Our Commitment to Safeguarding
Westover Green Primary School and Autism Centre and the Futura Learning Partnership are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.
This is ensured through five key elements:
1. Establishing a safe environment in which children can learn and develop.
2. Ensuring we practice safer recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children.
3. Raising awareness of safeguarding issues and equipping children with the skills needed to keep them safe.
4. Developing and then implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse and allegations against teachers and other members of staff.
5. Supporting pupils who have been abused in accordance with a Child Protection Plan.
For some children a one-off serious incident or concern may occur and you will have no doubt that this must be immediately recorded and reported. Most often, however, it is the accumulation of a number of small incidents, events or observations that provide the evidence of harm being caused to a child.
We at Westover Green Primary School take our Safeguarding responsibilities very seriously. This means that we continue to ensure that everyone working in the school has successfully completed the necessary clearances and training to enable them to work with our children. Our duties include safeguarding children from radicalisation and extremism - we have a responsibility to protect children from extremist and violent views, the same way we help to protect them from drugs or child sexual exploitation (CSE) or child criminal exploitation (CCE) for example.
If you are worried that a child may be being exploited please use the link and report to Avon and Somerset Police.
Key Safeguarding Roles
- It is vital that any concern you have for a child’s welfare, however small is recorded and passed to our Safeguarding Leads. The Headteacher Mr Jason Eveleigh is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and the 2 Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSLs) are our SENCo Mrs Rachel Elliott and our Home School Liaison Worker, Mrs Emma Keitch.
- Mrs Elliott is also our Designated Teacher that further supports looked after children or previously looked after children.
- Our Chair of Governors Kate Gallagher is our named safeguarding Governor.
- Miss C Thompson is our computing lead who supports the school's e-safety policies and staying safe online curriculum learning.
- All staff members at Westover Green Community School have an important role to play in helping to identify welfare concerns and possible indicators of abuse or neglect at an early stage.
- If the Designated Leads above are not available or if it is out of school hours you should ring: Children's Services on 0300 123 2224
- Our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy can be found on our policies and important documents page.
The following websites provided useful information relating to safeguarding children:
Westover Green Community School and Autism Centre and Northgate Primary School:
Risks Outside of the Home (previously referred to as contextual Safeguarding)
This document has been jointly produced. The two schools serve predominantly the same catchment area in Bridgwater so the same additional factors are equally relevant to both schools.
We recognise that the overwhelming majority of our children are well cared for and benefit from caring and supportive parenting. However, both schools serve economically and socially deprived areas of Bridgwater which mean that the following additional factors are relevant when safeguarding our children.
County Lines and Cuckooing
“County lines” is the organised criminal distribution of drugs from the big cities into smaller towns and rural areas using children and vulnerable people. The term "county lines" has a likely origin due to simply meaning one telephone line in use to order illegal drugs, often shared using social media, business cards, or even printed on the sides of giveaway cigarette lighters.
Although cannabis is occasionally linked to the county lines organisations, it is harder drugs that provide the focus: heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines. The county lines gangs use standard business techniques to develop their trade. In a new area, they need to offer discounts, a consistent quality product, and make sure it is reliably delivered. The main county line gangs operate from London and Liverpool, but other groups work out of Reading, Birmingham and Manchester. People from these cities are not known by police in the quieter areas and can operate more easily.
The influence of county lines is nationwide. For example, the Metropolitan Police have found gang members from Islington in 14 different police areas. People from London and Liverpool have been arrested in Cumbria, Somerset and Devon. There have been raids on houses and flats in the Bridgwater area.
Gangs will take over the home of a vulnerable person, often after following them home. This is known as "cuckooing". Once in the property, drugs and weapons can be stored there along with a possible venue for dealing drugs and the sexual exploitation of girls and young women. The vulnerable people whose homes have been taken over in this way are kept compliant by intimidation, violence, and threats that now they are involved, they could be jailed too. The impact on local communities cannot be underestimated. Debt bondage further threatens the vulnerable person and keeps them from reporting the intruders. The vulnerable person is told that drugs or guns are missing, and that they have to pay for them. Of course, they cannot, so they have to pay off the debt in various other ways.
At both schools, staff are aware of problems associated with County Lines and Cuckooing. These issues are discussed during Child Protection training and updates and staff are aware of the signs to look for.
Neglect has been identified as a priority in Somerset because it is the most common reason for a child to be the subject of a CP Plan.
Somerset use a Neglect Toolkit to ensure that there is consistency in identifying and responding to neglect. Staff with safeguarding responsibilities at both schools, i.e., DSL, DDSL and HSLW are familiar with how to use the Neglect Toolkit to assess cases.
Katie Penny (Headteacher Northgate Primary School)
Jason Eveleigh (Headteacher Westover Green Community School and Autism Centre)