Child Protection Policy

Overall Statement

The key guidance for child protection is Working together to safeguard children (Department for Education, 2018). This states:

  • everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe
  • everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play in sharing information and identifying concerns.

As a venue dedicated to children, the safety and protection of children is paramount. Our Board of Trustees and all staff employed by Polka Theatre have a duty of care to children and young people who visit our theatre and attend our activities. We recognise our commitment to safeguard and promote children’s welfare and follow a policy of best practice that protects them. This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers and the board of trustees, paid staff, freelancers, volunteers, students and anyone else working on behalf of Polka.

The purpose of this policy is:

  • to provide protection for the children and young people who visit our theatre and take part in our activities
  • to provide staff and third parties who support our work (whether as actors, directors or otherwise) with a set of principles to adopt to protect children and to provide guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.

Polka recognises that:

  • the welfare of the child/young person is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989
  • all children and young people, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religious belief, sex, sexual orientation or identity have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
  • some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their levels of dependency, communication needs or other issues
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare

We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

  • valuing them, listening to and respecting them
  • appointing a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) for children and young people, a deputy and lead board member for safeguarding
  • adopting child protection and safeguarding practices through procedures and a code of conduct for all staff and volunteers
  • developing and implementing an effective e-safety policy and related procedures
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures
  • safe recruitment of staff and volunteers, ensuring all necessary checks are made recording and storing information professionally and securely, and sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children, their families, staff and volunteers via posters and discussion.
  • using our safeguarding procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately
  • creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
  • ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
  • Ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance.

This document has been drawn up with guidance from the NSPCC and is based on the laws that seek to protect children, namely:

  • Children Act 1989
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015
  • United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991

Michael Bradley, Trustee at Polka Theatre has overall responsibility for Child Protection at Polka Theatre. The Head of Creative Learning is the Designated Safeguarding Officer. If you have any concerns or queries about child protection or this policy you should direct them to Polly Simmonds, Head of Creative Learning. polly@polkatheatre.com | 020 8545 8326

This policy should be read alongside our policies and procedures on:

1. Safer recruitment of staff and training
2. Role of the Child Protection Officer
3. Responding to disclosures and concerns about a child or young person both off and on site
4. Reporting Procedure, Whistleblowing and responsibilities
5. Storage of personal information both off and on site
6. Code of conduct for staff and volunteers
7. E-safety
8. Photographic permission and social media
9. Anti-bullying policy
10. General visits to Polka Theatre
11. Take Part Workshops
12. Local authority and key contacts

View Polka’s full Child Protection Policy and Procedures.