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Whistle Blowing Essay

Write a report explaining the importance of ensuring children and young people’s safety and protection in the work setting. The report needs to cover the following sections:Section 1: InductionExplain why it is important to ensure children and young people are protected from harm in the work setting. As part of the Working Together to Safeguard children, organisations and individuals have a responsibility to work together to safeguard the well-being and welfare of all children and young people in their care. This of course, includes looking after the health, well-being and welfare while they are in the school environment. Everyone who works within a setting and cares for children and young people have clear responsibilities to;

Protect children and young people from harm. Help children to build tools to protect, understand and have the knowledge to some extent safeguard themselves and others. Promote the welfare of all children and young people they work with.

The policies and procedures that are in place help train, guide and allow everyone who works with children and young people to help ensure that they are not put at risk from things such as neglect, abuse or bullying. Policies and procedures are also in place to protect the health and safety of everyone in a school setting, this can be for example staff carrying out risk assessments for activities in school. Every member of staff working in a setting can help children and young people to gain knowledge and achieve some level of understanding in how to protect themselves. This can be done through daily teaching, assemblies and play and break times.

Section 2: Describe the policies and procedures that are in place to protect children and young people and the adults who work with them. There are many policies and procedures in place to protect children and young people and also the adults who work with them. Here are some examples;

Safeguarding

The Children’s Act 2004 is in place to make the UK a safer and better place for children and young people. Everyone who works within a setting should know what to do if a child or young person makes a disclosure or they have a suspicion about the behaviour/general well being of someone in their care.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was introduced to make sure that staff in working environments know and understand the requirements and responsibilities in making sure that the working environment is a safe place to be. This Act covers things such as; Teaching children how to use sports and play equipment correctly. Ensuring that the children know, for example, what the correct clothing is when using apparatus. Explaining and practising a Fire Drill.

Teaching children and young people to move through the school in a safe manner, e.g. to run and not to run. This Act also covers areas such as COSSH, Manual Handling Regulations And Workplace Safety.

Risk Assessments

It would be impossible to make every area of the school completely ‘safe’ and never expect anything to happen. Risk assessing activities and experiences in school is incredibly important and all school settings will carry out risk assessments on activities in school, equipment used in school, for example PE Equipment, Art and Craft tools and even on trips outside of the school environment.

Anti-bullying

Every school will have an anti-bullying policy in place. Children maybe involved in things such as school council or drawing and putting up anti-bullying posters around the school. Children can be rewarded for offering friendship to others and some settings have a friendship bench or area for children or young people to go to if they feel lonely or upset.

Food and Hygiene

Teaching and reminding children and young people to wash their hands after using the toilet. This will help to reduce chance of illnesses and infections being passed on. Washing hands before being included in cookery lessons. Having a policy in place for how soon a child or adult can return to school after a bout of sickness and diarrhoea. Having a dental nurse or dentist visit the school to teach the children about cleaning teeth properly.

The school, headteacher and governing board are legally responsible for making sure all of the policies and procedures are in place and followed by staff, visitors and volunteers. For example, all Risk Assessments are signed by the Headteacher and also by the Governors. Annual Reports and Audits are carried out by the Headteacher and passed to the governing board and the Local Authority. The Local Authority will also carry out their own reports, visits and audits annually.

Section 3:Explain how practitioners can take steps to protect themselves within their everyday practice in the work setting during both on-site and off-site visits.When working in a school setting it is an important part of any employee’s job to read and be familiar with the policies and procedures in place to protect themselves and the children and young people in their care. Adequate training should also be provided by the Headteacher, Governing Board and Local Authority to ensure the messages from these policies and procedures are clear and followed. When working at school, you can help to protect yourself by following theses steps;

Read, understand and always follow your school’s policies and procedures. If you do not understand any of them in place, ask your direct line manager or Headteacher for advice.  Always sign into school on arrival and again on departure. At Barnham Primary, sign in and sign out books are stored by reception and must be filled in every time staff or visitors enter or leave the building. All children and young people at school should have their registers arrival and departure times recorded in the class registers.

Always wear a clear name badge and ensure all visitors, volunteers also do the same.  Always avoid, if you can being alone in a classroom with one child. Sometimes in school, you may find yourself working one to one with a child. It is important to consider how to work safely whilst carrying out this work. You should try and keep yourself in a visible position, for example in the corner of the classroom or in view of a witness. If you are working in an empty classroom, chose a space near an open door and in view of anyone walking past. Keep an eye on your body language, position and closeness to the child.

If a child or young person is late at school and delayed in going home, two members of staff must remain at school and with them until their parent or carer collects them. If an incident or accident occurs at school they should be written up on the appropriate paperwork and stored in the correct folder. At Barnham Primary the paperwork for accidents is kept in the staff room and must be filled in by the person who witnessed the accident and then signed by the class teacher. A detachable part of the form is then sent home with the child and this is especially important for any head injuries.

Any behaviour incidents that require writing up and recording need to be seen by the class teacher and the headteacher.  If you are ever involved in an off-site visit you need to protect yourself by;

Always follow the policies and procedures for off site visits set up by your school.

The class teacher will have completed a risk assessment for the trip so make sure that you are familiar with key points and anything that you may need to be extra vigilant about. An off site trip may include, using seatbelts on a coach, planning for toilet stops, dealing with a sick child and walking with large groups of children outside. All of these will be included on the risk assessment.

Always ensure that the off site trip has been agreed with the Headteacher. Over night stays will need to have the approval of the governing board also. Parental consent must also be given by parents and carers for all school trips. Any children who are not permitted on off site trips have to remain in school and adequate cover must be provided in school to ensure that they are looked after.

It will be the job of the Headteacher to ensure that any off site trip is covered by adequate insurance.

There is no legal requirement for staff to pupil ratio on off site trips. However it is important to stay within the guidance of Ofsted. They recommend a ratio of 1 adult to every 15 primary school age children. Often on off site trips, parent helpers and volunteers are encouraged and with this help this ratio is greatly reduced and therefore helps increase the safety of the trip.

When the trip is taking place, ensure that a fully stocked first aid kit is taken. At Barnham Primary a First Aid ‘bum-bag’ is provided and carried on all trips.

A current and up to date list of all children and their emergency contacts and any medical issues is also taken on every trip. This must be taken in case of any injury, accident or illness so parents and carers can be contacted quickly. Section 4:Research, evaluate and explain ways in which concerns about poor practice can be reported, including protective measures for whistle blowers and those whose practice or behaviour is being questioned.

At every school or setting there should be policies and procedures for everyone to follow on ‘whistle-blowing’. A whistle blower can be defined as a person who tells the public or someone in authority about an alleged incident or illegal activity.

Whistle-blowing policies and procedures are in place to provide some level of protection for the person in the work place who raises the concern. They aim to protect the person from victimisation or any form of other punishment when they have only raised their genuine concerns. Once a whistle-blower has raised their concerns and from that do suffer from Victimisation, then that person maybe able to take their case further and go to an Employment Tribunal. However this is only in more serious cases.

At Barnham Primary school if there are any concerns about an alleged incident, misconduct or malpractice then it should in he first instance, it should be reported to the person’s line manager or supervisor. It is important to remember that anything reported under these circumstances will be treated with confidentiality.

To be protected as a whistle-blower they need to make a ‘qualifying disclosure’ about an alleged incident, misconduct or malpractice. For example this could be;

Criminal offences
Failure to comply with a legal obligation
Miscarriages of justice
Threats to an individual’s health and safety
Damage to the environment
A deliberate attempt to cover up any of the above.

A qualifying whistle-blower will be protected only if they report their concern to the appropriate person and in the correct way.

If an employee or ‘whistle-blower’ wishes to raise a genuine concern, this is the procedure that must be followed;

Staff need to act in good faith when they suspect any level of misconduct or malpractice.

The ‘whistle-blower’ needs to really think through what their concern and think through why the issue is worrying them and why. It is a serious procedure to follow so it should not be taken lightly.

Their concerns will in the first instance, report their concerns to their line manager or supervisor. This could be a teacher, senior teacher, head of year or Headteacher. It is important to pick a time of day where time can be given to discuss the issue, so it is a good idea to chose a time carefully.  Before talking to a senior member of staff, the ‘whistle-blower’ should take the time to write their concerns down. Ti could for example include a detailed report or diary of events. It should include as much detail as possible, for example;

background details
history
names
dates and times
witnesses
places and locations.

If the concerns raised are deemed as genuine and there is cause for concern, then an investigation into the alleged incident will begin.  During an investigation period, both the ‘whistle-blower’ and the ‘accused’ will be continually supported and informed of the any progress that has been made. The investigation, depending on its level of severity may be carried out by a senior member of staff or someone from the local authority.

A Barnham Primary, the SDP (Senior Designated Person) and the Headteacher will be the main contacts to go to if any allegations against a staff member are made.  A time-scale should always be put in place and shard with both the ‘whistle-blower’ and the ‘accused’ should have a full understanding of how long the process will be.  During the time of the investigation, both parties should be offered support and opportunity to discuss confidentiality any issues that may have arisen since the incident was disclosed and the investigation began.

This would be time for either party to discuss if they have been treated any differently or unfairly since it began. It is also important to make both parties aware that they have the right to be accompanied at any interview by a trade union representative or work colleague. As well as the whistle-blower being able to give their version of events, it is only fair that the ‘accused’ can also defend any complaints and give a detailed version of their version of events.

Under the Data Protection Act, all information given by both parties involved must be kept confidentially and the investigation must be reflect this and be carried out discreetly.  If a whistle-blower feels as if nothing happens about their concerns then they have the right to contact further services for help. This could be the local school authority of Ofsted.  If the ‘accused’ is found ‘guilty’ of the misconduct, incident or malpractice, plans would need to be put in place.

In some more serious case the person maybe dismissed from their job, but in other cases support maybe put in place to ‘improve’ areas of concern. For example, this could be retraining in the area of concern or providing more support in their job role. On the other hand if there is no substance to the allegation, support will also need to be given. This maybe dealing with the emotional stress of being accused of something they did not do, being socially excluded again for something they didn’t do.

It may be necessary to offer counselling or mediation between the whistle-blower and the accused to try and re-build the working relationship after the investigation has finished. As serious as this process is, it is very important that whistle-blowers are protected. To be able to provide a safe, healthy environment for education, any malpractice, incidents or misconduct must be taken seriously and people must feel the need to speak out and raise their concerns.


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