Safeguarding Policy

Online Safety

1 We take online safety seriously 

1.1 PLYTIME is committed to ensuring the highest possible standard of safeguarding and our safeguarding policy and procedures have been created to help provide a safe educational environment for our users.

1.2 All Tutors must provide evidence of a recent enhanced DBS Check  to join the PLYTIME Tutor community. Without this they cannot register or conduct Focus 15™ or Spotlight sessions.

1.3 All communication between Tutors and Students will take place via Tutor-Student Notes (Notes) or online Tutor sessions and personal information must not be exchanged at any time in order to ensure that Student and Tutor details remain private.

1.4 Our terms and conditions do not allow any contact between Tutors and Students outside of the website.

1.5 All sessions are recorded and available for monitoring.

1.6 You can visit the CEOP Safety Centre for information and advice and make a report directly to CEOP.

CEOP helps any child or young person under the age of 18 who is being pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity of any kind.

Safeguarding Policy

1. Introduction

The purpose of this policy statement is:

  • to protect Students and other Users of PLYTIME’s services from harm.
  • to provide staff members, students, parents or guardians, tutors or any other person associated with PLYTIME,  with the overarching principles and specific measures that guide our approach to child protection.
  • to provide staff members, students, parents or guardians, tutors or any other person associated with PLYTIME,  with a framework so they can safely adhere to child safeguarding standards and UK law.

PLYTIME Learning is committed to ensuring the highest possible standard of safeguarding for any Users of the site. The safety and welfare of each Student and Tutor is of paramount importance to PLYTIME Learning.

This policy statement applies to anyone working on behalf of PLYTIME.

2.  Legal framework

2.1 This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in the UK, namely:

  • The Children Act 1989 (as amended)
  • The Children and Social Work Act 2017
  • GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Working together to safeguard children 2018
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020

2.2 This safeguarding policy should be read in conjunction with our Terms and Conditions

3. Core Beliefs

3.1 We believe that:

3.1.1 Children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind;

3.1.2 We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.

3.2 We recognise that:

3.2.1 The welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse

3.2.2 Some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues;

3.2.3 Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

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

3.3.1 valuing, listening to and respecting them;

3.3.2 adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for staff and volunteers

3.3.3 developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related procedures including designing our online classroom with safeguarding front of mind;

3.3.4 providing effective supervision and training for staff members, tutors or any other person associated with PLYTIME  to ensure they know about and follow our policies, procedures and behaviour codes confidently and competently

3.3.5 recruiting and selecting tutors with an enhanced DBS

3.3.6 recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with data protection legislation and guidance

3.3.7 sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children and their families

3.3.8 making sure that children, young people and their families know where to go for help if they have a concern

3.3.9 using our safeguarding and child protection procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving staff members, students, parents or guardians, tutors or any other person associated with PLYTIME, appropriately

3.3.10 using our procedures to manage any allegations or complaints appropriately

3.3.11 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

3.3.12 ensuring that we have effective complaints procedures in place

3.3.13 building a safeguarding culture where staff members, students, parents or guardians, tutors or any other person associated with PLYTIME, treat each other with respect and are comfortable about sharing concerns.

3.3.14 implementing a code of conduct for staff and tutors;

3.4 PLYTIME Specific Safeguards

Alongside adhering to best practice safeguarding measures, PLYTIME will provide additional built-in safeguards compared to many teaching, and organisations working with children:

3.4.1 Tutors never physically meet up with the Students:

3.4.2 our tutoring takes place online with Tutors being based remotely.

3.4.3 Tutors will not initiate first contact with a Student but will be allocated automatically by PLYTIME

3.4.4 Tutors are only provided with the Student’s first name and are not given access to any of the Student’s private information: email, phone/mobile number, social media profile, etc; (All data held by PLYTIME Learning is in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998)

3.4.5 Students will attend online Focus 15™ or Spotlight sessions at the specified day and time and a parent or guardian may also attend these sessions if they wish.  Sessions will be recorded and will be available for review or to be used as part of an investigation for at least 14 days after the session

3.4.6 PLYTIME will allow UK law enforcement access to these recording if any report is made concerning a criminal offence or if PLYTIME deems it necessary

3.4.7 Apart from Focus 15 or Spotlight tutor sessions, the only way Students and Tutors can interact on PLYTIME is through Notes. All parents have full access to Notes and they are also saved and monitored by PLYTIME Staff

3.4.8 All Tutors are known only by their first names and no other personal details will be shared with the Student. The first name of the designated Tutor will be shared with the parent prior to the Focus 15™. 

3.4.9  All Tutors will have an enhanced DBS and will provide a recent photograph as part of their account set up which will be used to cross check with recorded Focus 15™ sessions.

3.4.10 These recordings remain the property of PLYTIME Learning

3.4.11 PLYTIME may review these recordings at any time providing additional monitoring

3.4.12 PLYTIME will allow UK law enforcement access to these recording if any report is made concerning a criminal offence or if PLYTIME deems it necessary

3.4.13 We recognise that these additional safeguards do not mean that PLYTIME can ignore or be complacent about other elements of safeguarding best practice. The rest of this document highlights these other elements of safeguarding best practice.

4. PLYTIME Commitment to best practice safeguarding measures

4.1 Safer Recruitment

4.1.1 We commit to check that every PLYTIME tutor has no criminal record (using an enhanced DBS check), has been interviewed, has referees and is deemed suitable for working with children. All Tutors will provide photo ID which will be checked and approved during the interview and then held on record and may be used during Focus 15’s™ to prove their identity.

4.2 Safer Training

4.2.1 We commit that every PLYTIME Tutor should have an induction including safeguarding training, tailored to people providing online tuition.

4.2.2 The tutor training will include the following learning outcomes:

  • Identify what is meant by safeguarding and child protection
  • Understand the importance of following the tutor rules during a Focus 15™
  • Know how to respond appropriately to concerns about the safety and welfare of children
  • Identify the correct procedures for reporting a concern and know who to report to and how
  • Understand that safeguarding children is the responsibility of all people working in an education setting

4.2.3 We are committed to regular child protection training for all PLYTIME staff and have a regular feedback process to allow for opportunities to reflect on practice. 

4.3 Accessibility of information

4.3.1 We are committed to making our safeguarding information easily accessible to Tutors, Students, parents and staff. We will host our latest safeguarding policies and procedures via the footer on our website (https://plytime.com) 

4.4 Making everyone feel comfortable to raise concerns about safeguarding

4.4.1 We are committed to creating an open and supportive working environment where employees feel able to speak up about any suspected wrongdoing. This is reinforced in staff training.

4.5 Commitment to regularly review safeguarding measures.

4.5.1  We align with government guidance and regulation on safeguarding and child protection. We will also work with third parties such as the NCA CEOP and the NSPCC who work extensively with children and young people and make sure to include their views in their guidance documents such as the checklist we have aligned our safeguarding policy with. Our policies and procedures are checked and updated regularly and will take into account new guidance, regulation or legislation that is coming into force for the new academic year.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

5.1 The Clauses below together with the Safeguarding Procedures set out the roles, responsibilities and recommended procedures which should be followed. It is always the responsibility of the person alerted to the incident to take some action to protect the student or other person. PLYTIME will not be responsible for any non-compliance with the recommended procedure.

6. Tutor Roles and Responsibilities

6.1 The Tutor shall ensure they do not display any inappropriate images that a student is capable of viewing when conducting a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session

6.2 The Tutor shall treat students fairly without discrimination or prejudice. The Tutor will not discriminate against students who are disabled, come from a minority ethnic or cultural group/background

6.3 The Tutor shall use appropriate language that is not offensive or discriminatory

6.4 The Tutor shall ensure that the only contact with their Student is confined to PLYTIME Tutor/Student Notes or their Focus 15™or Spotlight sessions

6.5 The Tutor shall ensure that no improper suggestions or unsolicited communications are made towards any Student

6.6 The Tutor shall ensure that they report any inappropriate behaviour, language or situations that occur during Focus 15™or Spotlight sessions

6.7 The Tutor shall ensure that the student is comfortable continuing the Focus 15™ or Spotlight session if no parent or guardian is present

6.8 The Tutor shall be aware that Focus 15™ and  Spotlight sessions are recorded and any communications through PLYTIME is monitored

6.9 Tutors are solely responsible for any material they post on the Website, including messages sent and all external material used during sessions, and they must not post defamatory, offensive or illegal material.

6.10 Tutors shall not exchange any personal details with Students at any time such as, but not limited to, surname, address, emails, telephone numbers, social media accounts. Similarly Students shall not exchange any personal details with Tutors and if they attempt to do so it is the Tutor’s responsibility to report the incident to PLYTIME as soon as practically possible.

6.11 Tutors are responsible for maintaining a valid Enhanced DBS Check.  DBS checks must have been awarded within 2 years of the date on which a Tutor creates an account on the Website, and within 3 years at any point in time thereafter.

6.12 Tutors are not employees of PLYTIME and are solely responsible for their own actions both on and off the Website

6.13 Tutors must report any Complaint in line with our terms and conditions and our Procedures

7. Student Roles and Responsibilities

7.1 Students may register with PLYTIME Learning, but they will not be able to start using the services provided until they have registered a parent/guardian who is over the age of 18 and can agree to hold the legal relationship with the company.

7.2 The Student shall treat their tutor fairly and with respect

7.3 The Student shall not subject their tutor to abusive behaviour or language

7.4 The Student shall make no effort to engage in unsolicited or inappropriate communications with the tutor outside of the Focus 15™ or Spotlight session

7.5 The Student shall report any inappropriate behaviour or illegal activity by a tutor within a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session

7.6  The Student shall be aware that Focus 15™ and Spotlight sessions are recorded and any communications through PLYTIME is monitored

7.7 Students shall not exchange any personal details with Tutors at any time such as, but not limited to, surname, address, emails, telephone numbers, social media accounts. Similarly Tutors shall not exchange any personal details with Students and if they attempt to do so the Student should report the incident to PLYTIME as soon as practically possible.

7.8 Students must report any Complaint in line with our terms and conditions and our Procedures

8. Parent Roles and Responsibilities

8.1 The parent/guardian shall ensure that the student is fully aware of PLYTIME Learning’s Safeguarding Policy

8.2 The parent/guardian shall ensure that the Student is fully aware of how to report any issues they may have

8.3 The parent/guardian shall always be responsible for the welfare of the Student during a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session

8.4 The parent/guardian shall if they consider it appropriate, be present during a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session to ensure the Tutor and Student are interacting in a suitable manner.

8.5 The parent/guardian shall ensure that Tutors are treated with respect and fairness by the Student and not subjected to any form of abusive behaviour

8.6 The parent/guardian shall ensure that no improper suggestion are made by the Student or Tutor during a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session

8.7 The parent/guardian shall ensure that no inappropriate/unsolicited communications take place between the tutor and student outside of the Focus 15™ or Spotlight session or PLYTIME’s Tutor/Student Notes

8.8 The parent/guardian shall report any inappropriate behaviour or illegal activity by a Tutor to PLYTIME as soon as practically possible

8.9 The parent/guardian shall be aware that Focus 15™ and Spotlight sessions are recorded and any communications through PLYTIME is monitored

8.10 The parent/guardian must report any Complaint in line with our terms and conditions and our Procedures

9. Compliance

9.1 All persons using PLYTIME Learning’s services have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the Safeguarding Policy and procedures.

9.2 Any reports that a Tutor has breached the terms of their contract or the Safeguarding Policy will be immediately suspended whilst the claim is investigated.

9.3 Any person reported for illegal activity whilst engaged with PLYTIME may be barred from the service and reported to the police and any other relevant organisations.

9.4  PLYTIME reserves the right to make a final decision on action taken for minor breaches of our Safeguarding Policy.

10. Review

10.1 PLYTIME Learning’s Safeguarding Policy will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it is adequate and relevant in relation to standard national safeguarding procedures.

Safeguarding Procedures

The procedures are not an exhaustive list; therefore if an incident occurs that is not covered in this document you are advised to contact PLYTIME, or the police if you believe that it may be a criminal matter

1. Introduction

1.1 These procedures should be read in conjunction with the Terms and Conditions and the Safeguarding Policy

1.2 The safety and wellbeing of any PLYTIME User is paramount. These procedures aim to ensure a prompt response to any incident and to minimise any further harm to a student, tutor or other person.

1.3 Each section below sets out the recommended procedure which should be followed. It is always the responsibility of the person alerted to the incident to take some action to protect the student, tutor or other person. PLYTIME will not be responsible for any non-compliance with the recommended procedure.

2. Tutors

If a tutor sees/experiences:

2.1 Inappropriate language during tutoring sessions or in Tutor Student Notes

The Tutor will request, in a polite manner, that the Student or other persons using inappropriate language refrains from doing so. . If the language occurs during a tutoring session the Tutor will explain that they will terminate the session and confirm details of the incident on the Notes. If the inappropriate  language continues the Tutor will report the matter to PLYTIME  for further investigation. PLYTIME will then decide on the appropriate action to take which may  include allocating an alternative tutor or if the matter is considered serious enough, suspending the Student’s account

2.2 Inappropriate behaviour during tutoring sessions

The Tutor will request, in a polite manner, that the student or other persons involved in the inappropriate behaviour refrains from the behaviour during the session. If the behaviour continues the Tutor will explain that they will terminate the session and confirm details of the incident on the Notes. If inappropriate behaviour continues the tutor will report the behaviour to PLYTIME for further investigation.  PLYTIME will then decide on the appropriate action to take which may  include allocating an alternative tutor or if the matter is considered serious enough, suspending the Student’s account. 

2.3 Inappropriate or abusive images

  1. Any display of pornographic images whilst in the presence of a Student may constitute an offence under UK law. Any Tutor witnessing the display of pornographic images by or towards a student should explain that such behaviour is unacceptable, terminate the session and report the matter to PLYTIME who can ensure any recordings can be preserved and made available for any police investigation. The Tutor should have no further contact with the student or any other person involved in the incident.
  2. This action should be taken so that the correct authorities can be alerted and can deal appropriately with the incident.
  3. The display of any other images perceived to be inappropriate, either due to the age of the student or the content of the image shall be reported to PLYTIME at the discretion of the Tutor, or the parent/responsible adult.

2.4 Disclosure of/witness to abuse towards or in the presence of a student

  1.  Any physical or sexual abuse of a child is an offence under UK law. If a Tutor receives information about such abuse from the student or other person present they should reassure the person that they can get assistance for them. It is the responsibility of the Tutor to contact PLYTIME as soon as possible.  PLYTIME will then contact the UK police and report what has been witnessed.
  2. If the Tutor witnesses any such abuse first-hand they should immediately contact the police and report the incident. The Tutor should also inform PLYTIME of the incident to ensure any recordings can be preserved and made available for any police investigation. The tutor should have no further contact with the student or other person involved in the incident and future Focus 15™ sessions should be cancelled.

2.5 Disclosure of inappropriate/sensitive information

  1. During a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session sensitive information may be offered by a student or other person present. If the information relates to any kind of abuse the Tutor should refer to ‘Disclosure of/witness to abuse towards or in the presence of a student’, above. The student or other person present should be discouraged from disclosing sensitive information by the Tutor. If the information continues to be shared the Tutor will determine the impact of the information and decide whether to continue or terminate the session and report the incident to PLYTIME.
  2. Any information disclosed regarding the safety of a child should always be reported immediately to the UK police
3. STUDENTS

If a student sees/experiences:

3.1 Inappropriate language during tutoring sessions or in Notes

  1. The student will inform a parent/responsible adult of the Tutor using inappropriate language. The parent/responsible adult should ask the Tutor to refrain from using inappropriate language using Tutor Student Notes. If the language continues the parent/responsible adult should explain that they will terminate the session and will report the matter to PLYTIME, who will decide on any further use of the service by the Tutor. The student and parent/responsible adult should request an alternative PLYTIME Tutor for future sessions.
  2. If a parent/responsible adult are not present or readily available the student should report the language as soon as possible to a parent/responsible adult who will take the decision to report the incident via Tutor/Student Notes and also via PLYTIME.

3.2 Inappropriate behaviour during tutoring sessions

  1. The student will inform a parent/responsible adult of the Tutor using inappropriate behaviour. The parent/responsible adult should ask the Tutor to refrain from using inappropriate behaviour during the session using Tutor /Student Notes. If the behaviour continues the parent/responsible adult will explain that they will terminate the session due to the behaviour and will report the matter to PLYTIME who will decide on any further use of the service by Tutor. The student, parent/responsible adult should request an alternative PLYTIME Tutor for future sessions.
  2. If a parent/responsible adult are not present or readily available the student should report the behaviour as soon as possible to a parent/responsible adult who will take a decision to report the incident via Tutor /Student Notes and also via PLYTIME.
  3. If the behaviour is of a sexual nature towards a student by a Tutor, the student should immediately inform a parent/responsible adult and terminate the session. The parent/responsible adult should inform PLYTIME and the UK police immediately.

3.3 Inappropriate or abusive images

  1. Any display of pornographic images whilst in the presence of a student may constitute an offence under UK law. Any student witnessing the display of pornographic images by a Tutor should explain that such behaviour is unacceptable, terminate the session and report this to a parent/responsible adult who should report the matter to PLYTIME who can ensure any recordings can be preserved and made available for any police investigation The student, parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the Tutor involved in the incident and should request an alternative PLYTIME Tutor for future sessions.
  2. This action should be taken so that the correct authorities can be alerted and can deal appropriately with the incident.
  3. The display of any other images perceived to be inappropriate either due to age of the student or content of the image shall be reported to PLYTIME at the discretion of the parent/responsible adult.

3.4 Disclosure of/witness to abuse

  1. Any physical or sexual abuse of a person is an offence under UK law. If a student receives information about such abuse from the Tutor or other person present they should immediately inform a parent/responsible adult. It is the responsibility of the parent/responsible adult to contact PLYTIME as soon as possible.  PLYTIME will then contact the UK police and report what was witnessed.
  2. If the student witnesses any such abuse first-hand they should immediately contact a parent/responsible adult who should immediately inform the UK police. The parent/responsible adult should also inform PLYTIME of the incident to ensure that any recordings can be preserved and made available for any police investigation. The student, parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the Tutor involved in the incident and should request an alternative PLYTIME Tutor for future sessions.
  3. This action should be taken so the correct authorities can be alerted and can deal appropriately with the incident.

3.5 Disclosure of inappropriate/sensitive information

  1. During a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session sensitive information may be offered by a Tutor (If the information relates to any kind of abuse the student should refer to ‘Disclosure of/Witness to abuse’). The Tutor should be discouraged from disclosing sensitive information by the student, parent/responsible adult using the Tutor /Student Notes. The parent/responsible adult will determine the impact of the information and decide whether to continue or terminate the session and report the incident to PLYTIME.
  2. Any information disclosed regarding the safety of a child should always be immediately reported to the UK police.
  3. Any Tutor reported by a parent/responsible adult will be suspended from the site until the incident has been investigated by the appropriate authority. The parent/responsible adult may be informed of the resolution if appropriate.
4. PARENTS/RESPONSIBLE ADULTS

4.1  As per the Safeguarding Policy, the parent/responsible adult has primary responsibility for the welfare and safety of the student during a Focus 15™ or Spotlight session and should be present or available to deal with any concerns or incidents reported by the student.

4.2 It is also the duty of the parent/responsible adult to ensure the wellbeing of the child if they have been affected by anything said or done by the Tutor.

4.3 If a parent/responsible adult is alerted by the student to any inappropriate behaviour/language or information by the student or they witness any inappropriate behaviour/language or information by the Tutor, they should immediately speak to the Tutor and document it via Tutor/Student Notes, stating their concern and informing them that they are terminating the session. The incident should then be reported to PLYTIME to take appropriate action. 

  1. The parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the Tutor involved in the incident and should request an alternative PLYTIME Tutor for future sessions.

4.4  If a parent/responsible adult is alerted by the student to any inappropriate or abusive images or they witness any inappropriate or abusive images displayed by the Tutor, they should immediately speak to the Tutor, and document it via Tutor/Student Notes, stating their concern and informing them they are terminating the session. The parent/responsible adult should inform the UK police (if appropriate) and (in all cases) PLYTIME of the incident to ensure that any recordings can be preserved and made available to any police investigation.

  1. The parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the Tutor involved in the incident and should request an alternative PLYTIME Tutor for future sessions.

4.5  Any Tutor reported by a parent/responsible adult will be suspended from the site until the incident has been investigated by the appropriate authority. The parent/responsible adult will be informed of the resolution if appropriate.

5. DIRECTOR/MANAGEMENT PLYTIME LEARNING

The Director/Management of PLYTIME Learning shall:

  1. Conduct video interviews with tutors and see proof of a certified DBS check before they are permitted to join PLYTIME Learning
  2. Ensure that any dispute between persons using PLYTIME Learning’s services is handled efficiently and without any form of discrimination
  3. Investigate and take action promptly against any reports of illegal activity as to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the tutor/student involved
  4. Promptly contact the UK police or child protective services if necessary
  5. Regularly review the Safeguarding Policy to ensure they are relevant and adequate to safeguard all parties using PLYTIME’s services