The blog post by Lee Owston, Deputy Director, Schools and Education, dated November 9th 2023, outlines how safeguarding is inspected in schools. It emphasises the importance of a culture of safeguarding, which prioritises pupils' interests and is based on the guidelines from "Keeping Children Safe in Education" (KCSIE).
The inspection process involves:
1. Pre-Inspection Preparation: Schools must provide specific information before the inspection, including the single central record (SCR), a list of referrals to the local authority, and details about the resolution of these referrals.
2. Review of SCR: Inspectors check the SCR against KCSIE's minimum recording requirements, focusing on recruitment processes, staff induction, and the management of the document.
3. Meeting with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL): Inspectors discuss safeguarding culture, incident responses, staff training, and information-sharing practices.
4. Discussions with Staff and Pupils: Inspectors engage with staff and pupils to understand their training, concerns, and the school’s response mechanisms.
5. Judging Safeguarding Effectiveness: Inspectors reflect on gathered evidence to judge safeguarding as effective or ineffective. Minor safeguarding improvements might be noted, but they don’t necessarily impact the overall judgement of the school.
The blog post stresses that schools should not feel pressured by these inspections, as the aim is not to catch out schools on technicalities but to ensure the right decisions are made for children's safety. Schools that foster an open, positive safeguarding culture and follow KCSIE guidelines are likely to be judged as having effective safeguarding practices.
Additional resources, including webinars and a dedicated YouTube channel, are available for further information.
Effective culture of safeguarding in schools
How Ofsted inspects safeguarding in schools | Ofsted webinar for schools
Safeguarding Inspection Preparation Checklist for Headteachers
To discuss this post go to our Edoocoo group