Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Ofsted: Child Protection


It was one of Lord Laming’s recommendations in his report of 12 March 2009 that:
‘Ofsted should revise the inspection and improvement regime for schools giving greater prominence to how well schools are fulfilling their responsibilities for child protection.’

It is therefore encouraging to find that almost all schools are aware of current government requirements for child protection and that they implement proper procedures, with clear and coherent child protection policies and procedures which meet statutory requirements and comply with local safeguarding children’s board guidance. They are regularly monitored by senior managers, and responsibilities for the different aspects of child protection are specified and understood by all staff.

Staff at schools with effective child protection procedures have a good understanding of the possible causes of abuse, neglect or harm. They know what to look for, who the designated staff are and the routes that a referral would go through in the school, including the roles of the different external agencies that may need to become involved during the process.

They typically have successfully established a culture of openness and transparency which encourages vigilance and a sense of shared responsibility for the protection of children and young people. They have secure referral systems in place and pupils, staff, parents and other adults know how to report their concerns. Pupils and adults feel confident that they can express their views and that these will be listened to and treated seriously. Essentially, child protection arrangements are clear to everyone; pupils and their families know who they can talk to if they are worried. They know that child protection issues will be dealt with sensitively and in confidence.

Monton Green Primary School had produced an information booklet for parents and carers of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This not only informed them about the class groups and what their children would be learning, but also made clear the daily routines, arrangements for dropping off and collecting children, permissions that parents could give, procedures for medicals and medication, and gave examples of healthy lunch boxes. The EYFS requirement for a ‘key person’ for each child was also applied throughout the school and to before- and after-school club provision. The school was particularly good at ensuring that communication with parents of children who attend both the school and the before- and after-school clubs was seamless.

These outstanding schools work closely with professionals from different agencies, a factor often recognised as key to the effectiveness of the schools’ child protection arrangements. In several schools, inspectors heard other professionals speak of the schools as having an ‘open door’, being willing to listen, being flexible in their responses and proactive in seeking to protect children and young people from harm.
In the Vale of Evesham School, which offers residential provision, there was clarity, coherence and consistency in child protection arrangements across the school and residential provision. Careful attention to detail in meetings, handovers, liaison with families and record keeping ensured that staff had a shared understanding of pupils’ individual needs and the provision in place for them.

The protection of children in England: a progress report, recommendation 10, The Lord Laming, The Stationery Office, 2009;

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