Shocking goings on by Megan Stammer's school

(90 Posts)
Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 15:48:44

If all the press reports are accurate.

The school and County Council / LA claim they have been investigating the relationhip between Forrest and the girl since a pull brought it to thier attention, and reports say he was to be suspended on Friday. And yet the girls mother had not been told of any of this, and thought she was simply attending maths coaching. Why would they investigate an inappropriate relationship between a child and a staff member and not tell the child's parents?

The school has recently been involved in a 'grooming' and unlawful sex case involving 2 other girls and a male teacher.

One of the Governors was charged in June with numerous (38) sex offences involving children and young teens dating back to the 60s and 70s. Despite the fact that he was suspended by the CoE when these allegations came to lighht, he was allowed to remain a school governor - "At the time the headteacher at the school Terry Boatwright reassured parents that the allegations were historical, dating back more than 40-years in some cases and were not connected with the school."

Terrible, terrible safeguarding lapses all round.



out2lunch Tue 25-Sep-12 15:49:38

how awful

Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 15:52:14

And the diocese responsible for Sussex (where the school is) has been found to be so irresponsible that it has had it's powers withdrawn by the Archbishop of Canterbury here

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 25-Sep-12 15:54:04

Although I am not sure if they will apply in this case, remember that there are strict rules regarding confidentiality.

If she had wanted the morning after pill, for example, or an abortion, her parents do not have to be told. That could also be true in this case. It could be that they couldn't, legally, tell her mum, that she knew and didn't want her mum to know, or that they told another adult instead.

Or it could be that the school has real issues, in which case I hope that they are sorted out quickly and efficiently, for the safety of the other children.

We rarely get all the facts in these cases.

scaevola Tue 25-Sep-12 15:57:22

I doubt we shall learn more about what the school and other relevant authorities did or didn't do in this case until she is safely back.

They may be keeping the back story confidential for good reason at this stage.

But if they had concerns about the relationship why the hell was she still having private coaching sessions at school?

All very odd.

lack of communcaiton perhaps

i spose they can't act quickly

DogsCock Tue 25-Sep-12 16:00:58

That is interesteing that the telegraph are using the term 'paedophile' in the recent grooming case of the 2 girls. They were 15 and 16 at the time. Yet on the other long running thread about Megan there is huge argument that if Forrester has slept with Megan, he is not a paedophile. A Paedophile, according to the other thread is pre-pubescent children. All very interesting.

Northernlurkerisbackatwork Tue 25-Sep-12 16:01:15

I don't understand why he hadn't been suspended as soon as the allegations were made. Surely that would have been more appropriate? The suggestion is that the allegations were made months ago.

scaevola Tue 25-Sep-12 16:01:46

Just sloppy reporting.

just because it is a broadsheet does not make the reporting any better than The Tabloids

Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 16:02:57

I understand there are confidentiality rules about things, but if the school believed that a teacher was behaving inappropriately with an under-age pupil (or any pupil, really, given the position of trust) shouldn't the parents of that child be told? because in that case - unlike a request for contraception where she is un-coerced - she is a victim of that inappropriate attention.

Had Megan's mother known she might have thought twice before allowing her dd out on a sleepover without double checking her whereabouts.

hattifattner Tue 25-Sep-12 16:03:43

you couldn't make it up. shock

I think the difference between the pill scenario and this is that going on the pill at 15 is not illegal. Having sex with a minor when you are in a position of power is very wrong indeed. I cant imagine why the parents were not informed.

piprabbit Tue 25-Sep-12 16:06:00

Exit - that's exactly why parents should be informed, so that they can then take additional steps to protect their child. If they had known, perhaps they would have decided to stop her additional coaching, or monitor her internet access more closely.
As it was, they seem to have been left in ignorance, and their DD may have been made more vulnerable because of it.

scaevola Tue 25-Sep-12 16:07:38

The authorities are not confirming when the investigation started, nor anything about it.

Although various anonymous parents and pupils have said they thought there was something going on from early this year, there has been nothing to say it was actually reported at that stage.

The important thing now is to get them back. Witch hunting Investigating the investigation for lessons to be learned can wait.

Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 16:08:02

Slarty - I work in an organisation where we have strict safeguarding rules and acting quickly is exactly what we are told to do. Quickly in terms of suspension or removing contact - not quickly in terms of coming to conclusions or sacking someone etc..

Suspensions are to remove any risk or alleged risk while invetigation takes place. Which is why the priest charged with sex offences should have been suspended from the governors.

Blu Tue 25-Sep-12 16:09:45

scav - anonymously in the press (it would need to be), but students with their parents present have said that they reported it in July.

scaevola Tue 25-Sep-12 16:11:32

Ah, hadn't caught those reports (only seen SKY, who have just been more circumspect).

BabeRuthless Tue 25-Sep-12 16:33:47

What struck me this morning was a Sky reporter talking about how he'd been speaking to pupils. I'd be absolutely furious if my child was being stopped by a reporter & quizzed on the way into school. Teenagers are hardly the most circumspect of people and I think it's pretty shabby of any news organisation to be getting them to gossip like this.

edam Tue 25-Sep-12 17:19:46

It certainly sounds as if the school has failed in its duty to safeguard the welfare of pupils, in several different cases. Appalling.

JaneH99 Tue 25-Sep-12 22:52:36

Forgive me there are a number of misguided and subject illiterate postings here.

Q1 - How many parents have read the child protection policy of the school in which you have placed your child/ren?

Q2 - If as I suspect almost none of you have - why not?

Q3 - Are you aware that there is no mandatory requirement on any school to refer allegations of abuse or witnessed abuse up to and including rape of a child by an adult on school premises to the LADO (do non teaching parents know what or who the LADO is?) police or social services?

Now at this point I feel a member of the teaching profession will be reaching for the keyboard - please don't just read on. Your intended contradiction would be wrong because if you think I am wrong (who wouldn't - my statement is so contra intuitive) then you will have been mislead in your whole school / Designated officer training by whichever training organisation provided it to you. Sadly this is the default.

Please refer to P444. para. b) of "Child Abuse : Law and policy across boundaries" by Prof Laura Hoyano + Dr Caroline Keenan which says :

Professional identification of child maltreatment

There is no mandatory reporting law in England and Wales. The ‘Review of Child Care Law’ which preceded the Children Act 1989 concluded that ‘the shadow of near automatic reporting’ would raise ‘barriers between clients and their professional advisor's and even between professionals concerned in the same case’ which could actually hinder the process of child protection.

In other words it was the medical profession which knackered child abuse being reported to someone independent of the setting for independent assessment.

Another location which explains clearly the statutory framework is here :

Please look at paragraph 5 page #3.

So when you drop you DD/DS off at school tomorrow - please appreciate they have no statutory right to have any allegation or alleged or actual witnessed abuse reported to the LADO, police or social services.

Unless a school commits in writing in their child protection policy to 'inform' all allegations to the LADO, your child (and you) has absolutely no rights to have allegations passed to the LADO for independent assessment.

And a final thought. If you think it will never happen to your child and family, you will join the large number of parents who used to think just like you, and I imagine this probably includes the distraught parents of Megan Stammers.

Roseformeplease Tue 25-Sep-12 22:57:00

Maybe subject illiterate but yours is just illiterate, Jane.

JaneH99 Tue 25-Sep-12 23:01:15

You may wish to read tomorrow's Daily Mail. I understand there is a substantial article providing its not bumped. The school, the LA, and the Governors have many difficult questions to answer. But for now the priority is Megan and Mr Forrest.

Roseformeplease Tue 25-Sep-12 23:10:13

Not a chance in hell I will read tomorrow's Daily Mail, or the next day's or any other. Do you know them? Just seems odd to refer to him as Mr Forrest.

clam Tue 25-Sep-12 23:22:22

Slightly off-topic I know, but can anyone tell me how it would apparently be OK for the school to prescribe, via a school nurse, the morning-after pill without my knowledge, but refuse to administer paracetamol even if I've verbally sanctioned it over the phone?

Roseformeplease Tue 25-Sep-12 23:28:22

Don't really know but am guessing one was sanctioned by a medical professional who was then responsible for their action and trained. The other would be administered by a teacher or TA who would not be trained and might be uncomfortable with you diagnosing over the phone.

clam Tue 25-Sep-12 23:33:11

But my point is that I have to give written permission for them to give paracetamol to dd (who suffers from migraines), yet it would appear that not only do they not need my permission for the morning-after pill, but they actively will not even inform me that she might have had it.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 10:52:47

Jane - all v informative.

I doubt there is any assumption that it could not happen to any of us - our concern is exactly that it COULD, As well as concern that is has happened to this girl. And I do not see that discussion, which illuminates these issues, and asks questions, is in any way an impediment to the urgency of finding Megan.

As for reading a school's safeguarding policy, I can read my child's school's policy online, and will do so to check it's consistency with what you say. However, it seems, if the BBC are reporting accurately, that the school in question was not so transparent here

And what about allowing a person charged with 38 sexual offences to remain on the board of governors? How does that fit in with a good safeguarding policy?

I think it is important to raise these questions as they arise - because once it is all quiet agian, hopefully soon, with Megan safely back at home, the long drawn out behind the scenes investigations and recommendations will not get the publicity. Whereas now, many many organisations and parents will be thinking 'there but for the grace of god' and checking their policies and practices.

Debate or discussing apparant and alledged breaches in practice is not a witch hunt.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 11:17:27

Yes, there is a big article in the DM - here

It suggests / alledges that police ahd already interviewed Megan and Forrest and asked for their phones.

Can the police interview minors and take their property without parents knowing?

amidaiwish Wed 26-Sep-12 11:52:52

clam don't start me off
in the summer DD2 has bad hayfever
i have to come to the school at lunchtime to administer it to her myself! like i have nothing better to do...
they will only give it to her if on prescription, the doctor will only prescribe benadryl which is useless. piriton is the only one that gives her any relief. grrrrrr

amidaiwish Wed 26-Sep-12 11:57:44

so the school knew
her friends knew
the police knew
everyone but her parents
@&%$! i would be going ballistic. something is seriously wrong with this policy regarding a 15 year old, no? It's illegal for starters.

meditrina Wed 26-Sep-12 12:03:55

"Can the police interview minors and take their property without parents knowing?"

Yes, to interview (but an appropriate adult must be present): property, I don't know.

I think that the burgeoning number of incomplete accounts is unlikely to add clarity to what on earth happened before they vanished. I hope there will be a proper investigation idc.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 12:05:23

Interesting that a school can and will contact SS at the merest hint of abuse at home (and righfully so - IMO) but can apparantly have detailed knowledge of unlawful treatment of a minor by one of their own employees and the parents can not know!!

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 12:08:56

"I think that the burgeoning number of incomplete accounts is unlikely to add clarity to what on earth happened before they vanished"

True - and there is the need to protect Megan's privacy, too, plenty needs to remain rightfully confidential.

But I think many of us will be wanting to understand our rights and responsibilities wrt safeguarding, and what we can expect from a genuinely robust system.

edam Wed 26-Sep-12 13:20:57

Oh sh*t, so the Mail thinks they ran away the day after they were questioned by police? Really hope that's an exaggeration. Otherwise the police will have an awful lot of questions to answer as well as the school and county council...

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:09:34

'And what about allowing a person charged with 38 sexual offences to remain on the board of governors? How does that fit in with a good safeguarding policy?'

Out of everything, this is the thing that horrifies me most of all. I'm a governor, and I cannot believe for one second that anyone on my governing body would remain if someone else on the body had been facing such allegations. Even if they turned out to be innocent, I cannot understand why any headteacher/head of governors would allow them to remain in post. It would make a mockery of safeguarding and child protection policies.

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:10:33

'so the school knew
her friends knew
the police knew
everyone but her parents'

I'm not convinced that they didn't know. I find it impossible that they would not.

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:11:33

Just realised my post sounds a bit confusing. What I mean is, I can't imagine anyone on my governing body would want to remain in post if the person accused of sex offences was retained.

JaneH99 Wed 26-Sep-12 14:36:04


And what about allowing a person charged with 38 sexual offences to remain on the board of governors? How does that fit in with a good safeguarding policy?

It has already been reported in the link that follows, that Rideout's CRB indicated he was a risk to children in 2010.

Rideout's CRB report clearly indicated to the school that he was a risk. But the decision to appoint him as Chairman of Governors falls to the school having accounted for the information in the CRB. Surprisingly perhaps, a poor CRB does not automatically bar a candidate from a job - it is for the school / setting to decide. And lets not forget the Chairmanship of Governors requires an enhanced CRB providing maximum detail, and Rideout was arrested in 2002 about multiple complaints.

He was appointed as Chairman of Bishop Bell School with the Board knowing that this made him statutorily responsible for child protection at the school. It is an example of spectacular incompetence.

A great deal more will likely emerge when Megan Stammers is found.

edam Wed 26-Sep-12 14:39:03

Someone further down the thread said the (CofE) school is in a diocese that was stripped of its responsiblity for safeguarding after a series of failures. Maybe that context is relevant in the governors choosing a chair who was accused of sex offences. I'm a governor and I'm astonished this happended.

MissM Wed 26-Sep-12 14:49:47

Me too Edam. Astonished that it happened, and astonished that it wasn't commented on in an Ofsted report, as Ofsted must look at safeguarding policies. Also astonished that he could have continued, given that the allegations against him could have easily been known by any parent or teacher at the school.

Blu Wed 26-Sep-12 17:37:00

Jane: I agree. And the situation wrt the Canon is worse than I originally thought, as your link demonstrates.

I did know that it is for an employer or other body to do a risk assessment on the outcome of a CRB check rather than it being a ban per se. Indeed I have been presented with a less than squeaky clean enhanced CRB and in accountable consultation and decision making come to the conclusion that the material disclosed is indeed of no relevance or risk in the context of the role. But for a school to take that decision about someone investigated for multiple sex offences and about the person with ultimate responsibility for safeguarding robs them of any credibility whatsoever.

There must have been parental disquiet, surely ofsted would have been, or should have been aware?

It will all come out. idc.

gallifrey Wed 26-Sep-12 22:24:32

I am horrified, I live near Bishop Bell school and it has a really good reputation and is one of the best schools in eastbourne.
I shall certainly think about whether I want to send my daughter there now.

edam Wed 26-Sep-12 23:13:36

The parents of children at Bishop Bell presumably didn't know that the chair of governors had a dodgy CRB check that revealed accusations of multiple cases of abuse.

Council spokespeople and the local MP (who refused to investigate when tipped off by a child protection expert that the school were refusing to publish their safeguarding policy) are claiming Ofsted said that safeguarding policy was great. No idea whether that's true but even if it was, it's just another arm of officialdom that has failed the children at that school and Megan in particular.

When I've worked on patient safety, experts have spoken of the swiss cheese analogy - that you need a system that stops the holes in the cheese lining. Things will never be perfect, but your system should make sure individual failings don't add up into something huge. This school - senior staff and governors - council, police force, MP, Ofsted, all seem to have been dangerously complacent about safeguarding. Repeatedly.

MissM Thu 27-Sep-12 09:41:26

Absolutely Edam. Presumably the headteacher did know about the CRB check, or at the very least the local authority did. The complacency is horrifying, especially in light of what's in the news today about the Rochdale case.

meditrina Thu 27-Sep-12 09:50:03

If the governor was exonerated from previous charges, then there is no reason why he should not continue. What I find baffling is that he was not suspended whilst further charges were pending (trial soon, isn't there?)

Not having their policy on line isn't a key point. Nor is not sending it out on demand to a campaigner unconnected with the school. The key point is whether it exists, is adequate and was followed. We don't know the answers to any of those yet (though there are assertions that it exists, and I tend to believe them as OFSTED would have noticed a total absence). It's adequacy, and whether it was followed must surely be investigated now. And it is in the public interest for findings to be published, but I've no idea how long that would reasonably take.

diddl Thu 27-Sep-12 09:54:54

Bit OT here-sorry, but if she has gone with him willingly-is it still kidnap because she´s only 15 & no consent from parents?

MissM Thu 27-Sep-12 10:20:47

Schools must have a safeguarding policy by law, so I have no doubt that they had one, or that it was potentially a good one (obviously can't judge that). As far as I'm aware the governor wasn't exonerated from previous charges, and had actually been suspended by the church as a result of the charges being brought. If a teacher had charges like that brought against them (or even allegations), they would be suspended without any further ado. Something has gone very wrong somewhere.

Bongaloo Thu 27-Sep-12 10:27:33

gallifrey, isn't the school known for excelling in maths?
(....except now the maths teacher's run off).

gallifrey Thu 27-Sep-12 10:48:11

Bongaloo ironically yes it is known for excelling in maths!

JaneH99 Thu 27-Sep-12 11:36:55

A number of posters have indicated that the school had a child protection policy, and that Ofsted said the schools safeguarding policy was ‘outstanding.’

1.Each school is responsible for creating its own child protection policy. Policies are not prescriptive, and so each is likely to be different. School seek ‘guidance’ from their local safeguarding children’s boards BUT – schools are not obligated to follow the guidance and most child protection policies are worthless because they do not undertake in writing to refer allegations.
2.In my post @22.53 on the 25th Sept – I provided the evidence that no school is mandated to report allegations or witnessed abuse of a child by an adult. As a result of an absence of law requiring a school to make a referral, a child who is allegedly or actually abused does not have the right for the abuse s/he has experienced to be reported to the LADO / Police.

In order for a child to be afforded this moral expectation and human right, all schools should engross the following commitment into their policies ‘The school will inform the local authority designated officer (LADO) immediately an allegation is made.’ This could not be clearer and is a powerful written undertaking to children, their parents, that if broken the school administration can be held to account. It also supports good teachers.

This is the approach the LONDON SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN’S BOARD which has taken a rather tougher approach on ‘reporting’ than most other SCB’s see clause 15.2.1. on page 443 of its current guidance by following this link - the first .pdf file dated 4 April 2011.

But now here is the oddity. Few schools take any notice of the guidance, because they do not have to and there is no law mandating a school to adopt guidance or make a referral, which makes parent pressure on schools to include this clause into their policies vital. If it is not there, the school is obligated to do nothing. If it is there, under contract law, the school is obligated to report. Successive governments have failed children for decades.

See look below screen to "Campaigner calls for more robust child protection policies 02:20"

Ofsted inspection : On the 19th May 2010 C4 News broadcast a 10 minute film on the child protection inspection failures of Ofsted naming 9 schools at which Ofsted had failed to inspect against or report upon failures in safeguarding. One school involved 5 members of staff over a couple of years having sex with multiple pupils. Each report described the schools safeguarding in glowing terms. The schools inspectorates are not up to the task – and in December 11 Ofsted announced its new inspection framework – having realised it had been discovered to be safeguarding incompetent – which expunged inspection of safeguarding from its school inspections. Do a word search on child protection and then safeguarding – it’ll take only a few seconds. Clause #67 is ‘window dressing.’ All you will find is - Para #24 which is interesting because it states one must bring a concern to the attention of Ofsted for it to do anything. This makes clear that Ofsted will not go in search of child protection issues.

So who is now inspecting safeguarding in schools?

Search me!

Very odd. When I was teaching a music teacher was marched off the premises the day an allegation if an inappropriate relationship was made. He was suspended forthwith. Find it bizarre that someone would be 'due to be suspended'.

JaneH99 Thu 27-Sep-12 12:05:08

Yes - 'due to be suspended' has a certain odour about it. Seven months having passed and he was only recently 'due to be suspended.'

What we need to know is the date these matters were allegedly referred to the three separate teachers by the pupils, who did the teachers then inform at the school and on what date. When did Mr Boatwright first receive these referrals and most importantly the date on which Mr Boatwright first communicated these concerns to the LA.

The answers to these questions might begin to explain why Mr Forrest was only recently 'about to be suspended' and where and why the extraordinary delay occurred.

capedcrusader25 Thu 27-Sep-12 12:06:11

Hello there, I can't say too much as I will probably out myself! But I am a CPO (child protection officer) in a high school and a qualified social worker. These laws, policies and guidelines are extremely complicated (in relation to sexual abuse, sexual activities, etc) and it is simply impossible for one to stand on it's own to be followed. In my authority we do have many different policies derived from various Acts in which when sexual activity in a student is suspected/discovered we have to report this on to various safeguarding bodies. In many authorities LADOs do not exist anymore (another topic all together!). But I know my responsibility and duty to protect and safegaurd the students in my care and I know the web of laws that are in place to support me in doing so. The student has been failed. I hope this makes some sense. It saddens me that professionals who should be sharing my dedication to keep our young people safe seem to be hiding behind and very black and white approach to Child Protection sadh

capedcrusader25 Thu 27-Sep-12 12:07:41

Also just to add we are due an Ofsted inspection in the very near future. The first thing they will look at is Safeguarding and if it's not up to scratch we fail there and then.

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 12:30:40

Having read Jane's material, I have gine back to the London Safeguarding Children Board training material on which my organisation's (not a school) is based on.

Under safeguarding children / making a referral the instruction is:

^Always telephone children's services without delay if you believe that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering harm

Parents should be told of your concern and that you intend to refer (unless informing parents would place the child at risk of harm^

The training notes wrt to informing the parents were 'don't delay'. (and that in cases of possibility of sexual abuse within the family the case should be reported directly to Social care)

yesterday the Guardian had a report that said the Bishop Bell's school had a safeguarding policy which stipulated that parents should be informed directly and straight away, though this seems to have been disappeared now (the report in the Guardian). Elsewhere the campaigner who previously asked the school for it's policy is reported to say the opposite - that the school, as in the policies that Jane cites, did not include the need to inform parents in it's policy.

Many local parents would have known about the allegations against the governor as it was reported widely in the national and local press. And the head certainly knew as he is quoted as 're-assuring' parents about Canon Rideout's continuing presence on the Board of Governors.

It seem to me that if a policy on paper is actually aimed at genuinely protecting young people, it needs to be a policy which involved those most able to assist in protecting the child - the parents. Unless, of course, there is cause to believe that the child might be at risk if the parents are told. In which case Social Care need to be involved.

JaneH99 Thu 27-Sep-12 12:40:23

Capedsrusader - Also just to add we are due an Ofsted inspection in the very near future. The first thing they will look at is Safeguarding and if it's not up to scratch we fail there and then

Please see my post and link above. Your claim is mistaken and I've provided a link. Ofsted no longer inspect safeguarding - the framework link is above.

MissM Thu 27-Sep-12 12:48:29

Jane I'm a bit confused. Ofsted's framework makes it very clear that safeguarding is a very key part of their inspection, and as a governor I am very aware that our safeguarding and child protection policies must be watertight for Ofsted.

'Many local parents would have known about the allegations against the governor as it was reported widely in the national and local press. And the head certainly knew as he is quoted as 're-assuring' parents about Canon Rideout's continuing presence on the Board of Governors.'

Blu, this is what I'm finding the most baffling thing. Whether or not Megan Stammers had started a relationship with her teacher, this situation with the chair of governors would still exist. Why? How on earth would a HT 're-assure' parents about 38 allegations of sexual misconduct? That it happened ages ago so that made it ok?

capedcrusader25 Thu 27-Sep-12 12:58:45

Hi Jane - I have this document pinned up above my desk smile Page 13 reads 'What are the Principles of School Inspection?', Part 3 is 'focus on pupils’ and parents’ needs by...' and part C states 'minimising risk to children, young people and adults by evaluating the effectiveness of schools’ procedures for safeguarding'.

At the end of the document it states clearly that '
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.'

As MissM states it is a clear part of their inspection. A failure in this deems the school to be 'inadequate'.

JaneH99 Thu 27-Sep-12 14:09:32

Capedcrusader - you mention the broad brush statements at the beginning and at the end of the framework but where is the meat (detail) in the sandwich that indicates what part of safeguarding (there are so many areas) Ofsted will / not be inspect. Unless schools know - then inspections on this subject are not what is claimed. And lets not forget we are talking about inspectors that are exclusively educationalists. There is plenty of reasonable detail on education and management matters - but safeguarding?

I was with members of a Safeguarding Children's Board recently, who collectively bemoaned that Ofsted has expunged safeguarding from its inspection of schools. It was unofficially not happening under the previous framework when it was clear what should have been inspected (not much). Now officially CP + safeguarding is not being inspected unless the shortcoming is brought to the attention of Ofsted. (they have no time they are cutting back still. They reduced their costs by 30% under Gilbert whilst their estate of alleged responsibility almost doubled)

The document in void of child protection inspection information - because it is simply not going to happen. They might check there is a there is a ring bound document with the word safeguarding on the front, but it will not be read in detail.

MissM -^as a governor I am very aware that our safeguarding and child protection policies must be watertight for Ofsted. ^

Then if you are the attendant governor who has safeguarding responsibility you will be under little from the new framework.

The Coalition does not like child protection which is seen as unnecessary and costly. The DfE is now undermining CRB for all it is worth - new guidance on the return of 'referrals' (formerly known as notifications) to the Independent Safeguarding Authority in circumstances that indicate a member of staff is unsafe to work with children is about to be published. These very important instruments have been in existence and working reasonably well since the late 50's. They were mandatory, but they are to be made advisory for certain children's settings i.e. you can return them if you want to but we are not going to make you. This will compromise CRB's and their credibility and value will wane the ISA (quango) to extinction.

I am afraid I will not be able to post further for a while.

edam Thu 27-Sep-12 15:14:57

So, the Ofsted guidance for schools inspections pays lip service to safeguarding but actually they won't look into it at all, and even if they do it will only be to check that you have a policy, not what it says/does or whether you live up to it? Is that your view? Worrying.

NormaStanleyFletcher Thu 27-Sep-12 15:33:14

Interesting stuff.

MissM Thu 27-Sep-12 15:39:56

I honestly think Ofsted would dispute your suggestions Jane, but clearly very worrying if they didn't. As for the 'credibility' of CRBs, I think any shred of credibility they have left would be gone after this case. Jeremy Forrest obviously had a CRB check, and we know that the governor at this school had a check that showed up his alleged offences! If anyone needed any more evidence as to why they are flawed they've got it.

edam Thu 27-Sep-12 15:47:49

I'd like to know whether it is true that Ofsted rated safeguarding at this school as good or better, and if so, why Ofsted didn't know about or ignored the conviction of one teacher for sex offences against children, and the presence on the board of governors of someone who was facing multiple allegations of child sex offences - actually the chair of governors. Does the 'safeguarding's great' claim date from before the supply teacher was convicted?

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 16:08:08

You can presumably read the ofsted reports for the school here Edam.

Check the press reports for details / dates of the convictions of the teacher who was jailed earlier, and google Canon Rideout and Wallace Benn for the lengthy and sordid history of cover ups and allegations.

And put it all together!

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 16:09:16

A timeline, including the date that Lucy Duckworth raised concerns with Michael Gove!

mymatemax Thu 27-Sep-12 16:15:06

please please be aware that there are a large number of children running the guantlett of TV cameras every day just to get to their classrooms.
Yes the school has had more than its fair share of events over recent months & years BUT the added publicity directed at the school does nothing to help those families struggling to get their kids to school every day.

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 16:21:47

I really sympathise with those families and children, Horrible.
And a safeguardng issue in and of itself.

Do you think discussion on MN which is concerned with understanding how safeguarding works for all our children actually generates publicity focussed on the school? I think the techer concerned and the school itself have attracted the interest of the press, as has the social media based campaign of the family! This is about what has been reported in the press and other sources within the public realm, not an exclusive expose of as yet unpublished material!

If I had a child at the school I would be asking far tougher questions than have been posed on this thread!

edam Thu 27-Sep-12 16:50:37

I can't see anything in that Ofsted report about their safeguarding policies -am I missing something? The only relevant bits are where pupils say they feel safe and where most parents surveyed said their children were safe. That's perception by people who don't have all the background info, not an objective assessment of reality.

It's dated 2010 but completely ignores the conviction of a supply teacher for grooming children in 2009 - wtf? Did Ofsted not notice? And having noticed, did they not ask searching questions?

The investigation into the priest-governor now charged with various counts relating to child abuse seems to have started in 2011, after the Ofsted report.

edam Thu 27-Sep-12 16:51:13

(And what Blu said wrt media coverage.)

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 16:59:36

I thnk there were allegations much earlier than that, Edam - the 2011 ones were the most recent round.... it's all in various links, incl the one Jane linked earlier.

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 17:03:38

Lolads here...but I have not waded through it here

edam Thu 27-Sep-12 17:06:54

oh wow, so the bishop didn't pass on the info from the CRB check and the diocese's safeguarding officer only found out about it by accident? Blimey. Looks like there's loads more appalling stuff there...

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 17:13:31

here it suggets that he was questioned on suspicion of abuse in the 2000s

and here the BBC say it was the enhanced CRB check in Aug 2010 that showed he had been under allegations and questioned in the 1970s and been arrested on 2002. This is the CRB check that the bishop delayed passsiing on until forced to do so by a third party in Sept 2010, which is when the CoE suspended him.

What date in 2010 is the Ofsted?

Did he then stay on as a governor at the school until he was charged in 2011?

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 17:18:48

My child would be out of that school so fast until the relationship with the Head, the entire board of governors and any relationship with the Diocese of Chichester and that bishop was completely severed.

In the absence of any contrary evidence.

beancurd Thu 27-Sep-12 17:22:35

The faith schools generally have weak safeguarding which tries to negotiate between the historic way of doing things and better practices common today.

Working alongside faith schools you see the principles of the faith distorting cp issues, the dioscesan approved old boys network imposing their own standards which too often prioritise the employed adults/school reputation over the children's needs.

As a safeguardng governor I have a little more chance than ofsted to know what is really going on but ofsted are reduced to checking paperwork. Many schools just adopt the paper models approved by lea/diosces, hard to prove they are not followed.

mymatemax Thu 27-Sep-12 17:55:36

Blu, I completely agree & wasnt suggesting that people on here were adding anything to the argument.
Just stating a point really
But its easy to lose sight of the realy families caught up in this.
the parents at the school are asking questions & demanding answers. The continued media attention at the school is making life very difficult.

Blu Thu 27-Sep-12 21:06:54

MyMate - It must be hideous.

I feel for the students who reported the relationship in the first place - they must have felt so ignored and disempowered to see that nothing was done. Hardly a good message to young people about risk: we encourage you to report things, we tell you we can then make you safe...and then we do sweet fa for weeks on end.

And they must be worried for Megan, and worried about the school and disruption - all these children are victims, not just Megan and her family. sad

hackmum Fri 28-Sep-12 09:31:22

beancurd: "The faith schools generally have weak safeguarding which tries to negotiate between the historic way of doing things and better practices common today."

Ah, is this the "faith school ethos" we hear so much about? I'd always wondered what it was that made faith schools so special. Now I know.

edam Fri 28-Sep-12 09:53:12

Agreed, Blu.

Beancurd, that's extremely worrying. You'd think, given the recent exposure of systemic abuse by priests against children over decades, church schools would be very, very careful about safeguarding. Appalling that they are still utterly complacent.

Blu Fri 28-Sep-12 09:55:08

It is really interesting to hear that perspective, Beancurd.

There are potential conflicts of interest when any external partner is providing a statutory service. It's a factor, and relevant to all Academies, Foundation (inclusing faith) and Free schools.

The Arcgbishop of Canterbury has acted decisively in removing responsibilities from the diocese, not sure it's fair to take a broadsword swipe at all faith schools on the basis of this.

But the nature of the conflict of interest, self-interest and relationship between the diocese and school will and should come under intense scrutiny when all this is looked into.

Blu Fri 28-Sep-12 13:38:25

They have been located on Bordeaux. he has been arrested, she is being returned. Thank goodness she is safe and coming back.

edam Fri 28-Sep-12 14:33:02

Quite - very, very, very good news.

BetsyBoop Fri 28-Sep-12 17:22:48

beancurd: "The faith schools generally have weak safeguarding which tries to negotiate between the historic way of doing things and better practices common today."

Whilst I wouldn't disagree that there are probably some schools with weak safeguarding practices and some of those will no doubt be faith schools, unless you have actual evidence to the contrary I don't see how you can say that generally ALL faiths schools are weak at safeguarding.

I'm a governor in a faith school and I also work in a (different) faith school and both follow best practice wrt safeguarding, not just in terms of putting the right words in a policy but wrt what actually happens every single day too.

I'm personally appalled at the apparent lack of adequate safeguarding in the school concerned (I say apparent as I can only go off what the journalists say which may of course not be the whole truth.)

MissM Fri 28-Sep-12 18:31:46

Well said BetsyBoop.

beancurd Fri 28-Sep-12 20:31:13

That made me snort hackmum.

Betsyboob, I didn't say all faith schools I just said that generally they are behind non faith schools when it comes to cp issues. Actually I typed that thinking primarily about secondary schools, faith primaries often do rather better.

My swiping or sniping at the faith sector isn't based on this case, actually I haven't really looked at the practice of this school beyond what has been mentioned here. My observations are based on a good fifteen years work with cp issues and yps. I have had a range of roles working outside schools but also within leas and go into a wide range of schools regularly.

Am a governor too and know my school gets most safeguarding right although if they didn't they could easily conceal this from they could from ofsted too.

The issues that this school seem to have had would be shocking to lots of schools, less shocking to schools that rely on a few key establishment figures to make decisions, again often a faith school trait. One of the cp figures at a school I have linked to has a wife over twenty years younger than him, they married when she was 17 and had 'dated' for a few years before. Ancient staff remember them and still joke in a fond way about them snogging and who knows what in his office-she was his student. This man has done cp advisory work for the lea in a role similar to mine! Another teacher used to call up students as they turned sixteen and ask for dates, his dad is a church bigwig and his career has flourished alongside this behaviour. He 'behaves' better now apparently (wouldn't want him leading my daughter's lessons though).

The individual cases don't say much though, have plenty from other schools but I absolutely stand by my judgement that faith schools have greater problems negotiating cp than non faith schools especially at secondary level.

Can't see it is that surprising in view of the institutional failings of various churches when it comes to cp.

edam Fri 28-Sep-12 20:45:33

Betsy, I'm afraid there's a long history of the diocese responsible for this school covering up allegations of abuse, hiding CRB checks that came back with less than flying colours and allowing the school governor accused of multiple child sex offences access to schools and therefore children. the Archbishop of Canterbury had to intervene to strip the diocese of responsibility for safeguarding. This stuff has been known about for years amongst the diocese - yet they continued to put children at risk. Shameful.

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