Early Years Safeguarding Bulletin 10.06.2019

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Early years bulletin

10 June 2019

Safe Recruitment

Safe Recruitment procedures are a vital part of your safeguarding practice. 

Here is a list of eight things to remember to ensure you are applying safe practice in your setting:

  1. State in the job advert that you are a Safe Employer and that thorough checks will be carried out as part of your Safe Recruitment Policy. This is known to be a deterrent for potentially unsuitable people, who are more likely to apply for jobs where they think policies are not applied robustly.
  2. Always insist on an application form rather than a CV. This is an opportunity to find out what the person brings to your setting and to the specific role they are applying for. Ask questions about their experience in working with a particular age range, or particular needs, or their understanding of the EYFS and how to observe and assess children.
  3. Challenge gaps in employment - you should ask as many questions to assure yourself that any gaps are fully justified. If in doubt, ask more questions.
  4. Never accept hand-delivered references. Always seek references directly from the named referees - one of which must be the previous employer, or a person in a position of authority from their college etc.
  5. Always verify references and record that you have done so. When you receive a reference, it should be followed up by a telephone call to check the named person provided it. This avoids you potentially receiving fake references. Record when you verified it, who you spoke to and your name as evidence.
  6. If a referee does not provide a reference within the required time frame (e.g. one week after requesting it) follow up with a telephone call to the organisation and speak to the referee. There may be a reason why they have not provided a reference which could give you justifiable concerns over proceeding with the recruitment.
  7. Check qualifications are relevant and genuine.  The Early Years Qualifications List provides details on recognised qualifications to help providers identify whether an applicant is suitably qualified. You can also contact the awarding body to verify the authenticity of certificates.
  8. Trust your instinct! If you have any doubt about the suitability of an applicant, trust your instinct. Do not feel obliged to offer somebody a job just because they interviewed well.

If you need any support, contact the team via 023 9284 1974 or email eydelivery@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

If you become aware of somebody unsuitable to work with children who has applied for a job with you, you should contact the LADO, Hayley Cowmeadow by phone on 023 9288 2500 or by email LADO@secure.portsmouthcc.gov.uk

ICON Training

As practitioners, we know that a baby can both cause and sense stress and frustration whilst being cared for, especially if they cry a lot. We know its all about keeping calm, handling baby gently and using soothing techniques like singing, walking or stroking, so let's take a few minutes to try and pass this message on to any of our parents who have a new baby (even if its not their first child).

Abusive head trauma (AHT) also known as shaken baby syndrome is a devastating form of child abuse, resulting in many deaths and life changing injuries each year. Serious case reviews and enquiries show that in many instances, these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if just a few minutes had been spent talking to the perpetrator. ICON is a programme developed in America and Canada and is now being rolled out in England to try and prevent abusive head trauma in infants. It aims to increase parental awareness that infant crying is normal, and helps parents design and implement a plan to identify their own avenues of support/coping strategies if they feel that their infants crying, and their reaction to it, is spiralling out of control. We are looking to try and spread this message to parents of newborns and very young babies during their contact with you as practitioners through the following messages. Please find the poster here which you can display and action plan here you can share with parents - we hope to have some more resources to supplement this message available for settings in due course to give to all parents in your setting who have very young babies, through your usual regular contact with these parents. We plan to have a further information session in the next academic year but the basic principles of ICON are: ICON is a four stage process.


Step one - Infant crying is normal and it will stop

 What you as practitioners can do:

  • Display the attached poster in your setting where new parents are likely to see it.
  • Have a conversation with new parents (Dads as well as Mums) to emphasise that it is normal for babies to cry more frequently from 2 weeks, reaching a peak at 6-8 weeks, then starting to cry less and less each week.
  • Acknowledge that a baby’s cry is designed to get your attention and can be frustrating and worrying.
  • Highlight that if they are worried their baby is not well or need some reassurance, they can talk with their health visitor, midwife or GP.


Step Two - Comfort methods can sometimes soothe a baby and the crying will stop

 What you as practitioners can do:

  • Talk about ways to comfort a crying baby.  Ask what methods the parents/partners have tried or thought about trying to comfort a crying baby?
  • Suggest some techniques that have worked for other parents such as talking calmly, humming or singing calmly to your baby, letting them hear a repeating or soothing sound, gently holding them close, skin to skin, going for a walk outside with their your baby, giving them a warm bath.
  • If they are an experienced parent, ask what methods they have tried in the past and what they found worked.
  • Remind the parents that these techniques may not work immediately - it may take a combination or more than one attempt to soothe your baby.
  • Again remind the parent that if they are worried that the crying won’t stop, it’s OK to check it out with a health professional/provider, (midwife, health visitor, GP, NHS 111).


Step Three - It’s OK to walk away if you have checked the baby is safe and the crying is getting to you.

 What you as a practitioner can do:

  • Make sure you emphasise that the parent/carer must make sure the baby is safe before walking away and that they go back to check on baby after a few minutes when they can feel themselves calming down
  • Provide reassurance that not being able to stop a baby crying does not mean a parent/carer is doing anything wrong or that they have a ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ baby.
  • Discuss ways a parent/carer might take their mind off the crying - it may help for them to write this down on the attached plan and pop it on the fridge as a reminder
  • Ask, what they think might work for them and help develop an action plan to identify any support available or coping strategies e.g. relatives available / calming music etc. (you could use the attached template for them to record this)
  • Emphasise the need for parents to find time for themselves to help them cope through what can be a really stressful time for all parents/carers.


Step Four -  Never ever shake or hurt a baby.

 What you as a practitioner can do:

  • Stress the importance to parents of what not to do -  don't handle the baby roughly, shout, get angry or shake a baby - shaking is very dangerous and can cause blindness, learning disabilities, seizures, physical disabilities and death.
  • Suggest to the parents that it is really important that they share this information with everyone who looks after their baby as it’s not only parents who get  by a baby’s cry.
  • Encourage parents to make time / seek support for themselves too reminding them that being a parent of a small baby is a very stressful job.
  • Suggest to parents/carers that they check that caregivers understand about how to cope with crying before leaving their baby with them.

Finally:  ICON – babies cry you can cope

  • Ask parents if they have any questions
  • Run through the action plan and identify any support - let the parent take the plan home and check in with them when you next see them how they are getting on with their new baby.

  #ICONhants #Cryingbaby #Copingwithcrying

Early Years

Prevent duty and British values

Ofsted's revised Early Years inspection handbook (EIF) for inspecting early years in England, which comes into effect from 1 September 2019, makes specific reference to the need to have safeguarding arrangements to promote children's welfare and prevent radicalisation and extremism.

Providers should also have regard to the guidance for inspectors; Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings (May 2019). This guidance sets out the key points inspectors will consider when inspecting safeguarding in early years settings.

Prevent duty

The Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (2017) states that providers must have regard to the Prevent Duty guidance for England and Wales (2015).  The Counter Terrorism and Security Act (2015) places a duty on early years providers, 'to have due regard to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism'.

The Department for Education published guidance for schools and childcare providers (June 2015).  The advice is non-statutory and was produced to help providers understand the implications of the Prevent duty and complements the EYFS.

The Department for Education advises,

'In order for schools and childcare providers to fulfil the Prevent duty, it is essential that staff are able to identify children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation, and know what to do when they are identified.'

'Schools and childcare providers can also build pupils' resilience to radicalisation by promoting fundamental British values and enable them to challenge extremist views'

The Portsmouth safeguarding children's board website has further information for providers and has listed potential indicators.  These include:

  • Use of inappropriate language
  • Possession of violent extremist literature
  • Behavioural changes
  • The expression of extremist views
  • Advocating violent actions and means
  • Association with known extremists
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology

Any member of staff who identifies such concerns, for example as a result of observed behaviour or reports of conversations to suggest a child and/or their family supports terrorism and/or violent extremism, must report these concerns to the named or designated safeguarding officer in their setting who will consider what further action is required.  Please see further details on the Prevent Channel Process here.

Concerns of radicalisation and/or extremism, should be reported to the Portsmouth MASH on     0845 671 0271 or e-mail MASH@secure.portsmouthcc.gov.uk  or Hampshire Constabulary on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

A home office Prevent awareness online training module is available through the Safer Portsmouth Partnership.

British Values

  • Democracy
  • Rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs

Childcare providers can build children's resilience to radicalisation by promoting fundamental British values. The DfE recognises that the fundamental British values are already implicitly embedded in the EYFS (2017).

In 2015, 4Children published good practice examples demonstrating what promoting fundamental British values means in the early years.

Our new training centre is offering a 'Britain's got values' workshop.  This workshop revisits the four British values and makes reference to The Prevent duty to consider what this means in practice in the early years.   Participants will gain ideas of how to effectively support children, parents and staff to embed these values in your setting.  Await the launch of the new early years and childcare service's training centre for more details.

Contact us...

The Early Years and Childcare Service have a dedicated telephone number to be used if you need to speak to a member of the team. Contact us on 023 9284 1974.

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