First Story is committed to safeguarding the welfare of children who come into contact with our staff and we fully recognise our responsibilities for child protection.
We consider the suitability of all staff who work with children as part of their role at First Story. As a matter of policy, First Story conducts enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on all staff and only makes an offer of employment or engagement if the disclosures from such checks are deemed to be satisfactory. A further DBS check is required at least every three years (or more often if we deem it reasonably necessary).
Our safeguarding policy applies to all First Story employees and sets out all staff members’ responsibilities when working or coming into contact with children in the course of their work for First Story — for example, during workshops, events, work experience or placements, or online support via approved platforms. We further provide ‘Good Practice Guidelines’ on what types of behaviour are acceptable and what types of behaviour are inappropriate.
All partner schools’ staff are responsible for supporting their school in protecting children when they take part in First Story activities. In addition, First Story expects its own staff to comply with the safeguarding policy of the school in which they are working and we look to the school to facilitate compliance with that policy. Any events that operate outside of a school, including remote learning/online events, are compliant with First Story’s own policies and secured consent of both schools and parent/guardians.
We believe that all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial or ethnic heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, or any other attribute, have a right to protection from harm or abuse; and that the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.
First Story undertakes to
- treat children with care, respect and dignity;
- ensure that all staff recognise that they may be perceived by children as trusted representatives of First Story;
- identify and assess appropriately any relevant risks of its activities arranged for children;
- investigate fully any concerns raised by staff in connection with the welfare of children who take part in First Story activities; and
- provide suitable levels of support and training to staff consistent with their involvement with children in the workplace.
Through this policy, First Story will ensure that
- we practise safe recruitment by checking the suitability of staff who work with children;
- all staff are able to make informed responses to specific child protection issues;
- all staff are able to report any concerns through the appropriate channels;
- any allegations of harm or abuse or concerns over children’s welfare are taken seriously and responded to promptly and appropriately by reporting them to the liaison teacher and/or another suitable representative of the school; and
- staff work closely with the school in which they are operating to comply with the school’s policies (including by requiring a member of the school staff to be present at all times).
- any events that take place outside of school (including those online) will involve an increased First Story staff presence and make use of additional partner support to ensure the safety of participants is maintained.
We recognise that the welfare of the children and young people who come into contact with our services is paramount and should govern our approach to the use and management of electronic communications technologies. All children have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse. Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, guardians, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare and in helping young people to be responsible in their approach to e-safety. The use of information technology is an essential part of all our lives, given that it is involved in how we as an organisation gather and store information, as well as how we communicate with each other. It is also an intrinsic part of the experience of our children and young people, and is greatly beneficial to all. However, it can present challenges in terms of how we use it responsibly and, if misused either by an adult or a young person, can be actually or potentially harmful to such user
We seek to promote e-safety by
- appointing an e-safety co-ordinator;
- developing a range of procedures that provide clear and specific directions to staff and volunteers on the appropriate use of ICT;
- supporting and encouraging the young people using our service to use the opportunities offered by mobile phone technology and the internet in a way that keeps themselves safe and shows respect for others;
- supporting and encouraging parents, guardians and carers to do what they can to keep their children safe online and when using their mobile phones and game consoles (including issuing our own guidance or that of trusted sources to help them navigate our online provision safely);
- incorporating statements about safe and appropriate ICT use into the codes of conduct both for staff and volunteers and for children and young people;
- using our procedures to deal firmly, fairly and decisively with any examples of inappropriate ICT use, complaints or allegations, whether by an adult or a child/young person;
- informing parents, guardians, carers and teachers of incidents of concern as appropriate;
- reviewing and updating the security of our information systems regularly;
- providing adequate physical security for ICT equipment;
- ensuring that user names, log-ins and passwords are kept confidential and issuing additional guidelines and support as required;
- using only official email accounts provided via the organisation, and monitoring these as necessary;
- ensuring that images of children, young people and families (including video) are used only after their written permission has been obtained, and only for the purpose for which consent has been given;
- providing effective management for staff and volunteers on ICT issues, through supervision, support and training; and
- examining and risk-assessing any emerging new technologies before they are used within the organisation.
We recognise that our young people may be using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms. We appreciate the power of social media to transform education, but we also see potential hazards. We do not currently operate any form of social media group for course communications. If any participants in the First Story programme would like to set up a group of this kind, we would ask that they consult us fully before doing so, as it is vital to ensure that any such group would be run in a safe and secure way (including by carefully monitoring and moderating content) – and also to ensure proper compliance with data-protection and privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In essence, the child protections that apply to the offline environment should be reflected in the way in which any such online social group is run. In particular, a clear acceptable use policy would need to be set from the outset. For example, any adults that are allowed to join the group should:
- not post any personal information;
- not send any form of private message to a student at any point;
- not post images (e.g. videos or photos) of themselves or the students;
- not enter into communication about a young person’s emotional/personal life or problems;
- think carefully about the content and tone of messages and the fact that those can easily be forwarded (unlike a spoken remark);
- ensure that messages are compatible with their work for First Story, and that their messages cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted; and
- always refer any problems to the Designated Safeguarding Lead and to the school.
And if students are invited to join such a group, they should also be required to accept a suitably worded acceptable use policy, including rules that prescribe group-wide communications, writing-focussed discussion and otherwise appropriate messages and posts.
How we manage safeguarding concerns
Last updated September 2022
Please email to request a full version of First Story’s SAFEGUARDING POLICY, GOOD PRACTICE GUIDELINES AND E-SAFETY POLICY as a Word document.