Sunday, 25 April 2010

Guest Blog on Safeguarding

This Blog Article was first published as a Guest Blog on the Supergovernor Blog on 25th April 2010

When I volunteered to take over as Chair of Governors in October last year, little did I realise at the time that I would be expected to lead Safeguarding within the governing body. Initially I argued that being a parent governor would put me in a difficult position in a small school of 90 pupils, as I knew everyone.

However, it was explained to me by the Head and other members of the GB that the Chair has unique access & trust relationships with the head and the role of chair and safeguarding usually go hand in hand. I was not convinced of this argument but agreed I would try the safeguarding role for the first six months of my chairship. When speaking on child protection matters we never use the child or family name in our discussions so anonymity is protected.

Like most things in life I prepared by researching, reading, taking part in training and asking questions.

I looked up everything I could on the Internet in relation to Safeguarding including reading Every Child Matters, Sir Michael Bichard’s enquiry from Soham, and the more recent findings of Lord Lamming’s enquiry into the tragic events of Haringey.

One of my first acts was to ask that all governors have Enhanced CRB Checks; I know this is not a statutory requirement but I wanted us to lead by example from a governing body.

Safeguarding is not just about what used to be called Child Protection. Behaviour, Bullying, Health & Safety, risk assessments, race equality, whistle blowing, safe use of the internet and educational visits all form part of Safeguarding.

I quickly made up my mind I wanted to arrange a Governor monitoring visit on Safeguarding as soon as possible. I know the golden rule is that School Governors are not inspectors – well this is one area where I think you can ignore and break this rule with the prior consent of the head teacher.

A month after I took over monitoring Safeguarding I completed a Safeguarding audit using Ofsted’s new framework guidance to inspectors on judging Safeguarding. I used this Section 5 guidance document to audit the single list and ask the right questions to see the correct evidence. It can be downloaded from

I also attended the ‘Role of the Governing Body in Safeguarding’ course and completed the Online Safer Recruitment course which is available for free at

Both these events were to prove timely as 100 days after I took over the chair & safeguarding we got the call that Ofsted were inspecting us.

The Ofsted inspector grilled me on Safeguarding during my Interview; he paid particularly attention to what would happen if there was an allegation against the head teacher.

On the monitoring evidence question I gave him my report aligned to Section 5 advice for inspectors. He seemed really impressed with this and said he wished more Governing bodies took this approach.

He quizzed me on Safer Recruitment. Even though it is statutory that only one on a panel are required to complete training four of us on the Governing body have completed this training.

I completed this course the week before the inspection so was able to answer the questions he posed with ease.

In his inspectation report the Ofsted inspector judged our safeguarding to be grade 1 /Outstanding and said “Safeguarding procedures are highly effective and closely monitored by the chair of Governors.”

Safeguarding is now a limiting factor in the new Ofsted framework meaning you are highly unlikely to become an overall Outstanding School unless your Safeguarding is outstanding.

No comments:

Post a Comment