Safeguarding Children, Confidentiality and Forest School

Everyone at Forest School has a responsibility in relation to child protection. GroWild is committed to building a ‘culture of safety’ in which the children in our care are protected from abuse, harm and radicalisation. 

GroWild will respond promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns regarding the safety of a child that may occur. The Club’s child protection procedures comply with all relevant legislation and with guidance issued by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). 

The Club’s designated Child Protection Officer (CPO) is Holly James. The CPO coordinates child protection issues and liaises with external agencies (eg Social Care, the LSCB and Ofsted).

We are committed to:

  • taking all reasonable measures to safeguard and promote the welfare of each child and young person (pupil) in our care.
  • the practice of safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children and young people.
  • protecting each pupil from any form of abuse, whether from an adult or another pupil.

Our aims: 

The purpose of GroWild’s safeguarding policy is to ensure every child at our organisation is safe and protected from harm. This means we will always work to:

  • protect children from maltreatment
  • prevent impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensure that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the
  • provision of safe and effective care
  • take action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
  • to raise awareness of individual responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse
  • to provide a systematic means of monitoring, recording and reporting of concerns and cases
  • to provide guidance on recognising and dealing with suspected child abuse
  • to provide a framework for inter-agency communication and effective liaison
  • to ensure that any deficiencies or weaknesses in child protection arrangements are remedied without delay
  • to ensure that safe recruitment procedures are operated
  • to design and operate procedures which promote this policy and which, so far as possible, ensure that teachers and others who are innocent are not prejudiced by false allegations
  • to contribute to the operation of appropriate health and safety procedures and to have regard to and be consistent with relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and guidance.

This policy will give clear direction to staff, volunteers, visitors and parents about the expected behaviour and our legal responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children at our organisation.

Our Ethos

Our organisation will establish and maintain an ethos where our children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, are listened to and are safe.  Children will be able to talk freely to any member of staff, volunteer or regular visitor to our organisation if they are worried or concerned about something.

All staff, volunteers and regular visitors will, either through training or induction, know how to recognise a disclosure from a child and will know how to manage this. We will not make promises to any child and we will not keep secrets.  Every child will know what the adult will do with whatever they have been told.

We will provide activities and opportunities that will equip our children with the skills they need to stay safe.  

At all times we will work in partnership and try to establish effective working relationships with parents, carers and colleagues from other agencies and organisations. 

General Procedures

When new staff, volunteers or regular visitors join our organisation they will be informed of the safeguarding arrangements in place.  They will be given a copy of our organisation’s safeguarding policy and told who our Designated Child Protection Officer for Safeguarding is. They will also be shown the recording format, given information on how to complete it and who to pass it to.

Every new member of staff or volunteer will have an induction period of 3 months that will include essential safeguarding information. This programme will include safeguarding training through the Safer Programme relating to signs and symptoms of abuse, how to manage a disclosure from a child, how to record and issues of confidentiality. The induction will also remind staff and volunteers of their responsibility to safeguard all children and the remit of the role of the Designated Child Protection Officer.

All staff and volunteers will be asked to read this policy yearly after it has been reviewed and updated if necessary.  They will sign to say they have read and understood the policy.

We will display the reporting and referral flowchart when our organisation is operating.

All regular visitors and volunteers to our organisation will be told where our policy is kept, they will be given a set of safeguarding procedures, they will be told who our Designated Child Protection Officer and alternate staff members are and what the recording and reporting system is.

All parents and carers will be asked to sign a distribution list confirming they have seen and read our safeguarding policy.  Parents and carers will be informed of our legal duty to assist our colleagues in other agencies with child protection enquiries and what happens should we have cause to make a referral to Children’s Services. 

 Parents will sign a consent form at the start of their child’s involvement with the organisation, which includes any vital health or otherwise notable information.  It also requests permission for photographs to be taken for promotional purposes only.  This will also include a statement making parents/carers aware by signing they consent to us sharing information with the relevant authorities if we have concerns about the welfare of their child/children, but that we do not have to seek consent If there are serious concerns about harm or likely harm to their child/children.


Every member of staff will undertake appropriate safeguarding training through the NSCB Safer Programme every three years. 

We actively encourage all of our staff to keep up to date with the most recent local and national safeguarding advice and guidance. This can be accessed via

The Designated Officer should be used as a first point of contact for concerns and queries regarding any safeguarding concern in our organisation.

Safer Staff and Volunteers

All adults who come into contact with our children have a duty of care to safeguard and promote their welfare. There is a legal duty placed upon us to ensure that all adults who work with or on behalf of our children are competent, confident and safe to do so.

We ensure we adhere to the principles of safer recruitment as per our policy and also the guidance from Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board.

We ensure that we:

  • Carefully consider the job description and person specification
  • Circulate all vacancies widely
  • Prepare an information pack
  • Ask for a written application form
  • Define our selection criteria
  • Ask for a written declaration with regards to criminal convictions, spent or otherwise
  • Ask for identification
  • Ask for originals of any qualifications
  • Conduct interviews with at least two people present
  • Ask for at least two references, including the last employer
  • Gain enhanced DBS checks where current Government guidance requires us to
  • Organise a comprehensive induction period which includes familiarisation with our safeguarding policies, procedures and safeguarding training through the Safer Programme.

Our aim is to provide a safe and supportive environment which secures the well being and very best outcomes for our children.  We do recognise that sometimes the behaviour of adults may lead to an allegation of abuse being made. 

Allegations sometimes arise from a differing understanding of the same event, but when they occur they are distressing and difficult for all concerned. We also recognise that many allegations are genuine and there are some adults who deliberately seek to harm or abuse children. 

We will take all possible steps to safeguard our children and to ensure that the adults in our organisation are safe to work with our children. We will always ensure that the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board’s procedures are followed. 

All adults who come into contact with children will be made aware of the steps that will be taken if an allegation is made.  We will seek appropriate advice from the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) within 24 hours of a concern or allegation being made.  The LADO can be contacted via the referral/consultation forms under 'how to make a referral' at or a message left on 01603 223473

Staff will not investigate these matters.  We will seek and work with the advice that is provided.  Should an allegation be made against the Designated Child Protection Officer or Deputy, this will be reported by the staff member or volunteer raising the concern directly to the LADO.

There are sensible steps that every adult should take in their daily professional conduct with children.  This can be found in the NSCB Safer Programme Safer Working Practice (this guidance is on the NSCB website and also included in our procedures).

Records and Confidentiality

If we are concerned about the welfare or safety of any child in our organisation we will record our concerns immediately on the agreed report form and give this to the Designated Child Protection Officer. 

Any information recorded will be kept in a separate named file, in a secure cabinet and not with the child’s file.  These files will be the responsibility of the Designated Child Protection Officer and information will only be shared within the organisation on a need to know basis for the protection of the child.  

Any safeguarding information will be kept in the file and will be added to.  Copies of referrals will be stored in the file. 

All information is confidential, however if there is a safeguarding or child protection concern about a child, then information can be shared with other agencies, namely the Police or Children’s Services.

Reports of a concern to the Designated Child Protection Officer must be made in writing and signed and dated by the person with the concern.

See the ‘Confidentiality and Information Sharing Policy’ for more information.

Roles and Responsibilities

Our Designated Child Protection Officer will liaise with Children’s Services and other agencies where necessary, and make referrals to Children’s Services using the procedure below. 

Any concern for a child’s safety or welfare will be recorded in writing and given to the Designated Child Protection Officer who will be responsible for ensuring that all staff members and volunteers are aware of our policy and the procedure they need to follow.

The Designated Child Protection Officer will ensure that all staff, volunteers and regular/repeat visitors have received appropriate child protection information during induction and have been trained by the Safer Programme.  

The Designated Child Protection Officer will ensure that our safeguarding policy is in place and is reviewed annually. The content of our policy has been written following consultation with the Safer Programme.

At all times the Designated Child Protection Officer will ensure that safer recruitment practices are followed.  

Our organisation undertakes to remedy without delay any weakness in regard to our safeguarding arrangements that are brought to their attention. 

Procedures for Handling Disclosures

A child may decide to disclose information that may indicate they are suffering from abuse or neglect.  A child chooses to speak to an adult because they feel that they will listen and that they can trust them. The adult needs to listen to what the child has to say, and be very careful not to ‘lead’ the child or influence in any way what they say.

It is important that the adult remembers to:

Stay calm 

Listen and be supportive 

Not ask any leading questions, interrogate the child, or put ideas in the child’s head, or jump to conclusions

Not stop or interrupt a child who is recalling significant events

Never promise the child confidentiality – it must be explained that information will need be to be passed on to help keep them safe

Avoid criticising the alleged perpetrator 

Tell the child what must be done next  (the safeguarding process must be followed) 

Record what was said immediately as close to what was said as possible.  Also record what was happening immediately before the child disclosed. Be sure to sign and date the record in ink.

Contact the designated person immediately 

Seek support 

Staff at GroWild will be trained in the following in relation to our policies and procedures:

Child abuse and neglect: What is neglect?

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm. An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or by failing to protect them from harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. Some forms of child abuse and neglect are listed below. 

Emotional abuse: The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Physical abuse: A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Sexual abuse: Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Neglect: The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: 

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); 
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; 
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or 
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. 

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs. 

If abuse is suspected or disclosed:

When a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff will:

  • reassure the child that they were not to blame and were right to speak out 
  • listen to the child but not question them
  • give reassurance that the staff member will take action
  • record the incident as soon as possible (see Logging an incident below).

If a member of staff witnesses or suspects abuse, they will record the incident straightaway. If a third party expresses concern that a child is being abused, we will encourage them to contact Social Care directly. If they will not do so, we will explain that the Club is obliged to and the incident will be logged accordingly.

Extremism and radicalisation:

All childcare settings have a legal duty to protect children from the risk of radicalisation and being drawn into extremism. There are many reasons why a child might be vulnerable to radicalisation, including:

  • feeling alienated or alone
  • seeking a sense of identity or individuality
  • suffering from mental health issues such as depression
  • desire for adventure or wanting to be part of a larger cause
  • associating with others who hold extremist beliefs

Signs of radicalisation:

Signs that a child might be at risk of radicalisation include:

  • changes in behaviour, for example becoming withdrawn or aggressive
  • claiming that terrorist attacks and violence are justified
  • viewing violent extremist material online
  • possessing or sharing violent extremist material

If a member of staff suspects that a child is at risk of becoming radicalised, they will record any relevant information or observations on a Logging a concern form, and refer the matter to the CPO.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children

Defined for the purposes of this guidance as: 

  • protecting children from maltreatment; 
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development; 
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of
  • safe and effective care; and 
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. 

Child protection

Part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

Relevant Guidance and Legislation

  • Working Together 2015 
  • What to do if You’re Worried a Child is Being Abused 2015
  • Children Act 2004
  • Children Act 1989
  • Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families

Other Relevant Policies

To underpin the values and ethos of our organisation and our intent to ensure our children/young people are appropriately safeguarded the following policies are also included under our safeguarding umbrella;

  • Safer Recruitment
  • Bullying
  • Safer Working Practice
  • Confidentiality
  • Health and Safety
  • Whistle Blowing
  • Complaints
  • First aid

Useful Contacts

  • Children’s Services 24 hours 0344 800 8020
  • Norfolk Police 101
  • In an emergency 999
  • Local Authority Designated Officers (LADO) Team   01603 223473
  • There is always someone available during normal working hours
  • Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB)
  • Safer Programme 01603 228966

Responding to disclosures, suspicions and allegations

Logging an incident:

All information about the suspected abuse or disclosure, or concern about radicalisation, will be recorded on the Logging a concern form as soon as possible after the event. The record should include:

  • date of the disclosure, or the incident, or the observation causing concern
  • date and time at which the record was made
  • name and date of birth of the child involved
  • a factual report of what happened. If recording a disclosure, you must use the child’s own words
  • name, signature and job title of the person making the record.

The record will be given to the Club’s CPO who will decide on the appropriate course of action. 

For concerns about child abuse, the CPO will contact Social Care.

For minor concerns regarding radicalisation, the CPO will contact the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) or Local Authority Prevent Co-ordinator. For more serious concerns the CPO will contact the Police on the non-emergency number (101), or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. For urgent concerns the CPO will contact the Police using 999.

 If a member of staff thinks that the incident has not been dealt with properly, they may contact Social Care directly.

We are clear that the Local Authority and Police must lead any investigation in to any allegation regarding safeguarding.  

Child protection and safeguarding referrals should be made by the CPO to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and followed up in writing, preferably on an NSCB1 within 24 hours.

Telephone 0344 800 8020. Ask for the MASH.

Referral forms sent to:


Fax:  01603 762445 

The MASH Team Manager,
Floor 5, Vantage House, Fisher’s Lane,
Norwich NR2 1ET 

For specialist Police advice you can contact the
Duty Detective Sergeant within the MASH. 


Call   Direct dial 01603 27(6151)

If we are unsure of whether to make a referral we can request a professional consultations via the MASH on 0344 800 8020.  Any consultation must have the parents/carers consent, unless to do so would place the child at further risk of harm.

Any concern, referral or consultation with the MASH or Police must take place immediately, it is important we do not delay.

Allegations against staff:

If anyone makes an allegation of child abuse against a member of staff:

The allegation will be recorded on an Incident record form. Any witnesses to the incident should sign and date the entry to confirm it.

The allegation must be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and to Ofsted. The LADO will advise if other agencies (eg police) should be informed, and the Club will act upon their advice. Any telephone reports to the LADO will be followed up in writing within 48 hours.

Following advice from the LADO, it may be necessary to suspend the member of staff pending full investigation of the allegation. 

If appropriate the Club will make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Promoting awareness among staff:

The Club promotes awareness of child abuse and the risk of radicalisation through its staff training. The Club ensures that:

the designated CPO has relevant experience and receives appropriate training in safeguarding and the Prevent Duty, and is aware of the Channel Programme and how to access it

  • safe recruitment practices are followed for all new staff
  • all staff have a copy of this Safeguarding Children policy, understand its contents and are vigilant to signs of abuse, neglect or radicalisation
  • all staff are aware of their statutory duties with regard to the disclosure or discovery of child abuse, and concerns about radicalisation
  • all lead staff receive basic safeguarding training 
  • all lead staff receive basic training in the Prevent Duty
  • staff are familiar with the Safeguarding File which is kept with the owner Holly James.
  • the Club’s procedures are in line with the guidance in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015)’ and staff are familiar with the guidance in ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused (2015)’.

Staff will be asked to read and sign all policies at the start of the employment and regularly throughout the year when for policy changes and updates made by management. 

Use of mobile phones and cameras:

Photographs will only be taken of children with their parents’ permission. Only the GroWild iPad camera will be used to take photographs of children at GroWild, except with the express permission of the manager. Neither staff nor children may use their mobile phones to take photographs at the Club.

Complaints, Confidentiality and Information Sharing

Confidentiality and Information Sharing Policy:

In general, all personal information will be treated as confidential

The welfare of the child is always the priority

Confidential information may be disclosed to Children’s Services or the Police if a child’s health and welfare needs protecting, or when a crime has, or may be, committed

In cases of medical or other sensitive information being held, members of the group will only be informed on the ‘need to know’ basis

If there are concerns about the welfare of a child or young person it is important for everyone to understand that they may not promise confidentiality

Information is kept in a locked drawer or cabinet, which is in a locked room or building.

To ensure that all children, young people and their parents/carers using GroWild can do so with confidence, we will respect confidentiality in the following ways:

Young people will have access to their own personal files if relevant.

Parents/carers will have ready access to the files and records of their own children but not those of any young person if relevant.

Leaders and staff will not discuss individual children or young people, other than for purposes of planning or group management, with people other than the parent/carer of that young person, unless the personal safety of a young person is in question where the Child Protection Policy will override confidentiality on a need-to-know basis.

Information given by parents/carers to the FS group will not be passed on without permission unless the personal safety of that young person is in question where the Child Protection Policy will override confidentiality on a need-to-know basis.

Any anxieties/evidence relating to a young person’s personal safety will be kept in a confidential file and will not be shared within the group except with the appropriate staff member.

Issues relating to the employment of staff, whether paid or voluntary, will remain confidential to those making personnel decisions.

Confidential records are stored securely in a lockable file. 

Students on work placements and volunteers are informed of our confidentiality policy and are required to respect it.

Sharing information with outside agencies:

We will only share information with outside agencies on a need-to-know basis and with consent from parents, except in cases relating to safeguarding children or criminal activity. If we decide to share information without parental consent, we will record this in the child’s file, clearly stating our reasons. We will only share relevant information that is accurate and up to date. Our primary commitment is to the safety and well-being of the children in our care.  

Data Protection Act:

We comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998, regarding obtaining, storing and using personal data.

Complaints Policy:

When children, young people, parents, volunteers and staff are unhappy it is vital they are able to complain.  

This procedure also links in with the ‘whistleblowing’ and handling allegations policies and procedures to ensure decisions are made appropriately, especially when the welfare of children/young people is implicated.

We will ensure any complaint will be taken seriously and referred to the group leader or manager

If the complaint is about the leader or manager, it will be passed onto either their deputy/member of the management/trustee as appropriate to the organisation.

The person making the complaint will receive written acknowledgement of their complaint within five working days including details of how it is being dealt with.

Within 30 working days the person making the complaint will receive resolution or details of what has happened so far.

If there are delays to resolving the issues the person making the complaint should be kept as fully informed as possible.

There may be a need to identify a third party or higher authority to approach if the person making the complaint is unhappy with the outcome to their complaint.

At all times the welfare of the child is of the utmost importance.

All complaints must be recorded. A complaints/comments book/form should be made available for adults or young people to enter their concerns in.

All FS Leaders/staff should view these comments as constructive and an aid to creating a better service for learners/children.

If a learner has a complaint or concern their first point of contact is the FS Leader/staff on site.

If the learner is not satisfied by the outcome or feel that they are unable to talk to the FS Leader/staff then they should take their concerns to Holly James - Owner.

If the learner feels that their concerns have not been satisfactorily sorted out or if the problem reoccurs they should again voice their concerns to Holly James  -  Owner.

If it is impossible to reach a satisfactory resolution to the complaint through informal discussion, the parent or carer should put their complaint in writing to the manager. The manager will:

Acknowledge receipt of the letter within 7 days.

Investigate the matter and notify the complainant of the outcome within 28 days.

Send a full response in writing, to all relevant parties, including details of any recommended changes to be made to GroWild’s practices or policies as a result of the complaint.

Meet relevant parties to discuss GroWild’s response to the complaint, either together or on an individual basis.

Fill in a ‘Complaints Record’ Form and provide a copy to the parent/carer. Staff must refer to the ‘How to complete the complaints record’ document for best practice. 

If child protection issues are raised, the manager will refer the situation to the Club’s Child Protection Officer, who will then contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and follow the procedures of the Safeguarding Children Policy. If a criminal act may have been committed, the manager will contact the police. 

The manager must inform the parent who made the complaint (in writing or by email if the parent requests this) of the outcome of the complaint within 28 days of the date the complaint was made.

Any parent or carer can submit a complaint to Ofsted about GroWild at any time. Ofsted will consider and investigate all complaints. Ofsted’s address is: Ofsted, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD. Telephone: 0300 123 1231 (general enquiries) or 0300 123 4666 (complaints).

It is hoped that most complaints can be resolved informally between the staff and the complainant. It is imperative that good relationships are maintained at all times. 

Equal Opportunities, Inclusion and Forest School

This mission statement emphasises the value placed on the individuality of all our children and learners. We are committed to giving each child every opportunity to achieve the highest of standards, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, attainment, age, disability, gender or background. We actively seek to remove the barriers to learning and participation that can hinder or exclude individual children or groups of children. We aim to provide all our children with the opportunity to succeed, and to reach the highest level of personal achievement.

We will:

Ensure equality of access for all children.

Employ a range of styles, including collaborative learning, so that children can value working together.

Seek to involve all parents in supporting their child’s education. 

Take account of the performance of all children when planning for future learning and setting challenging targets.

Make best use of all available resources to support the learning of all groups of children.

Promote this equal opportunities statement.

Apply the statement in our work and activities on behalf of the FS group.

Bring to the attention of the FS group management team any occurrence, relative to the work of the organisation, where this statement has not been applied.

Our Leaders ensure that our children: 

  • feel secure and know that their contributions are valued
  • appreciate and value the differences in others
  • take responsibility for their own actions
  • participate safely, in clothing that is appropriate to their religious beliefs or are taught in groupings that allow them all to experience success
  • use materials that reflect a range of cultural backgrounds, learning styles and linguistic needs, without stereotyping
  • have a common curriculum experience that allows for a range of different learning styles
  • have challenging targets that enable them to succeed
  • are encouraged to participate fully, regardless of disabilities or medical needs.

Forest School does mean Forest School FOR ALL. We do have a stock of extra all weather clothing but ask that both parents and children think about the usefulness of their clothing for outdoor activities, and to be aware that they are likely to take home muddy and wet clothes after a Forest School session. We encourage a level of risk-taking, always under close adult supervision, and actively foster friendships and collaboration between all children and adults. Forest School activities are always designed to produce success and enjoyment, even when this appears to be of a transitory nature. The Forest environment is an environment to which we are all entitled and we strongly believe that the experiences we will have there will linger in the memory for years to come.