Child Protection Guiding Statement
Merchiston International School fully recognises its moral and statutory responsibility in China as well as meeting international standards to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. We endeavor to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children are respected and valued. We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that students receive effective support, protection and justice.
Merchiston International School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and those connected to the school to share this commitment.
This policy applies to staff, volunteers and contractors working with students on school premises or away from the school on an activity, visit or other educational pursuit.
This policy therefore complements and supports a range of other policies (e.g. Complaints, Behaviour, Health and Safety). When undertaking development or planning of any kind, the School will consider safeguarding aspects. The School's safeguarding arrangements are in line with the Council of International Schools standards. The School will conform to the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools in the UK.
The School's core safeguarding principles are:
- the School's responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is of paramount importance;
- safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play in keeping children safe;
- listening to Children and to all members of the community is fundamental to safeguarding and is in the best interest of the child
- Merchiston International School is committed to a 'speak up culture' and believes in the notion that if you see something or sense something then you should say something – no concern is considered too small. If concerns are raised early then help can be provided at an early stage
- early indication that a child may need help is critical and a crucial part of our 'speak up culture'.
- all staff must have the attitude of 'it could happen here' with regard to safeguarding.
- safer children make more successful learners;
- representatives of the whole School community will be involved in safeguarding policy development and review.
- policies will be reviewed at least annually unless an incident or new legislation or guidance suggests the need for an interim review.
Child Protection and Safeguarding is involved in:
Child Protection: Safeguarding Students – Parental guidance
Merchiston International School aims to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children in its care and protect them from serious harm. This applies to the boarding and day environment and all the activities the School undertakes. Staff and volunteers are vetted for their suitability to work with children prior to appointment. They receive training in safeguarding and child protection. They will report any concerns in accordance with official local safeguarding procedures. The School has a Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy, which is regularly reviewed and this is available on the School's website.
It is important for parents to be aware that:
- Staff and volunteers in the School have a duty to report concerns about a child, whether this means the child may be in need of additional support or help of some kind or whether it is thought that a child may have been abused or be at risk of harm. There are four categories of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, neglect.
- In some cases the School is obliged to refer cases to external agencies so that a child's needs are assessed and to consider whether an investigation into possible child abuse is required. In many cases there will already have been discussions between the School and the parents of a child, and the situation and concerns will not come as a surprise to the parents. However, parents may not be told that the School has referred their child to external agencies if it is thought that this might either put the child at risk or it is in the best interests of the child for the parents not to be told.
- If you think your child may have been abused, you can contact the School for support and advice. If you think the abuse may have happened in School (or during expeditions or extra-curricular activities), you should contact the DSL.
- If members of the School's staff need to express concerns about a child and refer a child to the DSL, it is understood that this can cause distress for the child's parents. It is important that all parties – parents and members of the School's staff – try to discuss these matters as calmly and sensibly as possible.
- There is also a programme of Peer Mentoring available to Senior School students.
Security at MIS
At MIS we incorporate the security services at school to ensure the safety of students and the wider community. We require parents to adhere to instructions from the security services at school. Their primary concern is to ensure that anyone on site is identifiable and at school for the right reasons. For the safety of the school community we continue to put systems and structures in place and ask parents to be aware of these:
- Site security will conduct routine sweeps of the school and guide parents to reception – please comply with their requests
- Site security are instructed to challenge any visitor to the school with or without a lanyard to query who is on site.
- Site security have had training in Child Protection and Safeguarding to adhere to the pastoral care systems employed at MIS.