COMUNI-CO is a private Language Coaching and Services provider. Our school provides English study holiday programmes including language tuition, host family accommodation and excursions for both adults and teenagers ranging from 12 to 17 years old.
The safety of children is our primary concern. We seek to maintain a safe and supportive environment for the children in our care. We accept and recognise our responsibilities as follows:
We will endeavour to safeguard children as follows:
The lead person with regard to safeguarding issues is Concetta Laquintana, the director and principal of Comuni-co. Comuni-co commits to reviewing this policy every 12 months and will seek to involve staff and students in its development.
Our principles in framing this document:
1) All children have the right to be treated with respect and to be safeguarded from harm.
2) We welcome students from all backgrounds and will not permit discrimination by students or staff on the grounds of religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. We will show particular sensitivity to students who are from territories in the midst of internal or international conflict.
3) Adults working with our pupils must recognise the trust placed in them by children and must treat this trust and this power with the highest responsibility.
4) Any sexual relationship or activity by an adult involving a child or any attempt to encourage this (= ‘grooming’) is unacceptable and will lead to disciplinary and legal action.
5) All children have the right to say ‘No’ if any person tries to do something to them which they feel is wrong.
6) All children have the right to be supported against bullies.
7) All children must feel they can tell an adult about any incident that frightens or confuses them or makes them unhappy.
8) All children must know that if they go to an adult for help, they will be listened to seriously and supported.
On a day-to-day basis all adults working with our pupils must agree to the following code of conduct. This will also help to protect adults against finding themselves in situations that might be misconstrued as being harmful to children.
Children can be very demanding. Recognise if you are reaching the limits of your patience and remove yourself safely from the situation,
Child Abuse is most often used to describe ways in which children are harmed with damage to their physical or mental health. There are 4 broad categories of abuse as follows:
Identifying child abuse
It can be difficult to identify child abuse as it has various forms. Below are some typical indicators to watch for:
The last two might appear naturally as summer school is a new and strange environment for visiting children, sometimes from very different cultures. Be alert also to the possibility of (undiagnosed?) autism.
How to react if you suspect child abuse
Bullying – the deliberate and repeated act of causing another person to be unhappy – is perhaps the likeliest threat to a child’s wellbeing on our courses and is not tolerated. People who abuse others verbally or physically will be cautioned and if this has no effect will be sent home.
Bullying can take many different forms; it may be physical, emotional, name-calling, showing a lack of respect for another’s property, excluding somebody from a social group; there are many possibilities. One person ‘having a joke’ might be another person suffering bullying. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes it is done subtly and in such a way that children will be worried about telling staff what is happening.
For this reason it is vital that all staff and hosts are vigilant in noticing changes in behaviour of children, particularly if they become withdrawn.
If you suspect bullying:
Staff must exercise the same discretion and maintain the same professional distance in any electronic contact with children (anyone under 18) as they would in normal day-to-day life. Electronic contact includes telephone communications (including texting) and on-line environments. In particular:
All Comuni-co students and their parents/ guardians are required to sign an Agreement form before the commencement of the course. They are informed of procedures following potential breach of the school and state law rules. They are reminded of expected standards of behaviour on and outside of school premises as well as host family accommodation, including the need to tell someone if they have a problem.
Excursions and Outdoor activities
Basic guidelines and ‘what to do if’ risk assessment for all excursions and outdoor activities are given at staff briefings and the commencement of the course.
Pupils are advised to take care with traffic driving on the left in England. All pupils practise crossing the road and orientation shortly after arrival as part of induction with their classroom teacher.
Absence from school
The age of students is clearly indicated in class registers. All teachers are instructed to inform the School Office immediately if an under-18 is absent from their class. In instances of repeated lateness or absence, the Course leader will discuss the matter with the Director and will inform the student’s parents or guardian.
Students under the age of 18, who do not form part of a group and are not accompanied by an adult family member or guardian, are only permitted to be accommodated in homestay accommodation. There is a 22.00 pm curfew in place for students who are under the age of 16, and 23.00 (Sunday to Thursday) and 00.00 (Friday and Saturday) for students aged 16 and 17, unless otherwise instructed by the parents or guardians. The students are only allowed to go out in the evening if approved by Group leaders and the Director. They should always go out with the fellow students in a group.
In cases where a child does not return before the curfew begins the host family should phone the child to ensure they are safe and should inform the school the next day. If the homestay provider is unable to contact the child they should phone Comuni-co emergency phone on 07922454487. The emergency phone holder will continue to attempt to make contact with the child and if necessary will inform the police.
Outside of school
All under-18s receive a student ID card with the school and host family’s contact details. Under-18s are given advice about how to stay safe in Peterborough on their first day of stay by the Course director. For further information and concerns students can be advised by the teacher or ask to talk to the Course director. Advice includes, but is not limited to, the following: ways of travelling (stay in pairs and groups), plan how to get home in advance of evenings out, ensure their mobile phone is fully charged, save the number of a reputable taxi firm, inform about the laws that apply to under-18s, and tell friends and hosts where they are going.
As a starting point all members of staff and homestay providers receive a copy of the School’s Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy.
They are required to sign it to say that they have read and understood this Safeguarding Policy and agree to the Code of Conduct.
All staff at Comuni-co are required to undergo Basic Awareness Safeguarding training/ supervision.
Comuni-co is committed to the safer recruitment of staff, homestay providers, group leaders and other service providers.
To ensure that employees working for Comuni-co are suitable for work with children, the following procedures will be followed:
All staff must submit a CV with their application and all gaps in CVs must be explained satisfactorily. Proof of qualifications will be required and a minimum of two references will be followed up. The reference request will ask if the referee has any reason to believe that the employee is unsuitable for work with children. Staff will be required to affirm that there is no reason why they should not be employed in situations where they have responsibility for, or substantial access to, persons under 18. At interview prospective employees will be asked about their attitude to working with under-18s. Staff members are asked to agree to undergo a fresh enhanced DBS check before they commence employment with the school.
*Last updated in January 2016 by the Manager and Principal of Peterborough Language School,