults at risk and to protect them from all forms of abuse including physical, emotional and sexual harm.
This organisation is committed to creating a safe environment in which all students, regardless of their age, can feel comfortable and secure while engaged in any Wimbledon School of English programme. Staff must at all times show respect and understanding for the individual’s rights, safety and welfare, and conduct themselves appropriately.
Guidelines for all Wimbledon School of English Staff
Staff must be committed to:
Staff must endeavour to:
Staff may not engage in any of the following activities:
“Inappropriate physical contact” may be difficult to define in a multi-cultural environment, when students from some other cultures may be more tactile. Staff are therefore prohibited from initiating any physical contact with a student or, if alone with a student, from engaging in physical contact if initiated by the student. Students may wish to have a photograph taken with a member of staff and it is quite natural in this situation for the student to place their arm around the member of staff. This is deemed acceptable provided that the staff member is not alone with the student, the staff member refrains from reciprocating, and the hand or arm isn’t placed on any protected area of the staff member’s body. Staff must otherwise, tactfully and sensitively explain to students that they cannot engage in physical contact with them.
Students in the classroom
The following applies to all students, however staff need to consider the implications of the following to our under-18s and adults at risk.
One-To-One contact with students
Particular care must be taken by homestay hosts when they have students under the age of 18 present in their homes. Hosts need to be sensitive to the need for to have a reasonable degree of privacy, particularly in their bedroom and bathroom.
Hosts must ensure they dress appropriately when they are outside of their bedroom, particularly when they go to or from the bathroom and insist that students do the same. They must always seek permission from the student before entering their bedroom and must knock and wait before entering. Students must also be made aware that they are not allowed to enter hosts’ bedrooms.
Transporting students by car
Staff who may need to meet with students under the age of 18 outside of the workplace, for example if they need to drive them to a new homestay, must inform a senior member of staff that they are doing this and report back to them when the student has been safely delivered to their destination. Students must sit in the back seat of the car unless three or more students are being transported at the same time. In such circumstances the student being dropped off first must sit in the front passenger seat.
Staff are required to report to their line manager (or any senior manager) any instances where they are worried that a fellow member of staff may be engaging or may have engaged in any inappropriate or illegal activity with students. Confidentiality and support will be given to any staff member who raises such concerns.
Staff should also feel that they are able to raise concerns about potential failures in the school’s Safeguarding procedures and know that the Senior Management Team will take such concerns seriously.
The school has a Whistleblowing policy, which can be found in the Employee Handbook.
Child Protection forms part of the duty of care we have to our under-18s. This means the need to protect them from direct harmful behaviour, for example emotional abuse, physical abuse or any other physical harm, sexual abuse and neglect. It should be noted that this abuse can come from another child and not just an adult.
Wimbledon School of English is committed to a practice which protects children from harm. This includes a) safeguarding, which is the school’s duty of care to look after children and help them to achieve their potential, and b) child protection, which involves protection from abuse. Abuse can include neglect, sexual, physical, or psychological and emotional abuse, which can come from children as well as adults. For the purposes of this policy a child is defined as a person under the age of 18 (regardless of the age of majority in their own country) and all children regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation are protected by this policy.
All staff must undergo training in Basic Awareness in Child Protection and must be aware that they are at all times responsible for maintaining a safe environment for all under-18s. It is each staff member’s line manager who has responsibility for ensuring that this is done, with the Principal having overall responsibility for this. Training is delivered online and the certificate generated at the end of the training is evidence that training has been completed to a satisfactory standard.
Staff in this organisation accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of issues which cause children and young people harm. We will endeavour to safeguard children by:
We are also committed to reviewing our policy and good practice at least once a year. The Principal and Managing Director are primarily responsible for this.
The identity of the Welfare Officer/DSL is advertised around the school and on the students’ arrival she meets all new students on the Friday of their first week.
If any student or staff member has any concerns about the welfare of an under-18 this will be reported to the DSL, or DSP in her absence.
Children and young people
Wimbledon School of English will act to ensure that young students have information about how, and with whom, they can share their concerns, complaints and anxieties.
When sharing information, Wimbledon School of English personnel will be sensitive to the level of understanding and maturity, as well as to the level of responsibility, of the people with whom they are sharing information.
Parents / persons with parental responsibility are ultimately responsible for their children’s welfare at all times, and they should be assured that their children are involved with a credible organisation. We achieve this by having a full copy of this Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy available for anyone to view. The policy is made available to the public via the WSE website, and additionally to staff in the Employee Handbook.
As an organisation, which works with children and young people, it is imperative that each member of the Wimbledon School of English staff is aware of their responsibilities under the Child Protection legislation and has a working knowledge of Wimbledon School of English procedures. Each member of staff will receive online training shortly after they start and refresher training at least once a year.
Child Protection Officer
The Child Protection Officer is the Designated Safeguarding Lead and has responsibility for dealing with any incidents and concerns. The Designated Safeguarding Person deputises and stands in for the DSL in her absence. Full details of the Designated Safeguarding Team are given in the Designated Safeguarding Team section above.
Procedure for reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse
Responsibility of staff to report
It is the duty of Wimbledon School of English staff to disclose cases of abuse or allegations of abuse to the Designated Safeguarding Lead without delay.
It is NOT for staff to decide whether or not a suspicion or allegation is true. All suspicions or allegations of abuse must be taken seriously.
If a member of staff has suspicions, they should contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Person in confidence. If a child starts to talk to the staff member directly, they should allow that person to disclose and should allow them to continue talking following the guidelines below. That staff member should then see the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Person in confidence.
What to do if abuse is suspected or disclosed
For reasons of confidentiality the only people who need to know this information are members of the Designated Safeguarding Team who need to know.
Once a statement has been collected from a student further questioning should be avoided apart from important clarification of factual detail.
A senior management representative (usually the Principal) and the Designated Safeguarding Lead will meet at the earliest possible opportunity to consider an appropriate course of action in response to the information revealed by the student and consider any other relevant information.
The Principal will decide if it is appropriate to involve other members of the school staff, e.g. the Managing Director, Operations Director, Director of Studies or Accommodation Manager at this stage, and also whether to inform the student’s agent and parents. There may be no need to take any further action in which case this decision should be recorded in writing.
Further action may include the immediate removal of any imminent threat of danger, seeking advice from the Local Authority Designated Officer or contacting the police.
ALWAYS REPORT ANY ALLEGATIONS, PROBLEMS, CONCERNS OR ISSUES TO THE DESIGNATED SAFEGUARDING LEAD (DSL), IMMEDIATELY. IN HER ABSENCE REPORT THESE TO THE DESIGNATED SAFEGUARDING PERSON (DSP).
Sharing information regarding child protection and confidentiality
Good communication is essential in any organisation. At Wimbledon School of English every effort will be made to ensure that, should individuals have concerns, they will be listened to and taken seriously.
It is the responsibility of all line managers to ensure that information is available to, and exchanged between all those involved in this organisation and its activities. Some information is confidential and should only be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis. At times it may be necessary to share information with a Local Authority Designated Officer in the Merton Safeguarding Children’s Partnership. Any staff member who becomes aware of child protection information must only share it with the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Designated Safeguarding Person and not with anyone else, including any member of their family. Confidentiality of both the victim and the accused must be maintained.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 do not prevent staff from sharing information about a child or a child’s family to the appropriate people if there is a need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at risk of abuse or neglect.
A clear record of what information about a child in relation to an incident or concern has been shared, to whom and the reasons for doing so must be kept. Please see the section headed Record Keeping below.
Recognising Different Forms of Abuse
While abuse of young people at Wimbledon School of English may seem to be extremely unlikely we should not assume that it could never happen. Our duty of care to young people and adults at risk extends to watching out for signs of potential abuse.
Here are some signs to look out for that may indicate a child or adult at risk is suffering from abuse. Some signs may vary with the age of the child or adult at risk. Not every child or adult at risk will exhibit every symptom. As well as signs, children and adults at risk may tell you of abuse. Always listen and follow the procedures for responding to allegations of abuse (below).
Types of abuse
Sexual abuse is any sexual activity with a child. Many children and young people who are victims of sexual abuse do not recognise themselves as such. Sexual abuse can have a long-term impact on mental health. Victims of sexual abuse can be male or female.
Signs to look out for:
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse and it can have severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development.
Signs to look out for:
Physical abuse is deliberately physically hurting a child. It might take a variety of different forms, including hitting, pinching, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating a child. Physical abuse can occur inside and outside of a child’s family environment.
Signs to look out for:
Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs, whether it be adequate food, clothing, hygiene, supervision or shelter. It is likely to result in the serious impairment of a child’s health or development.
Children who are neglected often also suffer from other types of abuse.
Signs to look out for:
In addition to the types of abuse mentioned above, three other specific types of abuse that staff must be aware of are Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Peer-on-Peer Abuse (which includes bullying, cyberbullying, sexual violence and sexual harassment), and Honour-based Violence (HBV), which includes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Child Sexual Exploitation
This is a form of sexual abuse where under-18s are exploited to engage in sexual activity in return for money, gifts, drugs, affection or status. CSE does not always involve physical contact as it can happen online or involve pressure from peers or cyber bullying.
Signs to look for in under-18s include:
Child Criminal Exploitation
This is a form of child abuse where children are manipulated and coerced into committing crimes, normally by a gang. A gang can be:
Such children may be involved in the movement of drugs from a central hub to outlying areas. The police refer to this as ‘county lines’.
Signs to look for include:
It should be remembered that abuse does not only come from adults, but can come from other children. Peer-on-peer abuse can include bullying (including cyberbullying), sexual violence and sexual harassment.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets. It can occur through text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behaviour.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:
Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter
SMS (Short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices
Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
Signs to look out for in under-18s include:
Sexual violence and sexual harassment
Sexual violence is defined as any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or coercion, acts to traffic a person or acts directed against a person's sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim.
Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that can occur online and offline. It can include, but is not limited to:
Some people might try to excuse mild transgressions as a “joke” or “teenage fun”. However, all forms of sexual violence are unacceptable. It should also be noted that both perpetrators and victims can be either male or female.
Honour Based Abuse (HBA)
This is coercion or violence used against a person in belief that family or tribal honour requires action. A person can be seriously injured or even killed in extreme cases.
Signs to look out for include:
Female Genital Mutilation
This is a practice that can cause severe and long-lasting damage to physical and mental health. It is carried out for religious, social or cultural reasons, however there are no medical reasons for carrying it out. It is a criminal offence if done in the UK. Staff should be aware that a person who has suffered FGM may ask for help without being explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear. Any causes for concern are to be reported to the DSL. Any suspected case of FGM must be reported to the police.
Differentiating between a concern and a serious issue
All serious issues and concerns must be reported to a member of the Designated Safeguarding Team. Serious issues, in which a child or adult at risk could be in immediate danger of harm or abuse must be acted upon immediately. If a member of staff has a concern about a student, even though that student may not be in immediate danger, they must still report that concern to a member of the Designated Safeguarding Team. Early intervention will reduce the risk of the situation becoming more serious if the concern proved to be justified.
Identifying Vulnerable Students
The Designated Safeguarding Team identifies students who may be vulnerable to harm or abuse through the sharing of information which may come from student bookings, comments from teachers and other staff members. Factors that may make a student vulnerable include age, special educational needs, and disability. However, there are many factors that could make a student vulnerable and all staff must report any concerns they may have to a member of the Designated Safeguarding Team.
All records, information and confidential notes should be kept by the Designated Safeguarding Lead in separate files in a locked room or in secure electronic files. Only the Managing Director, Principal, Director of Studies and Operations Director or another nominated senior manager and the Designated Safeguarding Lead and Designated Safeguarding Person will have access to these files, and only when necessary.
In any case where an allegation is made, or someone in Wimbledon School of English has concerns, a record should be made. Details must include, as far as practical:
Staff are reminded that fear about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the welfare of the child.
If an adult is accused
It is the duty of Wimbledon School of English staff to disclose cases of abuse or allegations of abuse to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Designated Safeguarding Person without delay.
It is NOT for staff to decide whether or not a suspicion or allegation is true. All suspicions or allegations of abuse must be taken seriously. If a member of staff has suspicions, they should contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Person in confidence. If a child starts to talk to the staff member directly, they should allow the child to continue talking following the guidelines above in Procedure for reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse.
It is important to ensure that the child is away from any possible harm. That may require changing the accused adult’s work duties, if they are a member of staff, moving the student to a different accommodation house, or even requiring the staff member to leave the school while the investigation takes place. At all times the Principal will be kept informed of events and the Designated Safeguarding Lead will make a decision on when it is appropriate to involve the Merton Safeguarding Children’s Partnership.
Procedure if the DSL or a senior manager is accused
If an accusation is made against the DSL the matter must be reported to a senior manager (The Managing Director, Principal or Operations Director) immediately. In the event that none of these are immediately on site, it should be reported to another member of the Designated Safeguarding Team who will follow the procedure outlined above.
If an accusation is made against a member of the Senior Management Team, the DSL will follow the same procedure, but keeping at least one other member of the Senior Management Team informed.
Accusations against children
It should be recognised that abuse can come from children as well as adults and it is possible that a student under the age of 18 may be accused of abuse against another child. In such a circumstance it is important that the accused is recognised as being vulnerable by being under 18 and must be given all required support by a member of the Designated Safeguarding Team.
All staff receive training in basic safeguarding awareness and refresher training both face-to-face and online on an annual basis. The online training has a test component that helps to check that staff have understood the training before a certificate is generated. For face-to-fact training, a short, written test is carried out immediately after the training and submitted to the trainer.
Members of the Designated Safeguarding Team are trained to the level of Specialist Safeguarding for the Designated Safeguarding Lead and this training is refreshed for the Designated Safeguarding Team every two years. Julie Ransley has the responsibility for ensuring that all Administration and Facilities staff complete this training while Susi Wright has a similar responsibility for teaching staff. In the event of an incident or a change in legislation or a major change in school policy, addition training will be given to all staff. This may take place in monthly staff meetings.
Safeguarding is on the agenda for staff monthly meetings. Julie Ransley for the administration and facilities staff and Susi Wright for the teaching staff cover any changes to Safeguarding policy or procedures in their respective monthly meetings.
Hosts must complete the online Basic Awareness in Safeguarding course when they are first taken on as hosts, and then every three years after that. In addition to this hosts are given annual Safeguarding updates. Julie Ransley is responsible for ensuring that all host Safeguarding training is up to date.
Records of training that staff have attended are kept in the Central Staff database. For hosts, records are kept on Elsie, the school database. Susi Wright is responsible for keeping the records of teachers up to date, while Claudia Silva is responsible for the records of Administration and Facilities Staff.
Wimbledon School of English is committed to safer recruitment. A position offered to a successful applicant is subject to references and a DBS check, or overseas equivalent. All applicants undergo a DBS check before they are in the post of employment. If an applicant has been working overseas then a local police check from the country or countries they have been working in for at least the past three years is required. All adult members of any homestay who wish to host under-18s also undergo a DBS check before they are able to start hosting them. No student will be placed in the homestay unless all DBS checks for the homestay have been returned and approved.
Where a vacancy at WSE is advertised the school’s commitment to safeguarding as well as our requirement that a candidate must undergo a DBS check is clearly stated in the advertisement. Candidates are also informed that any gaps in their work history must be explained satisfactorily. Questions at the interview stage of recruitment are designed to assess candidates’ attitudes to the principle of Safeguarding and Child Protection. They are also informed that when taking up references we always ask referees to comment on the candidate’s suitability to work with under-18s.
Employment of ex-offenders at WSE is possible provided that the seriousness, nature and frequency of the offence as well as the age of the conviction do not make the candidate unsuitable for the post they are applying for. Candidates are asked to disclose any previous convictions in a sealed envelope. At least two members of staff involved in the recruitment process will assess the candidate’s suitability to work in the position they have applied for.
New staff who are taken on before their DBS check has been returned will be allowed to take up their post, but will be barred from being alone with any under-18 until a clear DBS check can be verified. In the case of teachers, they will not be scheduled to teach one-to-one lessons with any under-18s. All candidates undergo a Barred List check as a minimum precaution. All members of staff who have worked at QTS level in a state or private school in the UK undergo a Prohibited List check. Since 1 January 2021 we have been unable to do this for such teachers who have taught in an EEA country. Instead, they are asked to provide a letter of professional standing in addition to all other Safer Recruitment procedures. This letter must come accompanied with a certified translation into English if it is written in a language other than English.
If a candidate has been working overseas before applying to WSE and the authorities of their country of residence refuse to provide a record check because they are not a national of that country WSE will request a DBS check for their UK records, if relevant, and will take additional care with the other recruitment checks – checking identity, qualifications, work history, and references. In such circumstances, the school will ask for three references rather than two.
Upon appointment, staff are required to undertake the online basic awareness in safeguarding training. Teachers will not be allowed to take up their position until evidence of the completion of this training has been submitted to the Director of Studies. Other staff will not be allowed contact with under-18s until evidence of the completion of this training has been submitted to their line manager.
Please refer also to the school’s Recruitment Policy and Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy.
A single central record of staff is kept to maintain a record of all pre-appointment checks. Line managers are responsible for keeping this record up to date.
In addition, staff records are held on our personnel system, Breathe. The Accounts Officer and the Director of Studies are responsible for keeping Breathe up to date:
All staff can access their own file on Breathe.
Referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
A referral must be made to the DBS when Wimbledon School of English school withdraws permission for an individual to engage in work with under-18s or would have done so had that individual not resigned, retired, been made redundant or been transferred to a position which does not involve contact with under-18s, because they think that the individual has:
If these conditions have been met the information must be referred to the DBS.
The referral should be made to the DBS when the provider has gathered sufficient evidence as part of their investigations to support their reasons for withdrawing permission to engage in work with under-18s and in following good practice, consulted with their Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or Health and Social Care Trust Designated Officer if appropriate.
Closed groups of students under the age of 18 come with at least one group leader, with no more than 15 students per leader. On booking the course, group leaders are sent, via their ETO, the WSE Group Leader Handbook and are requested to provide a police check from their own country. The Groups Co-ordinator in liaison with the DSL manages the police checks. On arrival the original of the police check is verified and the Principal has a meeting with the group leader(s) to ensure they have read and understood the WSE Group Leader Handbook and signed that they have done so. Any planned excursions are also discussed and the group leader(s) are asked to read and sign the risk assessments for their excursions and the WSE Opt Out Form. For each day that there is a non-WSE excursion, the Principal, or other staff member nominated by her, asks Group Leaders to provide details and sign an opt-out form for each excursion.
The phone numbers that the leaders can be contacted on while in the UK are taken on their first morning and these are passed on to the MD, Principal, Operations Director, DSL, DSP, Accommodation Manager and Academic Managers so they can contact them in the event of an incident involving one of their students.
Use of Risk Assessments
A comprehensive range of Risk Assessments are carried out at least annually at Wimbledon School of English. Risk assessments generally fall into the following categories:
Before engaging in any activity with students, teachers and Social Programme group leaders must read the relevant risk assessment and sign to say they have read an understood it. Staff must re-read and sign the risk assessment if an update has been made since they last read it or if six months have passed since they last read it.
The fact that an activity has been risk assessed does not mean that there are no risks to students. However, potential risks to students can be significantly reduced when staff follow safety provisions outlined in the risk assessment.
Further information regarding risk assessments can be found in the Health & Safety Policy in Appendix 1 of the Employee Handbook.
Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk on the Social Programme & on Class Excursions
Events on the social programme take a number of forms, such as sports activities, Zumba or salsa classes, and afternoon, evening or full-day excursions.