All schools are required to have policies and procedures in place to support staff in their management of situations which may involve violence, threatening behaviour or abuse amongst other policies which are all legal requirements within the setting of a school. Schools need to meet current legislation so that parents, staff, governors and others who are involved with the school are able to work from a clear set of guidelines. Every member of the school’s staff must adhere to these policies and familiarize on where these policies can be found within the school surroundings. Policies are meant to set out criteria that should provide a framework that ensures all consistent principles are applied to practice across the educational setting; therefore, they are not intended to detail every single event that might be applied within each policy framework. Policies can also provide prospective employees, governors and parents of prospective pupils with valuable information. For example, parents might wish to see the school’s homework policy or the behaviour policy before deciding whether to apply for their child to attend the school. Similarly, a prospective employee may wish to see the school’s staff development policy, its performance management policy or its leave of absence policy before deciding whether to accept a position at the school. Prospective governors should be made aware of any policy relating specifically to governors. These might include a governors’ induction policy, a governors’ allowance scheme or a governors’ training policy. Also, schools’ policies should enable staff, governors, parents, LEA officers and Ofsted inspectors, to see at a glance what principles they can expect to see applied at school.
Policies and Procedures
Every member of the school’s staff needs to ensure they use confidentiality where needed. They must be aware where they discuss sensitive information and with whom they are discussing it to. They have to make sure that all documents such as reports and records, are used appropriately. They also need to be professional on how they present themselves to children and young people, other staff, agencies and parents/carers. A confidentiality document has to be signed and before anyone can work in a school, a DBS check is done, and a child protection induction day is prepared. All staff should be updated regularly on courses and induction days and trained in first aid. In fact, the governing body and the Head Teacher need to ensure that training and professional development needs are reflected in the school’s plan, and opportunities are available to every member of the staff within the school. Every school should have in place a performance management policy that complies with the Education School Teacher Appraisal Regulations 2000, effective in England since the 1st of September 2000. The governing body has the responsibility for agreeing the overall policy for performance management in the school and the development and review of the policy should be based on consultation and agreement with the staff.
Another policy that staff should require is the school’s pay policy: this document should set out the basis on which the governing body will determine all school employees’ pay. It also establishes the procedures for determining appeals. Another relevant policy is the grievance policy between staff members. Grievance procedures at work should be followed by employees with complaints about their treatment; pay; or terms and conditions at work. Governing bodies of maintained schools are legally obliged to establish workplace procedures to deal with staff grievances. They will normally have separate grievance procedures for dealing with pay appeals. For example, separate procedures are sometimes used to deal with complaints of harassment or workplace bullying.
b) Pupil Welfare
The pupil welfare policies are related to child protection and safeguarding of children from neglect, physical and psychological abuse, harm etc. They may include:
• Child protection policy;
• Health and safety policy;
• Drugs awareness policy;
• Behaviour management policy;
• Anti-bullying policy;
• Attendance policy.
Child protection is the process of protecting individual children identified as either suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect. It involves measures and structures designed to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect. The term “child protection” is increasingly being replaced by that of “safeguarding”; however, child protection serves to protect specific children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm and for this reason, is a central part of safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare. Child protection is part of safeguarding’ definition and refers to all the welfare activities undertaken to prevent children suffering, or to protect individual children identified as either suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. For child protection to work effectively, practitioners must ensure to have good interrelationships with other agencies and a good cooperation with competent professionals able to respond to every child protection circumstance. It is crucial to monitor the success of the work done by the local agencies to guarantee that all members of staff and managers within a specific borough have a clear understanding of safeguarding procedures, policies and requirements. It is important to identify multi-agency success in case of concerns regarding safeguarding issues and assist with the recognition of training needs and requirements across the children’s workforce.
Schools’ Health and Safety policies should contain details of what schools are responsible for whilst children are in their care.
This policy is put into place because there are risks involved in looking after children and young adults. Every school setting should maintain the highest possible security of the premises to ensure that each child is safely cared for during their time at school. The procedures in place need to make sure that all employed staff have been checked for criminal records by an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau. The setting premises’ security must be maintained. The times of children’s arrivals and departures need to be recorded together with the arrival and departure times of adults. Staff and parents’ helpers should be recorded in the register and visitors should be required to sign a visitors’ book. School’s systems need to prevent unauthorised access to premises.
All identified incidents should be formally recorded and reported to the line manager. Keeping records of all incidents will help schools to manage individual cases effectively and monitor their resolution, demonstrating a defensible decision making in the event of incidents. Parents are fully entitled to request a copy of the school’s health and safety policy (and any other school policies) and if by reading the policy they have questions or concerns they can contact the HSE directly.
Below is briefly stated what the school’s health and safety policy includes:
• Arrangements made to put in place, monitor and review measures necessary to reach satisfactory health and safety standards;
• Training of staff in health and safety including competence in risk assessments;
• First-Aid and supporting pupils’ medical needs;
• School Security;
• Occupational health services and work-related stress;
• Consultation arrangements with employees;
• Workplace safety for teachers, pupils and visitors;
• Management of asbestos;
• Control of hazardous substances;
• Maintenance, examination and test of plant and equipment such as electrical equipment, local exhaust ventilation, pressure systems, gas appliances, lifting equipment and glazing safety;
• Recording and reporting accidents to staff, pupils and visitors including those reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR);
• Fire safety, including testing of alarms and evacuation procedures;
• Dealing with health and safety emergencies procedures.
The Health and Safety Policy therefore enables the safety of all children within the hands of the school.
Many schools have also a dual Drugs awareness policy with the purpose of protecting both staff’ and students’ welfare. This policy determines how professionals should respond to and deal with incidents with drugs and other forbidden items, but also clarifies the legal responsibilities of teaching and non-teaching staff. In fact, children are exposed to tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs at increasingly younger ages. In fact, as children enter school and spend more time with their peers, they become more influenced by the media and the world around them. Adults and practitioners should articulate and reinforce the difference between right and wrong behaviour. Talking about different lifestyles, drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships and their effects, it is very important. Adults should give strategies at the appropriate developmental stage. All schools should have in place a guidance on all matters relating to drug education and the management of drugs within the school community. The document should define drugs as including alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs, as well as medicines and volatile substances and should outline the important role that schools play in tackling drug misuse in England, by providing drug education and wider support to all pupils, in particular those who need extra help. Drug education should be delivered as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education.
All children should be made aware of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable within behaviour, but a policy needs to be in place within the school setting about inappropriate behaviour and whom it shall be referred to. Schools should involve pupils, parents and carers in regular reviews and updates. Teaching and non-teaching staff should explain the importance of being respectful in teams, giving an understanding of the value of education, and how our actions affect others and permeate the whole school environment; – Schools need to ensure that all parents know how to complain about inappropriate behaviour or actions of staff and volunteers within the provision, or anyone working on the premises occupied by the setting, which may include an allegation of abuse. Inappropriate behaviour includes sexual comments, excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of the role and inappropriate sharing of images. Teachers and teaching assistants can protect themselves by working transparently. If everybody in the staff knows what they are doing and why, no-one can fall victim of false charges.
The school should also have an anti-bullying policy. A good Anti-bullying policy is most effective when every member of the school’s staff understands its principles and purposes, its legal responsibilities regarding bullying, how to resolve problems, and where to seek support. Schools can invest in specialised skills to help their staff understand the needs of their pupils, including those with special educational needs or disability (SEND), and lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) pupils.
Children are required to attend school on a daily basis except on occasions when they are ill, to keep a record of attendance at our school a register is taken twice daily to ensure who is in and who is not. This is also a required policy within the school, and in case a child is off on a regular occurrence, schools must ask for the parent to come into school to discuss this matter before getting other agencies involved.
c) Teaching and Learning
The teaching and learning policies are approved by the staff and governors and should be reviewed annually. They aim to ensure that children and young people at school are provided with high quality learning experiences that lead to a consistently high level of pupil achievement. These policies include:
• Curriculum policy;
• Early years policy;
• Teaching and learning policy;
• SEN policy;
• Planning and assessment policy;
• Homework policy;
• Marking policy.
Effective teaching is crucial so that pupils are happy, self-motivated, well behaved, and hardworking. Every members of the school staff should always encourage a wide variety of learning methods and creativity, by using a number of teaching styles and strategies. All teaching styles should be designed to challenge and engage all pupils. Through effective teaching, pupils should be able to acquire new knowledge or skills in their work, develop ideas and increase their understanding; be able to explain what they have learnt; ask questions and show a desire to learn; produce work of a good standard; understand how well they are doing and what they can do to improve through effective feedback marking. Every school should offer an appropriate, balanced curriculum to all children in their care. They should value the importance of children’s personal, social and emotional, creative and physical developments in addition to their academic achievements. The Curriculum policy is to be read in conjunction with the Schemes of Work, the Equality Policy and the Additional Needs policy. The school’s policy for Special Educational Needs (SEN) children should be governed by a few important principles:
• Every child should have the opportunity to experience success in learning and achieve a high standard;
• All children are entitled to access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, and education in a safe and secure environment;
• Emphasis must be placed on early assessment and intervention, making support available to the children who need it as early as possible;
• Resources need to be used to deliver a continuum of provision to match and respond to the continuum of SEN;
• Parents should play a vital role in their children’s education;
• School and staff should work in partnership with parents, respecting their views and contributions, and parents will be provided with information, advice and support regarding the progress of their children with SEN;
• In making provision for a child with SEN, the child’s own views should be taken into account, with each child being an active participant in determining their own learning;
• Teachers and Foundation Stage staff need to set high expectations and provide opportunities for all children to extend what they can achieve.
• Teachers and Foundation Stage staff need to work to overcome potential barriers to learning by embedding inclusive practice in all schools and Foundation Stage settings.
An inclusive school is one in which the personal development and growth of every young person matters. Children with SEN are therefore encouraged to participate fully in the life of their school and community.
A good SEN policy framework should be designed to promote inclusive practices which emphasise awareness of the varying needs of all children. Therefore, the SEN policy positively seeks to remove barriers to learning and participation, giving every child the opportunity to develop and extend their potential.
Another important policy at school is the Homework policy. Homework is an essential element of children’s school education. It enables them to further develop their learning at home by extending what they have learned at school. Furthermore, it enables pupils to reinforce the learning that has taken place at school to ensure that they are secure in their learning of key concepts. In fact, completing homework enables pupils to make good progress in their learning. It also helps to prepare children to become independent learners and manage their own time effectively in preparation for secondary school and life beyond. Homework should be marked in line with the marking policy, by the teacher. Children should be given adequate feedback regarding how well they have done and where appropriate, what they need to do to improve.
Parents should guide children with their homework in case they need it; however, they should encourage their children to work independently to complete the tasks set.
Setting homework, teachers have a responsibility to ensure that homework set is in line with work which has been completed at school and so is not an entirely new concept to the child.
d) Equality, diversity, and inclusion
Every school should be inclusive and focused on the well-being and progress of every child and where all members of the community are of equal worth. Educational settings must comply with the Equality Act 2010′ framework to support the commitment to valuing diversity, tackling discrimination, promoting equality and fostering good relationships between people.
Schools should recognise that these duties reflect international human rights standards as expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act 1998. The Equality Act 2010 combined nine separate pieces of legislation into one single Act simplifying the law and strengthening it in important ways to help tackle discrimination and inequality. The Act introduced 9 protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion and belief, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity
The Act also specifies particular areas of protection, e.g. in employment and within education and set out general and specific duties which schools must meet. Ofsted within its inspections looks for evidence of adhering to statutory requirements and how effective the school is in promoting equality of opportunity and tackling discrimination. These policies include:
• Race equality and cultural diversity policy;
• Gifted and talented policy;
• Equal opportunities policy;
• SEND policy.
The Schools’ aims should be for all pupils to have the opportunity to access the teaching and learning according to their capacities. Incidents of racial, religious, gender, disability or other discrimination including related bullying should be recorded appropriately in line with schools’ ethos, policies’ guidance and statutory requirements. Sanctions and remedies arising from serious or repeated incidents may include advice or counselling, disciplinary measures and, if necessary, the temporary or permanent removal of ‘offenders’ from the class or from the school. The legal frameworks for these policies are:
The Children and Families Act 2014;
The Children Act 1989 and 2004;
Childcare Act 2006;
Human Rights Act 1998, and amendments 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005;
Education Act 2011;
Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2014;
Race Equality Act 2000;
Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2014.
e) Parental engagement
According to the Government website, parental engagement has a large and positive effect on children’s learning. It is therefore a priority to identify interventions that are effective in supporting parental involvement, particularly those parents who are either not significantly involved in their children’s education, or who are not involved at all.
The aim of the research report Review of best practice in parental engagement 2011 was to highlight findings and conclusions from the evidence reviewed and to identify important themes and messages for schools’ practitioners and leaders. A good parental engagement strategy should be outward facing, involving not only the views of parents, but the evidence and expertise of other schools and services in the community. There are notable gaps in the evidence base: for example, much more information is required about how parents, particularly those disadvantaged, engage with their children in their homes.
Parental engagement policies include:
• Attendance policy;
• Homework policy;
• Home school agreement.
These policies should encourage parental attendance within schools for curriculum days, recognising the skills and experiences of parents. Also, they should seek to identify and break down barriers to parent and carer involvement and proactively reach out to them. With work schedules, outside commitments and individual preference these policies can help parents and carers to have choices on how they want to be involved.
Home-school agreements have an important role in ensuring that schools and parents work together to maintain high standards. Home-school agreements inform, promote pupil-parent-school engagement and bring together other school policies into a coherent whole.