On 12 March, Lord Laming published his report The Protection of Children in England: A Progress Report. The Government accepted all of his recommendations and has now published an action plan, setting out its detailed response.
Schools should be aware of Ofsted’s response to both Lord Laming’s inquiry and to Sir Roger Singleton’s report Keeping Our Children Safe, a review of safeguarding arrangements in independent schools, non-maintained special schools and boarding schools in England.
The Laming inquiry made recommendations that have direct implications for Ofsted: “Recommendation 10: Ofsted should revise the inspection and improvement regime for schools giving greater prominence to how well schools are fulfilling their responsibilities for child protection”
As a result of this Ofsted have accepted the recommendation and will be making revisions to their inspection framework for schools. The new school inspection framework which will apply from September 2009 will have a stronger focus on safeguarding. The current inspection framework already includes a judgement about whether safeguarding arrangements in schools are satisfactory but this will be strengthened in the new framework with a grading on a scale from 1(outstanding) to 4(inadequate) for a school’s safeguarding arrangements.
Ofsted have also designed that any school which receives a grade of 4 will be likely to be awarded an inadequate grade for its overall performance and will need therefore to make urgent improvements. These arrangements will hopefully ‘raise the bar’ about the importance of safeguarding in schools and will also facilitate the identification and dissemination of best practice.
The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families has written to schools to highlight the importance of this action plan and of the role that teachers and other staff have in keeping children safe from abuse but it is important that all schools are aware that e-Safety is considered under the Safeguarding umbrella and therefore schools must have policies and procedures in place to ensure they are able to meet the aims of the new framework when it is released. More information will be posted as soon as the new framework is released
To read the full response from Ofsted click here
For more advice and information click here