Safeguarding Policy

1. Introduction

Weymouth English Centre (“the School”) provides English language courses in Weymouth for children and young people aged between 13 and 17. On exceptional occasions, students aged 12 are also admitted. The courses include accommodation with local homestay hosts and a full programme of activities and excursions.

2. Definitions

“Abuse” is a selfish act of oppression and injustice, exploitation and manipulation of power by those in a position of authority. This can be caused by those inflicting harm or those who fail to act to prevent harm. Abuse is not restricted to any socio-economic group, gender, age or culture. Abuse can take a number of forms, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Bullying
  • Neglect

“Accommodation Agency” is Homestay and Venture Breaks, which organises accommodation for the School's students and teachers and can be contacted on 07802 – 803303.

“Activity Leader” refers to the staff employed by the School to accompany students on the activities and excursions on their programme of activities.

“Child”, “children”, “pupil” or “student” in the context of this policy refers to anyone under the age of 18.

“Child protection” means protecting children and young people from harmful behaviour.

“Child Protection Officer” is the person designated to look after all matters of child protection at the School.

“Group Leader” refers to the leaders accompanying closed groups of students.

“Safeguarding” is an umbrella term which in this context means “looking after”.

“Staff” or “member of staff” refers to anyone who is employed by the School, is contracted by the School or provides a service on behalf of the School.

“The School” refers to Weymouth English Centre and its work, including lessons, accommodation, programme of activities and airport transfers. This policy applies to all children and young people regardless of gender, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

3. Safeguarding Children at all Times

All students attending courses at the School have a right to be protected and safeguarded and the School has a duty of care to protect and safeguard them.

The School aims to maintain a safe and supportive environment for all its students.

All the School's employees and other adults working with the school, including Homestay Hosts, are made aware of their responsibilities under this policy.

4. Associated policies

The School has risk assessments relating to the provision of its services and these risk assessments form part of the School's Safeguarding Policy. The risk assessments are available to all employees, students, their parents and all other interested parties.

5. Policy Review

The School will review this Safeguarding Policy annually as well as in accordance with any changes in legislation or general guidance. The annual review will also take into account the effectiveness of the School's procedures based on any issues experienced during the preceding period. In addition, feedback about changes and improvements will be obtained from all members of staff at the end of each season.

6. Roles and Responsibilities

Students, whether booked as part of a group or attending as individuals, should look out for one another and inform a member of staff if they become aware that a fellow student has a problem which could affect their safety or wellbeing.

Members of staff, including group leaders and Homestay Hosts, should inform the School's Child Protection Officer if they become aware that any student or students are in danger of being harmed.

The Child Protection Officer is responsible for dealing with any issues which may arise under this Safeguarding Policy. The Child Protection Officer is Christopher Hills. Outside regular school hours he can be reached via a 24-hour emergency number which is made available to all staff, students and Homestay Hosts.

Group Leaders are responsible for the wellbeing of the students in their groups. Their mobile telephone numbers are provided to their students, their students' Homestay Hosts and the School's staff. The full duties and responsibilities of the Group Leaders are detailed in the Group Leaders' Manual.

7. Code of Conduct

The School needs to protect both students and adults from any behaviour or actions which might be misunderstood. The code of conduct aims to create a safe culture within the School and build trust between students and adults.

7.1 Standards

All adults must:

  • be excellent role models
  • contribute to discussions about safeguarding
  • positively involve people in developing safe practices
  • consider the wellbeing of all students in all they do
  • use appropriate language

7.2 Adult - Student Interaction

When interacting with students, all adults should be positive and use praise whenever possible rather than negative language. They should be fair and deal evenly with students. They should use appropriate behaviour and language.

Physical contact of any kind between adults and students is not acceptable except under some special and exceptional circumstances (for example when comforting a student under distress, but then only for a short time and in an appropriate manner, such as putting an arm round the student's shoulder. This should be for a short time only and a fellow member of staff should be informed at the earliest opportunity).

Physical contact during sports activities should be kept to an absolute minimum.

There should be no physical contact in the classrooms.

In the event of a fight, physical intervention might be necessary to break up the fight, though this should only be used as a last result.

Adults must respect the privacy of the students, especially in areas such as changing rooms at the sports hall or swimming pool. If a member of staff is needed to go into changing rooms, it must always be a member of the appropriate gender.

Adults should avoid getting into situations which might be misconstrued or misunderstood. Where such a situation might arise, for example a female student alone in a room with a male teacher, the adult concerned should notify another member of staff as soon as possible, explaining what is happening and asking for a female member of staff to join him. It is very important to avoid situations where there are no witnesses to confirm events at a later date: always try to have someone with you when potentially difficult situations arise. Failing this, try to get someone to join you as soon as possible. If this is not possible, move to a more public area where you are not alone with the student.

7.3 Appropriate Appearance

An adult's appearance has an effect on many students and it is difficult for some students to respect an adult or his or her role if he or she does not dress appropriately.

Activity Leaders, teachers on Activity Leader duties, the Centre Manager, Course Coordinator and Activities Manager should wear the School's T-shirts and fleeces whenever on duty.

Clean and tidy clothes and general appearance are important.

Bad breath or body odour can have a very negative effect on other people and must be avoided.

7.4 Alcohol, drugs and smoking

Adults have an extremely serious responsibility regarding alcohol, drugs and smoking when working with students since, for many students, they will be role models.

Staff should never drink alcohol while on duty. Even when not on duty, members of staff continue to be role models and reflect the standards of the School in public. Excessive comsumption of alcohol or bad behaviour in public places is not acceptable and may lead to a disciplinary procedure.

Staff must never smoke in front of the students.

The possession or use of any illegal substances is not permitted and would lead to an immediate dismissal.


7.5 IT and Social Networks

Students should only have access to the internet where proper and full child protection has been installed on the pc or network that they are going to be using. This includes internet access at Homestay Hosts.

The college wireless network has such child protection software installed.

Students are provided with the email addresses of their Homestay Hosts before they come to Weymouth in order that they communicate with their Homestay Hosts where the relevant Homestay Host has agreed to this in advance. Such Homestay Hosts should keep any email exchanges with their students to relevant content.

With the exception of the above, adults should not give students their email addresses and they should not ask students for their email addresses.


7.6 Accommodation

Homestay Hosts must respect the students' right to privacy, especially in the environment of the bathroom and bedroom.

Any bathroom(s) used by students must be lockable on the insde.

To avoid any misunderstanding, all members of Homestay Hosts are advised not to enter a student's bedroom before first knocking on the door.


7.7 Transport

All taxi, minibus and coach companies that provide transport for the School must supply written confirmation that they will only use drivers who have been properly DBS checked.

Teachers, Activity Leaders and other direct employees of the School should not use their own vehicles to transport students.

Homestay Hosts who are unable to collect students from the arrival point or return them to the departure point may use another adult family member or person they trust to collect the student. If the student cannot be brought straight to the Homestay Hosts then the Accommodation Agency must first be informed. The student must be with a trusted adult at all times.


8. Child Protection

Please refer to the School's separate “Child Protection Policy” and “Child Protection Guidelines”.


9. Training

9.1 Responsibility

The Child Protection Officer is responsible for ensuring that all members of staff have appropriate training.

All members of staff need to have Level 1 training. This is supported with further training during the staff induction sessions.

All designated persons need to have Level 2 Safeguarding training. A senior designated person needs to have Level 3 training.


9.2 How Training is Delivered

All adults working with the School will receive Level 1 Safeguarding training via an online training course. This is supported by further training, including a refresher course for those returning, in person at the induction sessions at the School at the start of each season.

Level 2 training will be provided via online or face to face training with an accredited provider.


10. Recruitment

10.1 Overview

The School is committed to a policy of safe recruitment and ensures this by:

  • obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on all employees
  • obtaining DBS checks on the main care giver for all Homestay Hosts
  • obtaining a Declaration of Suitability to Work With Children and Young People from the main Homestay Host in which the main care giver also takes responsibility for all other adults in the home as well as any visiting adults
  • obtaining police checks from all applicants from outside the UK
  • obtaining police checks from all group leaders from outside the UK
  • obtaining full and detailed C.V..s from all persons applying to work with the School
  • asking applicants to explain any gaps in their C.V.s.
  • informing all applicants that a DBS check is required before they can work for the School
  • obtaining two references from two professional people who have worked recently with each applicant, normally for the previous two positions that they have held, and following these up with telephone calls to the referees where there is any doubt about the suitability of the applicant


10.2 Recruitment Materials

The School's recruitment materials refer to the requirements that

  • all applicants provide a full C.V.
  • any gaps in a C.V. will need to be explained
  • details of two recent, professional referees are required
  • references may be followed up and referees contacted
  • an enhanced DBS check is required before an applicant can work at the School
  • applicants living abroad must obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct

The School's Accommodation Agency's recruitment materials refer to the requirements that

  • the main care giver must get an enhanced DBS check
  • the main carer giver must sign a Declaration of Suitability to Work With Children and Young People and take responsibility for all other adults in the Homestay Host's home as well as any visiting adults


10.3 Recruitment Stages

The School's commitment to safeguarding is made clear to all applicants.

Applicants are asked various questions concerning working with children and young people.

All applications are interviewed by two appointed members of staff and each interview is carried out independently.


10.4 Information Provided to Applicants

Applicants are informed about the School's commitment to safeguarding under 18s. Applicants who are subsequently offered jobs at the School are supplied with copies of the School's Safeguarding Policy, Child Protection Policy and Child Protection Guidance.


11. Welfare and Implementing Safeguarding

11.1 Risk Assessments

Risk assessments are carried out on all aspects of the School's work and these take into account the age of the students. The risk assessments are available for all members of staff, students, Homestay Hosts and others to see. The importance of risk assessments and how to use them forms part of the training in the School's induction sessions for new and returning staff.

The School's risk assessments include any notes that need to be relayed to the students via the School's staff.

The risk assessments are reviewed regularly. Activity Notes are given to each Activity Leader about each activity they go on and the School asks for their feedback about any additions or changes that they feel should be made to the risk assessments.


11.2 Supervision Ratios

Unless a risk assessment stipulates that a higher number of staff are required, the School has a ratio of a maximum of 20 students to each member of staff with a minimum of two members of staff on each activity. Group leaders bringing closed groups are responsible only for the members of their groups.


11.3 Missing Students

11.3.1 School

A register is taken at the start of each School day. If a student is not present and has not already been reported as sick, the absence is reported to the student's Group Leader if he or she is part of a group or to the School's administrative staff if he or she is not part of a group.

The School's administrative staff call the student's Homestay Host' to find out where he or she is. If this is not successful, the administrative staff call the student's mobile phone to ask the same information.

If there is no response, they speak to any other students who are staying with the same host family to establish when and where the student was last seen and to gather any other relevant information as to where the student might be.

If this does not produce any results, the administrative staff call all of the mobile and work phone numbers the School holds for each adult member of the Homestay Host living at home.

If the student still cannot be located, the Centre Manager must be informed. The Centre Manager will decide at which point to report the matter to the police.


11.3.2 Weekday Afternoon Activities

The School holds a list of all the students booked onto each of the activities. Students' names are checked off this list by an Activity Leader responsible for each activity. Any students who arrive after the group has left for the activity are collected by a member of staff who accompanies them to a classroom where they spend the afternoon.

If a student is missing, the Activity Leader reports this to the School's administrative staff, who call the student's mobile phone to establish his or her whereabouts.

Students make their own way back to their Homestay Hosts after the afternoon activities. There is usually a small amount of free time between the afternoon activity and the evening meal with the Homestay Hosts. Students have contact numbers for their Homestay Hosts, their Group Leaders and the School's emergency number in case they have any problems. Students are asked to return home for the evening meal at the time stipulated by the Homestay Hosts. Homestay Hosts will make arrangements as appropriate according to the individual circumstances.


11.3.3 Evening Activities

Activity Leaders check off the names of the students when they arrive for each activity. If any students have not arrived after a specified amount of time, the Activity Leaders report the missing student to his or her group leader if they are part of a group. If the student or students are not part of a group, the Activity Leader calls the student's Homestay Host and then, if necessary, the student's mobile phone to establish their whereabouts. The Activity Leader will also speak to any other students present who are staying with the same Homestay Host.

If none of this is successful then the Activity Leader will report the missing student to the member of staff holding the emergency phone, and this person continues to call all relevant telephone numbers until they have established where the student is.


11.3.4 Excursions

All students on excursions with the School are provided with a card which lists the mobile telephone numbers of the Activity Leaders on that trip as well as the School's 24-hour emergency number. They are told that in the event that they get lost or detached from the group, they are to remain where they are and call one of the numbers on the card. The Activity Leaders will then establish where they are and come and get them.


11.3.5 Airport Transfers

All students travelling to or from England are provided with an emergency contact number for use on the days of their transfers.

Students returning home are provided with a card with the mobile telephone numbers of the Activity Leaders accompanying them to the airport and/or the School's 24-hour emergency number. All transfers are accompanied by Activity Leaders or are private taxi transfers where the driver accompanies the student to and from the airport terminals.


11.3.6 Students Returning to their Homestay Hosts After Activities

If a student has not returned to the Homestay Host by an hour after the expected time during the day, or by 22:30 in the evening, the Homestay Hosts are asked to notify the student's group leader if he or she is part of a group, and a member of staff if he or she is not part of a group.

If the student is not part of a group and this is after an afternoon activity, an Activity Leader on the evening activity will be notified. If it is after the evening activity, the School will ask whether any other students staying with the family are home and know where the missing student is. The member of staff on duty will then call the student's mobile phone to try to find out where he or she is. If this is not successful, he/she will report back to the Homestay Hosts and ask them to let him or her know as soon as the student has come home. He or she will also ask the family about the student's previous punctuality in the evenings.

If the student has not returned home by 23:00, the member of staff on duty will call an Activity Leader who was responsible for the activity.

If the student has still not returned home by 23:30, the member of staff on duty will decide whether the police should be notified at that time or later, based on (a) the age of the missing person, (b) the time the student had previously been coming home and (c) any other information the member of staff has been able to gather.

If the missing student is part of a group and the group leader is not able to establish the whereabouts of the student, the group leader will call the WEC member of staff on duty and ask for assistance, in which case the procedures described above will be followed.


11.3.7 Unsupervised Periods

There are supervised activities each afternoon, on four weekday evenings and a full-day trip on Saturdays.

One evening each week is normally scheduled as a family evening when the students stay with their Homestay Hosts. The Homestay Hosts are responsible for the students during this time.

Sundays are normally free days to spend with the Homestay Hosts or friends. During this time the Homestay Hosts are responsible for the students while they are at home. Students are permitted to go out with their friends but are not allowed to leave Weymouth or Portland. Homestay Hosts should ask their students where they will be and when they will be returning home. If they are not home soon after the expected time, Homestay Hosts should inform a member of staff.


11.4 Welfare Provision

The Centre Manager holds overall responsibility for ensuring that the School looks after the wellbeing of all its students.

The Course Coordinator and the Centre Manager are contact persons for Homestay Hosts, students and members of staff who are concerned about any aspect of student welfare.

Activity Leaders are responsbile for the welfare of students on all the activities.

Teachers are responsbile for the welfare of students during lesson times.

Activity Leaders are on duty inside the School and in the grass areas outside during lesson and lunchtime breaks.

Homestay Hosts are responsible for the welfare of the students whilst they are at home. They are also responsible for providing all meals to their students as well as ensuring that the students have clothes appropriate to the weather conditions and planned activities or reporting to a member of the School's staff should the student not have appropriate clothing available.

During their induction session on their first school day, all students are given details of the members of staff who are available to answer questions or deal with problems. These members of staff are also listed on a noticeboard at the school displaying all the members of staff and their roles.

All students have ID-cards with contact numbers for the School, including a 24-hour emergency number.

Contact numbers are also shown on each student's individual programme, a copy of which is provided to each student's host family.

The emergency mobile telephone is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be called about any problems.


11.5 Fire Safety

The School uses premises at Weymouth College, which complies with all fire regulations. A fire drill is carried out once per week in each week when new students are present.

All Homestay Hosts have carried out risk assessments on their homes and the Accommodation Officer holds copies of these.

All Homestay Hosts have fitted smoke alarms in their homes.

All Homestay Hosts with gas appliances hold a valid landlord / home owner's gas safety certificate.


11.6 First Aid & Medical

All non-EU students are required to arrange health insurance before coming to England.

In the case of a student requiring medical or dental treatment whilst at a Homestay Host, the Homestay Hosts will arrange an appointment with their GP or dentist. In case of emergency while a student is with the Homestay Host, the Homestay Host will call for an ambulance and inform the student's group leader if the student is part of a group, or the School via the School's 24-hour emergency number in the case of an individual student.

In the event of a student from a group requiring medical attention whilst not with the Homestay Host, the group leader will take the student to the local clinic or hospital. The School will arrange to take the student to the clinic or hospital if the student is not part of a group.

In any event the School must be contacted before any medicine or treatment is given as the School must first check that permission has been given by the student's parents or guardians.

First Aid staff are present on activities. The Activity Leaders carry mobile phones and are able to call an ambulance in the case of emergencies.


11.7 Behaviour and Discipline

The School has rules to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its students and each student is informed about these during the induction session on their first School day. These rules include:

  • Students must return to their Homestay Hosts by 22:00. If this rule is broken, a member of staff will speak to the student and warn him or her that there will be a penalty if it happens again. If the student is late a second time, the School will contact the student's parents or agent and inform them that the School is not able to accept responsibility for the student if he or she continues to return home late and that he or she will be sent home.
  • Students are guests in private homes and must abide by the rules of the Homestay Host. They must ask their Homestay Hosts before taking other students back to their homes. Students should not use their Homestay Host's telephones to make calls. If any of these rules is broken, a member of staff will speak to the student and make them aware that any further breaches might result in the Homestay Host asking them to leave, in which case the students' parents will have to pay for substitute accommodation.
  • It is illegal for students to drink or buy alcohol. It is illegal for students to have knives or other weapons. Drugs or other banned substances are not permitted. If any of these rules is broken, the student will be sent home.
  • Students must be at School and ready to start classes by 09:00. If a student is late three times, he or she is given extra homework. If he or she is late again, the student's parents are informed.
  • It is not permitted for any students to smoke. If a student is found to have broken this rule, he or she will be given a warning. If the warning is ignored, the parents will be contacted and informed that the student will be sent home if found smoking again.
  • The School will not tolerate bullying or physical violence of any kind. If a student is involved in such activity the Child Protection Officer will investigate the incident and decide on any action to be taken, which can include reporting the incident to the police or sending the student home. The student's parents will always be informed.


11.8 Airport Transfers

Students are advised to book a flight to and from Heathrow Airport, where the School will have staff to assist them.

For any students who are unable to get a flight to and from Heathrow the School arranges taxi transfers.

Where parents bring their children to Weymouth, they are responsible for delivering them safely to the Homestay Host.

Students flying to Heathrow Airport are advised of the times the School's Transfer Leaders are at the airport. An adequate number of Leaders are arranged to meet all the students due to arrive at different terminals and times. The Transfer Leaders meet the students when they enter the arrivals lounge immediately after the customs control. The Leaders are easily recognisable by their blue T-shirts with the School's logo and the poster which they hold showing the School's name and logo.

In the information sent to the students in advance, students are instructed to ask to see their names on the Leader's list of students before they go anywhere with the Leader. They are instructed not to go with anyone who cannot show them the School's list with their name on it.

Students are provided with a contact number for the Leaders at the airport. The Leaders also have a list of students' mobile numbers.

The Transfer Leaders stay with the students until they board the coach or minibus and a Leader accompanies the students to a central meeting place in Weymouth where the students meet their Homestay Hosts.

At the central meeting point the Homestay Hosts each have a sign with their name. This helps the leaders ensure that the correct students go with the correct Homestay Hosts. Students are told not to go with anyone until they have found their Homestay Hosts. Their Homestay Hosts then ensure that their names are checked off the Accommodation Officer's list.

Individual students booked on taxi transfers are met on arrival as above by a taxi driver who holds a poster with the student's name. The taxi driver takes the student directly to the host family.

For return journeys the Homestay Hosts bring their students to the School where Transfer Leaders are waiting for them. The Leaders check that the students have their flight tickets with them. They then accompany them on the coach or minibus to the airport, help the students check in, wait with them until they have gone through the security gate and then wait at the airport until the flight has departed. If the flight is cancelled and the students are brought back to the terminal, the Leaders meet the students and ensure that they are looked after until they are able to leave. If the students have to spend the night at the airport, a Leader will liase with the airline to ensure that suitable accommodation is arranged, inform the students' parents of the situation. He or she will stay with the students, help check them in, and again wait at the airport until the flight has departed.

Students on private taxi transfers are collected from their Homestay Hosts by taxi, taken to the airport, where the driver helps them check in and waits at the airport until the flight has departed.