Safeguarding Policy

Last Modified: 1st Sep, 2021

TeachMeNow (TMN) is an online learning platform (Platform) providing an end-to-end experience by connecting students and mentors as per their convenience and availability and providing them with the tools that they need to enhance their learning journey.

TMN is not just a platform driven by technology. It’s also a community consisting of hundreds of mentors who are approved to provide their services based on their teaching credentials and experience.

TMN is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young people and mentors. We recognise our responsibility to make sure our staff, operations and programs do not harm children and adults, nor expose them to abuse, or exploitation, including online or via mobile phones. We acknowledge our responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and use of the TMN Platform and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation.

All young people, whatever their age, culture, gender, language, race, religious belief, sexual identity, and ability should be entitled to receive the benefit of learning in a safe online environment.

All mentors, given that they will be working with young people, will be recruited with regard to their suitability for that responsibility, and will be required to undertake a mandatory induction, receive safeguarding training and guidance to ensure they work within a professional code of conduct and behave in accordance with this TMN Safeguarding Policy;

TMN is driven by a singular purpose - to put a quality learning platform within the reach of every learner and it will ensure that reasonable steps are taken to protect young people from harm, discrimination, abuse and exploitation.

1. Scope of this Policy

1.1 TMN operates an online learning service that works with a global community of students and mentors where sessions are delivered online via the Platform, as follows:

(a) 1:1 mentoring session; and

(b) One to many group sessions.

1.2 This Policy outlines the online safeguarding actions that Mentors, students, parents and legal guardians, and other users of the Platform must undertake to protect users of the Platform, in particular children. The Policy must be adhered to by all the users of the TMN Platform.

2. The purpose of this Policy is to

2.1Safeguard all TMN Platform users, in particular children;

2.2Ensure all TMN staff, partners and customers are aware of their safeguarding requirements and responsibilities;

2.3Ensure that parents/legal guardians have an understanding that the responsibility for ensuring child protection is a joint effort and they play a crucial supporting role in managing and monitoring student and mentor behavior;

2.4Ensure a vetting process is followed for individuals that are permitted to carry out regulated activities with children; and

2.5Outline clear guidance on how to address concerns, allegations and complaints against staff working with children.

3. Designated Safeguarding Lead

3.1TMN has appointed a senior staff member with relevant experience and qualifications as a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) to be responsible for matters related to child protection and safety. The DSL's role directly reports to the senior management committee of TMN.

3.2The DSL may be reached by email at safeguarding@teachmenow.com.

4. DSL Responsibilities

The DSL's primary responsibilities include:

(a)Being the first point of contact for all members of TMN staff, partners, students, mentors and parents in matters of child safeguarding;

(b)Ensuring safe onboarding policies are followed by all TMN staff, partners and Mentors;

(c)Offering support, advice, and expertise to staff as required in matters of child safeguarding;

(d)Maintaining association with relevant external agencies;

(e)Ensuring timely investigation and reporting of actual, alleged and suspected child safeguarding incidents; and

(f)Ensuring members of TMN staff and partners:

(i)have familiarized themselves with internal/external guidance on child safeguarding protection.

(ii)have read, understood and comply with TMN policies and relevant processes.

5. Mentor Onboarding Process

5.1TMN follows a strict vetting process for all mentors being onboarded the TMN Platform.

5.2As part of the registration process the mentor is required to clear all mandatory checks including:

(a)Identity verification,

(b)Academic / vocational qualifications,

(c)Previous employment history,

(d)Current employment reference,

(e)Face-to-face / video interview,

(f)Clearance with respect to police checks or equivalent barred lists (e.g. Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check); and

(g)Self-declaration with respect to any disqualifications from working with children.

6. Recording of class sessions

6.1All class sessions shall be recorded and maintained online for a period of 1 year for the purposes of incident investigations and compliance monitoring. These recordings shall only be accessible by the DSL and its team. Records may be disclosed to students involved in the investigated incident and their respective parents and/or legal guardians and, where necessary, law enforcement agencies and/or TMN's regulator(s).

6.2Recordings shall not be used for any other purpose.

6.3TMN may create copies of the recordings for the purpose of meeting its safeguarding obligations. Access, downloads and copying shall be subject to:

(a)the creation of appropriate access logs being maintained for all recordings;

(b)appropriate controls being implemented to prevent unauthorized tampering or modification of recordings and to protect their integrity and quality.

7. Safeguarding responsibilities while using TMN Platform

7.1TMN Mentors shall:

(a)Ensure that their environment does not display any inappropriate images, personal items, or documentation capable of being viewed by the student when conducting a Session (Note: Displaying pornographic material in the presence of minors constitutes an offence under law);

(b)Treat students fairly, without prejudice or discrimination regardless of culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity, and not harm the student’s wellbeing;

(c)Not utilize language that is inappropriate, offensive or discriminatory;

(d)Not make improper suggestions to a student or send unsolicited communications to the student; their legal guardian/parents or any other member of their family;

(e)Not display or circulate literature, images, videos, audio or any other media containing pornography, violence, narcotics, gangs or radicalization using the TMN Platform;

(f)Not share personal contact information;

(g)Not ask personally identifiable information of students or any other information not relevant to the topic of the class session;

(h)Not communicate, or ask to communicate, with students; their legal guardians/parents or any other member of their family outside of the Platform and sessions;

(i)Report any inappropriate behavior or illegal activity by any user, identified within a lesson session by a student or third party, to the TMN DSL;

(j)Report any inappropriate behavior or illegal activity by any of the participant, identified within a lesson session by the TMN Mentor, to the TMN DSL;

(i)the Mentor, depending on the severity of the incident, should request the student to refrain from such behavior. If the violation is grave in nature or the behavior continues the Mentor should terminate the session and report the matter to the TMN DSL immediately.

(ii)If inappropriate content such as literature, images, videos, audio or any other media containing pornography, violence, drugs or radicalization and gangs are shared or displayed during the session, the Mentor should request the student to refrain from such behavior. If the behavior continues the Mentor should terminate the session and report the matter to the TMN DSL immediately.

(iii)If the Mentor witnesses any form of physical or sexual abuse firsthand by or against any student, they should immediately notify TMN DSL.

(iv)Depending on the severity of the incident the TMN DSL will decide if the matter should be referred to the relevant authorities.

7.2TMN Students shall:

(a)Treat the Mentor with respect and fairness, and not subject them to abusive behavior or language;

(b)Not disclose any personal details, personal sensitive information or contact details with the mentor;

(c)Not make any improper suggestions to the mentor, or send unsolicited communications to the mentor;

(d)Not display or circulate literature, images, videos, audio or other media on pornography, violence, narcotics or radicalization and gangs using TMN Platform;

(i)If a student witnesses any such behavior from fellow participants or the mentor, they should disconnect from the class session and report the matter to TMN immediately (Note: Displaying adult pornographic material in the presence of minors constitutes an offence under law)

(e)Not disrupt class sessions by any means, or perform activities that will not allow the Mentor to conduct the session;

(f)Promptly report any defamatory, offensive, racist, or illegal content they come across on the TMN Platform;

(g)Have no inappropriate communication with the Mentor;

(h)Report any dispute with a Mentor to the TMN DSL either directly or through their parents or legal guardian.

(i)Report any inappropriate behavior/language or illegal activity by a Mentor to TMN DSL either directly or through their parents or legal guardian;

(i)If the behavior is of a sexual nature and directed towards a student or related to narcotics, the student should immediately terminate the session and notify the TMN DSL immediately, either themselves or via a parent or legal guardian.

Depending on the severity of the incident the TMN DSL will decide if the matter should be referred to the relevant authorities.

(ii)If a report is made against one of the Mentors, the student and the legal guardian/parent should make no further contact with that Mentor, until the complaint has been investigated and resolved by TMN. Attempts of unsolicited contact by the Mentor, after termination of the tutoring sessions should be reported to TMN.

7.3TMN Legal Guardian/Parent shall ensure the following:

(a)For students below the age of 21 years, TMN follows a consent mechanism, whereby the legal parent/guardian must:

(i)Be responsible for the selection of the Mentor and ensure the Mentor is suitable for the student's required needs.

(ii)Consent to the student’s use of the TMN Platform,

(iii)Accept the Platform “Terms of Use” and the “Privacy Policy” on behalf of the student.

(b)Ensure student is aware of this TMN Safeguarding Policy and adheres to TMN Platform's “Terms of Use”.

(c)Ensure Mentors are treated with respect and not subjected to abuse or inappropriate behavior or language by the student.

(d)Choose to be present and monitor the lesson session if they consider it appropriate.

(e)Provide a suitable, safe and disruption-free physical environment for the student to participate in the session.

(f)Be aware that the sessions are recorded and explain to their child that session recording is taking place.

(g)Report any inappropriate behavior, comments, or illegal activity by the Mentor towards any student to TMN:

(i)If the legal guardian/parent witnesses inappropriate behavior towards the student from the Mentor or a fellow student they should speak to the Mentor and terminate the session immediately;

(ii)If the incident involves inappropriate behavior that is of sexual nature or associated with violence, gangs, narcotics or radicalization, the legal guardian/parent should terminate the session immediately and report the matter to TMN DSL;

(iii)If the legal guardian/parent has been notified (not witnessed) of inappropriate behavior, they should report the alleged incident to TMN's DSL;

In all cases, the legal guardian/parent should report the matter to the TMN DSL, to ensure session recordings are preserved for investigations;

(h)Report any unsolicited communications by the Mentor to the student and/or any other person (e.g. parent/legal guardian, or other family member) to TMN;

(i)Report to TMN any contact by Mentor to the student, parent/legal guardian or any other family member, outside of the Platform; and

(j)Report any dispute with the Mentor to TMN.

8. Incident Reporting

8.1All incidents that fall under the scope of this Safeguarding Policy shall be reported by the aggrieved party in first instance to safeguarding@teachmenow.com, where it will be directed to the TMN DSL.

8.2TMN DSL shall register the complaint and send a confirmation of the registration to the concerned person.

8.3The complaint will be categorised as per its severity and escalated accordingly.

8.4The TMN DSL will investigate the incident. The investigation may include the following activities:

(a)Review of session recordings.

(b)Review of message history between users.

(c)Interview of parties involved.

(d)Cross-examine / validate evidence with data from session recordings and other sources.

8.5Whilst the complaint is being reviewed and investigated, the user against whom the complaint has been raised shall have their account suspended

8.6Based on the findings of the investigation, TMN DSL shall take all necessary actions, including one or more of the following:

(a)Continue to suspend the user’s account.

(b)Terminate the user’s account and ban the individual from the Platform permanently.

(c)Report the incident to relevant law enforcement and/or safeguarding authorities.