7. The Designated Teacher for the Junior School and Early Years Foundation Stage is Mrs Monica McCarthy (Deputy Head of the Junior School) who may be contacted on 020 8862 2056. The Deputy Designated Teacher for the Junior School and Early Years Foundation Stage is Mr Robert Simmons (Headmaster of the Junior School) who may be contacted on 020 8862 2054. The Designated Teacher for the Senior School is Mr Stephen Oliver (Deputy Head of the Senior School) who may be contacted on 020 8862 2012. The Deputy Designated Teacher for the Senior School is Miss Fiona MacTaggart (Director of Upper and Middle Schools) who may be contacted on 020 8862 2021 They will (for each respective school/department):How very curious. We finally have the names of the designated teachers and their deputies, along with contact details, for both the Junior and Senior Schools. But then we follow on with a new list of responsibilities.
Hang on a moment, weren't the responsibilities of the Designated Teacher listed in the previous paragraph?
Ah, I remember now, those were just the "main responsibilities", which turned out not to involve much in the way of an obligation to carry out any action at all. These new ones must be just mere "responsibilities".
One gets the overwhelming impression of a document rather thrown together in a hurry in order to satisfy an inspection requirement that there be a sheaf of papers somewhere with the words "Child Protection Policy" on the title page, but which nobody at the school has any serious intention of using.
Anyway, let's have a look at these new responsibilities:
Advise whom? Act in what way? Unless that is defined, they are free to do whatever they like. In essence, this commits them to nothing specific. This is becoming tiresomely familiar.
- advise and act upon all suspicion, belief and evidence of abuse reported to him / her;
The Headmaster as a result is able to advise the Designated Teacher that the case he has been informed of doesn't form "proper circumstances" (as stated in paragraph 5) for a referral to an outside agency. Since "proper circumstances" are still undefined, there is complete discretion as to what they are, and there is nothing preventing the headteacher from advising the Designated Teacher accordingly. Remember, according to paragraph 3 "the Headmaster and Deputy Heads have very important roles in being available to all members of the community to offer advice" and I suspect they might consider this a most appropriate occasion for them to do so.
- keep the Headmaster informed of all actions unless the Headmaster is the subject of a complaint. In this situation, the Designated Teacher should consult with Abbot Martin Shipperlee, Chair of Governors or in his absence, Dom Francis Rossiter, the Prior;
The Abbot and Prior are are good friends of the Headmaster. A problem with the Headmaster would reflect very badly on them, since they appointed him. So they will also be able to "consult" with the Designated Teacher and advise that these are not "proper circumstances" for an outside referral.
It gets even more surreal in the case of the Deputy Designated Teacher for the Junior School. He can inform himself of his actions (as he is also the Junior School Headmaster), and advise himself as to whether there are "proper circumstances" for an outside referral.
There's absolutely nothing in the policy that would prevent any of this from happening. They could do precisely as I have described, and still comply perfectly with the letter of this document. That is how utterly useless it is, and how it is that all these caveats provide the school with an excuse to do nothing.
Let's move on.
Well, we've already been told in paragraph 6 that they will be liaising with the SSD and other professionals. There's no need for a duplication.
- liaise with the SSD and other agencies on behalf of the School.
Except for one interesting point. Here, the Designated Teachers are doing their liaison "on behalf of the School". But all the duties described in paragraph 6 are supposed to be carried out for the protection of the child. The Designated Teacher, if his/her role involves representing the the school as well as protecting children, has a clear conflict of interest, in that bringing to light a case of harm to a child might cause harm to the reputation of the school.
In matters of child protection, conflicts of interest built into procedures are totally unacceptable.