Contact us on (01255) 245 460

Safeguarding and Welfare

Safeguarding and Welfare

To report a concern, click here:

Report an Issue

To contact the Essex Safeguarding Children Board call 03456037627 or go to

Prevent Duty and Counter-Radicalisation 
If you know of someone who you think is being radicalised or at risk of being so, please report this using the following links:
Alternatively, you can use the usual in school reporting systems.

LGBTQ+ Language Toolkit

LGBTQ+ Language Toolkit

In line with International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia we have launched our new LGBTQ+ Language Toolkit. Students have been shown this as part of the Mental Health Awareness Week activities and all have had a copy emailed out to them on their school email – if anyone wants a paper copy you can request this at reception.


Here is our latest Safeguarding Update dated 27th March 2024

RE: Safeguarding Updates:

Dear Parent / Carer,

I write to you to make you aware of the most recent issues around student safety and welfare. If you have any concerns or further questions on anything listed below please do not hesitate to contact the Safeguarding Team before the start of the Easter break or on our return.

Online behaviour and risks:

As you know, there is much to be worried about in terms of potential risks regarding online behaviour, image sharing and abusive social media pages. In particular, there have been reports made to me regarding so-called “bait out” pages. Please be assured that all reported cases have been followed up with the relevant social media platform. It would help greatly if you would also please report any concerns you have directly to Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, etc, via this link:

With ever increasing pressures on young people it is essential that the adults around them take a proactive approach to safety and support. Whilst we want our students to have fun over the holiday periods please ensure that you monitor your child’s phone/social media usage, know where they are and who they are with. We are aware that the majority of you already monitor your children’s social media accounts and online usage, and we as a school want to work with you on this and will always do our best to support them making the best online decisions. However as this is primarily a parent responsibility, please see advice from the NSPCC on what parents/carers should be looking out for and how to set up monitoring all types of devices that your child might access, via this link:

Safeguarding measures parents and carers can support us with:

While in our care it is really essential we know the location of all students on site. There has been a trend of students contacting their parents directly when they feel unwell or parents contacting their child directly when there has been a family emergency and students then leaving the site with parents collecting them. If you do need to collect your child at any point during the school day this is of course ok, but please always contact Student Services directly so we have a record of the communication and we can direct your child to reception to sign out. If your child is unwell they need to speak to a member of staff and attend Student Services to see a First Aider and if necessary we will then contact you as a parent / carer to make the decision as to whether they are unfit for school. I hope you can see why these procedures are so important to ensure the safeguarding of all students on site.

Please can I also take this opportunity to also remind you of the importance to not block the site entrances with cars or park on the yellow zig zags at the start and end of the school day. As you are aware these are extremely busy points in the school day and all students exit onto Hall Lane directly. We need to ensure the safety of students and staff as they arrive and leave the school.

During the school day staff are extremely busy focusing on the teaching and learning as well as the pastoral care of all students on site. It is really important that parents and carers only arrive at reception with a scheduled appointment if they are wanting to speak directly or meet with a member of staff. If you arrive at reception without an appointment it is highly likely someone will not be able to attend and if parents / carers refuse to leave reception until they are seen this can take away from teaching and supporting students. It is always a priority to communicate with parents and we value parental involvement but please arrange an appointment in advance so we can dedicate this time to you and your child.

I also wanted to make you aware that nationally, there have been concerns raised with vapes containing cannabis, spice, and other synthetic narcotics, particularly those used by children which have led to multiple near-fatal overdoses. There have also been deaths linked to Cannabis edibles in the last two years. Cannabis is regarded by many as a ‘safe’ drug with a low risk of overdose. However, this is not the case, particularly when higher strength THC products are ingested or vaporised. Worryingly, some edible products and vapes sold as containing cannabis can also contain even more potent chemicals, including synthetic drugs like Spice. Spice can lead to an even greater risk of overdose leading to breathing problems, seizures and even death. We are aware that these vapes are currently circulating in Essex including amongst school children. The police have directly informed us that areas including Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Humberside and London have reported multiple incidents in schools resulting in hospital treatment, with a large percentage of the vapes found to contain spice. The Essex Wellbeing Service provides more information on vaping and young people and if you are concerned that your child is vaping, and you would like them to have further support please contact the relevant Pastoral Team:

Mental Health Support:

Our MHST team is running two parent workshops for parents that are dealing with child anxiety next term. One session is face to face and the other online (content the same). As we know reported anxiety in children is on the increase with many parents feeling deskilled and helpless in coping with their child’s emotions. These are open to all of our parents and we encourage as many of you as possible to take part. Please see attached PDF for details: Anxiety Workshop Information.

Teentalk is a local ‘Listening Ear’ service and they are offering sessions throughout Easter. Please have a look on their website for further information and how to refer your child:

Beat the Street is also something that a lot of students have already been participating in last half term. We encourage all students to get involved as a healthy activity over the break. We know that exercise and movement is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety as well as getting students out of the house for some fresh air:

And lastly we know that term time creates routine and stability as well as access to staff, whereas the holiday periods change this support that school offers. I have therefore delivered assemblies in the last fortnight to remind students of all of the out of school support they can access. Many students have picked up one of our ‘Feeling Stressed?’ cards that remind them of all of the external support platforms while school is closed. We have also been working closely with Papyrus this term and have reminded students of their 24/7 ‘Hope Line’ that they can access if they want support in any form linked to suicide prevention.


Out of hours safeguarding concerns:

During the Easter Break, if you have any urgent concerns regarding the safety or wellbeing of a child, please call the Essex Safeguarding Child Board on 03456037627 or Essex Police via 999 in an emergency or 101, or via text (18000).

Any concerns sent in from 1pm on Thursday 28th March to Sunday 14th April may not be picked up immediately, so please refer to the sources above during this period. All non-urgent concerns can still be sent to school or reported via the Whisper button but will not be picked up until 8am on Monday 15th April.

Have a safe and restful Easter.

Yours faithfully, 

Charly Doyle 

Deputy Headteacher/ Designated Safeguarding Lead


Previous safeguarding updates:

Safeguarding Newsletter Spring 2024

Safeguarding Newsletter December 2022

Safeguarding Newsletter 20th October 2022

Safeguarding Update 27th May 2022

Safeguarding Update 11th February 2022

SG Updates_ Wednesday 1st September 2021

Safeguarding Update dated 29th June 2021_

Monday 22nd February, 2021 – Online safety courses for parents

National Online Safety Membership Parental Sign Up, Monday 8th February

Safeguarding Update, Monday 8th February 2021

Safeguarding Update, Friday 29th January, 2021

Safeguarding Update, Monday 18th January, 2021

Safeguarding Update, Wednesday 7th January, 2021

For more information on mental health and well-being, click on the image to the right

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 (2023):–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

Free Online Relationships and Sex Education Training

Here is some information regarding free online Relationships and Sex Education training workshops available for Essex parents and carers.

Click here

Parenting adolescents is not easy, there are many difficult topics and issues that need to be discussed and developing a good and open relationship is important for healthy development. This handbook aims to offer support to parents who may be finding their relationship with their teenage child difficult.

Click here

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:

Miss C. Doyle – Deputy Headteacher and Designated Lead

Mrs N. Prior – Inclusion Manager and Deputy Safeguarding Lead

Mrs K. Finch – Headteacher

Mr. M. Higgon – Deputy Headteacher

Mr S. Garnham – Senior Assistant Headteacher

Mrs C. Elmer-May – CASA Manager

Mrs V Henderson – Director of Sixth Form

Mrs C. Manners – Assistant Headteacher/ Executive SENCo

Mr. C. Herron – Assistant Headteacher

Mrs S. Elmer – Children in Care Keyworker

Mrs. C. Farr – Maths Teacher

Mrs C. Dunkley – Attendance Officer

Ms A. Porter – Senior Leadership Team Assistant

Mr P. Ablett – Sixth Form Learning Mentor

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.