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The Norfolk Reading Project is a Norfolk-based charitable trust which aims to boost literacy in the county by sending trained volunteers into schools to support children’s reading in a one-to-one setting.

Based at College Barn, Cake Street, Old Buckenham, Attleborough NR17 1PS the organisation is managed by a committee of trustees, and one of the trustees, Alison Gilmour, has particular responsibility for safeguarding children.

The committee has adopted this safeguarding policy and expects all TNRP volunteers to support and comply with it.

As an organisation we believe that no child should experience abuse or harm. This policy is intended to provide guidance and overarching principles for those who represent us as volunteers.

Most children grow up in safe and happy environments and it is important not to overestimate the dangers. Nevertheless, there are situations where children need protection. These include: sexual abuse, grooming, physical and emotional abuse and neglect, domestic violence, inappropriate supervision by staff or volunteers, bullying, cyber-bullying, acts of violence at school, victimisation, self-harm, unsafe activities, crime, exploitation.

The TNRP trains reading support volunteers who go into Norfolk primary schools and work with children one-to-one. We scrutinise the evidence needed to allow volunteers to apply for an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks required for working one-to-one with children under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

Because volunteers are working closely with children they may, from time to time, observe outward signs of abuse, changes in behaviour or hear worrying disclosures from the children.

Volunteers should listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief, allow the child to talk freely, reassure the child but not make promises which it might not be possible to keep and do not promise confidentiality – it might be necessary to refer the incident. They should listen rather than ask direct questions, make no comment or judgement but explain what has to be done next and who has to be told.

In accordance with the school’s individual policies, volunteers are likely to be asked to make a dated, written record of the conversation, or a note of any physical abuse, and pass the information on to the class teacher immediately. If the incident involves the class teacher, then they must notify the school’s Designated Safeguarding Person.

Volunteers are expected to act as good role models. Good practice includes working in an open environment, treating all children equally with respect and dignity, putting the welfare of each child first and giving enthusiastic feedback rather than negative criticism. Volunteers should never engage in rough horseplay, any form of inappropriate touching, allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged, make sexually suggestive comments, even in fun or fail to act on and record any allegations made by a child.

If a volunteer accidentally hurts a child or he or she seems distressed in any manner, then the volunteer should inform the class teacher or Designated Safeguarding Person. The committee will take very seriously any allegation of impropriety on the part of any TNRP volunteer and will work with the school involved to resolve the situation.

Before going into school and beginning reading support, each volunteer must undertake the child protection induction required by that individual school. Once the volunteers are in school they will be part of the school’s team and as such will fall under the school’s safeguarding and child protection policies.

This policy was approved by the TNRP Committee on January 8th 2018 and is due to be renewed in 2021.