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Advice on contacting Ofsted about my son's school

(26 Posts)
HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 09:55:44

Has anyone made a complaint to Ofsted about a school? My son was involved in a safeguarding issue at swimming last week, I've since found out another safeguarding related incident took place on the same day, and a few other parents have told me of other incidents within the last couple of years (not safeguarding related, but safety concerns). The school have assured me they're looking at arrangements but I still want this matter looked at formally by someone outside the school. As I understand it, the process is to write to the head teacher and the board of governors first. Do I have to wait for a response before contacting Ofsted? I've already had two meetings with the head and the head of the board of governors, but I'm still not really convinced they're doing much more than paying lip service.

Any thoughts or advice gratefully received.

LIZS Sat 01-Oct-16 10:02:18

Tbh I'd be more inclined to contact LA safeguarding officer. Are you happy that proposed changes would avoid the same situation recurring?

HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 11:24:47

I don't have any confidence in the schools safeguarding policy any more, the children are completely unsupervised in the changing rooms and the school seem more concerned about protecting the staff, saying they can't have staff in the changing rooms when the children are changing. They can tell me they've changed the group's around so certain children aren't with others and so on, but it doesn't address the core problem which is a lack of supervision in the changing rooms.

BertrandRussell Sat 01-Oct-16 11:26:53

What age group are we talking about?

sugarplum2 Sat 01-Oct-16 11:28:23

In my experience there is no point complaining, they all stick together and then you are stuck!

LIZS Sat 01-Oct-16 11:36:08

Is it on school premises or public swimming pool? State school or independent?

HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 11:49:00

It's year 4, off school premises at the pool belonging to another school. Our school is state LA controlled.

HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 11:49:45

Sugarplum, that's so depressing. I was hoping it might at the very least trigger a new inspection.

noblegiraffe Sat 01-Oct-16 11:57:46

Ofsted will not trigger an inspection because children are not supervised when changing for swimming.
What do you mean by 'a safeguarding incident'? If you mean bullying, then that's not something Ofsted get involved with and should be dealt with through the usual school channels. If it's something related to child protection, then the school will have a named child protection officer to report this to. Otherwise it's the usual complaints procedure, head then governors. As you appear to be saying that the school are dealing with your complaints (changing the groups), I'm not sure why the complaint should be escalated further.

SisterViktorine Sat 01-Oct-16 12:35:32

By safeguarding do you mean you feel adults who have not been appropriately vetted (members of the public?) could access the changing rooms without staff knowing they were there? I can see that might be an issue if, for example, all school staff are waiting on poolside and there are open, unmanned doors 'street side'.

However, if you mean just that the children are left in a room together and who knows what they might do to each other while they are there. Ofsted are not going to be interested in that.

HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 12:52:11

Ah that's what I needed to hear.... Safeguarding in respect to children behaving inappropriately when changing. Of a sexual nature that is. In 8 year olds! So that's not the sort of thing Ofsted would deal with then?

PicnicPie Sat 01-Oct-16 12:58:20

You can only complain toOfstedif you have already followed the school’s complaints procedure. However, I would definitely contact your LA as there is a safeguarding concern. They will have a safeguarding lead who will provide advice.

LIZS Sat 01-Oct-16 13:00:02

The difficulty with children of that age is that you can't easily corroborate the accounts . If there are previous incidents you also won't be told if there are safeguarding actions already in process. All you can do is focus on how your child is affected and being protected.

HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 13:14:56

The LA are already aware as the school reported it to them. If Ofsted isn't the correct route to go to follow this up what else can I do to ensure they're actually doing what they say they are? My faith in the school to protect the kids is shattered. It seems their only approach is to talk to the children about what is acceptable behaviour at the pool and to remind them about the underwear rule (no touching anyone where they wear their underwear). To me the talk is all very well, but I want to see tangible changes to how they supervise the kids at the pool and I want someone to make sure those changes are implemented.

noblegiraffe Sat 01-Oct-16 13:29:25

Surely the easiest thing to do would be to ask your child? If the school has said that X won't be getting changed with the class any more, then ask your child if that's the case.

It's also really important that children understand that if someone does something inappropriate that they shout NO and tell a responsible adult every time. Ensure your DS is clear that if things like this happen, you really want to hear about it.

If you are concerned that your child is at risk of sexually inappropriate behaviour, then you need to talk to the school's designated child protection lead, and as mentioned the LA safeguarding lead.

BertrandRussell Sat 01-Oct-16 13:33:14

The school will have a designated safeguarding officer......have you talked to them?

HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 13:33:20

Thanks noblegiraffe, I will follow up with the LA then as that seems like the most appropriate course of action.

HeadFairy Sat 01-Oct-16 13:33:59

Bertrand, I haven't.... Only spoken to HT and head of governors.

SisterViktorine Sat 01-Oct-16 15:49:21

You could contact the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer).

admission Sat 01-Oct-16 20:54:51

If you have a suspicion that the school are leading you up the path about what they have done then you should contact the named person at the LA for all safeguarding issues. They could be called the LADO (as above) or some other title. Check with them that there has been a referral by the school, as they have told you they have. If they haven't then that will raise a few alarm bells with the LADO about what might or might not be going on. Ask the LADO for their opinion about the behaviour reported.

However I would have to say that what you have described seems as likely to be lads messing around as it is a clear safeguarding issue, unless you are downplaying what has gone on . Direct supervision of the pupils getting changed is also a very difficult situation as this can lead to miss- understandings about them being in the changing room.

mummytime Sun 02-Oct-16 04:24:17

What you need to do is raise a proper complaint.

But you can also fill in the parent survey thing on the Ofsted site. I have known an inspection be triggered because enough parents did that in a negative way.

HeadFairy Sun 02-Oct-16 22:14:34

Admission - I've been deliberately vague because I don't want to out myself but it's classified as inappropriate sexual contact. I will start with the council safeguarding team and work from there. The school day they have reported it to them and I'm sure they're not lying. It would be too easy for me to find out. However I think they want this all to just go away and I'm not convinced they're really dealing with the core issue.

t4nut Sun 02-Oct-16 22:29:54

People misunderstand what ofsted is for - they are their to inspect schools. They receive their remit from the dfe. They do not investigate complaints, they are not interested in your complaints UNLESS it is information of sufficient severity to warrent independent investigation ie trojan horse schools.

admission Sun 02-Oct-16 22:54:14

t4nut, there is one area where Ofsted will certainly get involved in-directly. If there is a whistle blowing allegation made to Ofsted from one or more members of staff which is around safeguarding then this will be passed back to the LA where the school is.
LAs are now expected to take much firmer action in these kind of circumstances. This may well end up with a formal warning notice by the LA to the school governing body to take appropriate action as spelled out in the warning notice.

t4nut Sun 02-Oct-16 23:37:13

Yes but that is effectively what theyve always done - passed it back to the correct authority. There's a common misconception that ofsted is the higher authority that governs schools.

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