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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.



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!

shoppingbagsundereyes Thu 27-Sep-12 11:45:03

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

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