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Safeguarding and Welfare

Safeguarding and Welfare

23rd November 2020

We have noticed that pupils are starting to use an app called Omegle. This is particularly dangerous for children to use as it is designed to encourage them to talk to people they do not know (most of whom will be much older than they are). This puts them at risk of exploitation and exacerbates their vulnerability. Please check your child’s app use on their phone. In Omegle’s written terms and conditions it states that it has a 13+ age restriction and asks users under 18 to only access the site with parental permission/guidance. However, there is no registration process or age verification and so users simply click a button to chat. 

 Pupils are taught about online safety in PSHE lessons. Please follow this link for further advice and guidance:

The main points listed for children are: 

  • Think before you post
  • Don’t upload or share anything you wouldn’t want your parents, carers, teachers or future employers seeing. Once you post something, you lose control of it, especially if someone else screenshots or shares it.
  • Don’t share personal details. Keep things like your address, phone number, full name, school and date of birth private, and check what people can see in your privacy settings. Remember that people can use small clues like a school logo in a photo to find out a lot about you.
  • Watch out for phishing and scams. Phishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them information, like your password. Someone might also try to trick you by saying they can make you famous or that they’re from a talent agency. Never click links from emails or messages that ask you to log in or share your details, even if you think they might be genuine. If you’re asked to log into a website, go to the app or site directly instead.
  • Think about who you’re talking to. There are lots of ways that people try to trick you into trusting them online. Even if you like and trust someone you’ve met online, never share personal information with them like your address, full name, or where you go to school. Find out more about grooming.
  • Keep your device secure. Make sure that you’re keeping your information and device secure. Never give out your password, you should never give out your password or login information. Make sure you pick strong, easy to remember passwords.
  • Cover your webcam: Some viruses will let someone access your webcam without you knowing, so make sure you cover your webcam whenever you’re not using it.

We have also been informed that pupils are establishing their own private WhatsApp groups. Some are then sharing explicit and upsetting images. Please talk to your child about this to ensure that they are not exposed to age-inappropriate content and that they are using such chat apps responsibly. WhatsApp’s stated minimum age limit is 16

If you have any questions or queries which arise as a result of this letter, please do not hesitate to contact a member of staff to discuss further. 

Yours faithfully, 

J.W. Loten, Deputy Headteacher


We believe in empowering parents, carers and trusted adults with the information they need to hold informed and age-appropriate conversations about online safety with their child, should they feel it is needed. Every Wednesday we will share guides to focus on specific platforms/risks which we believe trusted adults should be aware of. #WakeUpWednesday.

Our current and previous #WakeUpWednesday Guides can be viewed and downloaded here: #WakeUpWednesdays

Be FEARLESS against crime

Fearless is a site where you can access non-judgemental information and advice about crime and criminality. You can find more information here: Be FEARLESS against crime

Child Exploitation and Mental Health in Schools

All of our safeguarding processes and procedures conform to Keeping Children Safe in Education (2019):–2

Please also see our our Child Protection Policy which can be found in the policies section of this website:

Further details can be found here: Child Sexual Exploitation and Mental Health in Schools


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is child abuse and an extremely harmful practice with devastating health consequences for girls and women. Some girls die from blood loss or infection as a direct result of the procedure. Some women who have undergone FGM are also likely to find it difficult to give birth and many also suffer from long-term psychological trauma. For more information click the link FMG Additional Information or go to NWG Network

Reporting abuse

The symbol on the ‘Report Abuse’ button, which looks a bit like an eye on legs, represents the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), a group of law enforcement agencies who work together to fight online abuse relating to children. If you click on the button you will be reporting a problem directly to someone at CEOP (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Agency). You are then likely to be contacted by a social worker or a police officer, to talk through your report in more detail. They need to do this to make sure you are safe. It is also a good idea to talk to your parents about your report to CEOP, although if your report concerns a family member, CEOP will not make contact with them until an investigation has been completed.

Reporting Other Concerns

If you do not want to make a report by pressing the CEOP button but are still worried about something that is online, related to self harm, mental health or anything you consider abusive, then please talk to your Head of Year, Assistant Head of Year or Student Services Assistant at school, or to an adult you can trust. Alternatively, you can make a report 24/7 by clicking our ‘report an issue’ button and key people in the school will be notified straight away. This allows us to support you even more effectively.

You can also get guidance from NEFLT NHS Foundation Trust. Any young person up to the age of 18 (25 if you have Special Educational Needs) can contact NEFLT’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS), or any parent, guardian or teacher of a young person who is experiencing emotional wellbeing and mental health difficulties.

You can find out more about NELFT by accessing:

Harwich and Dovercourt High School is a subscriber to the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) who are international leaders in providing support to stay safe online.

Please use this link if you have any concerns, or require specialist advice on how to respond and deal with online issues.

You can get support that relates to Facebook, AskFM and Sexting, amongst others. For families, there is a toolkit as well as more specific support for early years or older children progressing onto university.

REMEMBER: If in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the school and we will support you.

Reporting Radicalisation and Extremism

The media is alive with reports of concern over radicalisation, extremism and terrorism.  Here is what to do if you have a concern of this nature: Reporting Radicalisation and Extremism

Self Taken Images – ‘Sexting’/Nude Selfies

Someone taking an indecent image of themselves, and sending it to their friends or boy/girlfriend via a mobile phone or some other form of technology is sometimes referred to as ‘sexting’. Once these images have been taken and sent to others, control is lost of them and they can end up anywhere. They could be seen by friends and family, a future employer, or even, in some cases, end up in the possession of an offender!

This also puts the person who originally sent the images in a vulnerable position, as somebody they may or may not know now has these images and could use technology to bully, harass or even try to locate them. Just think – if you wouldn’t print and pass these images around your school or show your Mum or Dad, they are not appropriate to share via phone or other technologies.

Take 15 minutes to look through these advice videos produced by CEOP.


Social Networking

We are aware that many students have people in their “friends” list on social networking accounts who they do not actually know. We are advising all our students to delete “friends” from Facebook, or similar social networking accounts, if they do not know them in person, and are not actually friends with them.

More advice can be found here: Social Networking

We take E-Safety very seriously at HDHS

*STOP PRESS* Do you really know what your children are doing online? You may have internet filters already in place; do you really know how secure the filters are? What are YOU doing to safeguard your youngsters’ electronic activity?

As a school we have produced an E-Safety Advice Leaflet which can be downloaded here:  HDHS-E-Safety-Leaflet

At Harwich and Dovercourt High School we educate and protect our students in their use of ICT and the internet. We aim to constantly reinforce the responsibilities that our students have when surfing the web through ICT lessons, PSHE lessons and Community Assemblies.

“The risks that children face may have changed but basic parenting skills remain the same” is the central message from the UK’s national centre for child protection – the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.

Further details can be found here:  Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre

What to do if you have a safeguarding concern involving a child

i) Inform a member of the Safeguarding Team. The Safeguarding Team at HDHS are:

Mr J. Loten – Deputy Headteacher and Designated Lead

Mrs N. Prior – Inclusion Manager and Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Mrs K. Finch – Headteacher

Mr S. Garnham – Senior Assistant Headteacher

Mrs C. Elmer-May – CASA Manager

Mrs L. McCullough – PE Teacher

Mrs S. Parker – Head of Sixth Form

Mrs C. Manners – Assistant Headteacher/ Executive SENCo

Miss C. Doyle – Assistant Headteacher

ii) If you are concerned that a child or young person is being harmed or neglected, or is at risk of this, you should go to the Essex Effective Support website where you can make a referral to the Children and Families Hub.

Where a child is at immediate risk of significant harm, call the Children and Families Hub on 0345 603 7627 and ask for the ‘Priority Line’ or call the Police.

​(Out of Hours: [Mon-Thurs 5:00pm-9am. Fri & Bank Holidays 4:30pm-9am) 0345 606 1212 or Email:

The Children and Families Hub also offers a consultation line for professionals providing advice and guidance. This can be accessed by calling 0345 603 7627 and asking for the ‘Consultation Line’.

Young Carers Statement

Harwich and Dovercourt High School is committed to develop provision for young carers and their families.

We are determined to support young carers as well as we can.

How we will achieve this:

  • The whole school is committed to meeting the needs of young carers so that they can attend and enjoy school in the same way as other pupils and achieve their potential.
  • Appointing Mr Garnham as a designated Young Carers’ School Lead with responsibility for young carers and their families. Mr Garnham is available to support all young carers and will be supported in this by Mrs Helm.
  • The school only shares information with professionals and agencies on a need to know basis in order to support pupils and their families.
  • Harwich and Dovercourt High School will actively seek feedback and ideas from young carers and their families to shape and improve support.
  • The school has an effective referral system and strong partnership in place with relevant external agencies, including referral to Young Carer agencies providing key workers who will work with young carers and families.

We will strive to achieve best practice for students and families in our school in order to provide them with the best chance of success in their future.