Safeguarding guidance and requirements

Tuesday 24th January 2017

A number of schools, both in Essex and further afield, have been caught out during Ofsted inspections because of safeguarding issues, and some have been judged to be inadequate as a result. Problems have included:

  • The Single Central Record – some schools still fail to keep this correctly and up to date. As a headteacher, don’t just ask, make sure you personally check that the record is up to date and includes all the required information.
  • Checks on visitors – make sure that they are robust and that all visitors sign in and can be identified while on the premises.
  • Social Care referrals – records and follow through. Inspectors will (often) ask to see whether CP referrals have been recorded and followed up appropriately.
  • References – still an issue for some schools – HR has provided guidance in relation to references.
  • Governors not being aware of their statutory responsibilities in relation to safeguarding, and not monitoring processes and procedures effectively.
  • Staff training- frequency, all staff and records.

No doubt you will have read the editorials from Jo Barclay and Clare Kershaw in yesterday’s Education Essex (23 01 17) focusing on safeguarding, and sharing the reasons that a few schools have had issues during Ofsted inspections. We thought it would be helpful to remind you of the guidance, and to resend some of the checklists that EPHA has developed to ensure that your school is meeting safeguarding requirements.

Single Central Record
The information about the SCR can be found in paragraphs 112 onwards of Keeping Children Safe in Education, and in detail in Annex 3 (pp 25 and 26) of the Ofsted briefing paper: Inspecting Safeguarding in early years education and skills settings August 2016. As a headteacher, don’t just ask, make sure you personally check that the record is up to date and includes all the required information.
HR offers a SCR checking service (for around £100) which headteachers have reported can be really useful.

Governor responsibilities
Set out in KCSiE, particularly in Chapter 2, (page 14 onwards) The management of safeguarding - The responsibility of governing bodies, proprietors and management committees.  I have produced two checklists, one to check if the school is in line with Keeping Children Safe in Education, the other focused on the Ofsted briefing paper. These could usefully be completed by your safeguarding governor, to demonstrate the Governors’ understanding and awareness of their responsibilities.

The new Governance Handbook (January 2017) sets out the safeguarding requirements in section 6.1 (page 87 onwards). This repeats and is in line with the requirements in KCSiE.

Safeguarding policies
In accordance with Keeping Children Safe in Education you must have:

  • Child Protection Policy –Prevent, CSE and FGM must be part of your CP Policy - most recent version from ECC is dated December 2016. Make sure that you have personalised this to reflect your own school’s procedures.
  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • Dealing with allegations against staff
  • Dealing with allegations made against other children (now called peer on peer abuse) –may be part of the CP policy.
  • Single Central Record

The current DfE page  on website requirements doesn’t include the need to publish your Child Protection policy, but this one definitely needs to be on your website.  

Paragraph 49 of KCSiE states:

The child protection policy should describe procedures which are in accordance with government guidance and refer to locally agreed inter-agency procedures put in place by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), be updated annually (as a minimum), and be available publicly either via the school or college website or by other means.

Staff training and awareness
staff members should be aware of systems within their school or college which support safeguarding and these should be explained to them as part of staff induction. This should include:

• the child protection policy;

• the staff behaviour policy (sometimes called a code of conduct); and

• the role of the designated safeguarding lead. Annex B of KCSiE sets out the role of the DSL.

Copies of policies and a copy of Part one of this document (Keeping children safe in education) should be provided to staff at induction.

Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that all staff members undergo safeguarding and child protection training at induction. The training should be regularly updated. Induction and training should be in line with advice from the LSCB. In addition all staff members should receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates (for example, via email, e-bulletins, staff meetings), as required, but at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively.

It sounds obvious, but do remember that all staff means precisely that! A number of Ofsted inspections have picked up staff training records where some groups have not been included in the training itself (for example, site managers, MDAs), or the schools is unable to evidence that staff have attended training. It is also important to ensure that staff who are unable to attend a session are “mopped up” at a later date and this is recorded.

Pam Langmead