Safeguarding and Child Protection

The purpose of safeguarding is to achieve a nurturing child centred environment where children can have fun and be safe.  We believe that every child has the right to develop their full potential and that promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children will always take priority. Our Safeguarding and Child Protection policy has been developed to ensure that every child, regardless of age, special needs or disability, racial/cultural heritage, religious belief or sexual orientation, is protected from all types of harm and abuse. We also have due regard to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.  Everyone who comes into contact with children at the Seahorse Day Nursery has a duty to safeguard and protect them. Every child has the right to be safe and should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect.  We value our British values to help everyone live in safe and welcoming communities where they feel they belong. Please see our British values policy, Equality of Opportunities, Inclusion and Behaviour policy.

2. Safeguarding Children Duties and responsibilities

Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. Safeguarding means:

  • protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
  • preventing harm to children’s health or development
  • ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

Child Protection is defined as the process of protecting individual children identified as either suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect.

PREVENT duties specifically safeguard children who may be at risk of being drawn into extremism. It includes focusing on a child’s social and emotional development, ensuring children learn right from wrong, mix and share with other children, value other’s views, know about similarities and differences between themselves and others and challenge negative attitudes and stereotypes.

Staff must be alert to harmful behaviours by influential adults in the children’s life.  This may include discriminatory and /or extremist discussions between parents, family and/or staff members and identifying children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

Early intervention, support and assessment are important because many incidents of abuse and neglect can, at times, be prevented by supporting children and families before the situation reaches crisis point or the need for child protection interventions. Seahorse Day Nursery will help families to complete an Early Help Assessment form.

However all staff are required to follow child protection procedures if they are concerned about the safety or welfare of any child.  Failure to act on concerns or follow procedures could place a child in real danger.

Seahorse Nursery has appointed a lead and deputy Designated Safeguarding Officers who have undergone relevant, up to date training to enable them to ensure staff are conversant and comply with safeguarding procedures. These officers will make a referral to MASH if there are signs that a child is suffering significant harm through abuse or neglect or is likely to suffer harm in the future.

Seahorse Nursery strives to ensure a working relationship with all parents and carers to ensure the best outcomes for the child.  However we understand that, when faced with safeguarding concerns, the needs and rights of the child should take priority over those of their parents and carers. No child will be left in immediate danger and all reasonable steps will be taken to offer a child immediate protection (including from an aggressive parent/carer).


The child’s welfare should determine the best actions to take to keep the child safe.

All practitioners need to

  • know and understand the indicators of child abuse
  • be alert to potential indicators of abuse or neglect
  • be alert to the risks which individual abusers or potential abusers may pose to children
  • know how to use the Child Protection Procedures flow chart

All practitioners need to identify signs of possible abuse and neglect at the earliest opportunity and to respond in a timely and appropriate way. Some of the following signs might be indicators of abuse or neglect:

• Children whose behaviour changes – they may become aggressive, challenging, disruptive, withdrawn or clingy, or they might have difficulty sleeping or start wetting the bed;

• Children with clothes which are ill-fitting and/or dirty;

• Children with consistently poor hygiene;

• Children who make strong efforts to avoid specific family members or friends, without an obvious reason;

• Children who don’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities;

• Children who are having problems at school, for example, a sudden lack of concentration and learning or they appear to be tired and hungry;

• Children who talk about being left home alone, with inappropriate carers or with strangers;

• Children who reach developmental milestones, such as learning to speak or walk, late, with no medical reason;

• Children who are regularly missing from nursery;

• Children who are reluctant to go home after nursery;

• Children with poor school attendance and punctuality, or who are consistently late being picked up;

• Parents who are dismissive and non-responsive to practitioners’ concerns;

• Parents who collect their children from school when drunk, or under the influence of drugs;

• Children who drink alcohol regularly from an early age;

• Children who are concerned for siblings without explaining why;

• Children who talk about running away; and

• Children who shy away from being touched or flinch at sudden movements.

3. An overview of Child abuse

Child abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of children including serious physical and sexual assaults as well as cases where the standard of care does not support the child’s health or development.  Children can be abused through the infliction of harm, or through failure to act to prevent harm:

  • Abuse and neglect can affect children of any age, class or family background
  • Children may be abused within their family, in a setting, in an institution or in the community
  • Children can be abused by people known to them, or more rarely, by a stranger
  • Children can be abused by an adult or adults or another child  or children
  • Children may show signs of being abused in different ways – physically, emotionally, behaviourally or they may tell you directly

Disabled children are at increased risk of abuse so all practitioners need to be vigilant regarding indicators of abuse being attributed to the child’s impairment or medical condition or underestimating the child’s ability to fulfil their potential.

The 4 main categories of child abuse are:

Physical abuse

Emotional abuse

Sexual abuse 


Abused children often suffer from more than one type of abuse.



4. Safeguarding Children Officers

Seahorse Nursery has a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) and Deputy Safeguarding Officers.  However, all practitioners are aware of child protection issues and are able to implement the policies and procedures in their absence.

You can seek help at any time from the NSPCC on 0800 800 5000

The telephone number of the Wandsworth Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, for referral & assessment is:

0900 – 1700 hours (Mon – Fri):  0208 871 6622.

After 1700 hours + weekends:    0208 871 6600

Local Police: 0208 870 9011 (Ask for the Wandsworth Area)

Once a referral to the MASH has been made then the Safeguarding Child Advisor will follow the guidelines specified in “Safeguarding Children 2015” published online.


5.  What to do if you suspect Child Abuse


1. Consider what you know, what you have witnessed and behaviours about the child which causes concern

2. Listen to the child if s/he tells you of abuse. Reassure the child that they did the right thing to tell you.  Never promise to keep something a secret.  Let the child know you will be telling the Designated Safeguarding Officer as you all have a responsibility to keep the child safe. Don’t probe or interrogate the child – write down what the child told you using the child’s own words.

3. Discuss your concerns urgently with the lead Designated Safeguarding Officer, and in his or her absence, the Deputy Safeguarding Officer

4. The Designated Safeguarding Officer will discuss/review the concerns and advise the next actions and whether a child protection referral is necessary. The DSO should lead on the referral process.

5. Unless consultation with parents/carers is likely to place the child at risk of significant harm through delay or the parents/carers actions:

  • Speak with the child’s parents/carers.  Be open and honest, explain the reason for your concerns and seek explanation for your concerns.
  • Explain your duty to report your concerns and try to get parental agreement for a referral to Wandsworth Referral and Assessment Service
  • If the parent/carer refuses to give permission for the referral and if a referral is necessary to secure the child’s safety, a referral can be made without consent.

6.  Keep a written record of all concerns, any discussions with the child and parents, discussions with MASH, Ofsted and any decisions made.


6. Working with Parents

We expect all parents to be aware of our Safeguarding and Child Protection ethos from our Child Protection Statement that is on the Notice Board.  All policies are available to each parent, via email, and there is a copy for their perusal in the Hall.

Parenting can be challenging and they require and deserve support.  Establishing a professional relationship with each family is supported through the Key Person system.  It is hoped that help can be given to a family before there is a need for child protection plans to be implemented.

Unless consultation with parents/carers is likely to place the child at risk of significant harm through delay or the parents/carers actions:

  • Speak with the child’s parents/carers.  Be open and honest, explain the reason for your concerns and seek explanation for your concerns.
  • Explain your duty to report your concerns and try to get parental agreement for a referral to Wandsworth Referral and Assessment

If the parent/carer refuses to give permission for the referral and if a referral is necessary to secure the child’s safety, a referral can be made without consent.

We follow a policy whereby if a parent/ carer turns up intoxicated or under the influence of a substance that deems you unfit to collect your child, we will ask you to leave and arrange for an alternative carer to pick up your child.


7. Listening to Children

This Nursery actively promotes a culture of listening to the children’s voice and seeking their views and opinions.

Children communicate in many ways, not just verbally, including through their behaviour, actions and reactions, play and drawings.  If a child discloses that they are suffering through abuse or neglect, the initial response from a practitioner should be to listen carefully to what the child says. Staff should reassure the child that they did the right thing in telling the adult. Never promise to keep something a secret.  Let the child know you will be telling the Designated Safeguarding Officer as all staff have a responsibility to keep the child safe. Don’t probe or interrogate the child – write down what the child told you using the child’s own words.


8. Diversity

Parenting and childrearing styles can vary according to class, age, race, ethnicity, culture and /or religion.  All parents have the right to raise their children according to their family traditions and we need to be aware of passing judgement on or discriminating on the basis of difference.  However, all children have the right to protection and no parent has the right to abuse their child regardless of their background or circumstances.


9. Information Sharing and Confidentiality

Information sharing is vital to safeguard and protect the welfare of children.  It is vital to record information, share it, and understand the significance of the information shared and to take appropriate action in relation to known or suspected abuse and neglect.

Parental consent is usually required to share information.  However, practitioners can and should share information without consent in the following situations

  • the child is at risk of significant harm or harming someone else
  • the child needs urgent medical treatment
  • information is required as part of a statutory or legal proceeding
  • information is requested by the police if investigating a serious crime

In general, practitioners have a duty to respect confidentiality and privacy and to ensure all information and details remain confidential. However, child protection concerns are an exception and all staff have a duty to report these concerns and share information with other appropriate professional colleagues, MASH or the police as required.  In these circumstances, information should not be shared with anyone who is not directly professionally involved in keeping the child safe.

In all other cases informed parental consent is necessary before information can be shared.


10.  Recording and Record Keeping

It is Nursery procedure to record day to day incidents and accidents regarding a child.

Parents are asked to inform their child’s key person or room leader of any pre-existing injury to their child that has incurred outside the Nursery before he or she is left in our care.  A pre-existing injuries form needs to be completed by the parent or key person and then signed by the parent and Designated Safeguarding Officer. This will be filed in the Confidential Safeguarding file in the office.

Safeguarding/Child protection concerns should be recorded separately. The information needs to be concise, objective and factual and to remain confidential. Information about any allegation will be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to protect children, facilitate enquiries, manage investigation/disciplinary/complaints aspects and protect any rights of the alleged perpetrator.


11.  Safe Recruitment and Selection

All staff are carefully vetted, adhering to the statutory requirements in the Ofsted EYFS – please also refer to Seahorse Day Nursery Recruitment and Selection policy.


12.  Allegation of abuse against staff

‘Staff’ is taken to mean anyone working with children in a setting, whether paid or unpaid, full or part time, volunteers, students etc. The following flowchart shows the key steps that must be followed in all circumstances where it is alleged that a member of staff or volunteer has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or in relation to a child
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children

We teach our staff to be alert to certain signs that abuse by a staff member may be occurring. These behaviours include:

  • a practitioner wanting to be with a certain child more or giving them more attention than the others
  • a practitioner wanting to do regular self-care for the same child or wanting to do care that they are capable of doing themselves
  • regularly requesting/ offering babysitting services with the same family
  • wanting to be alone with a child
  • buying gifts for the child or their family

It will also apply where

  • concerns arise about the person’s behaviour with regard to their own children
  • concerns arise about the behaviour in private or community life of a partner, member of the family or other household member



All allegations or suspicions against staff should be taken seriously, discussed with the Designated Safeguarding Officer and referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) within 24 hours.  The LADO can be rung for a consultation and they will advise on the next course of action.  If a referral is necessary, email the MASH and copy in the LADO.

The telephone number of the Local Authority Designated Officer (Wandsworth Safeguarding Children’s Board), for referral & assessment is: 020 8871 7208 and email is

Information about any allegation will be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to protect children, facilitate enquiries, manage disciplinary/complaints aspects and protect any rights of the alleged perpetrator.

When an allegation is made then the staff member will not have any contact with children or their records until the matter is dealt with. The final decision regarding the person’s continued employment should be informed by the outcome of the child protection and/or criminal investigation. The Nursery must get an outcome from the LADO in writing and retain this for the Nursery records.

Harriet Wolfe has a dual responsibility to safeguard both the children in her care and to ensure staff are treated fairly. As a provider, Seahorse Day Nursery does not make a judgement on the validity of the allegations. Ofsted will be informed within 14 days.

If the Principal, Harriet Wolfe, is accused of such behaviour and an investigation is necessary this will be conducted by the Local Authority Designated Officer.

Whistle Blowing: This Nursery encourages staff members to feel they are able to discuss, with the Designated Safeguarding Officer and/or the Principal, any concerns they may have about another member of staff.  Such allegations will remain confidential to protect the staff member making the allegation.  Procedures will be followed as above. Whistleblowing information is displayed around the Nursery.

13. Staff Support

All staff members will be given support if:

    • they are involved with disclosure from a child
    • notice signs of abuse and bring about a referral or
    • inform upon another member of staff

Harriet Wolfe understands that this matter will impact upon the staff member and will treat the matter in a sympathetic manner and offer both emotional and practical support as required.

14. Mobile phones, use of cameras, social networks and babysitting

Mobile phones are to be kept in the office.

The work office phone is mobile and has camera access. The camera will not be used for any purposes and will only be used for making and receiving calls.

Personal mobile phones may be taken on any outing but are to be used for a personal emergency only; otherwise all communication regarding any nursery personnel should be on the designated Seahorse Nursery mobile – 0203 3198 4072 or outings phone – 07391211697.

Photographs are only to be taken on an official Seahorse Nursery camera and not on any personal mobiles; no photographs are to be taken of any child during nappy changing or lavatory routine.

During parent social events such as Christmas Party or Sports Day, parents have permission to take photos with their own camera devices but are reminded not to upload images that may contain other children’s faces to social media or be shared with others.

All Nursery photographs are stored on the designated Nursery hard drive and locked in the filing cabinet each night.

Any information, collected on any media, regarding any Seahorse members – staff, children or visitors – is only to be used in an appropriate manner with the necessary permissions from the parents, staff member or Principal.

No photographs of children or staff are to be uploaded onto the internet or any social networking sites.  No member of staff is to refer to any children or families, by name, on any social networking sites. Emails which refer to specific children or families are only to be made in a professional capacity.

Any work related issue or material (e.g. comments, photographs of children or/and members of staff, confidential information) that could identify an individual who is a service user, relative or work colleague, which could adversely affect the setting must not be placed on a social networking website. This means that work related matters must not be placed on any such site at any time either during or outside of working hours via any computer equipment or mobile phone. 

It is up to each individual staff member if they wish to babysit for any children, from the setting, in their own time; this arrangement is between that member of staff and the parent/carer and undertaken outside nursery working hours. Confidentiality of all information pertaining to the Seahorse Nursery and any of its members or working practices is to be maintained at all times. Please see our babysitting statement.

15. Only members of staff with DBS will be left unsupervised with the children. Members of staff, even with their DBS, should not be left alone for long periods of time with a child. All staff members should be aware of this and pay due regard to all other practitioner activities and their location throughout the day. Volunteers, students, agency staff or visitors are to be supervised at all times.

16. Ofsted will be informed of any concerns about child protection issues within Seahorse Day Nursery.  Their telephone number is 0300 123 1231.  It is hoped that any complaints or matters concerning any child or any member of staff will be discussed with Harriet Wolfe before referring the matter to Ofsted.

Important Wandsworth Contacts

Front Door (RED) 0208 871 6622

IPOC (Initial Point of Contact- Social Work Team) 0208 871 6622

LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) 0208 871 7440

MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) 0208 871 6622

Ofsted 0300 123 1231

PREVENT Duty Co-Ordinator Oomar Mulbocus 0208 871 6094