An introduction from our Safeguarding Officer
The role of the Safeguarding Officer within the school is to ensure that our pupils feel safe, happy and supported in school. I provide, support, help and advice to our pupils, parents and carers around safeguarding matters to enable our children to be happy and thrive at school and in their homes. I act as a link between the school and our families and any professionals working with them. Any matters discussed are treated with confidence and respect. As the school Safeguarding officer, I want to establish and foster good relationships with parents, carers, the children of our school and professionals who work with them. I am available to talk with you things that our concerning you or your children. This could range from children’s behaviour at home, parenting support, a family illness or loss through to parental separation, Domestic Abuse or risk of harm to a child. I work closely with our staff, statutory and voluntary agencies and childcare professionals to improve the opportunities for our children and their families. Finally, alongside my safeguarding work I know that now and again all families may experience difficulties which leave them feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. I have a family of my own and understand that family life can sometimes be very challenging and that our parents and carers sometimes need someone to talk to, support them and guide them in the right direction to get specialist help and advice. I have worked with and alongside Kent County Council, Early Help, OASIS domestic abuse support, various local authorities and multi-agency & Community Safety Teams for many years and often work with parents and carers to put them in touch with these agencies who can provide specialist support to help at these times.
Our safeguarding leads:
Ms N Luxford - Head teacher
Mrs K Ewins - Deputy head teacher
Mrs J Tysoe - Pastoral lead
Mrs N Barnes - SENCO
Our safeguarding governor: pending ratification
Keep your child safe by talking PANTS
Being a parent always seems to mean lots of worrying, especially when it comes to keeping your child or children safe. All parents worry about different types of abuse and how to talk to their children about some of these issues. The NSPCC have a really useful website called 'Talk Pants.' This site teaches children important messages, like their body belongs to them and that they should tell an adult if they're upset or worried. There are activities for children and advice for parents. Below you will see a link to the website which provides useful advice for parents and carers.
From the website children can also watch lovable dinosaur ‘Pantosaurus’ as he sings and tells them about ‘the pants rule’ and what to do if they are worried about someone asking them to break it. Be warned his song is a great learning tool but you might just find yourself humming it out loud after a couple of verses!
Click here to learn more about online safety
Operation Encompass - At The Downs, we are working in partnership with Kent Police and Kent County Council to identify and provide appropriate support to our pupils who experience domestic abuse in their household; this initiative is called Operation Encompass.
In order to provide support for these children, Kent Police will assess and share information on all domestic abuse incidents where one of our pupils has been present or connected with the household. This information will be shared confidentially with the Designated Safeguarding Leads at the school. On receipt of information about an incident, the safeguarding team will decide on the most appropriate support for the child, this may take the form of 'silent' support around their classroom learning and which the child will not be aware or it may be more overt support for the child and family in agreement with parent or cares appropriate. This might include nurture support in school or referral to a specialist domestic abuse service such as OASIS. In high risk cases we will work with other professionals to help the family access appropriate support such as access to an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) or a family refuge place.
All information sharing and the resulting actions will be undertaken in accordance with the 'Information Sharing Agreement' between Kent Police and Kent County Council. We will record this information and store this information in line with our school safeguarding record keeping procedures.
We are also able to signpost members of our school community to domestic abuse support, such as the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) or OASIS without an Operation Encompass referral. We can also talk to you about accessing a 'One Stop Shop' support centre for domestic abuse If you would like any advice or support please speak to Mr. Turner our Safeguarding Lead.
Domestic Abuse One Stop Shops offer free advice, information and support from a range of agencies under one roof to help victims of domestic abuse.
One Stop Shop - One Stop Shops are arranged by agencies participating in Kent and Medway domestic abuse forums and supported by service providers commissioned by local authorities. The agencies involved include Specialist Domestic Violence Support Services, the Police, Health, Housing, Drug and Alcohol Support, Legal Advisors, and various other support organisations.
In immediate danger call the police on 999. Otherwise, to access specialist domestic abuse support call Victim Support on 0808 168-9111 or talk via Live Chat.
Our Local services are
Deal One Stop Shop
Linwood Youth Hub, Park Avenue, Deal CT14 9UU
Thursdays: 10.00am - 12.00pm
Dover One Stop Shop
St Nicholas Church, The Linces , Dover CT16 2BN
Tuesdays: 09.30am - 12.00pm
Canterbury One Stop Shop
Riverside Childrens Centre, Kingsmead Road, Canterbury CT2 7PH
Thursdays: 09.30am - 12.30pm