Many of you may already be subscribed to receive weekly updates from the NSPCC’s CASPAR (current awareness service for practice, policy and research) bulletin, which is full of relevant updates on any current trends around safeguarding concerns.
For those of you who have not, I can unreservedly recommend that you do. Not only will you have your finger on the pulse of the latest risks for our children and often resources and tools for how to address them, but this is also evidence for you to give to an OFSTED or School Improvement Inspector that you keep abreast of the most up-to-date information around safeguarding and that you use this to keep your staff informed via regular updates outside of the now annual training requirement.
This week’s bulletin gave key updates on:
The Key for School Leaders:
Safeguarding in Schools (Andrew Hall):
We are making headway with schools visits and seen some excellent practice. Special thanks goes to the headteachers at Coopers Lane and St Mary’s CofE, Paul Hooper and Christine Bernard respectively, for being kind enough to share some of their good practice with other schools.
I have created a Draft Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy template
using Coopers Lane as a guideline. Please use this as a guide
to ensure that the main areas are covered in this document in your own schools. You are ultimately responsible for ensuring that your policies are fully compliant and up to date with all the relevant legislation.
Whilst I would love to be helpful and create draft policy templates for a range of different policies, this would unfortunately take me away from the essential visits to your schools and the more strategic work around safeguarding across the whole authority. I will however point you in the direction of two excellent resources where you can find this type of support very easily:
Please do consider, if you haven’t already, signing up to become a member. It is well worth the investment.
Another port of call is an alternative provision in Essex - Aspire
which has some excellent policies on their website that you can have a look at for inspiration!
18 October 2016
Single Central Records
Following a number of visits to schools I have identified that there was some inconsistency across the borough in the Single Central Records (SCR). Together with another colleague, a guide template
has been produced that we feel would be helpful to schools to try and ensure that all of the mandatory columns are included in your SCRs.
Once again, this is not a prescriptive document and it is up to each individual school how they use this guide, should they choose to.
It is however crucial, that whatever decision you make, that you ensure your SCR is compliant with the legislative requirements, and that it is checked on a termly basis by a Governor and a member of SLT. Take care when using paper copies
, as the ones I have seen ‘approved’ very rarely show the full document and can therefore not be used for this purpose. A log of the date the record was checked and by whom will serve as sufficient evidence of the monitoring process.
Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy Guide
Following on from last week’s item, please find attached the Draft Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy template
that was mentioned. Please use this as a guide to ensure that the main areas are covered in this document in your own schools. You are ultimately responsible for ensuring that your policies are fully compliant and up to date with all the relevant legislation and this document should only be used as a guide template rather than the definitive article.
We are not suggesting all schools adopt this as you will all already have your own policies in place. What we are recommending however, is that you cross reference with your own policies and add to it accordingly where there is any shortfall.
The headings therein are either all statutory or very good practice and hence it would be a worthwhile exercise.
Safeguarding Returns to the Local Authority
In the past you have been asked to submit returns for the number of racist and homophobic incidents that have taken place at your schools.
I plan to reinstate this, however, I would like to add a number of other safeguarding concerns to this return.
This information will allow me to have a more global overview of the safeguarding issues within the LA and will help to determine whether there needs to be a more strategic response on a wider scale.
I have attached a sample of the form this document would potentially take and welcome your input as to any areas that you feel may have been overlooked. A final document will then go out towards the end of the Autumn Term and then on a termly basis after that.
to see the suggested template.
Thank you in advance for your support with this.
2 November 2017
Designated Safeguarding Lead Training
A reminder that Paragraph 57 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), says “the designated safeguarding lead and any deputies should undergo updated child protection training every two years”.
I have been encouraging schools I have visited to keep a log of any training undertaken by staff, with the dates and when this training needs to be refreshed. This log can then be reviewed with governors to help ensure that mandatory training requirements are fulfilled. It is very easy for training to lapse inadvertently without a system like this in place.
We are currently putting together dates for the next Designated Lead Training that will be offered at the LA.
Please can you let me know if you are due to update your training and the date this expires so that we can try to accommodate your needs.
9 November 2017
Prohibition from Teaching Checks
This week’s safeguarding briefing from Andrew Hall, Safeguarding in Schools raises an important issue schools may wish to consider.
There is currently a loophole in which a prohibited teacher could apply for a teaching assistant role or come into school as a volunteer without admitting that they are a prohibited teacher. The DfE and Ofsted have been contacted in this regard and advised that schools can check the prohibition list for new support assistants or volunteers even if they are not teachers as long as it is transparent in their recruitment documentation that safeguarding is a priority in their school and as a result a number of checks may be undertaken prior to appointment including seeking at least two references, DBS and prohibition checks.
Further details are available in this week’s briefing including a video of how to conduct the check. Log on to www.safeguardinginschools.co.uk
for more information. If you haven’t already signed up, once again, I highly recommend; there were several other important issues highlighted this week.
16 November 2017
Safeguarding Audit Tool
Thanks to Michael Roach from John Ball Primary who has unearthed an excellent online Safeguarding Audit that schools could use to help them fulfil their duties under Section 157/175 of the Children’s Act 2004.
The Safeguarding in Education Self-Assessment Tool (ESAT) is produced by the NSPCC and helps you to audit your school's current safeguarding arrangements and supports you to make any changes and identify areas for development. It also automatically helps you create an action plan as a result.
Once complete, please evidence in your safeguarding folders with the action plan. Thank you for sharing this great resource Michael.
Checks for staff from outside the UK
Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016) paragraphs 114 and 115 talk about ensuring that further background checks are made for people who have lived outside the UK.
In different countries the information is referred to by different names, for example, certificate of good conduct, police check or, in Italy, a penal certificate. For some countries you can apply by email, or at their embassy in the UK; for other countries, application must be made whilst in the country itself.
The government has produced guidance on how to obtain an overseas police check and you can download it here: Overseas Criminal Record Checks - gov.uk
We use passports and driving licenses to confirm a person's identity on a regular basis, but how do you know what overseas ID documents really look like and whether the one in your hand is genuine.
PRADO is a website created by the EU to help identify genuine documents with examples from across the world:
As a follow on from last week’s item, Andrew Hall has kindly created a link where we can access the important item shared on Prohibition Checks which is now archived.
Following visits to schools, I thought it would helpful if headteachers had more clarity on this.
Please access the link here, which includes a video on how to conduct the prohibition checks. He has also given us access to all of the documents and resources that were shared on the Safeguarding Training Day that I attended along with a few other Lewisham headteachers; I hope this is helpful.
23 November 2017
30 November 2017
Ofsted Alternative Provision
A report published by Ofsted, in February 2016 makes a number of recommendations for schools about working more collaboratively with the alternative provisions they are using to provide education for some of their students. The report is well worth a read and will give you very practical hints in preparation for an Ofsted inspection, but more importantly to improve your practice so that you can ensure that your students are receiving the best.
One of the recommendations was that school leaders should:
- consider fully the potential risks involved in unregistered placements where no staff or not all staff have DBS or other relevant checks and act to minimise these
As a Local Authority we will be making safeguarding visits to all schools and alternative provisions but it is vital that schools make their own efforts to review each provision’s safeguarding practices and get these assurances in writing.
Abbey Manor College and New Woodlands School are two of the main alternative providers used by Lewisham Schools and they will shortly, if they have not already done so, be providing schools with a letter assuring them of the safer recruitment checks that are done on their staff.
A copy of this letter has been attached as a template, which was adapted from the recently published Music Services Hub template – thanks to Peter Hayward, and schools may wish to ask providers that they use to write a similar letter confirming their safer recruitment practices.
Safer Recruitment Checks Letter.docx
7 December 2017
Ofsted Evidence: Case Study Templates and Safeguarding Overview
As I conduct safeguarding visits across the LA schools, I continue to be impressed by the high quality of the provision that I am seeing. Where possible, I will share this with other schools so that we can continue to see this good practice replicated.
My most recent find was at Sydenham School. My thanks to Gloria Lowe, recently appointed Headteacher and Erika Podmore DSL who have very kindly agreed to share with you an excellent one page template for a case study
which allows you to give a huge range of information about a student and the interventions they have had an the impact of this over time in an accessible and reader-friendly format.
A second document, which is described as a ‘safeguarding overview
’ is an extremely helpful document for schools and particularly their governing bodies to not only see the numbers of referrals across the age ranges but also the type of referral.
Arming your governing body with information at this level of detail in once again a very comprehensive format will allow them to make useful comments and recommendations to schools about potential areas that need more intervention and work done with students/families which can be followed up throughout the year. This is a very helpful way for them to demonstrate challenge when they are writing their own reports.
Thank you once again to Sydenham School for their generosity in sharing these templates.
Ofsted Update November 2016
Andrew Hall’s Safeguarding Briefing has highlighted an update for schools and inspectors published by Ofsted. The update includes two items related to safeguarding.
Staff Behaviour Policy/Code of Conduct
Every School must ensure that staff understand their responsibilities to behave appropriately at all times. Not only does this maintain professional boundaries, it minimises the opportunities for staff to groom or abuse children.
The Ofsted update reminds schools that whilst staff need this information, it does not need to be in a set format, or even contained in one document.
There is a section in the Safeguarding Handbook about Safer Working practices which you can download here:
Developing Safer Working Practices
Download the guidance here:
Guidance on Safer Working Practices – October 2015 (SRC)
Prohibition Checks for Teaching Assistants
As discussed previously in the safeguarding briefing, although non-statutory, prohibition checks can be completed for TAs (as well as teachers) as long as this is mentioned in the recruitment materials. You can record that this check has been completed on the Single Central Record.
You can watch a video about how to complete prohibition checks for people without a teacher number here: How to complete prohibition checks, including the s128 check
Download the Ofsted Update here: Ofsted Update – November 2016
14 December 2016
Safeguarding Governors Template
During the course of the Autumn Term, Safeguarding Reviews conducted in over 30 schools identified that there were areas for development in the way that safeguarding governors are working with their Headteachers and/or Designated Safeguarding Leads in Schools.
On many occasions, whilst regularly termly meetings were being convened, there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that Safeguarding Governors were applying appropriate challenge and rigour in holding Heads/DSLs to account. As a result, we have encouraged Headteachers to provide more detailed reports to governors around all areas linked to safeguarding, either in a totally separate report, for larger schools, or at least a separate section within the Headteacher’s report; a template has been suggested for this.
It was also recommended by myself, that Link Governors write a report following their school visit demonstrating an understanding of the good safeguarding practice in place and evidence of challenge where things could be strengthened.
I have devised a report template
that will help Link Governors put together a very simple report which will easily identify the aforementioned - I hope it proves useful. Let me know if you have any questions.