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
A number of organisations have raised significant concerns about the impact of the new safeguarding legislation as the Protection of Freedoms Bill moves through the committee stage.
The NSPCC has prepared a parliamentary briefing, which has led to an ammedment that retains the age of a child as being under 18, not under 16 as originally proposed. Now the Faith sector, led by The Christian Forum for Safeguarding and Fairplay for Children have added their concerns. The points raised in these documents are outlined below and are covered in detail at our briefing events. Continue reading 'Voluntary & Faith Sectors concern over new legislation'»
Details are emerging about the full extent of the largest internet paedophile ring yet discovered as an international team led from the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) shuts it down. After a three-year investigation it has now been made public that the global forum had 70,000 followers at its height, leading to 4,000 intelligence reports being sent to police across 30 countries.
‘Operation Rescue’ has so far identified 670 suspects and 230 abused children. In the UK, the 240 those suspects include police officers, teachers, karate teacherand a woman.To date, 33 have been convicted, including John McMurdo, a scout leader from Plymouth. Another forum user was Stephen Palmer, 54, of Birkenhead, who shared abuse images with contacts in the US. A third man, 46-year-old Colin Hoey Brown of Bromsgrove, was jailed for making and distributing almost 1,000 images. Continue reading 'CEOP lead paedophile ring shutdown'»
An alliance of Sports Governing Bodies are challenging the new definition of Regulated Activity that is emerging from study of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Some of the proposed details are open to interpretation and will have significant impact on established practice and policies. For instance :
- Regulated Activity will no longer include any supervised teaching, training or instruction. In a sporting context, this requires clear definition. as the environment is so different to a school. The Faith sector are also likely to be unhappy with the implications of this change.
- Current proposals are that only the applicant will receive the CRB disclosure. Clarity is needed on how National Sports Governing Bodies, and other professional regulators will receive this
- There will be a charge for the updating service. How this will work for volunteers and whether they will still be able to get checks for free is not clear.
Continue reading 'Sport challenges safeguarding changes'»
The Protection of Freedoms Bill is the first time that a new element called a “Public Reading Stage” will be introduced. It means that members of the public can comment directly on clauses of the Bill. These comments should contribute to the points made by MPs across all parties during the debates and committee stages – so it is an important opportunity.
The website can be found here – http://publicreadingstage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk – do add your perspectives with practical examples from your sector as this a very complex area which has been subject to sweeping misrepresentation in the media. Since only very low level stakeholder engagement is likely this is the best opportunity to amend some aspects of the legislation such as the availability of disclosures, scope of regulated activity and the level of guidance available.
Also register with us so that you receive our briefing papers on each of these topics and more.
Volunteering England, Fair play for Children, NACRO, NSPCC and Barnados are among those who have commented about the impact of the new disclosure and vetting laws on volunteering. Continue reading 'Mixed response from voluntary sector'»
Details of the new Criminal Records regime will be announced today as part of the all encompassing Protection of Freedoms Bill. Points that are likely to emerge when it is published are:
- The need for checks to be drastically reduced to ‘common sense’ levels -now it will only apply to those who have the most close and regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, such as professional childcare workers or teachers. The total number who will need to undergo background checks will halve to around 4.5million, although who this includes does not appear to have been defined judging from the interview given by Nick Clegg his morning on BBC.
- Continual updating and portability will be enabled so that teachers and care home workers who do require checks will have their records constantly updated. This is seen as a key benefit and was already planned in by CRB.
- The content of CRBs will be reviewed – for instance the changes will also drastically cut the use of ‘soft intelligence’ when examining a person’s history. Unproven allegations will only be placed on a person’s record if a Chief Constable believes they are true.
Checks that are unnecessary and which breach an employee’s privacy could be referred to the data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner, and any employer found knowingly to have requested an unlawful check could face fines running to thousands of pounds. This will prevent the over zealous use of CRBs such as the school in Warrington that would not be allowed into the premises to see their children.
- the Independent Safeguarding Authority will be merged with the Criminal Records Bureau. Continue reading 'Reduced CRB regime announced'»
On BBC News, Mark Williams-Thomas a ex-policeman and specialist in child safeguarding gave the following interview:
Click to play
See also our page tracking stakeholder comments
An article in the Telegraph pre-empts the announcement about the results of the criminal records regime review by Sunita Mason and the parallel one into the Vetting & Barring Scheme. Headline: “An anti-paedophile vetting scheme that would have involved nine million adults will be ripped up next week in a major reworking of how background checks are conducted.” Continue reading 'CRB & ISA to merge into new body'»