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Ofsted Report - failed on "Safeguarding of Pupils" - what does this really mean?

(39 Posts)
Checkmate Wed 29-Sep-10 20:00:42

What does this mean in a (very recent) Ofsted inspection report

"School X is performing significantly less well than in all the circumstances it could reasonably be expected to perform. The school is, therefore, given a notice to improve. Significant improvement is required in relation to the application of safeguarding procedures as part of the staff recruitment process. Although School X provides a satisfactory education for the pupils, its overall effectiveness is inadequate because its leaders have failed to ensure that all government requirements relating to the safeguarding of pupils are followed. Consequently, care, guidance and support, and governance, are inadequate. Significant improvement is required in relation to its safeguarding procedures."

What kind of thing have the school been not doing (or doing) to be not safeguarding children? Is this a form ticking exercise, and some non-essential paperwork, or something serious? Any ideas would be very helpful, thanks.

MoonUnitAlpha Wed 29-Sep-10 20:02:56

Sounds like they haven't been properly CRB checking staff.

Checkmate Wed 29-Sep-10 20:04:32

Ahhh, thanks, I wondered that.

Feenie Wed 29-Sep-10 20:04:58

The first bit probably means not enough staff/governors have been on Safer Recruitment training.

blametheparents Wed 29-Sep-10 20:06:15

I would be concerned.
Safeguarding children is the most important thing a schooldoes.

PorkPieLove Wed 29-Sep-10 20:07:20

Well checkmate I visited a school last month whilst scoping options for my DD and it had exactly the same thing from Ofsted....I went to speak to the acting head and asked her. She told me it was because the front door/main entrance had not been manned and anyone could walk in or out....and also there had been a big hole in the fence to the playground!

oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Wed 29-Sep-10 20:07:22

It could be that a member of staff has not got a CRB... but it could equally mean that a gate was left open in the playground... or that some health and safety procedures were not rigidly adhered to during the inspection.

It could be something that is dangerous and quite rightly needs rectifying by the school but it could absolutely equally be something idiotic.

Ofsted were told in the latest rounds to have safeguarding as its priority. If you google schools failing on safeguarding there are plenty of stories about schools failing on minor points. But there again, if the inspection as whole is as poor as it seems, it soujnds like it was the safeguarding issue that tipped it into unsatifactory and the whole place is in trouble.

I doubt you'll find out what it was exactly unless you have some insider know-how. or unless the Head issues a statement to stop parents worrying

oneofsuesylvesterscheerios Wed 29-Sep-10 20:08:59

sorry, did not mean to imply that leaving a gate open is idiotic, as it's not... but perfectly good schools have failed on tiny things like this - one school reportedly failed as they offered the chief inspector a coffee before they checked his crb on the 1st day of the inspection!

mrz Wed 29-Sep-10 20:21:20

We were marked down (not failed) on "safeguarding" because the inspector asked the new student TA who the "designated person in school" was and she didn't understand the term (she did know who to tell if she had concerns but was unfamiliar with the label)

LatteLady Wed 29-Sep-10 20:48:33

Actually I would be concerned... you are not given notice to improve solely on the grounds of safeguarding. Satisfactory education is no longer considered good enough, from what is written there appears to be a lack of positive ethos in the school.

It may well be that they have been coasting and failed to complete simple regulatory requirements, the GB appear to have been complacent in their role... much of which is to ensure that the school is compliant.

However all of that being said, it should be easy enough to sort out the regulatory stuff within the year but the quality of learning and attainment will take longer to have effect.

rebl Wed 29-Sep-10 20:50:00

My 2 were in a preschool that had this. Theirs was more paperwork problems than anything else. For instance they had all staff CRB checked but they didn't have all the certificate numbers in 1 place for the inspectors to see.

But as some of you are aware the school my dc's are currently in haven't actually failed an OFSTED inspection but they would have had they visited last week. Whoever said that leaving a gate open was a tiny thing to fail on is welcome to come to my world right now. I can tell you a gate left open is a nightmare to the parent whose child gets out and goes and stands by the side of a road to "watch the cars and lorries go by Mummy" unnoticed. He was 1 step from being hit by a car and believe me, thats not tiny.

Helenagrace Wed 29-Sep-10 21:11:59

It sounds like there are widespread problems in the school - I would imagine you'd need to be quite bad to be judged inadequate on care, guidance, support and governance. It's likely that the authority will take a firm line with the school now and will insist on significant improvements.

I'm a vice chair of governors at an infant school and we have heard of two local schools who've been failed on safeguarding issues - one for not having a complete control file (all staff were CRB checked but the paperwork wasn't properly collated) while the other failed because the inspector arrived early told the site supervisor that he was from Ofsted and the supervisor took him straight into the head without checking his ID. Instant notice of improvement in both cases.

Interestingly another school which had been judged to have excellent safeguarding procedures, recently lost a child, necessitating a police search requiring helicopter support and also called an ambulance for an injured child because they have no first aiders on staff.

nymphadora Wed 29-Sep-10 21:19:34

Lattelady- it is possible under new regs to get an NTI for just failing safeguarding.

It can be something serious but as others have said it can be for v minor things. I know of 3 locally that got it on v spurious reasons. Can't go into details as they aren't common knowledge but none would stop me sending a child there. One school was outstanding apart from this issue which was actually out of schools control.

cat64 Wed 29-Sep-10 21:21:24

Message withdrawn

CloudsAway Wed 29-Sep-10 21:33:15

I had heard that a lot of schools fail instantly if they break safeguarding rules, whereas for other infractions, it takes lots of evidence into account. I'm not that involved in this side of things (peripatetic - but I was told to make sure I knew who the designated person in school was!), so I don't know how true it is, but I've heard that safeguarding is really the big thing now, and previously outstanding schools can suddenly fail for what might be quite small things.

mrz Wed 29-Sep-10 21:35:14

Actually LatteLady you can be put straight into Special Measures without the inspectors even looking at a lesson solely on the grounds of safeguarding.

admission Wed 29-Sep-10 22:10:12

I agree with mrz you can go straight into special measures for some real mess up on safeguarding.

So I would suspect this was at the lower end of the spectrum of concern. Reading between the line about safeguarding relating to recruitment and the mention of inadequate governance I suspect it is to do with staff not having been trained properly on "safer recruitment".

Is it a cause for concern? Yes because it is a about a lack of care, management and leadership. It is specific about safeguarding but will also be symptamatic of weak leadership in the school.

LatteLady Thu 30-Sep-10 09:10:35

As a former inspector, I can assure you that you are given some leeway during the first day to get things in place if for example, there are are just things misfiled but if you do not have it all there in the first place then you are not doing your job properly. There are a number of urban myths already circulating about the newer inspections but in all honesty all they are asking for is that systems are in place and followed.

As to safer recruitment, you are only required to have one person on the panel who has undertaken and passed the training.

Safeguarding is not just around safer recruitment but has a much broader remit - see pages 50/51 in the evaluation schedule - ofsted evaluation schedule

The governance will refer to the role of the governors and would suggest that they are not holding the school to account.

Decisions Thu 30-Sep-10 09:39:02

Yes, you can fail OFSTED on Safeguarding alone. It's what is known as a limiting judgement and will be the first thing they check and if it's not up to standard the inspection will not go any further and the school will be given Notice To Improve.

Our LA came and did some pre-OFSTED training with us as governors and warned us we would fail on Safeguarding at that point. There is nothing wrong with our school, it was just that procedures needed tightening up eg. all visitors to the school needed to sign in and be badged (occasionally parents were coming to the school office at drop off time via the classrooms). Also we needed to fence our school off from other educational facilities on the same site.

When it comes to recruitment, it could be that the CRBs are taken up but are not stored/recorded in the way OFSTED now like them to be, or that insufficient staff and governors have attended the relevant training - this is now statutory and I know of a lot of schools who could fail on this if OFSTED were to call this week.

Don't Panic! Obviously, you need answers and I would go in and pursue them, but, hopefully, they will be able to put your mind at rest.

I did hear of one school that failed simply because it didn't ask the inspectors for ID hmm

LatteLady Thu 30-Sep-10 10:27:36

Decisions - Christine Gilbert HMCI at Ofsted has already stated that failing for not asking inspectors for ID is not true... yet another urban myth starts.

Decisions Thu 30-Sep-10 13:34:07

Sorry, Latte, this is the personal experience of a close friend of mine - so NOT urban myth!

Decisions Thu 30-Sep-10 13:41:44

This was in the very early rounds of the new OFSTED schedule - school appealed and was revisited. Probably the reason for the HMCI's comments. However, some inspectors are tougher than others - fact of life!

LatteLady Thu 30-Sep-10 13:48:03

In her article, Christine Gilbert said if it were ever to happen you should refer it back to her and she would deal with it... that is not sufficient grounds failure on safeguarding.

This is the nearest article that I can find regarding it from the TES Ofsted Safeguarding but I will see if I can find the original response.

mrz Thu 30-Sep-10 18:22:28

LatteLady was that before or after she resigned?

admission Thu 30-Sep-10 23:40:44

I have heard Christine Gilbert say this and when she was given the names of two schools where this was alleged to have happened, she came back within 30 minutes to confirm that whilst the schools may have been told that they should have insisted on inspectors signing in, that there were far more serious weaknesses on safeguarding that were the reason for special measures.

Regretably sometimes the issue makes a good headline and excuse but hides the greater problems.

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