What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.  Safeguarding means:

  • Protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
  • Preventing harm to children’s health or development
  • Ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care

Who is responsible for safeguarding?

Everyone has a responsibility to keep children and young people safe.

All organisations that come into contact with children should have specific safeguarding policies and procedures in place. This includes voluntary and community organisations, faith groups, private sector providers, as well as schools, hospitals and sports clubs.

Safeguarding at Leigh Academy Bexley

Leigh Academy Bexley takes its safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously. Our policy outlines our processes and procedures.

If you are worried about a child

If you want to talk to a social worker, you can contact Bexley Children’s Services Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) at the number below. If you are concerned that by calling you may be put in a difficult position, you can make a referral anonymously

If you want to talk to a social worker, you can contact Bexley Children’s Services Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) at the number below. If you are concerned that by calling you may be put in a difficult position, you can make a referral anonymously

For any concerns after 5pm, weekends or school holidays please call the emergency out of hours line for your local authority:

  • Bexley: 020 8303 7777
  • Greenwich: 020 8854 8888
  • Dartford: 0300 0419 191
  • NSPCC: 0808 800 5000
  • Childline (18 or under): 0800 1111

If you suspect a child or young person is in immediate risk then call the police 999

What Does Safeguarding Cover?

Safeguarding covers numerous topics, many of which are interconnected, including:

  • Bullying
  • Child Exploitation
  • Domestic and Sexual violence/abuse
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • County Lines
  • Self-Harm
  • Child on Child abuse
  • Neglect
  • Prevent (Preventing Violent Extremism)
  • Substance Misuse
  • Violence Against Women and Girls (including FGM)
  • E-Safety

If you have any concerns, no matter how small they may seem about the safety or welfare of any child, please contact the academy’s Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mr P Wilson or email the safeguarding team.

Leigh Academy Bexley Safeguarding Team

Photo of John Dixon, Principal at Leigh Academy Bexley.

Mr J Dixon

Photo of Phil Wilson.

Mr P Wilson
Designated Safeguarding Lead

Mrs T Cook Portrait

Mrs T Cook
Designated Safeguarding Lead

Mrs G Ansell portrait

Mrs G Ansell
Looked After Children Coordinator

Photo of Rob Harding.

Mr R Harding
Senior DDSL and Lead for Petworth College

Mrs J Shiyani Portrait

Mrs J Shiyani
DDSL and Lead for Knole College

Ms D Pierroulli
DDSL and Lead for Holkham College

Photo of Mark Crowther-Green.

Mr M Crowther-Green§
DDSL and Lead for Richmond College

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violent Behaviour

A Parent’s Guide To Ending Sexual Harassment And Sexual Violent Behaviour

Sexual harassment is any unwanted and unwelcome sexual behaviour which interferes with a student’s right to learn, study, achieve, or participate in school activities in a comfortable and supportive atmosphere. Under law and policies, sexual harassment is illegal and is prohibited in school settings. 

Sexual harassment may involve a boy harassing a girl, a girl harassing a boy, a boy harassing another boy, or a girl harassing another girl (child on child abuse). The law alone does not discourage sexual misbehaviour and parents/carers have an important role to play in helping to prevent children from becoming perpetrators now and as adults. The information below has been taken from snippets of an article written in The Conversation Newsletter (December 2017) highlighting a guide for parents in tackling the issue of sexual harassment.

Parents should explain that clear communication minimises the risks of becoming a perpetrator of sexual harassment or abuse. Parents can teach that consent is a necessary prerequisite to any sexual behaviour.  The video below teaches the idea of consent through the cup of tea analogy.

Children must learn how to respectfully seek consent, how to grant consent when they want to give it and how to recognise what is not consent. Silence is not the same as an enthusiastic “Yes!” and should not be deemed as consent.

Consent is a method to help ensure that people respect individual autonomy and gender equality. These are the values behind the laws and social norms that proscribe sexual harassment and assault. Parents should teach the importance of individual autonomy and gender equality because children are then more likely to seek consent, obey the law, and act appropriately in different situations.

Individual autonomy, is the idea that everyone gets to say who can touch them and whether other sexual behaviour is welcome. If a person does not obtain permission first, he or she risks violating the other person’s individual autonomy.

Even if consent is obtained, the consent isn’t sufficient if the other person lacked the capacity to consent, because he or she was drunk, on drugs, a minor or mentally deficient. Coercion also invalidates consent, and coercion can exist when there is any sort of negative repercussion from a refusal. An example of this is physical violence.

Gender equality is the idea that people of all genders have the same rights, including the same right to individual autonomy. All people have the right to initiate sex, to say yes when invitations appeal to them and to say no when they are uninterested. Emphasising gender equality is essential. 

Although the language may differ, these principles can be discussed whether the child is 8, 12 or 16 years old. A parent can also use these principles to promote the child’s sympathy for victims of sexual misconduct – encouraging moral reasoning and appropriate behaviour.

Parents who teach their children how to be upstanders may reduce sexual misconduct by others. An upstander is someone that speaks or acts in support of another individual. Peer norms influence sexual misconduct in schools. It has been proven that young people offend less when their friends send a signal that sexual aggression or sexual misbehaviour is unacceptable and gender equality is important.

By teaching young people to be upstanders, supporting others to stand up to this behaviour and highlighting it will not be tolerated we can help create a world in which everyone respects gender equality and sexual harassment is no longer normalised.

Mental health support

Ensuring that all young people at Leigh Academy Bexley receive support for their emotional well-being is one of our key priorities this year. Leigh Academy Bexley is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week with the theme this year focusing on loneliness.

Loneliness is when we feel we do not have the meaningful relationships we want around us.  We all know what loneliness feels like and feeling lonely from time to time is a normal part of life. But when loneliness is severe or lasts a long period of time, it can negatively affect our mental health.   Dealing with loneliness can be difficult, but there are things we can do to cope and prevent some of the negative feelings and emotional health problems that come with it. The Mental Health Foundation has put together some coping strategies that can be used to deal with loneliness.

Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing

Children and Young People – Mental health problems affect approximately 1 in 10 children and young people, including depression, anxiety and conduct disorder and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.  

Alarmingly, 70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. 

The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health.  Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago.  That is probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up. 

Reference –

  • Being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • Having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors 
  • Being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
  • Going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all of its pupils
  • Taking part in local activities for young people
  • Feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • Being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
  • Being hopeful and optimistic
  • Being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
  • Accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
  • Having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
  • Feeling they have some control over their own life
  • Having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems 
  • Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, but it is still more common in adults.  Teenagers are more likely to experience depression than young children.
  • Self-harm is a very common problem among young people. Some people find it helps them to manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves, through cutting or burning, for example.  They may not wish to take their own life. 
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can cause young people to become extremely worried. Very young children or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can follow physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening or traumatising, being the victim of violence, severe bullying or surviving a disaster. 
  • ADHD: Whilst ADHD is not mental health condition but rather a neurodevelopmental condition, children who are constantly overactive (hyperactive), behave impulsively and have difficulty paying attention may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which can affect one’s mental health. 
  • Eating Disorders: The number of young people who develop an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can have serious consequences for their physical health and development. 

Mental health difficulties can make day to day living hard, affect relationships and your ability to hold down a job. There are a range of Community Mental Health Services available which aim to help you recover and achieve the things that are important to you.

Mental health can affect anyone at any time in their lives. They are very common and it is important not to be embarrassed about seeking help.

If you a dealing with a mental illness, the Community Mental Health Services aim to help you by:

  • Helping you identify and diagnose the problem
  • Helping you to feel safe
  • Offering a range of treatment options
  • Helping with your recovery
  • Getting you involved in social activities
  • Helping you to feel more independent

Community Mental Health Services are made up of social workers, community mental health nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and support staff.

Bexley CAMHS

  • Location: Erith Hospital. Park Crescent, Northumberland Heath, Erith. DA8 3EE
  • Tel: 020 3260 5200
  • Out of hours call: Please contact the SLP crisis line on 020 3228 5980 Monday to Friday 5pm-10pm and Saturday to Sunday 9am to 10pm.
  • For all other times please contact the Oxleas Urgent Advice line on 0800 330 8590
  • If the call is more urgent or there is a risk of harm please consider 111 or 999 if medical attention is required.
  • Referrals: Referrals will be accepted from professionals as well as parents/carers and self-referrals.
Referrals to Bexley CAHMS

There are various support applications, websites and charities linked below, click the buttons below to find out more information.

Calm Harm is an award-winning app developed for teenage mental health charity stem4 by Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, using the basic principles of evidence-based therapy called Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). Calm Harm provides tasks to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm. You can make it private by setting a password, and personalise the app (if you wish). You will be able to track your progress and notice change.

Calm Harm Apple App Store Calm Harm Google Play Store

Kooth is an online counselling service for young people aged 11-26.  This service is completely free for Bexley based students. Young people are able to access fully-trained counsellors in a confidential instant-messaging environment.

Kooth Website

This service provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Mind Website

This app allows young people under the age of 24 access to free, confidential health information and advice 24/7 to help them take control of their health.

NHS Go App

Leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges.  They provide support for both parents and students on dealing with mental health problems.

Young Minds website

You talk, we listen – we listen to you and help you talk through your concerns, worries and troubles.  Callers who are deaf or who have hearing or speech impairments can contact us for support by email:  or by using the Next Generation Text (NGT) service.

Samaritans website

Stem4 provides information on identification, intervention and effective management of commonly occurring teenage mental health issues.  

Stem4 website

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Support

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder, present from early childhood, characterised by great difficulty in commuting and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. 

The resources and programmes below can offer support to autistic individuals and their families.

The Autism Project is a full time 2-year employment programme for young people on theautism spectrum who would like work but need more confidence, support, skills and experience. We use a module-based learning system so students can start at the beginning of any term and can progress at a pace that best meets their individual needs. 

The Autism Project

Bexley NAS is a parent led, voluntary group, all of whom are the parents or carers of children who are on the Autistic Spectrum.  They offer a variety of social and leisure activities for autistic children and their families living within the Bexley Borough.

National Autistic Society Email the Bexley branch of NAS


The Prevent strategy, published by the Government in 2011, is part of our overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. In the Act this has simply been expressed as the need to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

The 2011 Prevent strategy has three specific strategic objectives:

  • Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it;
  • Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support;
  • Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.

As young people grow and become independent, it is not unusual for them to take risks, explore new things and push boundaries. Teenage years are often a time when young people will be searching for answers to questions about their identity, faith and belonging, as well as looking for adventure and excitement.

This can mean that they are particularly vulnerable to extremist groups, who claim to offer the answers, as well as an identity and a strong social network. Due to the fact that young people are vulnerable, extremist groups often target them using the internet and social media to spread their ideology.  There have been a number of tragic examples where young people have been misled by extremist groups, with some travelling to Syria and often becoming involved in hate crimes against minority groups.

Every member of staff at Leigh Academy Bexley is trained to know the signs of a young person who is vulnerable and possibly susceptible to becoming radicalised. As much as we educate all our young people to make the right choices in life it is impossible for us to monitor their decisions and the influences around them when they are outside of the school. It is therefore imperative that parents and carers are aware of who their children are talking to both online and face to face.

In 2016 the Government launched the website ‘Educate Against Hate’ designed to provide both parents and teachers practical advice on protecting young people from radicalisation and extremism. 

Talking to young people about terrorism incidents can be difficult and upsetting. It is natural for children to be inquisitive and to want to understand what is happening.

Educate Against Hate logo
Educate against hate website

Nude Selfies

What Parents And Carers Need To Know

‘Think you know’ have launched a series of short film clips to support parents and carers to offer advice and support on how to keep children safe from the risks associated with sharing nude and nearly nude images. 

The films are aimed to help parents and carers to:

  • Understand young people’s motivations for sending nude selfies.
  • Plan to respond positively and constructively to an incident where their child has shared a nude selfie.
  • Gain confidence and skills in initiating preventative conversations.
  • Identify risky behaviours or situations and know how to seek help.
  • Know how to get help if a child is at risk after sharing an image.

The films are based on a two-year qualitative investigation overseen by the University of Edinburgh, University of Linköping (Sweden), Innocence in Danger (Germany) and the CEOP (Command of the National Crime Agency).

Remove A Nude Image Shared Online

It can be scary finding out a nude image or video of you has been shared online. But Childline can help. Click link below to get your image or video removed from the internet.

Childline - How to remove an image shared online

Self Harm

Advice For Parents And Carers Of 13-17 Year Olds

‘Think you know’ have launched a series of short film clips to support parents and carers to offer advice and support on how to keep children safe from the risks associated with sharing nude and nearly nude images. 

The films are aimed to help parents and carers to:

  • Understand young people’s motivations for sending nude selfies.
  • Plan to respond positively and constructively to an incident where their child has shared a nude selfie.
  • Gain confidence and skills in initiating preventative conversations.
  • Identify risky behaviours or situations and know how to seek help.
  • Know how to get help if a child is at risk after sharing an image.

Sexual harassment online is any unwanted sexual comments or actions aimed at a person and may be something that impacts on a young person although they are not directly involved. Examples include:

  • editing photos to make them sexual
  • sharing sexual gossip or rumours online
  • offensive sexual language or name calling online
  • sharing someone else’s sexual images online or threatening to do so
  • receiving unwanted sexual requests, comments or images

Below you will find a guide produced by Childline on how to support your child around the issue of sexual harassment.

Childline - How to support your child guide

Self Harm Support

Calm Harm-Self Harm App

Calm Harm encourages users to break the pattern of self-harm early in its development. It provides a range of suitable activities to suit different ages based on the underlying reasons for self-harm, encourages self-monitoring and provides the opportunity to start to learn alternative and safe ways to deal with distress.

The app provides users with four categories of tasks based on the main causes of self-harm:

  • Distract: Helps to combat the urge by learning self-control
  • Comfort: Helps to care rather than harm
  • Express: Gets those feelings out in a different way
  • Release: Provides safe alternatives to self-injury

The app also includes a breathing technique to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and allow users to stay in the moment. 

Calm Harm is an aid to help young people manage and resist the urge to self-harm and is not intended to replace treatment. It is essential that a young person who is self-harming takes the steps to access appropriate treatment. 

Child And Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – Bexley

If you are a parent and you have concerns about your child’s mental health, please contact 0203 260 5200 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Please contact the SLP crisis line on 020 3228 5980 Monday to Friday 5pm to 10pm and Saturday to Sunday 9am to 10pm.

For all other times please contact the Oxleas Urgent Advice line on 0800 330 8590. Please also note that support is available via Kooth(external link)

Provides mental health assessment and treatment services to children, young people and their families/carers living in the borough of Bexley.

It also provides advice, consultation and support to the other individuals and agencies involved in children’s care. The service is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and with some additional early morning and evening clinics.

Childline - How to support your child guide

Useful Links

Safe Met Police Think U Know CEOP Report