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Northern Ballet Safeguarding Policy Children and Young People

Updated by Leanne Kirkham and Annemarie Donoghue August 2023.

This document should be used by anyone that is not engaged in paid or unpaid work with Northern Ballet.


Northern Ballet is committed to creating and maintaining the safest and most supportive environment possible for all children that engage with our work. We believe the welfare and happiness of our participants is paramount, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity and we aim to provide safe training, participatory and creative opportunities for everyone we work with.

The Northern Ballet Safeguarding Committee includes a member of The Board of Directors, a Company Director, Designated Safeguarding Leads and Officers and Safeguarding Champions. The committee works together to ensure:

  • all safeguarding procedures are regularly reviewed
  • staff receive up to date training
  • safety checks are completed
  • staff adhere to the Northern Ballet’s Safeguarding Codes of Conduct

For the purpose of this document ‘staff’ refers to all employees whether on permanent, temporary or freelance contracts. The term ‘staff’ also refers to apprentices, volunteers and anyone in paid or unpaid work on behalf of Northern Ballet.

Northern Ballet uses the word ‘child’ to refer to anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018).

Northern Ballet uses the word ‘guardian’ to refer to the adult who is legally responsible for a child.

Northern Ballet works with children in a variety of ways:

  • Through the various programmes of training and vocational classes led by the Academy of Northern Ballet
  • Through the programmes and projects delivered by the Learning Department both at Northern Ballet and in educational and community settings
  • Through work placements across the organisation
  • Through audiences at Northern Ballet’s studio theatre and at the venues where the Company perform
  • Through the child performers who perform in Company productions
  • Through various digital activities such as viewing performances online.

This Safeguarding Policy outlines our Safeguarding Procedures, how to report allegations, and how to respond to and document disclosures. It refers to, and should be read alongside, all appendices listed on the contents page which serve to protect children and staff and avoid potential safeguarding concerns.

Failure to adhere to this policy will result in disciplinary action as detailed in the Northern Ballet Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure, available in General/Handbook & Policies or from the HR Manager who can be contacted via

Policy Objectives

We have safeguarding objectives to ensure children and their guardians feel confident when in the care of Northern Ballet. Our objectives are:

  • safe organisational ethos
  • safe environment
  • safe processes for working with children
  • safe staff
  • safe collection and use of information, and ways of communicating

Policy Principles

In support of these objectives, we are committed to the following principles.

To achieve a safe organisational ethos, we will

  • Expect all staff to work within the Staff Code of Conduct and address any staffing concerns that occur
  • Provide effective management for all staff through supervision, support and training in safeguarding where appropriate
  • Ensure staff are supported with their use of the Whistleblowing Policy
  • Treat everyone fairly in being able to access Northern Ballet activities and services which meet their needs, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs
  • Share information about safeguarding and good practice with children, guardians and staff which includes the names of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) and Officers (DSO) who can be contacted regarding any issues
  • Have a safeguarding committee who meet three times per year
  • Review our policy and practices annually or when legislation changes

To achieve a safe environment, we will

  • Ensure the welfare and safety of children is paramount in all our activities
  • Listen to children and take account of what they tell us in making decisions about them
  • Take all reasonable steps to protect children from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment
  • Practice with respect for children’s rights, wishes and feelings
  • Regularly assess and review safety risks which arise from premises, activities, equipment and travel arrangements
  • Expect organisations and individuals who wish to hire Northern Ballet spaces to comply with Northern Ballet’s Safeguarding Policy

To achieve safe processes, we will

  • Take all suspicions and allegations of abuse, from inside or outside the organisation, seriously, and respond to them promptly and appropriately
  • Be clear about everyone’s roles and responsibilities
  • Implement safeguarding procedures that are compliant with the expectations of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements
  • Follow government guidance as set out in the document ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’ and amending company procedures where appropriate
  • Have in place clear arrangements for how we would respond to concerns about the implementation of safeguarding in practice within the organisation

To achieve safe staff, we will

  • Recruit staff with regard to their suitability for work with children, including use of Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks, should their role require
  • Provide staff with guidance and training in their safeguarding role, and ensure they have access to our policies and procedures
  • Make sure everyone has access to advice on safeguarding in the course of their work
  • Be clear with everyone what their individual role and responsibility is in safeguarding
  • Support staff to carry out their role with appropriate supervision

To achieve safe information, we will

  • Be clear with children, staff and guardians how the things they tell us will be used
  • Communicate promptly and clearly within Northern Ballet and with external agencies, following the requirements of information and sharing protocols with the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership
  • Keep good records of our work with children and of our management of staff’s work
  • Hold children’s information in alignment with GDPR guidelines

Policy Monitoring

Designated Safeguarding Leads are responsible for the writing, monitoring and evaluation of Northern Ballet’s safeguarding policies and procedures by:

  • Keeping records of cases brought and their outcomes
  • Regularly monitoring the implementation of safeguarding policies and procedures
  • Learning from practical case experience to inform policy review and changes to safeguarding procedures
  • Accepting comments from participants and staff around the use of safeguarding policies and procedures
  • Consulting participants, staff, and organisations to improve the policy and procedures
  • Updating policies and procedures annually or when legislation changes

Our Safeguarding Team

All staff who work directly with adults at risk at Northern Ballet are trained to respond to safeguarding issues. We also have a dedicated team: The Safeguarding Committee, which includes a Board Level Member, the Designated Safeguarding Leads and Officers and the below named Safeguarding Champions.

Designated Safeguarding Leads and Officers receive specialist training to ensure they are equipped and confident in their role to safeguard adults at risk– this includes ongoing training for staff. An up-to-date list of members of the Safeguarding Committee can be requested from Northern Ballet Reception.

The Safeguarding Committee

Board Level Member

Elizabeth Jackson

Director Level Member / Designated Safeguarding Lead

Leanne Kirkham
Director of Learning

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Annemarie Donoghue
Academy Graduate & Associate Manager

Designated Safeguarding Officers

Emma Rodriguez-Saona
Open Programme Manager and Student Support Coordinator

Sam Moore
Senior Learning Project Manager

On tour

For any concerns on tour with the company, please refer to the Company Manager

Child Protection Champions

Will Dawson
Head Receptionist

Martin Smith
Studio Technical Manager

Learning team

Academy team

Pastoral team

Youth Mental Health first aiders

Annemarie Donoghue
Academy Graduate & Associate Manager

Emma Rodriguez-Saona
Open Programme Manager and Student Support Coordinator

What is Abuse?

Abuse can take many different forms and generally involves elements of a power imbalance. Abuse can be a single incident or a series of ongoing events that cause harm or distress or fail to protect someone from harm.

Recognising abuse is not easy, however Northern Ballet does not consider it the staff members’ responsibility to decide whether or not abuse has taken place. If staff have any anxieties or concerns with regards to a possible case of abuse, it is essential that they report this using Northern Ballet’s procedures (form in Appendix A), and then let the appropriate bodies investigate. This applies regardless of whether the concern relates to the behaviour of another staff member, a child or adult at risk, or the possibility that the abuse might be taking place at home or elsewhere. There has been growing awareness that abuse can take many forms.

There are many recognised types of child abuse and the 4 main types are:


Including hitting, shaking, throwing, scalding, drowning, suffocating and burning or otherwise harming a child. Failure to act to protect a child is also considered to be physical abuse.

In our work, this could involve:

  • inappropriate touching
  • over training or dangerous training
  • failure to assess physical limits or pre-existing injuries or medical conditions
  • failure to notice an injury done during class and administer appropriate first aid care
  • administering, condoning or failure to intervene in drug use.


The persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. This can include making a child feel worthless, unloved or inadequate, often causing children to feel frightened or in danger.

In our work, this could involve:

  • exposing children to humiliating, taunting or aggressive behaviour or tone
  • demeaning children’s efforts by continuous negative feedback
  • failure to intervene where a child’s self-confidence and worth are challenged or undermined


Involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact and non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at pornographic material or watching sexual activities or encouraging children to behave in inappropriate ways.

In our work, this could involve:

  • inappropriate touching
  • provocative choreography
  • creating opportunities to access children’s bodies


Is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a guardian failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failure to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical treatment.

In our work, this could involve:

  • exposing children to unnecessary cold or heat
  • exposing children to unhygienic conditions, lack of food, water or medical care
  • non-intervention in bullying or taunting
  • consistently and continually failing to acknowledge, address and teach a child in and outside the classroom

Other forms of abuse include

  • Bullying and cyber-bullying
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Child-trafficking
  • Criminal exploitation and gangs
  • Domestic abuse
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Grooming
  • Non-recent abuse
  • Online abuse

Reporting a Concern

Abuse may become apparent in a number of ways:

  • through observation
  • a disclosure
  • a third party may have reported an incident, or may have a strong suspicion
  • you may have a suspicion

If you have a concern regarding an adult at risk or someone reports a concern to you regarding an adult at risk, you should either:

  • Complete an online Cause for Concern Form – Appendix A
  • Phone 0113 220 8000 and ask to speak to a DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead) or DSO (Designated Safeguarding Officer)
  • Speak directly with a DSL or DSO
  • If the concern relates to the DSL on duty, report to the Executive Director
  • If you believe an adult at risk is in immediate danger and at risk of harm, call the police on 999, and then report to a DSL or DSO

Information will then be passed to a DSL who will safely store the information and decide the next
steps. You can ask for an update on your concern but may not know the final outcomes.

Responding to a Disclosure

If a child discloses information to you:

  • listen and reassure
  • record
  • involve the DSL or DSO

Listen and reassure


  • Stay calm, do not rush to inappropriate action
  • Reassure that they are not to blame and confirm that you know how difficult it must be to confide
  • Listen to what the child says and show that you take them seriously
  • Keep questions to a minimum – use open ended questions, i.e. those where more than a yes/no response is required. If necessary, repeat their statement back to them in question form to instigate more conversation. The law is very strict and child abuse cases have been dismissed if it appears that the child has been led or words and ideas have been suggested
  • Ensure that you clearly understand what the child has said so that you can record the conversation accurately
  • Ensure the child understands what will happen next and they are emotionally and physically able to return to the studio/class
  • Maintain confidentiality

Do Not

  • Panic
  • Make promises you can’t keep by explaining that you are not able to keep secrets and may have to tell other people in order to stop what is happening whilst maintaining maximum possible confidentiality
  • Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily
  • Delay


Complete a Cause for Concern incident report form without delay with as much accurate detail as possible.

Involve the Appropriate People

Disclosures must be reported to a DSL or DSO immediately so a decision can be made as to the most appropriate course of action. On tour, all disclosures must be reported to the Company Manager who will work with the venue’s DSL in response to the disclosure.

The DSL will assess the disclosure and if they suspect that a child is being, or is at risk of being, significantly harmed, they must report this immediately to the Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Partnership.

The DSL will assess the disclosure and if they suspect that a child is being, or is at risk of being, significantly harmed, they must report this immediately to the Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Partnership, the child’s school or the local police.

The Management of Allegations Against Staff

Keeping Children Safe in Education defines an allegation as follows:

“... all cases in which it is alleged that a teacher or member of staff (including volunteers) in a school or college that provides education for children under 18 years of age has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she would pose a risk of harm to children.”

It is essential that any allegation of abuse made against a member of staff is dealt with very quickly, in a fair and consistent way, providing effective protection for the child and at the same time, support the person who is the subject of the allegation.

As an employer, Northern Ballet has a duty of care to its staff. Therefore, it will ensure that effective support is provided for anyone facing an allegation. Suspension is not an automatic response to an allegation and Northern Ballet will respond proportionately to them in order to manage risk and provide appropriate support.

Safe Recruitment

It is vital that we employ the best staff at Northern Ballet. All staff who come into contact with children as part of their role need to have characteristics and values that make them safe and suitable to work with children. We do this by:

  • Ensuring prospective staff who work with children as part of their role are subject to criminal record checks (Disclosure Barring Service) and self-declaration
  • Conducting face to face interviews with all short-listed applicants
  • Verifying applicants’ qualifications and experience
  • Gaining references from previous employers
  • Providing staff with an induction to their role (including safeguarding policies and procedures) and accredited safeguarding training where necessary
  • Ensuring all staff complete a probationary period

For more information, please see Appendix D.