At GLC we believe that:
●The safety, well-being and protection of our students are paramount and is taken into consideration in all decisions governors and staff make about confidentiality. (The appropriate sharing of information between college staff is an important element in ensuring our students well-being and safety.)
● It is an essential part of the ethos of our college that trust is established to enable students, staff, and parents/carers to seek help both within and outside the college. We aim to minimise the number of situations when personal information is shared to ensure students and staff are supported and safe.
●Students, parents/carers and staff need to know the boundaries of confidentiality in order to feel safe and comfortable in discussing personal issues and concerns.
●The college’s belief is that confidentiality should be open and easily understood with everyone able to trust the boundaries of confidentiality operating within the college.
●It is important to recognise that no one in the college community can offer absolute confidentiality.
When speaking confidentially to someone the confider has the belief that the confidant will not discuss the content of the conversation with another. The confider is asking for the content of the conversation to be kept secret. Anyone offering absolute confidentiality to someone else would be offering to keep the content of his or her conversation completely secret and discuss it with no one.
In practice, there are few situations where absolute confidentiality is offered in our college. We try to strike a balance between ensuring the safety, well-being and protection of our students and staff, with the need to share personal information, as in child protection issues.
This means that in most cases what is on offer is limited confidentiality. Disclosure of the content of a conversation could be discussed with professional colleagues but the confider would not be identified except in certain circumstances.
The general rule is that staff should make clear that there are limits to confidentiality at the beginning of the conversation. These limits relate to ensuring students’ safety and well-being. The student will be informed when a confidence has to be broken for this reason and will be encouraged to do this for themselves whenever this is possible. Different levels of confidentiality are appropriate for different circumstances.
In the classroom careful thought needs to be given to the content of the lesson, setting the climate and establishing ground rules to ensure confidential disclosures are not made. It should be made clear to students that this is not the time or place to disclose confidential, personal information.
With one to one disclosures it is essential all members of staff know the limits of the confidentiality they can offer to both students and parents/carers (see note below). All staff at this college should encourage students to discuss difficult issues with their parents or carers, and vice versa. However, the needs of the student are paramount and college staff will not automatically share information about the student with his/her parents/carers unless it is considered to be in the student’s best interests.
Visitors and non-teaching staff:
At GLC, we expect all non-teaching staff, including volunteers and governors, to report any disclosures by students or parents/carers, of a concerning personal nature to the ———as soon as possible after the disclosure and in an appropriate setting, so others cannot overhear. ———–will decide what, if any, further action needs to be taken.
Support for staff
Staff may have support needs themselves in dealing with some of the personal issues of our students. At GLC, we prefer you to ask for help rather than possibly making a poor decision because you don’t have all the facts or the necessary training. There are many agencies we can refer students to who need additional support and we have procedures to ensure this happens. We all work together as part of a team to support our students and asking for help is a way we ensure GLC is and remains a happy and safe learning environment.
GLC teaching staff should discuss any concerns about students with their Line Manager. Any unresolved issues should be discussed with the Principal.
At GLC we will:
lEnsure that the time and place are appropriate to discuss any important matters, when they are not we reassure the student that we understand they need to discuss something very important and that it warrants time, space and privacy.
lSee the student normally (and always in cases of neglect, or abuse) before the end of the day. More serious concerns must be reported immediately to ensure that any intervention necessary to protect the student is accessed as early as possible.
lTell the student we cannot guarantee confidentiality if we think they will:
*hurt someone else
*or they tell us that someone is hurting them or others
lNot interrogate the student or ask leading questions.
lAny intolerance about disability, age, marital status, religion/non-religious, gender, faith, race, culture or sexuality is unacceptable and should follow the college discipline policy.
lWe will not put the student in the position of having to repeat distressing matters to several people.
lInform the student first before any confidential information is shared and provide the reasons for this.
lEncourage the student, whenever possible to confide in his/her own parents/carers.
Links to other college policies and procedures:
This policy is intended to be used in conjunction with other college policies:
*Bullying and harassment
*Drugs and alcohol abuse
Students can also obtain confidential help themselves from various support agencies ie Childline, GP, local drug and alcohol agencies, Relateen (children and young people’s counselling service) etc.
Dissemination and implementation:
This policy will be circulated and made available online to all teaching and non-teaching staff, including volunteers, at the college. All new staff, including volunteers are advised of this policy, together with basic training on the college’s Child Protection Policy and procedures.
This policy is reviewed annually or whenever deemed necessary by the Principal and Governors/Board members in the light of events and changes in the law.
Updated: 24 February 2020