Ofsted reduces focus on safeguarding

October 20, 2011 1:51 pm

The release of the new draft inspection framework by Ofsted has implications for schools’ safeguarding procedures.

Safeguarding was a separate judgement in the last framework and ‘the effectiveness of safeguarding procedures’ came under leadership and management. It was also given the status of being a ‘limiting judgement’, so if a school was inadequate against this, then overall effectiveness was likely to be inadequate too.

however in the new framework, limiting judgements no longer exist and safeguarding no longer has its own section.    Instead under the leadership and management judgement in the new Ofsted framework, school leaders are required to demonstrate that they ensure that all pupils are safe. Inspectors will be looking for evidence that school leaders and managers at all levels manage safeguarding arrangements to ensure that there is safe recruitment, and that there are effective procedures in place to identify children in need or at risk of significant harm.  To qualify as ‘outstanding’ in this aspect of leadership and management, the school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils must ‘meet statutory requirements and give no cause for concern’. The same phrase is used for ‘good’ and ‘satisfactory’ schools. Schools will register as ‘inadequate’ if safeguarding arrangements do not meet statutory requirements and give serious cause for concern.

It is therefore clear that the emphasis on safeguarding has been reduced in the new evaluation schedule.

Also , under the government’s School health and safety guidance (issued in August 2011)   risk assessments do not now have to be completed for every activity. In fact, Health & Safety: Department for Education Advice on Legal Duties and Powers for Local Authorities, Head Teachers, Staff and Governing Bodies emphasises that risk assessments need not be routinely carried out or repeated for similar activities. However, an assessment should be completed for any new activity that includes an element of risk.

The changes will be overseen by the  newly-appointed chief inspector of schools , Sir Michael Wilshaw who hopes to improve standards by cracking down on “ineffective” teachers.   He said “very robust” performance management systems were needed.  From January, he will head Ofsted and its new streamlined inspection framework, which will emphasise four key areas – pupil achievement, teaching standards, behaviour and school leadership.  He has been described as traditional in his approach to improving standards at the London school of which he was head.   BBC News: Academy head named Ofsted chief

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