24 Jun '14

News Heads fear gaps in Ofsted's child protection regime

A school child abuse scandal prompted an overhaul of Ofsted's inspection regime, but how much has really changed?Gareth Dawkins has been a headteacher for a long time. Over the years he has been through 20 Ofsted inspections, with all the anxiety and sometimes satisfaction that entails. But during those inspections the executive principal of the Bradford academy and University academy Keighley, has, he says, never been asked about any serious safeguarding incident in his schools and there have been several. Nor has he ever been asked to account for the actions he's taken as a result. "No one checks to see if I'm performing my child protection duties as I should," he says. "It's all done by trusting heads' judgment and professionalism. And sometimes, as we know, that's gone badly wrong in the past."Ofsted is the only statutory body given specific responsibility for ensuring that children are safe in school. And with a rash of failures in schools hitting the headlines over the past few years sometimes involving abuse of pupils by staff child protection campaigners say that a tighter focus is needed on the nature of inspections. Recent snap inspections of some Birmingham schools as part of the so-called Trojan horse affair identified failings to safeguard pupils from extremism an observation that had not been made in previous inspections. Continue reading...

Read the full story in Guardian Education
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