Safety is paramount at Tutor Hunt. We take safeguarding very seriously and are always committed to the highest standard of safety and wellbeing of children. Safeguarding children and adults at risk requires everyone to be fully committed to the highest possible standards of openness, integrity, and accountability.
Anyone working with children must keep in mind that they are engaged with a vulnerable group, who may be susceptible to a range of mistreatments, both physical and emotional. The welfare of children must be the top priority for any teacher or tutor, and they are bound by law to report any signs that a child is suffering from abuse, whether that abuse has taken place during lesson time, or outside it.
The purpose of this safeguarding procedure is to enable tutors and teachers to protect any children who come under their care and tutelage - to instruct and empower them to work to their best ability, while ensuring the children in their care remain safe.
Tutor Hunt is duty bound to ensure that all our tutors can work with children in a professional, competent, and safe manner. Along with our responsibility as an educational organisation, there is a concomitant responsibility for the tutors who work with us to conduct themselves in a professional and considerate manner.
Tutors must familiarise themselves with the procedures they are mandated to follow should they learn, or suspect, that a child is being abused or mistreated in any way. In the event of such a situation the tutor must contact the Designated Safeguarding Officer at Tutor Hunt. It is the safeguarding officer's role to gather as much relevant information as they can, so they can decide how best to proceed. As a tutor you have a legal obligation to pass on any pertinent information to our safeguarding officer.
Duties for Tutors using Tutor Hunt
Along with abiding by our terms of service, any tutor booking lessons with children through Tutor Hunt must ensure they create and maintain a safe and secure environment for their pupils. The following points will outline the responsibilities for tutors working with children - tutors must ensure they:
- Treat all their students with civility, and without prejudice. Whatever the race, gender, or sexuality of the student, the tutor must ensure their pupil is not made to feel discriminated against.
- Employ appropriate language with their student, and do not utter any discriminatory or offensive terms.
- Do not stray from a teacher-student relationship, and refrain from sending any inappropriate communications to the pupil.
- Be sensitive in their judgement of their student's work, and value the effort they have put into it.
- If the pupil is under the age of 18 their parent or guardian should be present at all times during the lessons
- Treat any pupils with a disability appropriately and with consideration.
- Create and maintain a suitable tutoring environment, containing no inappropriate images or documents.
- All tutors must not send unsolicited communications to the student.
Additional Duties for Tutors Having Online Lessons
All online lessons will be recorded, and Tutor Hunt will review any lessons where a report has been made regarding the tutors conduct. Tutor Hunt will liaise with our Safeguarding officer if the welfare of a child is a concern. Tutor Hunt will also provide access to police of any recorded lessons where it is deemed a criminal offence may have taken place. The following points will outline the responsibilities for tutors working online with children - tutors must ensure they:
- All tutors must ensure that the environment does not display any inappropriate images or video during any online lesson.
- All tutors must arrive on time for their online lesson
- All tutors must ensure that if no parent/responsible adult is present during an online Lesson session, they should check that the student is comfortable to continue the session. If they are not comfortable, they can terminate the session.
- Please be aware that the sessions are recorded, they are available for review by a student and Tutor Hunt will review recording for safeguarding concerns and/or randomly to ensure that the expected lesson quality is met.
- All tutors must not send unsolicited communications to the student.
Designated Safeguarding Officer
Tutor Hunt has its own Designated Safeguarding Officer, who acts as the first point of contact for any tutor or member of staff who suspects a child is being abused or mistreated in some way. The safeguarding officer holds an authoritative position, has undertaken the necessary training, and has been thoroughly appraised as to the procedures to follow should they be contacted by anyone concerned about the wellbeing of a child.
Since they will be the primary recipient of any reports, it is their task to record any details they receive. The report they write must be clear and well organised, containing all the information relayed to them. They will then make a decision on how best to proceed.Designated Safeguarding Officer of Tutor Hunt:
Asma (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Asma can also be reached by phone on 0203 151 0012
Should the Designated Safeguarding Officer be temporarily unavailable, please email: email@example.com
Definition of bullying or abuse
Bullying can be defined as action undertaken by an individual or group, to deliberately cause suffering to another individual or group. The injurious action can be physical or emotional, and usually takes place over a protracted period of time, often weeks or months, or even across many years.
The victim may be marked out because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, their intelligence, or their special educational needs or disabilities.
Bullying can take place almost anywhere - in the classroom, the playground, or on the way to and from school. The primary form of the abuse may be physical, consisting of violent assaults, along with theft or destruction of the victim's property. Another mode of bullying may be verbal, the perpetrators spreading slanderous lies about the victim, or giving them derisive names.
Another form of bullying is to ostracise a child, to exclude them from group activities. You should be attentive to a child who is repeatedly left out of games, and is left to play by themselves. A bullied child may voluntarily shun the company of others, choosing to spend as much time as possible by themselves.
Online bullying is another form of intimidation. Our technological age unfortunately means that bullies can continue to persecute their victim long after they have left school grounds. Even in the 'safety' of their own home, children can be intimidated on social media, their computer or phone offering endless opportunity for subjugation and belittlement.
Such 'cyberbullying' can take the form of posting cruel messages, or sharing embarrassing photos and videos. Cyberbullying can be hard to spot, as teachers and tutors naturally wont have access to their pupils' social media accounts, but attention should be paid to pupils who seem distressed whenever they check their phone or computer.
Almost all children engage in boisterous, energetic activity with their peers, enjoying games that to an onlooker might at times observe to be excessively rough. It may at times be hard to distinguish bullying from these normal forms of play. Along with this the victim of bullying, as much as the perpetrators, may go to great lengths to keep the abuse hidden from teachers and parents, making the maltreatment difficult to spot.
Procedures to follow if you suspect a child is at risk
In the case that you have discerned signs a child has been bullied or abused, or if a safeguarding allegation is brought to your attention, you are bound by law to take the appropriate steps. The most important thing is to treat the matter seriously, you should not dismiss the matter. You must contact the Tutor Hunt Safeguarding officer, who will take the appropriate action.
However you contact the safeguarding officer, be it over the phone or via email, they will ask you to relay the information you have regarding the case. They will then follow the procedure for contacting the local authority's Social Services Department - or they may decide to contact the local Police Child Protection Unit. Both these departments are specially equipped with trained personnel, who deal with cases of child abuse. Tutor Hunt will then work with these departments, supplying them with any further information they might need in their investigations. Tutor Hunt will not at any point undertake independent inquiries in the case of a safeguarding allegation. Once the matter is brought to the attention of our safeguarding officer, they will notify social services and/or the Police Child Protection Unit.
If a child makes a declaration to a tutor that they have been the victim of abuse, or that they have information relating to the abuse of another child, it is of paramount importance that the tutor engenders an atmosphere where the child feels comfortable and able express themselves. They may have a great urge to tell an adult what they know, but this impetus may be opposed by a fear that they might be in some kind of trouble. The tutor should make it clear that the child can talk to them, and they will be completely supportive.
In such situations the child will often attempt to make the adult promise not to tell anyone what they will disclose to them. If this assurance is requested the tutor must be honest with the child. The tutor should be clear with the child, and not promise to keep their disclosures a secret in the hope of acquiring a confession. If the child then refuses to impart any information they should not be forced to do so. Their decision should be respected, but the tutor must still report the incident to the Tutor Hunt Safeguarding Officer.
The tutor must ensure that the child is not in immediate danger. If the tutor for example learns that the child is being abused by an adult who will shortly be coming to collect them, perhaps at the termination of the lesson, they must take appropriate action. In this case they should call the police immediately, who will make sure the child is not returned into the care of a possible abuser. In such a case as this the Designated Safeguarding Officer of Tutor Hunt should also be informed after.
When dealing with a safeguarding officer or police child protection unit, take care to communicate to them all the information the child has disclosed to you. As much as possible try to use the same words and phrases the child used. Though this may seem unimportant, to trained professionals working in the field of child protection, the precise wording can be extremely significant. Tutor Hunt will keep a record of the report, and will strictly adhere with GDPR guidelines.
There may of course be situations where you suspect the child is being abused, but they have not disclosed this information to you. Aside from the obvious signs of injury, such as bruises and cuts, you should also be attentive to sudden alterations in character. Has your pupil changed from a bubbly, exuberant child, into someone sullen and watchful? Are they showing signs that they do not want to return home, or that they may be afraid of someone? An abused child may change the way they dress, choosing to wear baggy, formless clothes instead of their usual attire.
In the case that you suspect abuse without the child having made any disclosures, you should not question the pupil in attempt to get them to reveal any information. Though you may think the right course of action would be to investigate the matter yourself, and attempt to get the child to open up to you, the correct procedure is to notify Tutor Hunt's Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Protecting confidential information
As a tutor you will be in possession of the names and contact details of a number of children, and will have a legal obligation to keep this information secure and confidential, in accordance with GDPR guidelines. The information must never be shared with anyone at any time, even if you think you would not be breaking any rules by doing so.
It is very likely that you will be dealing with a parent of guardian of your pupil, with whom you will be arranging the schedule of future lessons. By way of example, let us imagine that you were contacted by the other parent of the child, who requests to know what time the next lesson is scheduled for. A natural inclination may be to inform them, perhaps even letting them know the location of the class, as they tell you they have mislaid this information. Unbeknownst to you the parents are legally separated, and you have passed on confidential information to an individual who has no custody or visitation rights.
Any information you acquire in your role as a tutor must be considered confidential - this includes not just contact information (such as phone numbers, residential addresses, the school they attend), but also your pupil's work, and any comments or grades relating to it.
All tutors who work with children and adolescents via Tutor Hunt must agree to comply with our Code of Conduct, which states tutors must:Adhere to all the stipulations of safeguarding as outlined earlier in this document.
Treat all young children and adolescents with dignity and respect.
Do not go beyond a professional relationship with your pupil - if they make friend requests on social media sites you should politely but firmly decline these advances.
Be cognisant that your own social media accounts may be open and accessible to everyone, so be aware that your pupils may be able to view your postings. It is recommended that you modify your security seeings in order to restrict those who can peruse your accounts.
Be circumspect when discussing sensitive topics with young pupils.
If your pupil is under the age of eighteen you must ensure that a parent or guardian provides consent for the tuition to take place.
In addition to these obligations, you must ensure that you do not:
- Search for and befriend your pupils on social media sites.
- Open up any form of communication, either face to face, over the phone or online, that does not pertain to your tuition.
- Make any suggestive, lewd, derogatory or discriminatory remarks in your pupil's presence.
- Attempt to obtain any details about their social media accounts, or extraneous details regarding their social life.
- Openly or surreptitiously take photographs or videos of your pupils, or request that they send you any photographs or videos of themselves.
- Coerce them to engage in any illegal activity.