Meet some of our Safeguarding Team
We have a large Safeguarding Team who are fully trained designated staff. Main staff are below:
DSL: Day to day lead
Assistant Headteacher SENDCo
Director of Sixth Form
Can I report a concern?
Parents and Carers can call the main school on 0113 2265454 and ask to speak to a Designated Safeguarding Officer at school. We can offer support, advise and signpost.
Parents and Carers can also call the Leeds Children’s Social Work Services ( concern as a member of the public) on 0113 222 4403 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, except Wednesdays when they open from 10am).
Parents and carers should call the police if they feel a crime has been committed on 101, or if a child is in immediate danger 999.
Students are encouraged to report concerns as quickly as they can. They can speak with any adult in school. They are encouraged to list in their planners 3 trusted adults at school they will turn to if they need to talk. Form Tutors and our pastoral team are at hand on a daily basis to talk to and advise students. Students know to go to the HUB if they need to see key staff.
Students can use the ‘HELP ME’ reporting button on the schools VLE accessed via the schools internet. This is helps provide anonymity and allow students to report in and out of school.
What is safeguarding?
The action we take to promote the welfare and safety of children, and protect them from harm or risk. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility at school. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families has a role to play. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all staff will make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.
Every child can be hurt, put at risk of harm or abused, regardless of their age, gender, religion or ethnicity. Safeguarding legislation and government guidance says that safeguarding means:
- protecting children from maltreatment
- preventing the impairment of a child’s mental and/or physical health or development
- ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes
The term ‘Children’ includes everyone under the age of 18.
Polices that support safeguarding
- Keeping Children Safe in Education (updated annually, part A read by all staff annually)
- Guidance for safer working practise for those working with children and young people
- Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
- Positive Behaviour Policy
- Online Safety Policy
- Anti -Bullying Policy
- Attendance Policy
- Sexual Violence and harassment between children in schools and colleges 2021
How do we safeguard our students?
All staff at Horsforth take their role within safeguarding extremely seriously and our staff will do everything they can to protect our students and others from harm.
We acknowledge that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Trough regular training and updates our staff are aware of the many risks young people face today whether online or offline. Staff are trained to be vigilant, they know the signs and indicators of abuse and exploitation and know how to respond and report effectively.
The viewpoints and voice of students is of paramount importance to us, we will always listen to their wishes, thoughts and feelings, as well as identifying and supporting their needs.
Students are encouraged to report things that might be worrying or hurting them as well to report on the behalf of their peers if they are concerned about their friends. Students know they can report any issue to any adult at school, including their Tutor and Pastoral Officer. Students are encouraged to write down 3 staff names that are their trusted adults in school they will turn to if needed.
All students have access to the ‘HELP ME’ reporting button on the student VLE which accessed via the schools webpage. This allows students to report both in and out of school hours. It gives anonymity and allows students to report things quickly. We introduced this tool in response to student voice and what they asked for.
We will work alongside students to develop trusting, consistent and professional relationships. We advocate early help processes and, where possible, we will identify any difficulties or concerns early in order to act preventatively.
We will always provide support and advice for families and parents/carers, whilst acting in the best interests of the student at all times.
We have a preventative curriculum. For example, safeguarding topics such as FGM, consent, healthy relationships, coercive relationships and types of bullying are part of our PSHCE and RSE curriculum. PSHCE is taught to all students in years 7-13.We promote safer lifestyles through targeted assemblies, character and the annual safeguarding week.
Safeguarding also includes ensuring we follow safe working practices and provide a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff. Horsforth school safeguards students by:
- Maintaining a secure site and ensuring that all visitors to the school are recorded and monitored.
- Ensuring that safer recruitment practices are followed to prevent those who pose a risk to children gaining access to our students.
- Ensuring that all students understand the importance of on-line safety both at the school and at home.
- Filtering and monitoring all internet traffic into the school to ensure that students cannot be exposed to harmful material and communication.
- Ensuring that all staff employed by the school have received Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance which is recorded in the Single Central Record.
- Providing regular training and briefings for all staff in child protection and wider safeguarding issues ensuring that all staff and visitors know who our designated safeguarding officers and designated senior leads are.
- Ensuring that admission and attendance procedures are robust to protect students, ensure that they are safe and prevent students from going missing from education.
- Empowering young people to identify risks both within the school and in their community; ensuring that they have the skills and confidence to protect themselves and others.
- Making sure that all students understand the importance of disclosing concerns about themselves and peers, and giving them the confidence to discuss sensitive issues.
- Providing pastoral and mental health / wellbeing support to ensure that all students have access to guidance and advice, and when needed referrals for additional agency support to meet their needs.
- By working closely with Horsforth Children’s Services to provide early support to our children, parents and families.
- Sharing information with other agencies and services to ensure that students, children and their families have support to meet their needs and prevent children and students from harm.
- Taking immediate action and contacting the appropriate agencies when we believe that a student or child is in danger or is at risk of harm.
Types of abuse
A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent 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. Abuse can take place online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
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.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve telling a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or not valued. 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, and can include bullying.
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. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
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 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.
Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
CCE is where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or the threat of violence. CCE can include children being forced to work in cannabis factories, being coerced into moving drugs or money across the country, ( often called county lines)forced to shoplift or pickpocket, or to threaten other young people.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
CSE occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. CSE does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. CSE can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex.
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs (primarily crack cocaine and heroin) into one or more importing areas [within the UK], using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”. Exploitation is an integral part of the county lines offending model with children and vulnerable adults exploited to move [and store] drugs and money. Offenders will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons to ensure compliance of victims.
Domestic violence and abuse is: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can include, but is not limited to: psychological; physical; sexual; financial; and emotional.
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (including Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage)
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) encompasses incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators.
Female Genital Mutilation
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences. Our staff will report this to the police if they suspect this is planned.
Children are vulnerable to extremist ideology and radicalisation.
- Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.
- Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups.
- Terrorism is an action that endangers or causes serious violence to a person/people; causes serious damage to property; or seriously interferes or disrupts an electronic system. The use or threat must be designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public and is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
Peer on peer/ child on child abuse
Children can abuse other children. This is generally referred to as peer on peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to): abuse within intimate partner relationships; bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting, Up-skirting, and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.
The Voyeurism (Offences) Act, which is commonly known as the Upskirting Act, came into force on 12 April 2019. ‘Upskirting’ is where someone takes a picture under a persons clothing (not necessarily a skirt) without their permission and or knowledge, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks (with or without underwear) to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. It is a criminal offence. Anyone of any gender, can be a victim.
Modern slavery encompasses human trafficking and slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. Exploitation can take many forms, including: sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery, servitude, forced criminality and the removal of organs.
Cybercrime is criminal activity committed using computers and/or the internet. It is broadly categorised as either ‘cyber-enabled’ (crimes that can happen off-line but are enabled at scale and at speed on-line) or ‘cyber dependent’ (crimes that can be committed only by using a computer). Cyber-dependent crimes include unauthorised access to computers (illegal ‘hacking’), denial of Service (Dos or DDoS) attacks or ‘booting’, making, supplying or obtaining malware (malicious software) such as viruses, spyware, ransomware.
At Horsforth we work with students, parents/carers and the community to provide our students with a safe, secure and happy environment in which to learn. We expect high standards of behaviour and always encourage our students to develop into responsible and valued members of the community.
- Deliberately hurtful behaviour
- Repeated often over a period of time
- Difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves against
It usually takes one of four forms:
- Physical e.g. hitting, fighting, taking belongings
- Verbal e.g. name-calling, insulting remarks – Any verbal bullying that is construed as racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic will result in a significant sanction.
- Indirect e.g. rumour-mongering, use of social media.
- Online-bullying e.g. texting, use of social media, through gaming etc.
Raising awareness through the curriculum:
- Bullying is addressed through our wider curriculum, PSHCE, form time, assemblies, anti -bullying week, safeguarding week and displays ,ensuring all students are clear about our expectations and also where/who to go to if they have any concerns.
- Form Time and PSHCE sessions in KS3 address responsible friendships, peer pressure and peer on peer abuse so that students can identify unhealthy friendships.
- Character Assemblies are used as a vehicle for raising awareness, using relevant examples
- Students actively contribute to the anti-bullying policy by signing contracts at the start of each year
- An Anti-bullying week will take place each year, to raise awareness of different types of bullying and explore ways to prevent it from happening.
- All incidents are treated seriously by staff and referred to the Pastoral Officer as soon as possible.
- We are a telling school and teach students to report concerns even if they are not directly affected themselves. We encourage the use of the ‘HELP ME’ reporting tool.
- We teach ask students to not be bystanders to bullying, to not ignore, but report it
- We will deal with each case sensitively and discreetly, we will involve parents at all stages.
- Written statements are taken from all students involved .
- Both the ‘victim’ and the ‘bully’ are made aware that the academy views any instance of bullying very seriously
- It is imperative that the victim is supported and is given help
- Every effort must be made to resolve the situation immediately. Where appropriate, ‘victim’ and ‘bully’ should be brought together to discuss the incident within a supportive restorative meeting
- There is accurate recording of all bullying or hate incidents. These are categorised to include bullying, Homophobic Language or Behaviour, Racist Language or Behaviour, to allow analysis and targeted preventative education for identified students.
- A Senior lead member of staff or Director of Behaviour will judge the seriousness of the incidents beyond stage 1
Please click this link for more information:
Child sexual exploitation:
Please click this link for more information:
Sexual Abuse online
Please click this link for parental advice from West Yorkshire Police:
Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines:
Please click this link for more information:
Radicalisation and Extremism:
Please see both the parent and student section of this useful website:
We work with the Leeds Prevent Team to support students that we suspect are being drawn into extremism or are being radicalised. You can find our more here:
Social Media Websites
We do encourage parents and carers to take a look at the various social media platforms that our students use, these apps can be useful and fun, but they can also be used to abuse, exploit, bully, distribute indecent images and incite hatred.
Filtering and Monitoring Procedures for School Internet Traffic
The schools broadband provides a secure, filtered and monitored internet service for the school. Schools Broadband utilises the Netsweeper filtering system to check and record all internet traffic ensuring it meets 2023 KCSiE requirements and is compliant with all relevant legalisation. Both Schools Broadband and Netsweeper are approved by the Government and the Internet Watch Foundation for use in schools.
Every pupil and member of staff has a unique login on the Netsweeper platform (which runs silently in the background when they use a school computer or laptop). Each account has filtering applied based on the users age/role. This enables the school to block and filter harmful content. The systems also allows us to easily identify where students or staff have accessed harmful or risky content so we can take the appropriate actions.
If pupils bring in their own devices (BYOD) and use the schools Guest Wi-Fi connection. They will be challenged by the Netsweeper platform to enter their username and password, after a successful login they are granted the same level of web filtering as they would on a school device so our pupils are still protected with their own devices.
Pupils in Years 7-11 are not allowed to use their mobile phones on site for any reason. They should not be accessing 4G/5G from their own devices and if they do this, they are sanctioned and the school takes this as a serious safeguarding breach. Years 12-13 should only use the schools WI-FI when using their phones in permitted areas and times. Sanctions still apply to our sixth formers for breaches.
The DSL has access to daily reports for suspicious or potentially harmful pupil activity which may have been deemed inappropriate (this activity would have been denied but logged).
As a school we have to strike a balance between blocking harmful material without restricting research and study that relies on the internet too much. As such we review our systems regularly. The filtering system is checked daily to ensure it is working. Once a month a further independent check is performed using a site called Test Filtering to confirm the web filtering is working to DfE’s standards independently of the Schools Broadband and Netsweeper.
Further information about filtering and monitoring is in the Online Safety Policy.
Online Safety, Reporting and Prevention
Students and Parents can report unsafe incidents online by visiting the CEOP website and completing a report form:
NSPCC remove it tool:
Please click for support and advice about removing images online
Alcohol and Drugs
If you’re a young person, or parent concerned about drug use, MindMate can help you understand the way you’re feeling and find the right advice and support.
Forward Leeds is the alcohol and drug service in Leeds for adults, young people and families.
0113 887 2477
School can refer to this service, Forward Leeds has successfully worked a number of young people at school and in Horsforth, parents can contact the school to find out more. Ask for a safeguarding officer. Students must see a trusted adult or use the HELP ME report it tool to ask school staff for a referral or to find out more. School staff are ready to help and listen.
Free information and support for under 25s in the UK. Get advice about sex, relationships, drugs, mental health, money & jobs. www.themix.org.uk
Fearless – Country Lines
Fearless provides non-judgemental advice about crimes that affect you.
Peer on Peer Abuse including Harmful Sexual Behaviour
SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
Recent events and media coverage have brought to light the issue and scale of peer-on-peer abuse in schools and colleges.
Peer-on-peer abuse is a growing concern. Childline reported a 29% increase in children seeking help due to peer-on-peer sexual abuse. Peer-on-peer abuse includes:
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Sexual harassment and violence
- Harm within intimate relationships or Teenage relationship abuse
- On and offline bullying
- Gang activity, such as hazing and other harmful or violent initiation rituals
This list is not exhaustive. The perpetrator and victim should be of a similar age and be under 18 years old.
Horsforth school operates a zero tolerance policy and approach to peer on peer abuse.
Harmful Sexual Behaviour
Horsforth school operates a zero tolerance policy and approach to harmful sexual behaviour. We have a statutory duty to complete AIM guidance assessments for a range of harmful sexual behaviours, including inappropriate touching and/or allegations of sexual assault, violence or rape.
Any such incident or report will be dealt with seriously, swiftly and effectively. We would never dismiss disclosers from our students as children being children, childhood banter, part of growing up, jokes or teasing. This leads to an unacceptable culture and an unsafe environment. Parents are involved at every stage. Whilst the victims wishes are paramount. we have a duty of care to both the alleged victim and perpetrator. In situations where the children or young people are in the same class or school, risk assessments will be put into place, to safeguard both parties, these should consider how best to keep the two parties apart whilst at school and also whilst traveling to and from school. If the allegation involves rape and/ or assault by penetration, then the statutory guidance states that the perpetrator must be removed from any shared classes. Guidance is clear that any separation arrangements must continue for as long as is necessary to make sure children are safe.
We may inform the police and use other external agencies in reporting, support and intervention.
We are also required to complete Child Exploitation assessment tools to assess risk and inform next steps. All assessment tools including incidents that do not require an assessment tool, may involve the school referring to Children Social Work Services in Leeds.
BULLYING (INCLUDING CYBERBULLYING)
Bullying (including Cyberbullying) is defined as “behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, which intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.”
Bullying can start with seemingly trivial events – such as name calling. It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online, at any time. It’s usually repeated over time and can cause physical and emotional hurt. Of concern is the people that dismiss peer-on-peer abuse as ‘children being children’.
- ‘Cyberbullying’: involves sending inappropriate or hurtful text messages, emails or instant messages, posting malicious material online (e.g. on social networking websites) or sending or posting offensive or degrading images and videos. Cyberbullying will be of particular concern during Lockdown, when children and young people are working remotely
- Sexual, Sexist and Transphobic Bullying: includes any behaviour, whether physical or nonphysical, where sexuality is used as a weapon
- Homophobic Bullying: targets someone because of their sexual orientation (or perceived sexual orientation)
- Disablist Bullying: targets a young person solely based on their disability
GANG ACTIVITY AND YOUTH VIOLENCE
This includes where a child or young person can be exploited (sexually and/or physically/criminally) by a gang, but this is not necessarily the reason why gangs are formed. Exploitation and abuse can occur in:
Gangs – mainly comprising men and boys aged 13-25 years old, who take part in many forms of criminal activity (e.g. knife crime or robbery) who can engage in violence against other gangs, and who have identifiable markers, for example a territory, a name, or sometimes clothing.
Groups – involves people who come together in person or online for the purpose of setting up, co-ordinating and / or taking part in the sexual or criminal exploitation of children in either an organised or opportunistic way. Types of exploitation may include using sex as a weapon between rival gangs, as a form of punishment to fellow gang members and / or a means of gaining status within the hierarchy of the gang. Children and young people may be forced to gain entry into the gang by carrying out an initiation process which may be harmful to them and / or may inflict harm to others. Where abuse takes place in a gang environment, members may perceive the abuse as normal, as well as accepting it as a way of achieving a respected status / title within the gang.
Sources of Help
Students must report peer on peer abuse to a trusted adult at home or in school. Students can talk to their trusted teacher, pastoral officer, tutor or use the HELP ME online reporting tool on the student VLE.
Parents can contact the school to speak with a designated safeguarding officer. Parents should call the police on 101 to report a sexual crime.
CEOP has a reporting tool for parents and students to report online safety issues including sexting, harassment, abuse and bullying.
If as a student you have experienced abuse there is other help available, on the NSPCC helpline. This helpline can also be used and also for worried adults and professionals that need support and guidance. Young people and adults can contact the NSPCC ‘Report Abuse in Education’ helpline on 0800 136 663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental health and self-care for young people
Mental Health affects all aspects of a child’s development including their cognitive abilities and their emotional wellbeing. Childhood and adolescence are when mental health is developed and patterns are set for the future. For most children, the opportunities for learning and personal development during adolescence are exciting and challenging and an intrinsic part of their school experience. However, they can also give rise to anxiety, low mood, feelings of not being able to cope as well as stress which can lead to poor mental health or a diagnosis of ill mental health.
It’s fair to say that we have seen a rise in the number of students feeling uncertain, sad, low, anxious, stressed and overwhelmed and not always feeling like they can cope. The pandemic did not help this and we have seen many students affected by this in terms of loss of resilience or they have turned to unhealthy or unsafe coping mechanisms. Out of school pressures, social media and set backs in family or personal lives such as a bereavement can take their toll on how young people feel, cope and think.
Horsforth School is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for students and promoting a climate where all of its community feel confident about sharing any concerns they may have. At Horsforth school, we promote positive mental health and wellbeing for every member of our staff and student body. We are proud of our whole school approach. We will pursue this aim using both universal, whole school approaches and specialised, targeted approaches aimed at students needing additional and/or bespoke support.
In an average classroom, three children will be suffering from a diagnosable mental health issue. By developing and implementing practical, relevant and effective mental health procedures and signposting we promote a safe and stable environment for students affected both directly and indirectly by mental ill health.
We have a 4 step approach to our mental health provision and support for all students in years 7-13.
Resilience and Self Care
There’s lots of things young people can do to look after their mental wellbeing, and taking any time you can for self-care is massively important. This can be done as a preventative tool too.
Knowing what steps we can take to support our mental wellbeing can help us feel better, sleep better and have better relationships with the people around us – and that goes not just for today but for the future too.
Please click on this NHS link to find six short films for young people made by young people. They cover all sorts of tips on exercise, self-care such as sleep and how to take care of yourself on social media.
Self Sooth Box
We really recommend students make a self sooth box to help with symptoms of anxiety and stress.
Please watch this short film about what these are how to make them:
Mental Health Support, Information and Advice for Adults and Young people:
Mental Health Support for Children age 12+:
The Market Place Leeds offers free confidential counselling and support for all young people.
Call 0113 246 1659.
18A New Market St, Leeds.
Please do call school as a parent, or see an adult in school if you are student, if you or a peer is self-harming. We can signpost to help and support, give advice and refer to our counsellor.
How to sleep
Relax and Sleep Well App
Beating Eating Disorders
You are never alone with your eating disorder. We are here to support people who have or are worried they have an eating disorder, as well as others affected, such as friends and family members. Helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am–8pm during the week, and 4pm–8pm on weekends and bank holidays.