Saturday, 24 September 2011

Ofsted: The leadership and management of safeguarding

1.        Inspection shows that outstanding schools have outstanding leadership and management, and where safeguarding arrangements are equally outstanding leaders and managers show a determination to make safeguarding a priority across all aspects of the school’s work. Senior managers give clear direction and harness the energy and commitment of their staff. They establish comprehensive and coherent policies and procedures which make clear the school’s high expectations. All safeguarding arrangements are kept under close and regular review, and the schools learn from their findings and act quickly on any safeguarding issues that arise.

2.        High standards are set for all aspects of safeguarding practice; effective schools make sure that these standards are upheld by all concerned. Attention to detail is a crucial factor in their success, and pupils’ safety and well-being are central to all that the schools do. A willingness to go beyond the minimum required of them is indicative of a commitment to giving their best for the benefit of their pupils.

3.        Channels of communication are simple and effective. Each member of staff knows what they are responsible for and how their safeguarding duties relate to those of others.

4.        Staff, governors, pupils, parents and external partners are consulted to ensure that policies are sustainable. As a result, effective schools achieve consistency in their safeguarding practice with a positive impact on pupils’ sense of well-being and security; an excellent springboard from which to concentrate on their learning. Pupils are treated with dignity and respect and their views are listened to.

5.        Staff, pupils, governors, other professionals and volunteers are absolutely clear about what is expected of them and the contribution that they and others make to safeguarding. Staffing structures are designed so that responsibilities for all the different aspects of safeguarding are defined and transparent. Accountability is established at all levels in the schools.

6.        Effective leaders successfully establish an ethos and culture based on mutual respect and acceptance of differences, where safeguarding is everyone’s business and everyone’s responsibility. They involve staff, pupils, families, external partners and visitors in creating this culture and putting in place the policies, procedures and very practical approaches needed to turn it into a reality in young people’s lives.

7.        Senior managers are visible around the schools and accessible to pupils, staff, families and visitors. It is not unusual for them to ‘meet and greet’ pupils on arrival at school. They are available when staff need their support and have clear arrangements in place that enable them to respond to any incidents without delay. They follow up concerns about attendance promptly and appropriately, recognising that important features of a safe school are that parents know exactly where their children are and that staff are vigilant in ensuring that pupils attend lessons as expected and punctually.

At Stratton Upper School and Community College, leaders and managers monitored safeguarding data, such as the number of hours that students spent in the ‘retreat’ or ‘remove’ centres, the take-up of extended activities, referrals from police, attendance, exclusions, incidents of bullying, and complaints. The electronic recording system facilitated the efficient retrieval and analysis of this data and enabled the school to address areas for improvement swiftly.

At Ely Pupil Referral Unit, senior managers conducted systematic reviews of policies and procedures. They evaluated data, for example relating to attendance, accidents, incidents, teenage pregnancies, re-offending rates, and how safe pupils feel. They took action to address areas which required improvement, for example through the curriculum.

8.        Schools with outstanding leadership and management promote the genuine involvement of staff at all levels in maintaining high standards and putting children and young people first. Quality assurance is integral to daily practice, with schools acting on the findings of their monitoring activities. Senior managers ensure that their policies and practices are current, in line with statutory requirements and national guidance, often exceeding minimum requirements. They trust their staff to carry out their duties with diligence and to contribute effectively to the whole-school improvement of safeguarding.

9.        Leaders and managers put in place safeguarding policies and procedures which reflect their rigour and close attention to detail because they are:

n  written in straightforward language so that they are easy to understand and accessible to those who need to use them

n  compliant with statutory requirements and national and local guidance

n  cross-referenced to other policies to ensure coherence and consistency

n  updated regularly to ensure that they remain accurate and relevant.

10.     Practice is consistent across each school, supported by the sharing of accurate and up-to-date information. Effective schools have mastered this. Those which have electronic recording systems, accessible to staff via a shared system, say that this helps to avoid the pitfalls sometimes associated with trying to keep paper copies and bound-book records. Through electronic systems, staff can access and share a wealth of information such as policies and procedures; risk assessments; individual care and education plans; behaviour and incident records; records of contacts with families; curriculum planning documents; planning for educational visits; and training records. They can use these systems for day-to-day recording and reporting, for example of health and safety matters which require the attention of the site supervisor. This improves the efficiency and speed with which schools can respond to safeguarding matters and enables teachers to be proactive in taking account of safeguarding when planning their lessons and extra-curricular activities. Senior managers put into place protocols and procedures to protect confidentiality and restrict access to data where appropriate.

11.     Senior managers encourage their staff to draw on the expertise of other agencies and professionals to support and protect pupils and their families. For example, at Green Lane Community Special School, the school nurse brought valuable expertise to the staff team and provided support for pupils and their families. The speech and language therapist and the occupational therapist each had an important role in extending staff expertise and working with pupils. In the Vale of Evesham School, the full-time e-learning technician played a key role in protecting pupils from harm when using the internet. At Turton High School Media Arts College, a full-time mental health worker had been appointed through cluster funding to support work with students, families and staff.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this. I will be having a regular meeting at the school to review Safeguarding procedures and such Monday afternoon and plan on printing this up to take with me.