The new OFSTED Inspecting Safeguarding guidance was released on Friday 7th September in many ways this contains little that is new or surprising. Importantly, what it does do is bring the guidance OFSTED inspectors are working from in line with Safeguarding guidance, KCSIE 2018, WTSC 2018 and the changes to Disqualification Under the Childcare 2006, released over the summer.
There is a document available listing the changes, but it is not the easiest to follow, so I have picked out and explained what I see as the significant changes, beyond the references to new documentation, and actions schools may need to take.
OFSTED continues to consider both the school’s safeguarding procedures and ethos.
A new paragraph (16) sums up schools safeguarding duties for inspectors. It says
Inspectors should consider how far leaders and managers have put in place effective arrangements to:
• Identify children and learners who may need early help or are at risk of neglect, abuse, grooming or exploitation
• Help prevent abuse by raising awareness among children and learners of safeguarding risks and how and where to get help and support if they need it
• Help those children who are at risk of abuse and need early help or statutory social care involvement, keeping accurate records, making timely referrals where necessary and working with other agencies to ensure that children and learners get the help and support they need
• Manage allegations about adults who may be a risk, and check the suitability of staff to work with children, learners and vulnerable adults.
There are a number of changes to wording reflecting the developing thinking about and understanding of safeguarding.
• Children should be able ‘to recognise when they are at risk and how to get help when they need it’ rather than ‘keeping themselves safe.’
• A greater awareness of wider environmental factors, though contextual safeguarding is not mention explicitly.
• A greater inclusion of references to vulnerable adults
Drawing on the new guidance and legislation there is inclusion of:
• So-called honour based violence
• Criminal exploitation (County lines)
• Peer-on-peer abuse, particularly the risks of and actions to tackle sexual abuse between children, including that the policy should procedures for minimising and dealing with peer-on-peer abuse and the approach to managing reports of sexting
• The role of deputy DSLs
• Having, where possible, more than one emergency contact number for children
• The role and importance of Early Help
• Staff in schools and colleges are supported to make reasonable judgements about when it may be appropriate to use physical contact with a child to protect them from injury.
• There needs to be a person at senior board (or equivalent) level to take leadership responsibility for the school or college’s safeguarding arrangements.
• Where a school places a pupil with an alternative provision provider, the school continues to be responsible for safeguarding that pupil and should be satisfied that the provider meets their needs. The school should obtain written confirmation that appropriate checks have been carried out on staff employed by the provider to work with children. The school should establish that the provider meets any applicable requirements for registration.
There are a number of clarifications relating to Safer recruitment and the Single Central Record
• If trainee teachers are fee-funded, the school or setting should obtain written confirmation from the training provider that these checks have been carried out and that the trainee has been judged by the provider to be suitable to work with children. There is no requirement for a school to record details of fee-funded trainees on the single central record. (para 30)
• Leaders need to assess the appropriate supervision for visitors working with children, learners and/or staff or to address assemblies.
• When using the DBS update service, schools need to consider any information contained in the certificate and provided by the update service as part of their wider decision on an individual’s suitability.
• If anyone starts work in a regulated activity before the DBS certificate is shown to the school, they must ensure that the individual is not barred by the DBS.
• Prohibition Checks are not normally required for teaching assistant positions, however this would be necessary if the TA had qualified teacher status and was being appointed to carry out teaching, or if their role changed so that they began teaching work.
• For maintained school governors, it is recommended that schools contact the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) Teacher Services to check that a person they propose to recruit as a governor is not subject to a section 128 direction. A section 128 direction prohibits or restricts a person from taking part in the management of an independent school, including academies and free schools.
• Multi-academy trusts (MATs) must maintain the single central record detailing checks carried out in each academy within the MAT. Whilst there is no requirement for the MAT to maintain an individual record for each academy, the information should be recorded in such a way that allows for details for each individual academy to be provided separately, and without delay, to those entitled to inspect that information, including by inspectors.
Actions schools may need to take:
• Ensure all senior leaders and governors are aware of the changes in Working Together to Safeguard Children and the transitional documentation. This should include what is happening in your local area, when and how the transition from LSCB to Safeguarding Partners is happening and the proposed timeline. I suspect Inspectors will be asking questions about this.
• Check all staff know who and what the Safeguarding Partners are as this comes into force in your local area.
• Check that you are no longer asking Disqualification by Association questions and have destroyed the paperwork relating to this, but are clear with your staff through
o The safeguarding policy and/or
o Staff Code of Conduct and/or
o A written notification or email
that they need to disclose any relationship or association, including online, that might impact on the organisation’s ability to safeguard children. Also, that staff can still be disqualified under the Childcare Act 2006 by their own actions leading to conviction or caution under the relevant offences.
• Check your policy and training includes;
o So-called honour based violence
o Criminal exploitation (County lines)
o Peer-on-peer abuse, particularly the risks of and actions to tackle sexual abuse between children
o The approach to managing reports of sexting (youth produced sexualised images)
o What Early Help is, what kind of children it is appropriate for, when and how your school is involved in Early Help Work
and that staff can talk about them. I would recommend picking up on these issues in staff briefings, safeguarding newsletters etc., over the next term and being able to evidence that you have done this.
• Ensure all staff know who the deputy DSLs are and that their role in the organisation is clear. If you have an inspection include them in your safeguarding meeting.
• Ensure that you have more than one emergency contact number for children and are able to evidence how you keep these up to date.
• Check staff are confident about what to do if a child reports that they have been sexually abused by another child. This is a new line on its own in paragraph 19 and key in the new Part 5 of KCSIE. It may be a focus for inspectors questioning about safeguarding with staff.
• Consider the guidance given to staff about the use of reasonable force, including your policy, training, reporting and recording.
• Consider how you assess the level of supervision for visitors working with children and/or addressing assemblies.
• Consider if you wish to include fee-funded trainee teachers on your Single Central Record. There is no need to!
• Check that you have a governor or other board member with a leadership responsibility for safeguarding and that the DSL is a member of the SLT.
• If you use an alternative provision, check that you have written confirmation that they have completed the appropriate safeguarding checks and have the appropriate registration.
• Check your CSR show when the DBS certificate was seen as well as when the update service was checked for those on the DBS Update service.
• Check that your CSR makes it clear that the school have seen the DBS certificate, not just that one has been issued.
• Complete a risk assessment for anyone starting work before the DBS is shown to the school, including barred check.
• Consider if you need to do a prohibition check for any TA if they have qualified teacher status and are being appointed to carry out teaching, or if their role changes so that they begin teaching work.
• Check that you are doing a check for a teacher prohibition order, section 128 direction, continuing GTCE sanction or restriction, or teacher sanction or restriction imposed by a European Economic Area professional regulating authority using the Teacher Services system when appropriate and recording on your SCR., including a Section 128 direction check for any School Governor or proprietor.